Starting your day by riding an over-crowded local train or by being stuck in endless traffic? Did you reach office only to find loads of work being dumped on you to be finished by unrealistic deadlines? Are you slogging at work only to go back home to find that you have missed out on an important family engagement? An average Indian working person’s life most often mirrors this. Stress is thrown at them from all directions, be at work or from home. According to a 2015 ASSOCHAM survey, four out of every 10 Indian professionals surveyed across metro cities suffered from general anxiety or depression. This doesn’t come as a surprise because not long ago, a WHO World Mental Health Survey had found that India had the highest rate of depression in the world.
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Many blame increased dependence on technology for increased stress, with studies claiming that the myth of being connected to the world at all times through social networks like Facebook is only leading to more isolation, and ultimately, depression. What only very few talk about is how we can use these social networks and smartphones to alleviate stress. We rarely hear about studies like the one published in the Clinical Psychological Science journal, which found that playing a science-based mobile gaming app for 25 minutes can reduce anxiety. Apart from such games, there are many apps specifically designed to reduce stress and calm us down. What’s more, most of them are available to us free of cost. So let’s stop blaming technology and discover some of these free apps that can help us stay sane and active both at work and home:
This app was called “the most sophisticated positive vibes app available” by the New York Times. The app starts off by asking you a few questions to understand your present happiness quotient. The next step is setting happiness goals. The app states that there are five essential skills needed for happiness: savouring, thanking, aspiring, giving and empathising. Based on your goals, it selects activities for you to boost confidence and happiness. The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms and has both free and premium versions.
A Chinese method that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intentions, Qigong is a spiritual martial art. This app not only calms you down through guided meditation but also gives you information about the techniques you are practising. Available free of cost on Android devices, the app lets you learn a few new moves while calming you down.
This app concentrates on guided breathing exercises to de-stress you. It is based on the scientifically-proven fact that breathing through the diaphragm will help you alleviate stress. Available free of cost in both Android and iOS platforms, this app can be used even in flight mode. It guides you through diaphragmatic breathing exercises and helps you master the inhale/exhale mantra.
As the name suggests, this app allows you to track triggers that might be stressing you out. It tracks moods and sources of anxiety over time and figures out the main culprits that stresses you out. Developed by psychologists based on principles of cognitive behavioural therapy, this app helps you identify the problem areas, thus empowering you with the needed information to fight or avoid stress. It is available on both Android and iOS platforms.
The app calls itself a “gym membership for your mind” and focuses on meditation and mindfulness activities to help alleviate stress and become more self-aware and happy. In just ten minutes a day, the app guides you through effective meditation practices and helps you map out and track your progress as well. Much like fitness apps, you can add a ‘buddy’ to join and motivate you while using this mind gym and compare your progress with theirs. Available in both Android and iOS platforms, this app offers free as well as premium versions.
This app is offers a holistic anxiety management strategy. It includes an anxiety tracking tools, anxiety treatment guide, community chats and relaxation instructions. Available free of cost on Android and iOS platforms, this app stands out because of its highly interactive relaxation features that help you learn how to manage your moods and relax your mind and body in response to them.
Bonus: Dead Trigger
Now what if you are not the meditation type? Listening to soothing music or guided breathing exercises is not your idea of relaxation? You like getting a bit more ‘action-oriented’? Fret not, we haven’t left you out! Try Dead Trigger, available on iOS and Android, that puts you out in a dangerous virtual world and pits you against zombies. If hitting it out with flesh-hungry monsters is your way of dealing with stress and calming your mind down, then so be it.
So what are your favourite apps that help you de-stress and relax? Let us know in the comments section below.