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Feeling Overwhelmed? Best 5 Meditation Apps to Destress During the Day

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Feeling Overwhelmed? Best 5 Meditation Apps to Destress During the Day

Feeling overwhelmed all the time is mentally and emotionally exhausting. You might think you’re managing perfectly—career, personal, social, and family without realizing how that overwhelmed feeling is overpowering you.

Triggers such as forgetfulness, constant rushing, not preparing for deadlines, missing deadlines, or canceling plans last minute to compensate making up for unfinished work.

We’ve all been there, I think, at one time or another or this is how life has been lately.

In this article, we’ll look into the best 5 meditation apps to help you destress. But before we get to that, let’s take a look at the bad effects stress has on your body.

How stress affects your body

If you think stress is invisible, think again. Stress actually affects your body and mind more than you ever imagined:

1. Hot flashes and the feeling like you’re broken out in a cold sweat.

Have you ever sat down to work and noticed your skin on your cheeks, back of your neck, legs and hands feeling clammy?

When I’m overwhelmed, I’ll notice light sweating which I believed was just from running around. It comes even when I’m not running around, and when it does, I step away from whatever I am doing and go for a walk.

If you can’t step away, focus on diaphragmatic breathing. The symptom is a result of over-taxing. Your body is viewing stress as a toxin and is trying to eliminate it.

2. Heart palpitations and out of control breathing.

The heart is one of the first organs in your body to notice when you’re overwhelmed. Whether you have heart disease or not, stress induces rapid heartbeats.

An increased heart-rate when you’re not working out is not normal. You might notice heavy or incredibly shallow breathing.

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By this point, your brain and heart aren’t getting enough oxygen rich blood. Deep breathing and normal breathing are important for keeping your brain and body’s systems moving.

3. Cramping or pains in your joints (wrists, knees, and ankles).

If you’ve gone out to run those errands and notice cramping in your legs or knees, your body is sending you a signal that shouldn’t be ignored.

My hips and knees cramp up if I’ve been on the move for too long. Our bodies have a way of warning or sending us signals to nurture it more. Balance is a key ingredient to sustaining optimal health and if your body is aching, it’s telling you to stop.

4. Hair thinning or hair loss.

Stress, especially chronic, can lead to hair thinning and hair loss. When you run your hands through your hair or push it behind your ears, you might have noticed loose strands in your fingers.

Hair loss indicates overexertion as well. Only ten minutes or less of meditation in the mornings or the evenings can radically improve your stress levels.

5. When something comes up, you get light-headed.

You pencil a plan or an appointment in your schedule and suddenly feel a little off balance or wobbly, or worse, you feel a sense of dread or doom.

Even if you’ve got something fun planned or a project coming up, you feel light-headed or like you need to sit.

Affirmations can help if you’ve got a full calendar and are worrying about deadlines. Say things like, “I always figure things out. I’ve got this. Whatever the challenge is, I’ll meet it.”

Best 5 meditation apps to destress during the day

Now that you know how feeling overwhelmed can affect you, here are the resources that can help.

Remember, though, that finding the right balance in your day-to-night life will radically transform your mental state. So, here are the five apps I’ve exclusively included that’ll ease your stress, anxiety and depression.

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1. Aura

    Aura is an app dedicated to making you more mindful. At a medical conference I recently attended, a physician introduced mindfulness this way:

    They dimmed the lights, told us to plant our feet on the ground, and focus on deep breaths.

    What’s nice about this app is it specifically addresses stress, anxiety and depression which studies show all work together and against you.

    Every day, this app will determine your current mood and then use that to assign different meditations. The app itself promotes calmness through its blue color.

    Another additional feature of the app is it prompts you to add what you’re grateful for. Overtime, gratitude will make you feel less stressed and more positive when it comes to tackling hefty tasks.

    Available for iOS | Android

    2. Calm

      Calm is another beautifully designed app that has peaceful backgrounds and is relaxing to look at.

      A series of meditations can range from ten to twenty minutes and it will allow you to develop a routine or daily practice.

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      Upon opening the app, you can select something you’d like to immediately achieve such as reduce anxiety, improve focus, increase happiness, better sleep, and the app teaches you how to meditate.

      You can use it for free but if you subscribe, you’ll need to pay to have access to the full set of features.

      Available for iOS | Android

      3. Headspace

        Headspace is free to use and the app goes in depth with meditation, describes why and how it works, and contains guided and unguided meditations.

        What’s nice about Headspace is it allows you to do mental health check-ins to prevent overwhelm from creeping in. Those appointments with yourself are crucial and bring awareness to your mental and emotional state.

        For me, Headspace inspires me to care and focus more on my psychological health and well-being.

        If you have depression and anxiety, it’s critical to manage your mental health daily.

        Available for iOS | Android

        4. Food Planner

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          Stress and overwhelm can stem from feeling like there is no time to cook food and eat healthy. With a slammed schedule, which I always have, I’ve found this app to be quite helpful when it comes to planning simple recipes.

          My cooking routine is toss vegetables in a blender, dump them on a cookie tray, and roast everything in the oven. Meal preparation doesn’t have to take three hours, it can take only minutes.

          If you have a schedule that forces you to be on all the time, making time to eat right can seem impossible.

          Every Sunday or whatever day you have off or down time, plug simple meals into this app. It’s a lifesaver and puts these seemingly impossible tasks into perspective.

          Available for iOS | Android

          5. YouTube

          YouTube can be used to ease feelings of overwhelm. I am only on YouTube to calm my stress and anxiety. My playlist consists of ocean waves, birds, and crickets, and instrumental music with nature sounds weaved throughout.

          On YouTube, you can access guided meditations and find breathing techniques that target emotional well-being. Breathing techniques are an excellent way to take control of anxiety.

          Here’s an example:

          Final thoughts

          All of these apps are perfect for managing depression and anxiety related to stress and overwhelm.

          When you’re overwhelmed, a part of your brain shuts down — the part that controls emotions. If you’re operating on high-stress all the time, you eventually won’t be able to function effectively or do your best work.

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          Allow yourself moments of peace and quiet. Listen to your body’s desires for easing stress. A balanced schedule will create a positive difference both at your job and in your personal life.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          More by this author

          Tessa Koller

          Author, Motivational Public Speaker and Artist

          Good Sleep Habits You Need (And Bad Ones to Avoid) for Energy 10 Ways to Step Up Your Personal Growth and Succeed in Life Feeling Overwhelmed? Best 5 Meditation Apps to Destress During the Day 11 Ways to Handle Stress Wisely How Many Hours of Sleep Do I Need? (What the Science Says)

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          Published on January 18, 2022

          How to Stop Being Anxious And Regain Your Calm

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          How to Stop Being Anxious And Regain Your Calm

          Are you sick and tired of wasting your mental and emotional energy worrying about (and replaying) events in your mind? Even sabotaging yourself, your performance, and your relationships, at times? Constantly playing the “what if” game in your mind?

          Let’s be honest, feeling anxious is miserable and unequivocally sucks the enjoyment out of life. It does this because it is impossible to be in the present moment when you are constantly worried about the future or past events. Here’s the deal—it doesn’t have to be that way. Let’s talk about some tips on how to stop being anxious and get your calm back.

          The Difference Between Feeling Anxious and Having Anxiety

          Feeling anxious is just part of the human experience and is a normal stress response. When the stress is removed, the anxiety usually goes away, too. With an anxiety disorder, the stressful trigger is removed but the anxiety can still be present.[1]

          There are multiple anxiety disorders with varying characteristics. If you are concerned that you may have one of them, it is best to be evaluated by your doctor, especially since anxiety is very common. According to research, up to 33% of all Americans will experience an anxiety disorder at some point during their lifetime.[2]

          What Can You Do to Manage Feeling Anxious?

          The good news is there’s a lot that you can do to stop being anxious. Science is learning more and more every day about ways we can manage feeling anxious.

          I am a strong believer in being proactive and preventative. If you have a lot of stress in your life or are prone to feeling anxious, I always recommend establishing a foundation of good daily habits. That way, when something happens to poke the anxiety bear, you are already in a position to handle things.

          Twenty tips may be overwhelming for some people but remember: you are not expected to incorporate every tip on this list. Look at it as a menu of potential helpful options. You can pick and choose whatever you want and leave the rest.

          Here are 20 tips on how to stop being anxious:

          1. Eat the Right Food

          It might come as a surprise to some, but certain foods can make anxiety worse, such as sugary foods, processed foods, alcohol, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners.[3]

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          Here are some foods you can try instead that can help reduce anxiety: Brazil nuts, fatty fish, eggs, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, Turmeric, Chamomile, yogurt, and green tea.[4]

          2. Stay Hydrated

          One simple tip to help you stop being anxious is by staying hydrated. Even being mildly dehydrated has been shown to worsen anxiety.[5] So, drink up! Water, that is.

          3. Work Some Mindfulness Into Your Day

          This one shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Meditation and diaphragmatic breathing (breathing into your belly and engaging your abdominals upon exhale) are what usually come to mind, but there are some other fast and easy exercises that can help calm you down almost immediately.

          One of my favorites is called Five Things, and it’s based upon our five senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch). It can be done in any order.

          For example, you might start by picking five things you can see. As you list each item, it’s important to take in the detail of each one. Next, you pick four things you can feel, noting each item with the same attention to detail. Work your way down to one item accompanying your last sense.

          4. Get Some Exercise

          Completing 30 minutes of exercise three to five days a week may significantly improve symptoms of anxiety. Even as little as 10 minutes has a positive impact.[6]

          In one study, exercise was shown to be as effective as medication in the treatment of symptoms of anxiety, with higher intensity exercise more effective than lower intensity exercise.[7]

          5. Sit With It/Observe It

          Dr. Judson Brewer recently penned a book (and an app) entitled Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind in which he discusses turning toward our emotions as a way to process them rather than distracting ourselves or bottling things up (turning away).

          He encourages people to be an observer of the emotional response in their bodies, almost as if conducting a research project in great detail and noting the exact location of physical sensations (stomach, right or left side, front or back) with as much detail as possible.

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          6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

          Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an approach that utilizes the cyclical connection between our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as a means to control unwanted (anxious) thoughts.

          One exercise to stop ruminating thoughts includes picturing a stop sign in great detail, instructing yourself to “stop,” and then changing the narrative to something positive, encouraging, or even more realistic or likely.

          Another CBT exercise involves challenging negative thought patterns and beliefs for validity by asking yourself:

          • Is there evidence for my thought or am I making assumptions?
          • What’s the worst that could happen? Is this likely?
          • What’s the best that could happen?
          • What’s most likely to happen?
          • Will this matter in a week, a year, or five years from now?

          7. Realize What You Can and Can’t Control

          Take action where you can. Many of us spend time worrying and feeling anxious over things we can’t control.

          Figure out what you can do and take action from there. Studies show that taking action reduces anxiety.[8]

          8. Gratitude

          Reminding ourselves of the good things in our lives not only brings positivity to us but also reduces anxiety. This is because it is neurologically impossible for our brain to focus on negative and positive information at the same time.[9]

          9. Volunteer or Do Something for Someone Else

          Helping others feels good. It also reduces stress, boosts our immune system, and can help us live longer.[10]

          10. Journal in the 3rd Person

          The practice of journaling has long been known as a valuable tool to help us manage our emotions, and it can also help us stop being anxious and regain our calm.

          Making a point to name the emotions you are experiencing (“name it to tame it”) is a principle Dr. Dan Siegel discovered that heightens the value of journaling. More recently, Dr. Kross, in his book, Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It, noted that journaling in the 3rd person (as if narrating your life) creates further value by creating some distance between you and the emotion you are experiencing, thus allowing you to breathe easier and gain perspective.

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          11. Go Out Into Nature

          Spending time in nature has been shown to improve attention, lower stress, improve mood, reduce the risk of psychiatric disorders, and even cause upticks in empathy and cooperation.[11]

          12. Spend Time With Animals

          Dogs are not only your best friend, but it turns out they are good for your mental and emotional health, too. The fact that cats just allow you to live with them as their servant doesn’t detract from the positive impact they also have on our emotional well-being.

          Spending time cuddling with your pet on the couch can decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have also found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.[12]

          13. Get Good Sleep

          Getting good sleep can be difficult when we feel anxious, but being tired can worsen the issue. Try sticking to a consistent bedtime, make your bedroom dark, the temperature cool, and limit screen time before going to sleep.

          14. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine

          Alcohol changes the level of neurotransmitters in our brain. This can lead to a heightened sense of anxiety. Caffeine is a stimulant, specifically stimulating our fight or flight response, which is already more sensitive for those struggling with anxiety. Use both in moderation.

          15. Show Yourself Compassion and Encouragement

          What would you say to your best friend? Many times we make things worse by shaming or berating ourselves for feeling anxious because we fear it makes us appear weak or vulnerable. This makes the problem worse.

          What would your best friend say to you? Stop beating yourself up and be your own best friend.

          16. Spend Time With Friends

          Healthy friendships make us feel included, improve self-confidence and self-esteem, and thus, help reduce anxiety.[13]

          17. Create Balance in Your Life

          Set healthy boundaries and priorities, and don’t be afraid to enforce them. Nobody else can do this for you. Value yourself. You are worth it.

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          18. Have a Plan

          Another tip to help you stop being anxious is to have a plan. Knowing what you will do takes away a lot of the “what if” thoughts in your mind. Being certain about some things and managing your expectations can help give you peace of mind.

          19. Remind Yourself of a Past Event

          You can also try to remind yourself of a past event in your life that you were anxious about but still ended up okay. Have confidence that you will make it through this situation, too.

          20. Have Some Structure or Routine in Your Day

          Knowing what to expect can significantly reduce anxiety and the fear that can accompany uncertainty.[14] Give yourself as much structure as you need. You’ll thank yourself for it.

          Final Thoughts

          It can be difficult to manage feelings of being anxious. Take charge and pick a few of these to try out. Be consistent, and see how you feel.

          You can always discard what doesn’t work for you, and pick something else to try. Confide in a friend that you are implementing some new strategies, and get some support.

          Always tell your doctor your concerns, and don’t hesitate to get help if you are having difficulty managing things on your own. Good luck!

          More Tips for Calming Your Mind

          Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

          Reference

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