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Need to destress? There’s an app or 10 for that

Stress can be overwhelming, exhausting, and sometimes, unavoidable. What can you do when the stress gets to be too much? The de-stressing answer may already be in your pocket.

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Technology has a way

It’s no secret that stress can wreak havoc on your body. Stress can affect your mood, energy, and sleep patterns. Stress can increase your heart rate, blood pressure, and risk of heart attack. It can trigger pain, nausea, and suppress your immune system. Stress is bad; prolonged stress is even worse. While constantly checking your smartphone can certainly add to your stress, especially if you have unanswered emails, texts, and pending deadlines.

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However, your smartphone also has the ability to help you alleviate stress. Here area few ways you can use your phone to help de-stress and feel better.

Get some tunes goin’

Music. Music really can soothe the soul and the nerves. Soothing, relaxing music can help you regulate your breathing and bring down your blood pressure. I have a playlist on my phone that’s just for de-stressing.

If classical music isn’t your thing, pick out a tune that you enjoy belting out. Singing is another proven way to de-stress. The very act of singing or humming can help to slow and regulate breathing, promoting relaxation. It will also take your mind off your stress for a few moments and allow you time to reset and refocus.

There are several free music apps you can try, my favorite is Pandora. I also like the virtual sound machine app, Rain Rain.

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Get your ohm on

Meditation. This doesn’t have to be complex. There are so many apps that offer guided meditations. A guided meditation, has a narrator helping your breathe in and out in a relaxing pattern, oftentimes along with relaxing musical accompaniment.

A simple five minute guided meditation with deep breathing can help alleviate tension, and reduce stress producing hormones. If you can’t listen to these at work, use your phone’s timer function to take five minutes and breathe deeply on your own. The simple act of deep breathing allows your body to focus on what it needs, rather than the millions of tasks that have you stressed to the max.

If you’re looking for a few good meditation apps, I really enjoy Calm. It’s a guided meditation app for Android and iOS. I also like Zen Garden. It turns your screen into a virtual sandbox where you can write, scribble, or mindlessly tap the stress away.

Get up and active

Move. Movement is one of the best ways to clear your mind and refocus your energy. While there are a wide variety of exercise and activity apps, one of my favorites is the work break timer. This handy app reminds you to stand up and move throughout the day.

We all know prolonged periods of sitting still can be detrimental to our health, but when you’re focused on work, it’s easy to forget to move. Not only does this app remind you to move, it also mixes things up by suggesting different types of movement you can do to refocus your attention and come back to your desk refreshed and a little bit less stressed.

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For iOS users, Stand Up! and Move are great options. For Android users, Twenty is very similar.

Get your thoughts out

Journal. More likely than not, you already use Evernote or similar apps. Why not use them to de-stress? Recommended by psychologists for decades, keeping a journal is a great way to clear your mind. Unfortunately, constant stress and everyday pressures make it difficult to journal consistently.

Several journaling apps aim to solve this problem by melding traditional diary-like qualities with digital convenience. For Android users, Memoires lets you record daily text or audio entries and attach files or photos to diary notes. It is also password protected, so you don’t have to worry about your thoughts falling into the wrong hands. For iOS users, Narrato Journal  is a similar option.

Get out the photo albums

Photos. From photos of your family and friends, to a photo of your favorite vacation spot, pictures can help you relax. Try creating a separate album on your phone for all the things that make you happy.

If you’re short on space, you can create a private album on Facebook, Flickr, or your favorite photo app. When you need a boost, scrolling through endless happy memories, places, and events, can trigger a stress reducing response.

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Get healthy

Regardless of which method you choose to de-stress, know that persistent stress is a problem. If you feel that you are stressed to the point of breaking down, it may be time to reevaluate where and how you spend your time.

#iDestress

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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