For the last few years, geopolitical tensions and economic distress have been taking their toll on people everywhere. That reality is reflected in Gallup's annual Global Emotions Report, which showed that a significant portion of the global population is getting angrier, more worried, and more stressed-out than ever before. And those results came from surveys in mid-2019.
Here in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging in countless locations around the globe, it's fair to say that the global stress level has risen well beyond even last year's disturbing levels. All over the world, people are anxiously following the latest news to look for any hint that things are going to get better. And each time they do, they're greeted with a fresh torrent of news, social media posts, and other media confirming that the situation continues to worsen.
The good news is that we're all walking around with something of a solution to our daily stresses – our smartphones. Believe it or not, it's possible to use them to relieve stress, instead of adding to it. The secret is to turn to one of the many stress-busting apps now available on major app stores. Here are three of the best ones to get you started.
If you're looking for a way to add some peaceful relaxation into your daily routine, there's no one better to guide you than a true Zen master. That's exactly what you get from The Plum Village App, which is a free mindfulness app based on the techniques and teachings of Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh.
In it, you'll learn to relax through a series of guided meditations, chants, and songs. You'll even learn the skills you need to embrace difficult feelings and emotions without allowing them to overwhelm you. You can even set a mindfulness bell – which is an audible reminder to meditate or do some breathing exercises to keep you calm, cool, and composed no matter what the world throws at you.
Although you may not remember, there's a good chance that you spent a big chunk of your childhood drawing and coloring whatever pictures came to mind. As it turns out, the act of coloring makes a fantastic stress-reliever. Several studies have confirmed as much, and sales of adult coloring books have been growing every year.
But carrying around a coloring book everywhere you go is inconvenient, at best. Instead, you can turn your smartphone into an endless coloring book using Colorfy. It's an app that provides you with all of the patterns and pictures to color in that you need to relax. And, you won't be contributing to a growing colored-pencil shortage while you're doing it.
If you'd prefer a more scientific approach to taming your stress, your smartphone has got you covered there, too. You can download and use the Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM) app to develop the stress-management tools you need to live anxiety-free. It contains everything you need to dig deep and understand your stressors and learn how to manage them.
And lest you believe that SAM is just another quasi-professional attempt at providing self-help advice, it's an app developed by a team with some serious academic credentials. It stems from the work of UWE Bristol's psychology department in health and life sciences, backed by real-world clinical research results. It can turn your phone into a one-stop anxiety-management clinic, and you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
Though the world might be throwing every stressor imaginable at you, you don't have to succumb to anxiety, fear, and anger. And for once, your smartphone can be an ally in your quest for relaxation, rather than just a portal to ever-worsening news. All you have to do is add one of the three apps covered here – or any other one that suits you – and start on the road to a calmer, more relaxed you. Since it looks like the world's not going to get any less stressful anytime soon, you'll be needing all the help you can get – and that help can be right in the palm of your hand if you know where to look for it.