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Build Your Career Work-Life Balance

10 Inspiring Apps to Improve Mental Health

10 Inspiring Apps to Improve Mental Health
Credit: Yunha Kim (Simple Habit)

We are often on the go, occupied by strict schedules, too busy to take a break. However, we seem to prioritize social media over our own health without realizing it. Instead of occupying your train commute home for work, or your quiet time in bed before falling asleep, with platforms like Instagram and Twitter, turn to mental health apps.

With mental health awareness on the rise, more people are creating or searching for opportunities to improve their state of mind. Whether it's for yourself or someone you care about, here are 10 apps that may help with mental health.

Sometimes, all you need is a reminder of how special life is, and how lucky you are simply to exist. With the free Affirmations app for iOS or Google Play, you can scroll through beautiful pictures with inspiring sayings to lift your mood and make you more appreciative of each day.

Low self-esteem can affect your emotional wellbeing, causing anxiety, racing thoughts and even depression. For only $2.99, you can use Build Confidence to take control of how you view yourself. The app not only uses hypnotic methods to increase self-confidence, it also calms the body and treats insomnia.

Hygge, a Danish word that stresses small actions to promote comfort and happiness, is the equivalent of a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day, or a hug from your mom after a long night. With this free app, you can calculate your "level" of Hygge by recording precious moments, like spending time with friends or burning your favorite candle with a good book in hand. It serves as a reminder to find joy in the simple things, which can do wonders for your mental health.

Sometimes, acts of kindness can turn an entire day around – even your own. If someone you love is upset or overwhelmed and you aren't there to comfort them, you can use Moment to send a pick-me-up, and vice versa. Make a purchase of your choice, and your loved one will get to use that amount to buy themselves coffee or a treat from wherever they choose to go. It is only available for iOS devices.

Created by game designers and backed by science, SuperBetter is a free app that guides you through your adversities, helping you grow stronger and more resilient. The tool offers "power-ups," warns you of "bad guys" and sets up "quests" that are all tied to your actual life. Just log the goal you'd like to reach or the issue you'd like to overcome, and SuperBetter will treat your situation like a video game. Every time you accomplish something, you push an "I DID THIS!" button and progress in the game – and in your life.

Staying active is a good habit for everyone to practice, especially those who struggle with their mental health. Using the free Charity Miles app, you'll be more motivated to run, walk or bike as often as possible. Each mile you log raises money for the charity of your choosing (more than 30 options). Not only will you be helping your mental and physical state, you'll also be giving back to those in need. It's a win-win.

Talkspace, available online and through a mobile app, is a platform that connects people with licensed mental health professionals based on their individual needs. You first chat live with a Talkspace Matching Agent, who will explain how online therapy works and answer any questions you have, the website says. Once you're matched, you can pick your subscription option and receive unlimited secure messaging with a therapist, starting at $49 per week.

Sometimes mental health requires a combination of treatments, which is the goal of IntelliCare's bundle of apps created by Northwestern University and Northwestern Medicine. According to the website, IntelliCare is a suite of apps that work together to target common causes of depression and anxiety like sleep problems, social isolation, lack of activity and obsessive thinking. These apps are part of a nationwide research study funded by the National Institutes of Health. Interested users can download individual apps or the IntelliCare suite from the Google Play Store.

MindShift was built with the intent of coaching individuals through their anxiety. According to the site, the free app helps you learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and identify active steps that will help you take charge of your anxiety. This app includes strategies to deal with everyday anxiety, as well as specific tools to get better sleep and deal with intense emotions, test anxiety, perfectionism, social anxiety, performance anxiety, worry, panic and conflict.

Simple Habit truly is simple: five minutes a day of mindfulness to decrease stress. The app's founder, Yunha Kim, was overwhelmed at her startup, so she turned to meditation. Since then, she has meditated for a few minutes a day. The free app was designed by a team of Harvard psychologists and meditation experts. Meditations are just five minutes and personalized for various life situations. Whether it's gearing up for work in the morning, preparing for a difficult conversation or even dealing with PMS, Simple Habit can help you get through your day, the site says.

The above apps may not be suitable replacements for professional in-person therapy, and are meant as suggestions for those looking to improve their mental health. If you find yourself in crisis, please consult help immediately from any of these resources.

Additional reporting by Shannon Gausepohl.

Sammi Caramela

Sammi Caramela has always loved words. When she isn't working as a Purch B2B staff writer, she's writing (and furiously editing) her first novel, reading a YA book with a third cup of coffee, or attending local pop-punk concerts. The only time Sammi doesn't play it safe is when she's writing. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org.