Stressed Out? 5 Apps to Help You Relax

In times of stress, you can turn to your iPhone.

Your body’s natural reaction to stress — known as the “fight or flight” response — can negatively affect your health, according to the American Psychological Association, and can make already existing health problems even worse. And while it’s normal to experience some stress throughout the day, even just a little bit can have an effect; for instance, you might get a stomach ache when you’re nervous for an exam at school.

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Those who suffer from chronic stress should consult a doctor, and there are apps available like StressCheck (free) and Stress Doctor ($4.99) that even enable you to measure your stress levels. At the same time, the iPhone offers a variety of apps that can help you reduce your stress through relaxation and deep breathing exercises. Here’s a roundup:

1. Cleveland Clinic Stress Meditations (free)

Created by the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute, this app to provide a variety of different guided relaxation and meditation techniques to help you relax during stressful situations, including the full-body scan, self confidence, guided imagery, a calm mind, loving kindness, letting go, mindfulness, and “miracle around us.”

The Cleveland Clinic aims to help people achieve a healthy lifestyle through fitness, nutrition, and stress management, according to the clinic’s website.

2. Simply Being ($0.99)

This app, developed by Meditation Oasis, talks you step by step through the meditation process — and you can choose the length of time that you want to meditate, whether it’s 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes, and whether or not you want some soothing music or nature sounds in the background.

3. Breathe2Relax (free)

This app guides you through customized deep-breathing exercises. Set a relaxing image to look at and music that soothes you as a voice takes you step by step through your session. The app also offers information about the health effects that stress has on your body.

4. Universal Breathing: Pranayama (free or $6.99 for the full version)

Pranayama is the practice of controlling your breath, and this app allows you to do just that. The app combines background music with animated visuals to guide users through the deep breathing process and help relieve stress. You can select from different choices of music and times your breaths for you, too.

5. Ambiance ($2.99)

With Ambiance, you can choose from more than 3,000 relaxing sounds to listen to, and you can also mix songs together, create playlists, and more. You can also wake up to sounds of your choice as an alarm and record your own sounds to add to your list.

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Jordan Friedman is a freelance writer based in New York. He graduated from Emory University, where he served as an editor of the student newspaper and has written for publications such as USA Today, The Huffington Post, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter <a href="">@jmfriedman8</a>.