Coping with anxiety can be a real b@*$#! Whether you suffer from situational anxiety like traveling or taking tests, or just the good ole garden variety everyday anxiety, it can be overwhelming. For those debilitated by it, it can feel so daunting you become paralyzed. And for those of us “high-functioning” anxiety sufferers, (myself included), it can just be downright exhausting having to be so busy that you are never fully left with your own thoughts.
I’ve spent a decade playing tug-o-war with my own personal anxiety monster and through the years, and thanks to some very patient therapists, I’ve learned a thing or two about coping. I know how frustrating it can be to feel like you’ll never fully be able to wrangle your anxiety. I’ve been there. Heck, sometimes I still feel that way! But 1. You are not alone and 2. You can manage your anxiety with a little help.
Apps to download for coping with anxiety
These apps aren’t meant to replace regular therapy, medication or other coping strategies that you may have developed. The apps are simply just another tool in your toolbox for coping with anxiety. I’ve scoured the internet to find the best ones and even stumbled upon some through internet ads. (Thanks, Facebook targeting!) In the following, I will share a link to the app, a small summary of how it helps, and my honest review of it. Keeping in mind that everything is subjective, what works for me may not work for you. But, I hope it does!
Headspace (Meditation Application)
What it is: Paraphrasing the summary from the app, Headspace is a mindfulness meditation app that teaches you how to relax with guided meditations and mindfulness techniques to bring calm and ease to your day. There are two versions of this app: a paid and a free version. While the free version only unlocks The Basics Course, the paid option ($12 per month or $69.99 per year) unlocks 100’s of meditations on any number of topics including specific ones on Sleep or Anxiety.
Why it works: mindfulness is not a new concept. It is practiced in tons of different ancient and eastern cultures. It helps you cope with anxiety by first, teaching you to stay present. We tend to fuel anxiety by always looking to the future. By being mindfully present you are not focusing or anticipating what’s to come next. For me, staying present is extremely challenging. As a perpetual goal-getter, I am always anticipating the next step, the next achievement, the next moment to be great. This leads to a lot of anxiety and what if’s in my life.
The second thing Headspace does, to help you manage anxiety is, mindful meditation teaches you how to allow yourself to have thoughts without getting attached to them. A neutral acceptance of the thoughts you are having as opposed to overthinking, worry, judgment, and angst.
In the anxiety focused meditation, you are being taught to change your attitude towards anxiety rather than avoid it or meeting it with great resistance. You can also customize the lengths of your meditation. It has been proven that even five minutes of meditation practice a day can greatly reduce your cortisol which is known as the “stress hormone” and improve focus.
Pixel Art (Paint-By-Number application)
What it is: Pixel Art is a coloring app. More specifically, it is a color-by-number app. This means that each picture is broken down into small pixelated squares with a number in it. Each numbered square corresponds to a specific color. Once you fill in all the colored squares with the appropriate color, the picture will be revealed!
Why does it work: Coloring has been proven to reduce stress levels and put the mind at ease. For me, coloring in a coloring book can actually be more anxiety-inducing because I am a perfectionist. I stress over the colors and get frustrated with the picture when it doesn’t turn out how I envisioned. That’s why this app is perfect for me. I don’t have to think about the colors that are going to be used, I can just mindlessly color in the squares and feel totally relaxed. This app frequently puts me to sleep. I even encouraged my mom to use it and she got totally hooked too!
There are paid and free versions of this app as well but I don’t pay for it because the free version still offers you tons of pages to color daily and if you want to get a locked page, you can always watch a 30-second ad. An ad hack is if you just put the ad on mute and do something else for a couple of minutes and you will be able to play without paying!
YouTube (Video-streaming application)
What it is: Unless you’re a time traveler from a different century, I think we all know about YouTube. YouTube is a video-streaming application. There’s a vast array of wonderful anxiety resources and videos on YouTube. From ASMR videos to guided meditations and various webinars you can find pretty much everything you could possibly want here!
Why it works: My favorite anxiety-reducing videos to watch on YouTube are called Oddly Satisfying videos. They are basically compilations of clips of very satisfying things like the perfect icing to cupcake ratio or steam cleaning a dirty rug, etc. Usually put to a trance type music, these videos make me feel so at ease. Probably due to the fact that I also suffer from OCD so seeing everything organized and order really helps calm me. I have also used these videos in the past to fall asleep and typically can’t make it past the 5-minute mark before drifting off to dreamland.
These are just a few of I’m sure many great apps out there to help you cope with anxiety. Let me know if you use any of these for coping with anxiety and which ones were your favorite.
Rosé & Ruffles