In moments of uncertainty, despair, and fear, it’s helpful to tap into another space and allow yourself to escape, however momentarily, from the noise that threatens to rob you of your sanity. It’s tough to do, what with the daily news briefings and the seemingly endless stream of constant upsetting news, but it’s crucial to take care of yourself during these difficult times.
While being quarantined allows you some time to relax in ways that you wouldn’t normally—you’ve probably managed to get through a handful of Netflix binges by now—it also opens up pockets of time to focus on mindfulness. Your mental health matters, and it’s important to take advantage of opportunities to find calm and serenity during moments that might otherwise find you drowning in a sea of headlines and worry.
Fortunately, the modern world makes it easy for us to seek them out without much effort. There are hundreds upon hundreds of apps devoted strictly to the cause of mental betterment. They guide you through meditation. They offer free advice. They provide the option to connect with professionals if you need to spill what’s on your mind or simply feel that all-too-vital human connection that’s been missing for a while now. Here are seven of the most useful.
The granddaddy of them all, Headspace has made it so that everyone can find an outlet to unwind and find a soothing and calming place to relax when life gets difficult. Everyone has access to full, free guided meditations. There are areas devoted strictly to dealing with stress, anxiety, and panic. Animated features make it easy to follow—not that you need cartoons, but during times of hardship, it’s often easier to follow something that’s light and simple and that brings a bit of a smile to your face. Perhaps most importantly of all, Headspace is providing free access to their Premium program for all people working in healthcare in the United States. These heroes deserve and need it.
Stop Breathe and Think
The title alone serves as a reminder. It’s not always easy to do these things, but Stop Breathe and Think is designed specifically to encourage improved thought processes that help you direct your energy into something greater than the worries that plague your mind. Stop and think about what you’re doing, how you’re feeling, and what’s on your mind. Breathe mindfully and notice how your racing thoughts slow as you begin to focus more on your breath. Think about how doing this regularly can help broaden your mind and allow you to react differently when things become difficult. The app is highly intuitive: you’ll fill out a quick survey, which is then analyzed so that you can take advantage of the most important-to-you-at-the-moment meditations.
The name essentially says it all. During this moment, we’re challenged in ways we never thought imaginable. Calm was created to help you feel more grounded and centered, not just when you’re going through something tough but when you’re living through the daily grind. Moments of doubt tend to creep up constantly, and there’s an endless stream of fear that courses through the veins of anyone who loves someone—which means all of us can benefit. The app presents a carefully curated selection of music, meditations, sleep guides, and master classes designed to help ease your thoughts and soothe your psyche. You may not even realize you need such a thing until you start using it. Calm has also produced a collection of free resources for those who seek some mental support right now.
Smiling Mind was originally created with youth in mind. The completely free app provides gentle and nourishing support that helps them develop the vital skills they need to excel throughout their lives. Now, more than ever, they need that type of assistance—but Smiling Mind isn’t limited strictly to children and teenagers. Connect with the app and enjoy a number of Mindfulness Foundations in the adult section. They’ve launched Thrive Inside, a program designed to help you remain mentally tough while you remain at home. Both kids and adults can take advantage of this, making it an excellent option for parents who want to provide their little ones with some additional support.
When you just need to zone out—and you absolutely will—turn to Ambi Pro. It’s designed to relax the mind and help you find that quiet place you desperately crave by generating gentle, soothing ambient noise. There are all kinds of soothing sounds available, including waves crashing against the shore, raindrops hitting the ground, and water splashing. You’ll easily drown out the outside world. It’s especially hypnotic because Ambi Pro doesn’t continuously play the same recording on loop—something that’s easy to detect within moments. Here, the sounds are unique and variegated, so everything sounds live. You’ll quickly become immersed in another world.
Ten Percent Happier
Instead of tossing and turning at night or flipping on the news for the umpteenth time, tap into the Ten Percent Happier app. If meditation is foreign to you but you’ve always wanted to learn, you’ll find that it’s easy to slip into the zone with this handy app in your corner. In addition to guided meditations, you’ll find teachings to help you navigate your way through tough moments. You’ll become a master at conquering stress, or at the very least find better ways to channel your energy. You’ll increase your ability to find joy in situations big and small. You’ll sleep better. All of these advantages add up to a better and more complete version of yourself. They’ve also established a free sanity guide to help you stay steady during this time, with free access for healthcare workers, live videos, guided meditation, and regular updates.
Happify was created to help you find ways to be happier. It’s just that simple. Not every day is a joy, of course, and the app makes it easy for you to check in with yourself daily. Sorting your thoughts through the app involves completing fun activities and challenges, all of which are simple yet highly effective in helping you find improvement in areas that might be lacking. It could be that you’re inundated with negative thoughts, or that you can’t stop fearing the worst every time you turn on the news. The app will help you reshape the way you think, allowing you the freedom to plan for the future—and helping you stay on track during crises.