When I’m having a bout of anxiety, or even just an avoidant feeling (that is probably the precursor to a bout of anxiety), I pull out my phone to distract myself. In bed, when I can’t sleep (which is often) I scroll through Instagram. In the morning, to stave off errands or work, I’ll scroll through Twitter. At some point, when I’m scrolling and liking, any app I have opened to relieve anxiety begins to give me anxiety of its own. Instagram ads quickly trigger excessive worry about which shoes I should get for my 12-month-old who isn’t even walking yet; Instagram stories drive me to wonder why I don’t “do more” with my free time; Twitter makes me feel like the least industrious writer to have ever lived.
So I turn again to my phone to calm down. But this time, I toggle to specific anti-anxiety apps. I’ve tried quite a few: There’s Headspace, Mindful, Stop, Breathe & Think, 10 Percent Happier, and Insight Timer. The great paradox for those of us whose phones make [...]