Our phones can be overwhelming. Research has shown that the constant buzz of notifications can actually trigger our fight or flight response, making these devices feel like an enemy rather than a tool for connection. Change the narrative with one of these health and wellness-based mental health apps. They encourage meditation, provide support to help you accomplish your daily chores, improve your focus and more.
Best for Gamers: SuperBetter
Overcome adversity and build resilience with this app, which gamifies real-life challenges to promote personal growth. Game challenges can be tailored to whatever’s plaguing you, be it depression, anxiety, chronic pain. The app prompts you to complete tacklable missions that are proven to boost well-being (think taking a walk or petting a puppy) when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Why this deserves a “best” designation: A randomized controlled trial found that playing SuperBetter for ten minutes a day for 30 days improved mood, self-esteem, and self-acceptance while decreasing stress and depression.
Best for Music Lovers: Brain.fm
Calm your nervous system with computer-generated music that’s been optimized for its effect on the brain. The app’s soothing sounds—a combination of bimodal tones and rhythms that can actually change your mental state—can help with focus, meditation, and sleep.
$7 per month, brain.fm.
Best for People Seeking a Life Coach: Fabulous
Like a life coach in your pocket, the brains behind Fabulous teamed up with behavioral scientists at Duke University to track habits and build routines in 30 days using the same method that elite athletes and successful entrepreneurs. The steps are simple and incremental, so you naturally build a strong foundation for reaching your goals—which can range from feeling more energized in the morning to falling asleep easier at night.
Best for Insomniacs: Breathwrk
Finally! A simple and free way to combat stress and anxiety, find energy, and sleep sounder—all in the palm of your hands. Calling on studies from Harvard Health, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Breathwrk is loaded with guided 1 to 6 minute breathing exercises to help manage ailments ranging from ADHD to insomnia.
Best for Those Who Sweat the Small Stuff: Aloe Bud
Touted as an all-in-one self-care companion, Aloe Bud transforms pesky push-notifications into tender reminders designed to improve mental wellness. Scheduled nudges range from drinking water to celebrating small victories and reflection and journaling prompts. And each is adorned with pixelated pastel icons designed to make you smile.
Best for Those With Shifting Moods: Moodrise
Trade doomscrolling for a dose of “digital nutrition”—content created to boost emotional resilience, alleviate pain, and improve mood. This mental health app is arranged around 8 popular moodstates (such as happiness, calm, connection, and gratification) and the neurotransmitters that lead to them (in this case serotonin, GABA, oxytocin, and dopamine). Choose the moodstate you want to improve and you’ll be served up specifically curated content scientifically designed to deliver the desired chemical reaction in the brain.