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URMC / BHP / BHP Blog / March 2018 / Struggling with Stress or Negative Thinking? There's an App for That

Struggling with Stress or Negative Thinking? There's an App for That

By: Sara Smith, BSW

In an age with endless knowledge at our finger tips, it comes as no surprise that resources are available in an instant to provide relief when feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or burnt out. Although continued research is needed, there is support for the use of apps that promote mindfulness, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and other evidence-based treatment models for managing symptoms of stress and anxiety. It is important to note that a smartphone app is not a substitute for professional assessment and treatment, but can be very useful during particularly stressful times. We’ve compiled a list of apps that meet these criteria, are free, and get a 4 star review or higher in the IOS App Store:

Calm - Apple’s 2017 App of the Year!

  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Guided meditations in a variety of topics, such as anxiety, stress management, and sleep issues.
  • Mood check-ins, progress tracking, and non-meditation activities like deep breathing.

Stop, Breathe & Think

  • Rating: 4.8/5
  • Free guided activities including meditation, deep breathing, yoga, and acupressure.
  • Customizable.
  • Allows you to track your mood before and after an activity.


  • Rating: 4.7/5
  • Allows the user to track their mood, thoughts, and goals over time.
  • Guided exercises including deep breathing and muscle relaxation.


  • Rating: 4.5/5
  • Focuses on “positive psychology”, while using principles of mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help combat negative thinking, anxiety, stress, and worry.

Constant or unmanaged stress can have a significant impact on your life. Please know that you are not alone. If you would like to talk to someone about how stress is affecting your life, please contact Behavioral Health Partners (BHP) at (585) 276-6900.

Behavioral Health Partners is brought to you by Well-U, offering eligible individuals mental health services for stress, anxiety, and depression.


Stress Management Apps With Regard to Emotion-Focused Coping and Behavior Change Techniques: A Content Analysis, JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2017 Feb

Can smartphone mental health interventions reduce symptoms of anxiety? A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 218, 15 August 2017, Pages 15-22


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