Holidays bring joy and family togetherness, but they can also bring anxiety, stress, and depression. In 2015, around this time, we reviewed some mobile device apps that were useful for children, adolescents and teens in dealing with anxiety. Every year, there are more available to help manage anxiety and related mental health issues and that also promote awareness, and lessen the associated stigma. This year, we have found more that are truly worthy to consider – apps that can help your children have control over their thoughts and relieve their stress. Here are a few of our favorites - as gifts or at any time of year!



Worry Watch

Worry Watch is an app available for teens, their parents, and even adults who suffer from anxiety. This app serves as a way to self-monitor and keep track of one's anxious thoughts, whether generalized to all situations or anticipatory about a specific situation. It's unique in that it contains a series of thought options from a pre-fixed menu, and a visual graph that depicts the different reasons why a person has been anxious. Then, the teen or adult is able to assess whether the actual anxious thought was as bad as the actual outcome. This app works as a therapist on the go and can be helpful to the teen or adult who is willing to identify thoughts and review them. This is also helpful to share with your Cognitive Behavioral Therapist as this gives him/her the opportunity to review worries throughout the day that sometimes cannot be expressed on a weekly basis.

This is a powerful tool that can be used by your teen when he/she is ready to identify his/her thoughts and examine them. It requires follow through multiple times a day, day after day. Keeping a log of thoughts makes one's internal world tangible, less ambiguous and less powerful.

Cost: $1.99

Requires iOS 7.1 or later

Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Developed by Akilan Rajendran



Nature Melody

Use this app to fall asleep to nature sounds, and to wake up to something other than a loud beeping or vibrating sound that jolts you out of your sleep! It can be used by children and adolescents who need help unwinding during the day (e.g. after school) or while trying to fall asleep at night. You can also use this app if you are looking for soft music to help you stay relaxed while you are studying, or on a car ride.

It has alarm settings with different nature sounds so you have control over what sound your teen or child will wake up to. The different choices include: crickets chirping, rooster crowing, birds singing, ocean waves, rain and thunder, and blizzard wind. Unlike radio stations, this app creates music that is geared towards relaxation and calming.

This is a useful app for any child or teen of any age. It helps to create background noise for the anxious child who is hyper-vigilant, or the child with ADHD who needs background noise to stay focused. It also helps with children who are restless or experience high anxiety right before bed. For the child who can't self calm, this is a nice way to focus on something other than one's thoughts while falling asleep, studying, or just listening for fun (and relaxation).

Cost: Free

Requires iOS 7.1 or later

Compatible with iPad, iPhone and iPod touch

Developed by Lina Elsayed



HelloMind

Here is an app for children and adolescents. You can choose from ten different 30-minute guided hypnosis sessions that come with a focus, such as stress, low self-esteem, restlessness, and emotional eating. A child or adolescent can listen to the hypnosis session in an effort to negate negative thoughts related to a particular stressor within the moment, as opposed to sitting with the anxiety and resulting low mood all day long. It's discrete and attempts to transform negative thoughts into positive ones.

Once again, this app serves as a therapist on the go. For your older child and adolescent, this is a positive way to gain control over thoughts and mood without too much effort. It can be accessed at school, home, in the car, on the plane – wherever.

When the child or adolescent has completed all ten hypnosis sessions, you can access a booster session. You can gain a subscription for one month or one year.

10 sessions - $8.99

10 sessions and Boosters - $12.99

All treatments and Boosters - $119.99

Requires iOS 8.0 or later

Compatible with iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch

Developed by HelloMind APS



Acupressure – Heal Yourself

Wouldn't it be great if we could teach our kids to use pressure or massage on certain parts of their body so that they can gain relief from anxiety or stress? This app provides illustrations on how to massage and use acupressure to help relieve pain, feelings of nervousness, or worry. By pressing down on acupressure points, tension can be released from the body and promote a quieter stomach or a feeling of calmness and wellness, for example. This helps our children to build awareness of how he/she is feeling, and then to have access to a way to calm his/her body down. It can be used by children (alongside an adult) or adolescents.

Acupressure is the art of using our fingers to press on particular points of the surface of our skin in order to initiate the body's natural ability to cure itself. This happens when these points are pressed upon and they release muscular tension, increase blood circulation, which promotes healing or relief. The act of acupressure is easy, discrete, and can be done at any time (e.g. before entering the school building, in bed, in the car, before a test, social situations, etc).

This app provides 90 acupressure points to relieve headaches, relieve pain, help relieve an upset stomach, or promote relaxation.

Cost: $1.99

Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android

Requires iOS 5.1.1 or later

Developed by Alexander Mokrushin


Mindfulness for Children: Meditation for Kids

As we try to practice more mindfulness ourselves, we understand the benefits of quieting the mind and body so that it can rest and replenish for the next day. Mindfulness helps us to be in touch with what is on our mind and how we feel so that less is being pushed down or away. This app is easy to use and offers sleep meditations for children by using understandable language and visualizations to help children let go of their worries and allow their body to rest. As we know, when our children are better rested, they are more resilient and patient. They feel less over-stimulated and better able to focus on their school day and activities. Calmer children make for a calmer home for siblings and parents alike. It can be used with children as young as 5.

Cost: $4.99

Requires IOS 6.0 or later

Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Developed by Jannik Holgersen



Kids Yogaverse: I Am Love

This app gives you yoga on the go without searching for the remote for your DVD or having to find the nearest class and match it up to your schedule and availability. Yogaverse is geared towards children, ages 4-8, so the moves are easy to follow but yet relaxing and effectively engage your child's entire body in a way that releases negativity and anxiety. This app keeps kids engaged by flying through Egypt on a magic yoga mat and using 13 yoga moves and breathing exercises to help kids stretch, calm, and open their heart.

Cost: $3.99

Requires iOS 6.0 or later

Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android

Developed by Gramercy Consultants

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