8 apps that help you to live smarter and feel happier
By Liz Connor
Smartphones often get a bad rep for having a negative impact on our
time, mood and happiness, and while this is often the case when it comes
to scrolling endlessly on social media feeds, there are some apps that
can actually change your life for the better.
Whether you're stressed on your commute, are struggling to save money or
need something to help make you more productive, your smartphone can
provide a cheap but effective solution for all manner of organisational
and wellbeing issues - think of it like the life coach that you'd never
otherwise be able to afford.
So where to start? Here, we've run down just a few apps that promise to
help banish stress, restore harmony, and give your time the upgrade it's
probably long overdue...
1. Pocket yoga
How many times have you resolved to wake up early to exercise before
work? If getting to the gym for that 6am sunrise yoga session still
feels like a struggle, take baby steps by lighting a few candles,
rolling out a mat in your living room and trying an app workout instead.
This one recreates the experience of being in a professional studio with
soothing music, a gentle audio guide and helpful animations to help you
to correctly sink into every pose. You don't need a Wi-Fi connection
either, meaning you can deepen your practice wherever in the world you
might be. Visit pocketyoga.com.
2. Stop, Breathe And Think
They say there's an app for everything, and now there's even one for
inhaling correctly. Stop, Breathe And Think is a handy app that reminds
you to check in with your breath during moments of stress and anxiety
throughout the day, helping you stop negative or unhelpful thoughts from
spiralling out of control.
Every time you log in, you'll be asked to rate your mood, so the app can
pair you up with the most helpful mindfulness exercises for that moment.
As you continue using the app, it tracks your mood over time, helping
you identify patterns. Visit stopbreathethink.com.
Is there anything more anxiety-inducing than shielding your eyes from
your bank balance as you try to take money out of a cash machine? If
this happens on a monthly basis, it's probably time to download a money
organising app to help get on top of your finances.
Monzo helps you to set a reasonable budget for the month, and uses
easy-to-decipher graphics to show you exactly where your money is being
spent - from food and drink to shopping and travel; it's a great way to
get an overview of how and where you can save. You don't have to plug in
multiple passwords and identification code either, which makes it easier
to keep checking on your balance throughout the day. Visit monzo.com.
4. Super Better
The summer's coming to an end, a new school year is about to roll
around, and Christmas is still ages away - it's no wonder that this time
of the year can often feel like a bit of a dead end. Thankfully, being
happy is a skill that you can cultivate even during dullest of seasons,
or so believe the creators of Super Better.
Once you sign up, you can choose a goal you want to work towards, and
add 'quests' to your account that can help you brain-train your way to a
more positive mindset. As you progress, you'll earn points in different
character areas, like mental, emotional, social, and physical
resilience. Visit superbetter.com.
If you're always looking for a pen and an old receipt to jot down
something interesting, you really should invest in a note taking app -
and Evernote is one of the best ones out there.
It's a handy place where you can digitally dump everything you might
want to save for a later date, like to-do lists, interesting web links,
photos of business cards or snippets of audio. When you need to come
back to it, it's really easy to search and filter through your old notes
- much less stressful than searching around on your knees for that
errant receipt you wrote on months ago. Visit evernote.com.
As far as period-tracking tools go, Clue is pretty great. Instead of
relying on an old-fashioned paper diary, it uses data to help you know
when to expect your period and when you're going through PMS - it even
tracks how many tampons you usually use so that you can be prepared in
It's also helpful for couples who are trying to get pregnant; it can
predict your fertility, alerting you the time of the month where you're
most likely to conceive. Visit helloclue.com.
7. My Possible Self
If you're struggling with anxiety or depression, this app is a good tool
to have on-hand for moments where you need a pocket therapist. Following
an initial assessment, you'll be given three emotions to track over
time, like irritability, loss, motivation and confidence. It's up to you
to then build your own customised plan, and work through modules of
exercises to help ease the negative feelings that come with stress and
The 'moments' is pretty cool too; it allows you to keep photos, videos,
input diary entries or pin your favourite quote to one safe space. Visit
Forever leaving yourself 'must drink more water' notes on your fridge?
Then you really need to download an app that can help ensure you keep
well hydrated. This one lets you set your daily goal and then log how
many glasses you drink per day. If you often get sidetracked from
regular sink breaks, it also has an alert feature that can buzz you
every time you need a top up. Bottoms up. Visit waterlogged.com.