Everyone goes through stress, and everyone handles it differently. Those in recovery can be more sensitive to everyday stressors and may need help in coping with them. What is great is that there are apps available to help you relax and rewind. And these apps are not just for people in recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism, these apps can be used by anyone who wants to de-stress.
Breathe2Relax – iPhone Free, Android (Free)
This app gives instructions and practice exercises to help the user learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing (yes, it’s a breathing app!). One of the greatest ways to reduce stress is through controlled breathing. Breathing exercises are known to lessen the body’s stress responses, help calm your mood, and even control anger and anxiety.
How’s it work?
Once the app is installed on your phone you can get started right away with breathing exercises. The first thing the app asks you is how much stress you are feeling before you start. It proposes breathing exercises to address your stress level.
Once you start an exercise, a breathing gauge appears on the side of your phone and a voice coach tells you to inhale and exhale. The amount that you inhale and exhale on each breath depends on your physical makeup but you can shorten and/or lengthen the gauge to match your breathing capacity. As you continue to breathe as coached (for 16 breaths), you’ll find yourself watching the gauge and forgetting about everything around you.
It’s a good app if you are serious about (or want to be serious about) breathing exercises for mood enhancement. It’s simple to use, but in a noisy area this could be hard to do without headphones. It’s also important to remember that breathing exercises do alter your physical (i.e. heart rate, blood pressure, etc.) and mental status in a good way. It’s best not to do anything else while doing these breathing exercises so that you get their maximum benefit.
Ocean Sounds Relax n Sleep – Android (Free)
There are nights that I just can’t sleep, I am too wound up to relax. This app is good for just that situation. Ocean Sounds Relax n Sleep offers 9 relaxing sounds of the ocean, sea and waves, waterfalls and even a creek that help you to sleep.
How’s it work?
Simple and straightforward, download the app and pick a sound. There are a few neat functions with this app. You can set a timer so that you won’t have your app playing all night after you have fallen asleep. You can also tap a button that plays all of the sounds back to back. The sounds are very realistic but when a sound get to the end of a loop there is a pause before it starts up again. It’s not terrible but noticeable.
If you are looking to escape the world around you for a bit and pretend you are out on a beach or somewhere in the woods by a creek, then this app is for you. I am actually using it as I write this piece! It is not the absolute best app on the market; but if you can get past the loops pause (and it’s not so bad) this is a great app to use to relax and let go.
White Noise Lite – iPhone (Free), Android (Free)
So you want background noise to relax but the oceans and waves are not your thing? Well then this is the sound app for you. There is a lot to this app and it was a bit complicated to understand at first but once I took the time to explore a bit, I actually enjoyed this one, in fact a lot!
Perhaps you like the sound of rain, it’s got that. Or perhaps you like heavy downpours, it has that too. Maybe you are an individual who prefers urban sounds, well this app even has city street sounds for you. There is truly an impressive range of sounds—40 in total! I was very impressed especially for an app that is free.
When you first open the app it’s a bit confusing. It opens to a message asking you if you want to add sounds to your list or make a mix for yourself. If you are like me, you just want to hit a button, relax and drift off to dream. Fortunately, you do have the option to just go to the sound list and immediately select a sound to listen to. There are some pre-made mixes which are really great too. Heavy rain and thunder, frogs and stream, etc. This app, as I mentioned above will let you mix your own sounds. So if you want to hear chimes in the rain, you can make it your sound.
This app also has a timer so you don’t need to worry about waking up to shut it off. But a really neat feature is you can also set these sounds as your alarm. The settings function allows you to set the volume, pitch and balance of the sound as well. This is great if you have a headache and the tone is just too much for your head.
I LOVE this app! It is a bit confusing at first, but once you play with it a bit you’ll quickly get the hang of it. I am so impressed with the number of sounds. The ability to mix them together to create your own unique sound to personalize your relaxation is amazing. This is an app I really believe everyone should have on their phone.
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