Life doesn’t always go your way – but that doesn’t mean you have to be a Debbie Downer all day! Whenever you’re feeling like the little red-faced angry emoji, it might help a little (actually, a lot) if you intentionally try to alter the mood. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology shows that explicit attempts to be happier facilitate the actual experience of happiness. Meditation is one of those explicit attempts – meditation practiced even as little as 10 minutes a day can help reduce anxiety and stress. Though your smartphone might be partially to blame for your soaring cortisol, to begin with, there are so many apps that help you improve your mood and make you feel as cool as a cucumber. Here are our best picks –
Stop, Breathe and Think
This app could easily become your go-to for managing stress, falling asleep, taking the edge off angry emotions, and reinforcing positive thinking. There are a number of short 5-10 minute meditation programs that you can use to reset and rebalance throughout the day. When you open this app, it checks in with your emotions first a list of adjectives to choose from after which it suggests guided meditations or yoga based on your selection. The interface is very minimalistic and there’s even a web app available. The paid version includes more than 80 meditation packs whereas the free version provides 40.
Android : Free, extra meditation packs at $9.99 per month
iOS: Free, extra meditation packs $9.99 per month
Calm, an award-winning meditation app is aimed at helping one relax, focus, and sleep better. It gives you beautiful immersive nature scenes with soothing background sounds that can change your mood from anxious to well, calm, in seconds. Calm is completely free to download and use, and there are no ads in its beautiful, simple and clean interface. Many of the programs and features are free, but there is some content for advanced users that is only available through an optional paid subscription.
Android: Free, Advanced Content Subscription Starts from $9.99
iOS: Free, Advanced Content Subscription Starts from $9.99
Headspace: Meditation and Mindfulness
This app provides a meditation series in ‘packs’ based on the themes like anxiety, stress, happiness which you can choose. A former monk, Andy Puddicombe, who is also the co-founder of Headspace guides you through the process as your meditation coach. We loved that there was no condescension (something that can creep in, in these kinds of apps), and that you get to encourage or motivate your friends to try meditation as well by tracking and sharing your progress with them.
Android: Free to download, Packs start at $12.99
iOS: Free to download, Packs start at $12.99
This is yet another app that provides free meditation guide libraries that you can choose from. It is famous for its short timing videos that are perfectly sized to fit in to your busy schedule. It also lets you choose your favorite meditation teachers and follow them exclusively. There is paid content that begins at $4.99, but most of its best features are free!
Android: Free to download, paid libraries start at $4.99
iOS: Free to download, paid libraries start at $4.99
Aura: Mindfulness and Happiness
Here’s an app that reduces stress and increases positivity with the help of AI. It offers short, sweet, science-backed meditation exercises everyday personalized by AI. Aura first gauges your mood before it picks a meditation track to match it and like most AI powered apps, it gets better at selecting tracks for you, the more you use it. The app also automatically takes care of reminders to take deep breaths everyday.
Android: Free to download, various premium packs available.
iOS: Free to download, various premium packs available.
Meditation is not the only route to a healthy and happy mind, is it? This app’s goal is to make you happy. It uses positive psychology techniques to provide simple solutions to make you feel happy. It does sound silly when you hear all the positive quotes that you already know but it actually works! It also offers a variety of gratitude exercises and casual (but fun) games to train emotional regulation skills.
Android: Free to download, bonus content starts at $14.99
iOS:Free to download, bonus content starts at $14.99
This is another app that focuses on your happiness and uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy principles. It provides audio guides for relaxing, a journal for affirmations and a happy to-do list with graphs to keep track of happiness. This app just doesn’t like to see you in a bad mood.