Apps are available for everything these days – from personal planning to games and fitness. In addition, there are also apps that claim to help you look after your mental health and well-being. Yet with literally hundreds of wellness apps to choose from – how do you know which one is right for you? Below I’ve narrowed down five of the best free wellness apps for 2021.
Wellness encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Yet for many people wellness is not as much of a priority as our physical health.
Mental health and illness can no longer be ignored. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, are now the third most common reason for adults (aged 18 to 44) to receive hospitalization. Furthermore, the United States spends an estimated $201 billion on mental illness each year. For comparison, the next highest is heart conditions, which costs $147 billion each year.
However, please know that I do not view any of these apps as a substitute for therapy. Apps will never take the place of engaging with someone who can offer professional treatment and analysis that an app simply cannot provide.
While all free, some of these apps are platform-specific (i.e. iPhone only). While the vast majority of these apps do not have peer-reviewed research to support their claims, health experts predict that they will play an important role in the future of mental health care by providing innovative solutions for the self-management of mental health disorders. The apps I’ve chosen below are based on research from multiple aggregate review sites. Without further ado, check out my picks for the best wellness apps for 2021.
This wellness app is perfect if you are new to meditation, yet Calm also offers programs for more advanced users. Try easing your anxiety with guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing programs, and relaxing music. As a side note, Calm was awarded Apple’s “App of the Year” in 2017.
Rise: Sleep and Energy Tracker
This is a rising (no pun intended) app that is being utilized by teams in the NFL, MLB, and NBA. Why? Because Rise helps you become a better sleeper at night that induces peak performance throughout the day. Be forewarned though that while Rise is free it does contain many in-app purchases to utilize ALL of the services.
Developed by two clinical psychologists, MoodKit helps you learn how to change how you think, and develop self-awareness and healthy attitudes. The journal feature is a great way to practice self-care by reflecting on the day, noting any distressing thoughts, and documenting how you feel. MoodKit also uses the foundation of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to provide users with over 200 different mood improvement activities.
iBreathe walks users through breathing exercises to reduce stress, stabilize mood, control anger, and manage anxiety. This intuitive mobile app is not only simple but can be personalized at a pace the user finds relaxing. It’s touted as helpful for self-starters or those working with a therapist. It also helps with stress, anxiety, and insomnia.
Headspace utilizes hundreds of mindfulness and meditation sessions. It also promises to reduce your daily stress and improve focus by using the app for only a few minutes each day. This app does a terrific job of describing basic concepts in a very user-friendly way with clear instructions.
One More Thing
Did these wellness apps work for you? Was there something I missed? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas at the email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Heart & Soul Newsletter to receive more great tips straight to your inbox each week. If you’d like to learn more great apps, check out 7 Fitness Apps for 2021.