anxiety

Three Apps to Help You Relax Right Now

Three Apps to Help You Relax Right Now

Some of the best apps to help you relax are available right now for free in your pocket. Though our phones can be an incredible source of stress with alerts and notifications pinging us at what seems like every minute, our handheld devices can offer a bit of digital relief with some incredible and easy to use relaxation apps.

Here are some of our favorites to use when you're feeling anxious:


Breathe2Relax App

Breathe2Relax - FREE

Has your therapist recommended you practice deep breathing during times of stress or as a regular practice to help you remain mindful and centered? If you find deep breathing difficult on your own, this free app guides you through a deep breathing exercise with relaxing music and beautiful images, and it helps you rate your stress level along the way.

Calm app

Calm - FREE

Do you find yourself often losing focus during meditation or struggling to implement deep breathing practices to help manage your stress? The Calm app is quite sleek offering a beautiful user interface to help you relax. It includes both deep breathing exercises and meditation with programs you can choose to build skills around your stress-reduction goals. 

Headspace Meditation App

Headspace - FREE

Want to add a communal element to your meditation? Headspace offers a free 10-day program to get you started with the process of meditation. If you enjoy this program, for an additional fee you can subscribe to other programs to develop mindfulness in specific areas of your life. Headspace also allows a communal program where you can meditate with friends if you'd like the accountability. 

How to Manage Stress and Anxiety Due to Politics

How to Manage Anxiety and Stress Due to Politics

The American Psychological Association (APA) has released preliminary findings from its annual “Stress in America” poll, and results show that regardless of political party, age or race, U.S. adults are suffering from a decline in mental health due to last year's election and the ongoing political climate.

Adults using social media are particularly at risk, with 54% of men and women who engage outlets like Facebook or Twitter reporting significant stress versus 45% of adults who do not use social media. Likely the added stress for social media users is due to information overload and constant exposure to the onslaught of potentially vitriolic exchanges that can take place through digital communication. Without face-to-face human contact tempering statements, the collision of opposing ideals online can lead to often hurtful or enraging disagreements.

So how can savvy New Yorkers save their sanity in the midst of this political climate?

  • Take a sabbatical from social media. The APA recommends people manage their stress by periodically disconnecting from the 24-hour news cycle to recharge and focus on self-care. Once you’ve consumed a sufficient amount of information to stay informed on top issues, log off and prioritize your personal health. Get moving with physical exercise or indulge in non-political intellectual stimulation, like reading a favorite book or catching up on Netflix. Spend time offline with loved ones and invest in hobbies that bring pleasure to your life.
     
  • Don’t borrow worry from the future. Our director, Board-Certified Psychiatrist Dr. Lanre Dokun of Healthy Minds NYC, calls this type of thinking “catastrophizing.” He says, “A common habit of anxious or stressed out people is believing that if the thing they are worrying about occurs, they will be unable to cope. This is patently untrue. Think about the things you worried about last week, or month or year! And yet, here you are, In one piece!” Trust you’ll be able to navigate whatever the future holds and live in the present.  
     
  • Transform anxiety into action. Stress isn’t always negative. Acute stress in small doses can be helpful in spurring us to take needed action. For example, feeling stress when preparing for a big presentation at work can encourage you to do your best. Stressing about what to say on a first date might help you come up with a list of topics to discuss in a pinch when the conversation lulls. But this type of stress is very different than chronic stress that is ongoing, indirect and causes disruption in multiple areas of your life. Instead of allowing stress to linger, acknowledge the anxiety the political climate presents and then channel your feelings into a productive response.