Ready, Set, Relax

By on December 4, 2015

By Bev Bachel for Tech Connect

Kathleen Murray of St. Paul, Minn., knows the importance of keeping stress at bay.

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A life and career coach who owns , Murray used to live in Chicago, where she worked as a big-time political operative, raising millions of dollars for national, state and local political candidates. She thrived in her fast-paced, stress-filled position, but when she fell in love, she gave up her career and moved — as a newlywed — to her husband’s hometown in northern Minnesota.

With pine trees as her neighbors, she was excited to try a different way of life. However, the first snowfall of the season (in October!) brought on something unexpected: Murray’s first-ever panic attack.

“My panic attacks lasted for almost 10 years,” says Murray. “With each one, my world became smaller as I started to hide and avoid doing things I used to love, especially traveling. I missed some great trips and adventures because of my panic.”

Eventually, with the help of therapy and a strong desire to educate herself about the mind/body connection and the power of the unconscious mind, Murray overcame her panic attacks and has since gone on to help other women who struggle with anxiety. “Learning how to relax is critical to that process,” says Murray. “Apps can help.”

Here are five that garner high marks from Murray and others:

Breathe2Relax

Free on Google Play and the App Store
A portable stress management tool, this app teaches you how to breathe from your belly, a technique that has been taught for centuries as a way of helping people relax.

Breathing Zone

$3.99 on Google Play and the App Store
Featuring a clinically proven therapeutic breathing exercise, this app comes with easy-to-follow voice instructions and calming sounds that help reduce your stress and anxiety within just minutes. The breathing exercise will also decrease your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.

Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM)

Free on Google Play and the App Store
This app helps you manage your anxiety and regain control of your emotions. Tell the app how anxious you feel, and the app’s self-help features walk you through relaxation practices. You can even build your own personal toolkit of the practices and resources you find most helpful.

Relax and Rest Guided Meditations

$1.99 on Google Play and the App Store
Three meditations of various lengths help you to relax no matter how much time you have available or what your heart most desires: breath awareness, deep rest or whole-body relaxation.

Relax Melodies

Free on Google Play and the App Store
Whether you want to relax while awake or get a better night’s sleep, this app can help. It features more than 50 sounds such as the ocean, birds, and rain. Set the timer, and it will stop playing. Set the alarm, and it will wake you.


Freelance writer Bev Bachel lives in Minneapolis and uses her phone to talk, text and email friends and family around the world. She’s the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go For It!

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Ready, Set, Relax