Have you ever glanced down at your phone and grimaced over how stagnant your home screen looks, or feel like none of your apps are inspiring you anymore? Whether you’re texting friends or checking your Twitter feed, you’re still using apps on a frequent basis, so why not jazz it up and download four of the best relaxation apps out there? [bctt tweet="These Four Apps Will Help you Relax in 10 Minutes or Less, by @elizabethtsung " username="StartupInst"]
It may seem counterintuitive, but relaxing stimulates creativity, so it’s a win-win. The benefits of practicing creativity and relaxation will not only help you destress, it can improve your problem solving skills and increase productivity.
[bctt tweet="#Creativity & #relaxation will improve your problem-solving skills, says @elizabethtsung" username="StartupInst"]
Here are four well-designed, helpful apps you can download now to exercise your brain and stay inspired. According to The Sweet Setup, an app reviewer and recommender site, well-designed apps should not only help one function, but rather they “should be beautiful to look at, easy to organize, and have an understandable hierarchy,” which all four of these possess. You can also mix and match, using these apps in one sitting to spur relaxation and fuel your inner Picasso.
Peak is a brain training game that tracks your weekly progress. Once you download the app, you sign up for a free account and take a short test to determine what areas you should focus on that day – memory, attention, creative thinking, emotional management and even empathy.
With the partnerships of Yale University and the University of Cambridge, the app is scientifically designed to promote learning and retention. The graphics are bold and colorful, and the music is pleasant, but not overly distracting. When you focus on the app's challenging games, exercising your left brain will relax your body and stimulate learning.
Peak is now available for iOS. The company is currently in the works of developing a decision-making test, in addition to launching the app for Android.
[bctt tweet=".@peaklabs will relax your body and stimulate learning, says @elizabethtsung " username="StartupInst"]
Recolor works with emerging and established illustrators and graphic designers to create beautifully intricate black and white illustrations, which their users can then color in. A digital coloring book for adults, Recolor helps create mindfulness by alleviating stress with its inspiring aesthetics. While traditional coloring has a plethora of benefits, digital coloring affects the body similarly in lowering levels of anxiety and stress. By focusing on the present, coloring helps one achieve mindfulness, and is an affordable way to express oneself. There is no competition when it comes to coloring because anyone can do it (and everyone should).
Recolor is developed by Sumoing, a mobile app company who has developed other creative apps, such as Relook, an app for retouching, and Retype, an app for typography. Recolor currently has over 500 illustrations you can choose from, categorized in themes, from animals to mandalas and flowers. Options to color in range from pencil, watercolor and acrylic styles. Work is automatically saved on the app, providing easy transitions if you need to close the app or continue your work later.
[bctt tweet="#Recolor by @sumoing alleviates stress with its inspiring aesthetics, says @elizabethtsung " username="StartupInst"]
Stop, Breathe & Think
In just a few minutes a day, you can learn mindfulness through Stop, Breathe & Think, a three-part method for honing mindfulness developed by Tools for Peace, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening emotional and social intelligence. Compiled into an app, this method can be used by everyone from experts to curious skeptics. Guided meditations average four to six minutes, although there are a few longer meditations you can access with a purchase as a donation to the organization.
Users are encouraged to use these meditations often, and the humble, non-patronizing jargon you typically get from celebrity yoga and meditation teachers is nowhere to be found. The minute you sign into the app, you can begin a short test to see how you’re doing and what kind of meditation you should focus on today, or you can choose a meditation from their library. Answering questions such as how you feel emotionally and physically determines which three aspects you should reinforce during your session. Examples include gratitude, joy, compassion, a body scan, etc.
The meditations are narrated by K.D. Lang and Jamie Price, and the two’s soothing voices walk you through positivity, calmness and ultimate relaxation. These simple, short little sessions are perfect for your morning commute or lunch break. Phone battery dying? Stop, Breathe & Think is also available for listening on your desktop.
[bctt tweet="Stop, Breathe & Think by @toolsforpeace is perfect for a commute or lunch break—@elizabethtsung " username="StartupInst"]
Remember those sand-making kits your mother purchased for you back in elementary school? Thisissand is a nostalgic throwback to your inner first-grader, except you will feel more sophisticated as you create intricate sand paintings with just the tip of your finger (and it’s less messy). With over hundreds of colors, the possibilities are endless. The gentle sounds of sand being poured onto your screen are meditative and bolster deep concentration. Just like coloring, sand art can be done by anyone and is a portable hobby that is cost-efficient and helpful. Creating itself distracts thoughts and increases positive emotions and improves self-awareness.
Artists have the choice of tipping their phones left or right for thicker sand. They also have the option of creating sandscapes on their desktop too. There’s also the option of turning the sound off and playing music from your library (Sigur Ros, anyone?). Having artist’s block? Browse their galleries for sand inspiration.
[bctt tweet="Sand art from @thisissandapp improves self-awareness, says @elizabethtsung " username="StartupInst"]