Taking care of our mind should always be a priority. Stress alone takes more lives than skin cancer, homicide, and HIV. But, it can ruin our lives on a day-to-day basis too, getting in the way of our workouts, sleep, diet, and career success. Studies continuously show that our physical and mental health are intertwined, as well as a healthy body being linked to higher self-esteem and confidence too.
Exercise can relieve anxiety and depression symptoms, whilst treating depression can lead to more motivation to exercise – the two work in harmony. So with that in mind, below are the 9 best mental health apps that can help us develop better habits, motivation, and treat our mental health concerns.
Whilst exercising improves our mental health, it cannot unwind trauma or teach us about our triggers. With its 1.6 million user base and 20,000 licensed therapists, Betterhelp is one of the best mental health apps around. Being an industry leader in online therapy, Betterhelp will quickly connect you to a therapist who you can text message or video call; CBT or long conversations.
The 24/7 counseling service makes it easy for users to get therapy whenever and wherever, which fits around their work and exercise schedule nicely.
Betterhelp is one of the most affordable online therapy services, with very few companies offering such great customer service and features at such a low price.
Meditation and mindfulness is a very useful tool in improving our mental health. With over 30 million worldwide users, Headspace is the leader in this space. It has a large library of courses and guided meditation sessions, as well as being very easy to use. There’s no better way to feel totally connected to your body than to be mindful, where you can really listen to your body and feel in control. Plus, the meditative tools you learn through hours of practice can be applied in other areas of your life. One day, you will find yourself running along the beach listening to just your breath, or the waves, as opposed to the same rap album on repeat.
Yoga Studio by Gaiam
Yoga understands perfectly well the connection between mind and body, which is why the exercises are centered around mindfulness, breathing, and challenging ourselves. Yoga Studio by Gaiam is one of many great yoga apps. This one in particular is free to download (the subscription to unlock some features is $10 p/m), has over 75 classes available, functionality to create your own flow, and even offers guided meditations.
Amwell is a good alternative to Betterhelp for online therapy because it offers a few different things. Whilst it’s not cheap and doesn’t offer text messaging, the quality of therapy is world-class and there is even potential for psychiatric prescription and treatment. So, there is very little that Amwell can’t help tackle, which is great because you know you only have to onboard one app for your therapy. Whilst Amell is more expensive than the other online therapy sites, it works with many insurance companies, which can make it cheaper in the long run.
Sometimes you need to just switch off, which makes the best mental health apps for productivity the ones that aid in switching off, like Forest. Many people love running because it can get us in a meditative state, whilst others use guided meditation to do this. But at the end of the day, being free from distraction during certain activities is important; sometimes you don’t want to keep logging your reps on the app or hearing “achievement unlocked” sounds from your running app.
Forest is the answer to this. It’s an app that uses the Pomodoro technique to help users remain focused on their tasks. Essentially, you grow virtual when you’re focused. Many people think this is just for studying, but trying it for a workout to keep us in a flow state is a powerful tool.
Sleep is one of the most important elements of physical recovery – this is when our muscle growth actually takes place, not in the gym. Of course, many mental health conditions can also negatively impact sleep too. Getting your well-needed rest can be difficult, but a good start is to track your current sleep schedule. The Sleep Cycle app uses AI to track which stages of sleep you’re in, can play white noise to aid sleep, and even set smart alarms to wake you during your light sleep to avoid waking up groggy. There’s no better way to get started for morning workouts!
Diaro is one of the best mental health apps for free. It’s an app in which users can write their thoughts and reflections at the end of each day. There are many journaling apps, but they often use prompts and questions for you to respond to. Whilst this can be useful, Diaro gives you more freedom, which can help your fitness endeavors too.
Basically, you can record your feelings and reflections for that day, but also assess how your workout was. How it felt, if it was more difficult than usual, and so on. You can also attach your progress pictures too. This way, we can find themes in not just our mental health, but how it impacts our workouts and health.
One of the most frustrating elements of poor mental health is how it impedes on our daily tasks and habits. Streaks’ aim is to solve this, as it allows us to write down daily tasks like hygiene, reading, or working out and we can use it as a to-do app. But better yet, track our streak (how many days in a row we succeed), which many people find motivating to build healthier habits. It’s a great one for diet and exercise, and is all-around one of the best mental health apps for motivation.
Another great mental health app for motivation is Challenges. Challenges is an interesting app that focuses on setting and achieving challenges, which is common for both working out and mental health. Whilst setting goals isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, it’s totally community-driven, which really entices us more into getting involved because we feel like we’re a part of a collective purpose. The community provides feedback and motivation to each other, which can spur us on to achieve our goals.