The best apps for beating stress

March 07, 2016
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University is an incredible phase of your life, but can also be a stressful one. From somehow having all your assignments due in the same week to dealing with a breakup during exam time, trying to manage stress levels can seem impossible. Thankfully, alongside all the planning and reference apps that exist for students, there are also apps that can help you manage your stress levels throughout semester.

Smiling Mind

You’ve probably heard over and over again that meditation is a great habit to pick up. Mindfulness and calmness sound like great qualities to have, but on the other hand, who wants to sit cross-legged for hours on end trying to find inner peace? This is where Smiling Mind comes in. The Aussie-made app provides guided meditations, with a program designed specifically for 16 to 22-year-olds. The best part is that you’ll learn techniques, such as breathing patterns, that you can use whenever you start to feel stressed out.


Fitness tracking devices and apps are incredible popular today. You can track what you eat, how much you exercise, and even the quality of your sleep. Pacifica allows you to track your emotions by simply rating your mood on a scale throughout the day. As you rate your mood, the app provides relaxation tools customised to fit with how you’re feeling. You can also set goals and track habits that help with your mental health, like drinking less caffeine and petting more dogs.


Most of us have spent a commute or two playing Candy Crush, so why not use that time to actually improve your mental health? Happify is a brain-training app created with the help of scientists that uses mini games and activities to boost your mood. The app comes preloaded with goals such as coping better with stress and boosting self-confidence, giving you a fun program to match your needs. A brief session each day on the train or between classes is all it takes to start improving.


There’s a decent chance that at some point in your uni career, you’ll spend time trying to study or relax while your neighbours set a world record for how loud they can be. Noisli is a virtual noise machine that can help in these situations. Whether you want to drown out distracting roommates or make a quiet room more comfortable, there’s a whole range of sounds to pick. You can choose either “productivity” or “relax” depending on your day-to-day needs. The “coffee shop” option is particularly great for studying or unwinding with a novel.

Sleep Cycle Alarm

Getting enough sleep seems to be heralded as the key to almost everything: better health, lowering stress, not looking like a zombie every morning… but it’s easier said than done. Sleep Cycle Alarm aims to help you be a little less groggy in the mornings by tracking your sleep in order to wake you between cycles. If you have to be awake by 7am, based on your sleep cycle it may actually make more sense to wake up at 6.45am to avoid waking up from a deep sleep. Unfortunately, the app can’t force you to go to bed before 2am, so a little initiative on your part is needed.

It’s also important to remember that while some stress is normal, if anxiety is taking a toll on your life, your uni can help through services such as counselling.

Roisin McGee

Roisin is second-year media student at UNSW. She’s usually found taking photos, drinking coffee or tweeting.

Image: Nasrul Ekram, Flickr Creative Commons license