Erica Cardenas

Om on your phone

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VibrantFinding ways to successfully manage daily stress can seem like a daunting task. Although studies have shown that stress can be useful in moderation, high levels of stress can impair cognitive function and trigger problems such as insomnia, headaches and anxiety. Research has yielded the following statistics:

  • Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress
  • 75 to 90 percent of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declared stress a hazard of the workplace; stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually
  • The lifetime prevalence of an emotional disorder is more than 50 percent, often due to chronic, untreated stress reactions

April has been designated National Stress Awareness Month. This month, health care professionals and health promotion experts across the country will join forces to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for the modern stress epidemic.

Sponsored by the Health Resource Network (HRN), a non-profit health education organization, Stress Awareness Month is a cooperative effort to inform people about the many dangers of stress, successful coping strategies and harmful misconceptions about stress that are prevalent in our society. 

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So, where might one find a convenient daily dose of stress relief? Look no further than your smartphone. Take a look at some of the top-rated apps that might just reap big benefits. 

Stress Tracker – a free app compatible with the iPhone, created by a team of leading clinical psychologists and researchers using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness principles. Among other features, the Stress Tracker tracks your individual stress levels, moods, sources of stress, symptoms and lifestyle/behaviors in real-time. 

Relax: Stress and Anxiety Relief – an app compatible with Android; $3.50 to purchase. The app’s guided breathing exercises use calming music to help you relieve tension or combat insomnia. Use the quick start feature at the first sign of a panic attack or use the skills you’ve learned in the app’s yoga practice.

Stress Check by Azumio – a free app for Android users that measures heart rate variability (HRV) and doesn’t require any additional hardware. Instead, it uses the camera to measure your stress level and gives you a score from 1 to 100, so you can gauge how stressed you are from anywhere. 

Total Relaxation – for Blackberry users, this app is a powerful hypnosis session for deep relaxation by Darren Marks, a hypnotherapist with an international reputation. This app costs $2.99 and includes video interviews and relaxation tips. 

iShatter Stress Relief – available for 99 cents, this iPhone app invites you to take out your aggression after a long day by virtually busting up mirrors, wine glasses, light bulbs, vases and more. Users can vent by tapping the screen to hear the sounds of breaking glass while watching the objects on their screen shatter to pieces. 

Workout Trainer – one of the best stress relievers is exercise. Take your workout digital with this free app for Droid users that offers thousands of workouts with no equipment needed, including Crossfit, Tabata, and high-intensity interval training.

Whichever apps you use, be sure to put your phone in airplane mode or “do not disturb,” if possible, to avoid distractions and losing your concentration.

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