Mindfulness and relaxation apps – part 1

With the stresses and strains of everyday student life, most of us are too busy thinking and planning all the time to stop and take a breath. Mindfulness is a practise that helps us to slow down and can be an important way for us to look after ourselves and maintain our wellbeing throughout university and beyond. It involves focussing on the senses in the present moment, and allowing thoughts to pass by without becoming caught up in them.

It is promoted by the National Institution for Clinical Excellence as being able to combat depression, and many people find it helpful in times of stress or mental distress. The most common things that come to mind around mindfulness practise would be yoga or meditation, but there are many ways to be mindful. For example, colouring and breathing exercises. You can even eat mindfully! This is something that I try to do when I eat something I enjoy, and I’ve found practising this (yes it feels ridiculous at first) helps me transfer mindfulness skills into more serious situations, helping me develop my resilience. These apps were introduced to me when I was experiencing a mental health crisis but I find them useful in a variety of contexts.

I have only used the free versions of all apps mentioned.

Virtual Hope Box

Screen shot of Virtual Hope Box appPrice: Free

Available for IOS and Android.

Features: Distraction Techniques, Coping Tools, Relaxation Techniques, Positive Reminders and Inspirational quotes




This app’s potential for reducing suicidal thoughts is currently being studied. Creating a self-soothe box is an important part of Dialectal Behaviour Therapy which is a talking therapy that aims to reduce the use of unhelpful coping techniques. A self soothe box may be useful to anyone that sometimes experiences mental distress or stress.

Best Bits: My favourite parts of this app are the photo jigsaw puzzle, and the customisable guided relaxation exercises. However, if you’re into Sudoku, word searches, or solitaire then this app has got that covered too as far as distraction techniques go.


  Screen shot of distract me feature Screen shot of photo puzzle feature


Colouring Apps

Adult Coloring Book

Price: Free or $2.99 a week

Available for IOS and Android

Features: Range of (solid and gradient) colours and templates, save and view your previous masterpieces.

Colorfy offers a range or templates, from pixel art, to mandalas and famous artworks.

Screen shot of two pictures being coloured in  Screen shot of colouring features




Price: Free or Plus for £2.30 a week

Available for IOS and Android

Features: Upload photos of drawings to create your own templates, create messages and templates in-app, view other people’s work for inspiration, save, share and view previous work, range of solid and gradient colours.

Colorfy has a huge range of possibilities, the more adventurous can create their own images, you can get inspired by what other people are making too! It doesn’t have as wide a range of colours as Adult Coloring Book does, but has a wider range of possibilities in terms of templates.

Screen shot of colourfy pictures Screen shot of colourfy colouring tab








Thanks for reading,