Best apps that make you smarter, healthier and less stressed 2019


While some people might have an elaborate New Year’s resolution ritual involving vision boards and intention-setting, others prefer to go the simpler route, like downloading an app. Luckily, there are tons of apps that are designed to help you reach your goals, whether you want to run a 5K, start meditating or learn a new language in the New Year.

CNBC Make It found seven genius apps that will help you get smarter, calmer and healthier in just a few taps on a smartphone.

1. Happify

Feeling pessimistic about a new year? There’s an app for that. Happify uses games and meditation to help you stop negative thinking, lower your stress and anxiety, increase optimism and boost your self-esteem. Together, the tasks and guided prompts help you feel a little happier — there’s even a feature that allows you to chart your mood and progress each day. Happify is available on iPhones and Androids, and costs $14.95 a month to use.

2. Calm

With the app Calm you get access to several mindfulness tools: guided meditations and mindfulness courses, “sleep stories” to relax you before bed, chill music for any mood and nature “scenes” designed to help you focus at work. If you’re curious about the performance benefits of mindfulness, they’ve also added a new “mental fitness” program in partnership with NBA star LeBron James, who also is a fan of meditating. Calm is available on iPhones and Androids, and costs $14.99 a month to use.

3. Duolingo

Learning a new language has been shown to increase your brain size and power. WWE star and actor John Cena has been learning Mandarin for years. He has a tutor who practices conversation with him, and travels with flashcards of vocab words.

If you don’t have a private tutor, the app Duolingo makes the learning process easier. English-speakers can choose from 27 different languages, and practice through personalized games. Duolingo is free to use (or $6.99 a month for the ad-free version), and available on iPhones and Androids.

4. Vanido

As any shower-singer knows, singing has been shown to improve your mood and calm nerves in times of stress. And you don’t have to be a particularly good singer to reap the benefits. That said, if you’re hoping to learn more about music and hone your craft, the app Vanido is the perfect tool. Using your smartphone’s microphone, you can play singing games that help you figure out pitch and timing. You can access three free lessons a day, or pay $39.99 a year for unlimited lessons, and it’s available on iPhones.

5. TED app

On days when you’re not interested in listening to a podcast on your commute, watch a TED Talk through the TED app. You can download thousands of talks and the app suggests what you should watch next based on your activity. There’s also an option to watch the talks with subtitles in 20 non-English languages. The app is free to download and use, and is available on iPhones and Androids.

6. The Sculpt Society by Megan Roup

Instead of spending $30 on a single workout class, stream them from home for a fraction of the cost. With The Sculpt Society by Megan Roup, you can stream workouts from your phone that are between five and 50 minutes long. The workout is dance cardio, and research has shown that dance improves brain health, especially as you age. The app is free to download and costs $19.99 a month to use. It’s available on iPhones.

7. Aaptiv

All you need is a pair of headphones to use this audio-guided workout app, Aaptiv. There are thousands of workouts to choose from, including yoga, running, boxing and elliptical, all set to a unique playlist. Regardless of your level, the routines are easy-to-follow and motivating. Each week, Aaptiv adds 30 new workouts to the collection, so you’ll never get bored. The app is available on iPhones and Androids, and costs $9.99 a month to use.

8. Google Keep

If you live by Google Docs and to-do lists, Google Keep will make your life way easier. The free smartphone app allows you to take notes and set reminders, but it’s tricked out with lots of handy features. For example, you can share your lists with other people, so you and your coworker or family members are always on the same page. You can also record voice memos or snap photos and leave them in Google Keep in case you don’t have time to type. And Google Keep can sync with your computer and Google Docs, so you don’t have to worry about checking multiple devices just to get your list. It’s available on iPhones and Androids.

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