The advent of mobile technology has given us the ability to order a pizza on the way home from work, look up the title of a song as soon as it comes on the radio, or keep up with real-time score updates for almost any sporting event. Convenient? Yes. Essential? Not really. However, this on-the-go technology has also given us something many people may find beneficial, and, perhaps, even indispensable: the means to help us manage and overcome anxiety, depression, panic, and other mental disorders, all at the touch of our fingertips. While these health and wellness apps aren't meant to be sole treatments, they are specifically made to reduce levels of anxiety and depression.

Based on psychological techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT), mindfulness, and meditation, these resources can be used for instant stress relief in conjunction with regular therapy sessions and medications. Plus, with the convenience of smartphones and other mobile devices, these apps can be used anywhere you go and any time you need them. We recommend that you give these apps a try and see what they can do for you. Here's a look at our top four choices for anti-anxiety apps:

1. buddhify – mindfulness to go ($2.99-$4.99)

This meditation app allows you to take mindfulness and meditation with you wherever you go. With over 80 different audio tracks to choose from, you can customize your guided meditation to fit your needs throughout the day. Whether you need a 20-minute meditation session to help you sleep, or a five minute pick-me-up to de-stress during your work break, buddhify aims to help you improve your mindfulness, mental balance, and concentration.

Presented within a soothing and easy-to-use interface, the app also provides each user with statistics and graphs to help you keep track of your usage and improvement. Also, since buddhify is user-driven and was created by leading authorities in mindfulness, it provides a means of communicating with their team, allowing your questions about the app and mindfulness in general to be answered by experts in the field, a benefit that not many apps can boast about.

2. 7 Cups of Tea: Care & Therapy (Free)

This free online counseling and therapy app is like having a trusted friend you can go to whenever you're dealing with a difficult time and need a means of venting out your thoughts, fears, worries, and stress. As an emotional health and well-being service, they connect users with trained listeners or licensed therapists/counselors in a one-on-one chat room that is 100% anonymous. Whether you're heartbroken over a break-up, anxious about tomorrow's big meeting, or feeling depressed and alone, 7 Cups of Tea has a listener who will lend you their ear and offer their support.

The best thing about this app is that you can custom choose your ideal listener. With a community of over 70,000 listeners available, you have a choice of picking the age range, country, language, and subject specialty of the listener you speak with. Or, if you just need to chat with someone right away, there is also an option to speak with the next available listener who is sure to be friendly, competent, and considerate. You can stick with the same listener every time you use the app, building a relationship that can better help you deal with your problems, or, if you prefer, you can chat with a different listener each time. 7 Cups of Tea is a great emotional support alternative for letting out your thoughts and issues in between therapy sessions, or whenever you need to talk to someone about your problems.

3. Stop Panic and Anxiety Self-Help (Free)

If you're looking for more of a do-it-yourself anxiety management app, Stop Panic and Anxiety Self-Help might be for you. It should be noted, though, that this self-help app is made specifically for those suffering with panic attacks, and therefore may not be helpful for other forms of anxiety disorders. For those users who are living with the daily threat of having a panic attack, this app has the tools to get you through the fear and anxiety that comes along with an attack, helping to reduce, and hopefully prevent, the unpleasant sensations associated with panic attacks.

Stop Panic and Anxiety Self-Help uses treatments like CBT, exposure therapy, and emotion training to teach you how to tolerate and control your anxiety symptoms. The app offers a variety of panic and anxiety articles to help you better understand what you are going through, a diary section where you can learn to challenge your fears, as well as different audio tracks to focus your thoughts, calm your emotions, and help you relax. This is a handy app to have on hand to coach you through your panic and to help you manage your anxiety whenever or wherever you feel an attack coming on.

4. T2 Mood Tracker (Free)

Developed by The National Center for Telehealth & Technology, and backed by the Department of Defense, T2 Mood Tracker is designed to be an emotional health tracker. The app works to keep track of the changes in your mood or behavior and can help with monitoring stress and anxiety, finding triggers, and figuring out which treatments work best for you. The main categories the app focuses on are anxiety, stress, depression, general well-being, Post-Traumatic Stress, and head injury, but, as many users have noted, the app is highly customizable and lets you track just about anything you wish (i.e. insomnia, medication, pain levels, etc.).

A cool feature that will probably be beneficial to most users is the report generator: this feature allows you to take notes on any thoughts or experiences that have influenced you emotionally throughout the day and convert your notes into a PDF. This document can then be printed or emailed to a therapist or healthcare provider. Having this measurable data makes it much easier to find patterns in your thoughts and feelings, which can lead to more successful treatments.

Try Using These Apps Along with Your Usual Treatment

As mentioned earlier, these apps are best used along with your typical methods of treatment and with regular mental health screenings. While therapy and medication can be essential components to mental stability, anxiety and mental health management is also a powerful tool for making people feel better. If used correctly, these apps can help to dramatically improve mental health over time.

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Katherine J. Gold, M.D., M.S.W., M.S.
Liz Matheis, Ph.D.
Sigal Sharf
Sigal Sharf


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