Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check h Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. Follow Paul on Twitter: @psawers or check him out on Google+.
There are apps to see you safely through the hustle and bustle or urban jungles, apps to get you pumped and, indeed, apps for just about anything.
But what about apps to help you relax? It almost seems like an oxymoron – surely fiddling with your phone and subjecting your eyes to a continuum of flickering lights could never lead to inner calm? Let’s find out…
1. [email protected]
[email protected] is aimed at those looking to improve their concentration when working, writing, reading or, indeed, trying to relax. It doesn’t offer any search features, or anything else beyond a drop-down menu for genres, a play button, skip button and volume control.
You can choose from Classical, Focus Spa, Up Tempo, Alpha Chill, Acoustical, Jazz, Cinematic or Ambient. And all the music on offer is instrumental only, which is an obvious step to take given that lyric-based music can be a distraction when all you’re trying to do is clear your mind.
Raining.fm lets you listen to the infinite sounds of rain on the Web or on your mobile.
While the Web-based version is free, the mobile app will set you back $1.99, but it is nicely designed, and features a rolling rain track with a volume control, and three different weather extremities.
You can also create your own custom rain mix, with individual volume controls for each element.
There’s something very soothing about the pitter-patter of raindrops, so what better way to ease yourself off to the land of candy-floss clouds at night?
3. Do Nothing for 2 Minutes
Do Nothing for 2 Minutes is a pretty basic Web app that challenges you to do literally nothing for 2 minutes.
If you touch the mouse, or press a key, then you fail and the counter goes back to the start. If you can sit on your hands for 120 seconds, well done.
It’s designed to encourage all you Internet addicts out there to sit back, relax and do nothing whilst staring at a beautiful sunset set against a soundscape of crashing waves.
Do Nothing for 2 Minutes was the brainchild of Alex Tew, the very same creator behind another noteworthy endeavor 8 years back – The Million Dollar Homepage.
Similar to Raining.fm, Thunderspace is a stereoscopic 3D soundscape of thundery weather from the creators of Haze, the perennially popular weather app.
Thunderspace serves up a blustery weather-based audio experience, designed to help you ‘relax’. But the creators have really gone the extra mile in putting the various sounds together.
It delivers audio and light to create the effect of a thunderstorm all around you. Once you’ve selected your audio of choice, you’re advised to place your handset “out of sight”, close your eyes and see the peripheral ‘flashes’ of light that accompany the sound.
Check out the mesmerizing promo video for yourself here:
As noted already, there’s an app for everything – including breathing.
Available for iOS and Android, Breathe2Relax is a pocket stress-management app that serves up detailed information on the effects that stress has on the body and, well, instructions and breathing exercises to help you master diaphragmatic breathing.
6. The ultimate zen
If you’re looking to create your own virtual garden of tranquility, then these two apps could be what you’re looking for.
Between them, Zen Garden for Android and Zen Space for iPad let you trace the screen with your finger to create a peaceful design by moving rocks, drawing paths through the sand with rakes, all whilst enjoying the sounds of nature.
7. Gratitude journals
If the very concept of a gratitude journal makes you want to run a mile in disgust, stick with us for now.
If you’re feeling low, writing down all the stuff you’re grateful for helps retrain your mind to focus on positive things, rather than always seeing everything as ‘bad’. This theory is actually grounded in pretty solid psychological science.
Gratitude Journal and Attitudes of Gratitude Journal encourage you to jot down all the things you are grateful for each day. It really is that simple.
8. Professional therapy with Andrew Johnson
How can you relax if you’ve never been shown how to?
Andrew Johnson is a Clinical Hypnotherapist who’s previously produced a range of self-help CDs and MP3s to help users overcome symptoms of stress, addictions and other habitual behavior.
Available for iOS and Android, the app teaches relaxation techniques to help treat everything from pain control to insomnia.
Jumpstart is all about steering you away from the temptation to sink another cup of coffee, and encourages you to boost your energy naturally, improve your focus and reduce your stress levels.
Jumpstart coaches you with breathing and meditative techniques in less than ten minutes. Whichever way you look at it, for $1.99 this will cost you less than a cappuccino.
10. Sleep Cycle
Sleep is imperative to relaxation – if you’re tired and have a busy day ahead of you, well, things aren’t getting off to a good start if you’re exhausted.
Sleep as Android for, well, Android and Sleep Cycle for iOS are intelligent alarm clocks that analyze your sleep and ensure you waken up in the lightest phase of sleep – the best way to feel properly rested and relaxed first-thing in the morning.
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