Following Tuesday's election, one thing is clear: Many people are feeling sad, stressed or even downright scared.
Apps to the rescue. If you need help calming down, these apps could help lift your spirits, or at least temporarily forget about the results:
If you're seriously stressed, to the point where you feel actual panic (or something close to it), focused breathing can help. True to its name, Breathe2Relax (Android|iOS) provides guided breathing exercises based on your level of stress. The interface is a little clunky, but you get lots of information and how-to help along with the exercises. It's a free app.
Meditation is one of the best paths to relaxation. There are countless apps designed to help you learn the practice, including 10% Happier, Calm, Headspace and -- my longtime favorite -- Buddhify.
Available for both Android and iOS (and priced at $3 and $5, respectively), the app includes more than 80 guided-meditation tracks, all of them categorized by mood or activity: traveling, going to bed, feeling stressed, etc. Most lessons range from 5-10 minutes, so they're very easy to incorporate into your day.
Does self-hypnosis work? Nearly 10,000 users rated HelloMind (iOS; an Android version is in development) 4.5 stars on average, suggesting the app delivers on its promise to help you combat fear, anxiety, stress and other issues. The app recently switched over to a different pricing model: It costs $8.99 for a single 10-session treatment, $12.99 for an unlimited monthly subscription or $119.99 for an annual one.
Yep: read a book. Studies have shown that reading for pleasure can increase empathy (which I'd say is vital right now), improve relationships, reduce the symptoms of depression and even help you sleep better. (Just make sure to activate "night mode" on your phone or tablet (aka Night Shift for iOS or any number of similar options for Android) so looking at the screen doesn't disrupt your sleep.)
Of course, it doesn't have to be the Kindle app; any e-book app will do. The idea is simply to sink into a great piece of fiction and forget your troubles in the process.
Music soothes the savage beast; it can also lower your blood pressure, relieve stress, help you sleep better and more, according to a 2014 study. So slip on some headphones, hit up Pandora (or your favorite music app of choice) and ease into some Bach, Beethoven, Mozart or the like.
Your smartphone and an inexpensive VR headset can transport you far away (virtually speaking) from reality. For example, Perfect Beach VR (Android) plops you onto one of two serene tropical beaches, where it's just you, the lapping waves and some tranquil, meditative music (or, if you prefer, your own music or podcasts). It's 99 cents.
If you're lucky enough to own a Gear VR headset, you can escape into any number of great experiences that will help you relax. I'm partial to Land's End VR, which is part puzzle game and part therapy session. Seriously, it's so peaceful and relaxing, you might just want to sit in your favorite comfy chair and hang out, puzzles be damned.
Have you found other apps to help you relieve stress? Name them in the comments!