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The Best Apps for Anxiety: Our Favorite Meditation, Relaxation & Self-Help Apps

Article Summary:

Discover the best apps for anxiety as we reveal our favorites. Meditation apps, breathing apps, self-help apps, and more. Which did we choose as the absolute best?

Discover the best apps for anxiety as we reveal our favorites. Meditation apps, breathing apps, self-help apps, and more. Which did we choose as the absolute best?

Whether you're looking to learn meditation, promote relaxation, tips and strategies for dealing with anxiety, or want to chat directly with a therapist – there's an app for that.

In this article, we will be weeding through the hundreds of meditation, breathing, self-help, and therapy apps available, choosing our favorite apps for anxiety.

Since most people carry their phones with them just about everywhere they go, having an app that can be used anywhere at any time can be extremely useful.

We have purposefully chosen apps that are free to use or free to try and are completely ad-free.

While using an app for anxiety can be helpful, using this technology in conjunction with other strategies is the best way to truly support and serve you on the path to overcoming anxiety.

Let's dive in…

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Best Meditation App

There is no shortage of meditation apps available - which can make choosing the best meditation app difficult.

But our choice was a no-brainer.

While there are plenty of good apps for learning and practicing meditation, Headspace, Calm, Aura, etc., our top pick offers the most extensive library of meditations available, absolutely FREE, and features some of the best teachers in the world.

If you're looking for a great meditation app for anxiety or want to develop a serious practice, read on.

Insight Timer

Our personal favorite meditation app for anxiety, and our favorite meditation app, period, is Insight Timer.

Insight Timer offers the largest FREE library of meditations anywhere. There are currently over 45,000(!) guided meditation and music tracks available absolutely free to use on their app, which is also free to download.

You can search for a specific use or benefit: stress, anxiety, traditional meditation, sleep, and more.

You can search for a particular practice: Guided Imagery, Body Scan, Mindfulness, Zen, Self-Compassion….

You can even search for tracks based on a particular tradition: Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Taoism, Judaism, Sufism, or many other traditions.

Insight Timer isn't limited to just meditation or spiritual traditions.

Science-based tracks are also available based on everything from Neuroscience to Psychology to several other traditional sciences.

The tracks are very high quality and include notable teachers such as Tara Brach, Rick Hanson, Thich Nhat Hahn, Jack Cornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Kristin Neff, and more.

And if that wasn't already enough, they also offer talks, lectures, and interviews with notable thought leaders and spiritual teachers.

Insight Timer is extremely generous with the content they offer for free.

Insight Timer is one of the top free apps for anxiety.

And even more content is available with the paid plan for those who want to dive into courses and premium content.

But it's completely optional.

If you've been looking for an app to help you learn and practice meditation, you really can't do much better than Insight Timer.

It's truly a great app and one we give our highest recommendation.

Insight Timer Details

Main Website:

Price: Free or Paid (MemberPlus unlocks hundreds of courses and premium features for $60 a year, while not necessary, it's an exceptional deal if you're interested in going deeper with courses)

OS: Apple and Android

Ads: No

Best Breathing Apps

Proper breathing is essential for reducing stress, clearing the mind, and promoting relaxation.

In fact, we believe that softening, deepening, and slowing the breath is one of the simplest and most effective strategies available to reduce anxiety moment by moment.

Learning to practice deep, relaxing breathing shouldn't be complicated.

Proper breathing is simple, straightforward, and natural.

The two breathing apps we have chosen follow this simple, straightforward model, offering a simple approach to timing the duration and depth of the breath for relaxation and calm.

Prana Breath

Prana Breath offers a simple-to-use app with preset programs depending on your personal needs.

These preset programs include proper breathing duration for calming, relaxing, power breathing, clearing the mind, and more.

Simply start the program and breath in time with the graphic displayed on the screen.

While all the programs are preset, you can customize everything exactly how you want.

Change the total duration of the exercise, complexity level, breath ratio, cycle and duration, sounds, and more.

There's nothing complicated about this app. Prana Breath provides a simple interface free of distractions or ads to help manage the breath for relaxation, stress, anxiety, or any other purpose.

Prana Breath Details

Main Website:

Price: Free or Paid (Guru unlocks additional features but isn't needed/required: $1.29 for 3 months, $3.99 for 1 year or a donation of $9.99, $10.99 or $15.00 for a lifetime)

OS: Android Only

Ads: No

prana breath app


Breathe2Relax is a simple, free app that helps you time your breathing to promote calm and relaxation.

There's nothing fancy about this app, but it teaches one of the most fundamental skills for calming the mind and body – proper breathing. It's clean, ad-free, simple to use, and free to download.

You can customize the length of the inhale and the exhale, the background music, and the background image to best suit your mind for relaxation.

Deep breathing is an essential technique for calming the mind and body.

Techniques such as deep belly breathing or diaphragmatic breathing can help relieve stress and anxiety symptoms.

This app has one purpose, to assist you in proper breathing for relaxation.

Tip: When setting the length of the inhale and exhale, aim for what is most comfortable for you for slow and complete breaths. Ideally, your exhale should be longer than your inhale. For example, inhale 4, exhale 8, or inhale 5, exhale 10. Longer exhales promote activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and the vagus nerve (i.e., promotes relaxation)

Breathe2Relax Details

Main Website: N/A

Price: Free

OS: Apple and Android

Ads: No

Brainwave Entrainment App

Brainwave entrainment technologies, such as binaural beats and isochronic tones, allow you to enter deep states of concentration, relaxation, or meditation quickly and easily.

While there are few quality brainwave entrainment apps out there, our choice provides some of the best binaural beats and isochronic tones programs anywhere.

If you've never heard of brainwave entrainment and want to know more about how it works, you can check out our article:

Dramatically Reduce Anxiety With Brainwave Entrainment

iAwake Technologies

It should be no surprise that the iAwake Technologies app is our favorite brainwave entrainment app.

We've recommended their products many times in the past.

iAwake offers some of the most powerful brainwave entrainment programs using both binaural beats and isochronic tones.

iAwake's programs can be highly beneficial if you're looking to reduce stress and anxiety, sleep better, develop or strengthen a meditation practice, increase creativity and flow, or reach deep states of inner peace and expanded awareness.

iAwake offers the brainwave entrainment programs we use and recommend

After purchasing tracks from iAwake, you can download the app for free.

The app stores your purchases, where you can easily access and stream from your library.

You can also make custom playlists from your tracks.

The app offers free samples of other tracks, and each week, there is a new free "featured track" you can listen to (no purchase required).

The app is clean, visually appealing, easy to use, and ad-free.

Tip: Our favorite tracks and anxiety programs include Audio Serenity, Profound Releasing, and Refuge. For insomnia and sleep, we recommend Deep Delta and Rainstorm Sleepwave. And for meditation practice: Profound Meditation Program.

iAwake Technologies Details

Price: Free (tracks must be purchased from the iAwake website first to stream them on the app)

OS: Apple and Android

Ads: No

insight timer apple

Best Thought Recording App (Thought/Mood Log)

Writing down your thoughts is an effective practice in many forms of therapy.

The simple act of writing things down is also therapeutic in and of itself.

Unfortunately, writing things down "later" by relying on our memory often doesn't work out very well.

You may also find yourself in situations where writing things down on paper isn't an option - but I'm willing to bet you almost always have your phone.

Enter thought recording apps – otherwise known as thought diaries/logs.

CBT Thought Diary

One of the hallmarks of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the use of worksheets, journaling, and the recording of thoughts.

The purpose of this is simple, by writing down your thoughts, you can directly identify and challenge negative or distorted thinking patterns.

iAwake offers the brainwave entrainment programs we use and recommend

These additional features separate this app from other journaling and thought-tracker apps.

CBT Thought Diary also allows you to track your moods and emotions, which can be helpful.

The app itself is relatively simple to use and straightforward.

It is also free of unnecessary ads or distractions.

Overall CBT Thought Diary is an excellent option if you prefer to record your thoughts using your phone instead of pen and paper.

While writing down thoughts and working them out with pen and paper is often more effective than typing on a phone or computer – for those on the go or for those that prefer typing over writing, the CBT Thought Diary is a good alternative.

The ability to analyze your thoughts, identify distortions and challenge your thoughts directly in the app as they occur makes this a handy app for practicing CBT and reducing anxiety in the process.

CBT Thought Diary Details

Main Website:

Price: Free or Paid (Pro Mode offers additional features for $4.99 a month or $29.99 a year, definitely not necessary to use the app, though)

OS: Apple and Android

Ads: No

Best Self Help Apps (All-In-One Apps)

Most apps tend to focus on one or two primary areas – such as meditation and mindfulness or thought tracking and self-assessment.

The three apps below offer more of an all-in-one platform for managing anxiety.

These self-help apps offer multiple strategies, approaches, and tools, all in a single app.

The apps we will discuss offer information about anxiety, meditation, monitoring and journaling, breathing techniques, and other tools and strategies.

Many features are free in each of these apps, but to unlock all the content, you will have to pay for access.

Pricing is displayed below.

DARE Anxiety App

The DARE Anxiety App is based on the popular book of the same name, DARE, by Barry McDonagh.

While reading the book to use the app is unnecessary, it may help you better understand the DARE process and Mr. McDonagh's approach to anxiety.

The DARE app offers specific information and strategies based on the area you need help with. The different sections of the app include Anxiety Relief, Stop Panic Attacks, End Insomnia, and Overcome Anxiety

The content is delivered as short audio tracks once you click on an area you want to work on.

There are also breathing and meditation practices available.

The DARE app also features specific strategies for relaxation, such as guided meditation and nature sounds.

The app also has a (paid) "Challenges" area, which helps guide you through the necessary steps to face particular fears and challenges, such as Driving Anxiety and Safety Crutches.

One pretty intelligent feature of the app is the "SOS" area, where you can find audio tracks for specific issues you may be dealing with at the moment.

For example: "Panic Attack," "Racing Mind," or "Setback."

Overall the app itself is easy to use, well put together (although not as crisp or visually impressive as the other two apps on this list), and distraction and ad-free.

While many of the app's features are locked under a paid subscription plan, the DARE anxiety app does offer a decent amount of content for free, making it worth trying out, especially if you found the book helpful.

DARE Anxiety App Details

Main Website:

Price: Free or Paid (Paid subscription offers additional features for $9.99 per month or $59.88 a year)

OS: Apple and Android

Ads: No

Unwinding Anxiety App

The Unwinding Anxiety app is a step-by-step program developed by Dr. Jud Brewer, M.D., a noted psychiatrist and neuroscientist.

The strategies behind the Unwinding Anxiety program are primarily mindfulness-based, but there is also information about anxiety, as well as goal setting and mood and self-assessments

Content in the app is delivered mainly through short video lessons and questionnaires that follow a step-by-step formula.

Each week contains seven modules (one for each day) where you can watch the videos and follow along with the exercises.

Each module contains 7-10 lessons.

The free portion of the app includes the first four modules of week 1.

If you wish to continue with the program, you must pay for a subscription, which also includes weekly group coaching calls and a moderated community you can join.

Overall the app itself is sleek, well-put-together, and simple to use.

Unwinding Anxiety is the most expensive app on the list, but it does offer a lot of content as well as coaching and community support for those who are looking for more than just video or audio training.

Unwinding Anxiety App Details

Main Website:

Price: Free or Paid (Paid subscription offers additional features such as coaching calls for $29.99 per month, $139.99 6 months, or $209.99 1 year)

OS: Apple and Android

Ads: No


Sanvello is an all-in-one mental health app featuring self-help tools and strategies, peer support, one-on-one coaching, and therapy.

It is currently the most popular app for stress, anxiety, and depression, with over 3 million users.

Sanvello is essentially multiple apps combined into one. With tools such as meditation tracks, thought logs, self-assessments, and support in the form of coaching and therapy

The self-help section is loaded with tools and classes, most of which require a paid upgrade to access.

When you pay for coaching, you receive one on one access to a trained coach who you can message privately for support as well as access to group video sessions.

Paid therapy provides access to a licensed therapist or psychiatrist through live video sessions. (The therapy option is currently only available in CO, MA, RI, and TX).

The Sanvello app is well-designed and one of the most attractive apps on the list.

It contains quite a lot of content and training, although the content is displayed all over the place, making it somewhat overwhelming to navigate until you use it for a while.

Overall, the Sanvello app provides a wide assortment of strategies, all within a single appealing app.

Just be aware that you will have to pay a subscription fee to access much of the deeper content.

Sanvello App Details

Main Website:

Price: Free or Paid (see details for paid access below)

OS: Apple and Android

Ads: No

*Sanvello is covered under many insurance plans, so you could potentially pay nothing.

Best Online Therapy Apps

Many online therapy services offer direct communication with a licensed therapist through an app, voice, or text chat.

We have an article that covers Online Anxiety Therapy and goes in-depth on this very topic:

Online Anxiety Therapy: Our Guide to Choosing the Best Counseling Service Online

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