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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

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

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 June 22, 2021

          Can Coffee Cause Anxiety Or Depression?

          Can Coffee Cause Anxiety Or Depression?

          Waking up groggy, eyes adjusting to the light, everything is a little blurry, you stumble into the kitchen and get your first cup of joe brewin’. The smell hits you first—a nice dark roast perhaps, and then finally, your first sip, ahhhhh . . . You begin the rest of your morning routine and that beautiful, aroma-filled beverage in your cup kick-starts your day.

          But have you ever wondered if your morning coffee ritual is actually contributing to anxiety or depression? If so, I got some answers for you in this article

          We’ve become a coffee-crazed culture—drinking it for pleasure, to relax, as a treat, drinking it to socialize, and not least of all, for energy. Suffice to say, all that coffee craze can lead to an unhealthy dependency. How else can we keep our energy up, treating ourselves along the way, to accomplish all the things we need and want to get done in life?

          So, here’s the lowdown on coffee, anxiety, and depression.

          Coffee and Depression

          There’s some very interesting research out there about coffee and depression. It turns out that coffee might actually be a protective factor against depression and is even correlated with a reduction in suicide.[1] That’s a pretty amazing finding for coffee lovers and those who deal with depression or suicidality!

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          In fact, studies have talked about this very interesting outcome. However, before we get too excited, let’s hit the pause button and clarify a few things. I do say “might” because research is research, and although this gives us some evidence, it’s always important to remember that each of our bodies reacts differently to different environments, circumstances, or substances, and there are a lot of variables at play, so nothing is 100%—but it is a good indicator for sure!

          Some of the variables to consider in these studies include the overall lifestyle of subjects and control groups as well as a super important one—whether the coffee they were drinking is caffeinated or decaffeinated as much of the research isn’t clear. So, there’s some more work to be done there, but that’s encouraging!

          And that’s not all. Coffee, which is most often connected to unhealthy habits, was taken off the WHO’s list of carcinogenic foods in 2016, a somewhat rare move. The WHO even reports that coffee may protect against cancer of the uterus and liver. And they are not alone, several other, well-known and esteemed organizations, such as The World Cancer Research Fund and the US Department of Health and Human Services, have also declared that coffee consumption in moderation (three to five cups per day) can have positive effects on your health and protect you from various forms of cancer.[2][3]

          When it comes to depression, it was found that it may not be only the caffeine at play, as there are other impactful components in coffee. The more notable are chlorogenic acid, ferulic acid, and caffeic acid, all of which have been found to reduce inflammation of nerves which is found to be a factor in the brains of people suffering from depression. More good stuff!

          Coffee and Anxiety

          The research on coffee and anxiety, however, is not quite as positive for those who suffer from anxiety as it is for those who suffer from depression. And it’s not all that surprising either, but there was something that I did find interesting in all of the reading I did on this subject.

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          By and large, it was found that if you don’t suffer from anxiety, coffee will likely not have too much of a negative impact on you when consumed in moderation. However, when caffeine doses increase to more than 400mg per day, symptoms associated with anxiety may appear, such as restlessness, jitteriness, and trouble sleeping. In those who suffer from anxiety, it will take far less to exacerbate their already present symptoms of anxiety—not too surprising.[4]

          But anecdotally, there is a lot of documentation about people quitting coffee for a period of time and writing about the impact on their anxiety, which was found to be fairly negligent. So, overall, if you suffer from anxiety, there is a good chance that moderate coffee consumption will not have too much of an impact on your anxiety, though it certainly won’t help it.

          How Does Coffee Affect Your Mood?

          When it comes to your overall mood, the thing you should think about is how your body responds to caffeine as this is the primary issue for most people—depression or anxiety aside—and our bodies have different sensitivities to caffeine.

          Some people can drink espresso right before bed and have no trouble sleeping but for others, it could guarantee a night of restlessness with lots of tossing and turning! And poor sleep contributes to irritability, less resistance to dealing with life stressors as well as other poor health indicators, and hence, lowered mood.

          Getting a good night’s sleep is essential especially when dealing with chronic anxiety. So, if you fall into this camp, then it might be good for you to moderate your coffee consumption or even just evaluate and assess for yourself to see what the impact might be on a period of time with no caffeine.

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          It’s important that you get to know your body and how it reacts to different substances and environments. Running a little experiment on yourself can be a fun way to get to know and understand your body and how you metabolize caffeine.

          The Bottom Line on Coffee, Anxiety, and Depression

          Overall, the research says that there are potentially a few health benefits when it comes to depression and coffee drinking than on coffee and anxiety—where it is found to have a negative or neutral impact. Furthermore, there is an array of other potentially beneficial health impacts from drinking coffee.[5]

          Given all of this various research—some of it very promising (around depression) and some of it not surprising (anxiety)—coffee is not going to eradicate any mental health concerns, though it does not necessarily seem to cause them. The most important thing to consider when thinking about the impact of coffee drinking on your anxiety or depression is that it can aggravate sleep issues, which is a really important piece of your self-care when dealing with depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue for that matter.[6]

          Wanna Cut Back on Your Coffee Drinking?

          If you are looking to cut back a little on how much coffee you drink or even just run that little experiment on yourself that I was referring to, then you can start with a few simple tips.

          1. Cut Back Gradually

          Caffeine is a stimulant, and you will likely feel some physiological symptoms, such as a headache, brain fog, and general fatigue. This will last for a day or two, possibly more depending on how much caffeine you have been consuming. Before you start cutting back, it is good to know about how much caffeine you are drinking in a day. That way you can gradually cut back by a beverage each day or so.

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          2. Make Sure You Stay Hydrated

          Coffee—or caffeine for that matter—is a diuretic, which means that it will naturally dehydrate you, so cutting down will most likely help with dehydration. However, with that said, it is still important to make sure you are drinking enough fluids as that will help minimize the effects of the withdrawal.

          3. Get Plenty of Rest

          You will naturally feel a little tired when cutting back on caffeine/coffee, make sure you get enough rest, giving your body a chance to adjust and recuperate from the withdrawal.

          4. Increase Your Physical Activity

          Try to increase your physical activity a little. Physical activity is known to increase mood, which will counter the irritability you may feel when cutting back on your coffee intake.

          5. Take Notes

          Keep a little log or journal to write down how you are feeling on different days and how much, if any, caffeine you are drinking at various points in your “trial.” Think about your mood, how you feel, how you are sleeping, and possibly how you feel it is impacting your relationships and your daily activities. When you go back to look at your data, you will be able to assess the impact of caffeine and coffee intake more accurately.

          Keep in Mind

          How much coffee we drink and its impacts vary widely depending on many, many factors. The best bet for you is to know yourself, pay attention to how coffee impacts you, talk to your doctors, and consider your personal life circumstances. Taking all of these steps will help you to make an informed decision for yourself, which will likely change over time.

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          Featured photo credit: Drew Coffman via unsplash.com

          Reference

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