Top 5 Apps to Relieve Stress


Personal growth (with some technological assistance) in the face of angry clients.

By Katie Schmitt, PT, DPT

Before I ever thought about physical therapy, I worked in retail.

One of the best bits of advice I ever got was from a management meeting when I was working for a development center for kids, the kind that offers classes and birthday parties. We were reminded that when you have an angry client, chances are high that it has nothing to do with you.

Every day physical therapists see people who are in pain. It is not easy to be nice when you are hurting. The injury may be chronic, it may be related to trauma, it may be residual from losing a family member or changing a large part of your life. If someone lashes out at us, it is better than if they go home and yell at those they love. If they let out some aggression about the timing of an appointment, it probably has nothing to do with the appointment. When we respond with kindness in our tone or a soft hand on their shoulder, it can change their whole day.

However, what about the toll it takes on us? How do we prevent our amazing front desk staff from taking on anger they do not deserve? A little meditation or an app can help with stress.

Top 5 Apps to Relieve Stress

Stay relaxed and ready to not take it personally when someone is upset in front of you. Play a game, take a moment for peace, or let your mind wander by drawing. Just five minutes out can help you shake it off and go back fresh, ready to help more people without hurting yourself.

Draw Away Stress

Turn off the Type A side of your brain with a great drawing app. Pigment — Adult Coloring Book offers beautiful pictures that you can fill with color to help reduce stress.

Silk is a beautiful app that makes stunning images out of your swipes of the mouse. A few minutes of these and beauty will fill you with joy.

Virtual Worlds

Paintings with brainteasers, such as those by M.C. Escher, can take you to another world. The app Monument Valley takes you on a journey through an undulating world that twists and turns. This “magical architecture” can help reshape your outlook to something much more pleasant.

Meditate on the Positive

Meditation is an evidence-based way to relax and focus. Headspace may be the most popular app for learning to let it all go.

For those who need a little more guidance, there is Calm. That, along with meditation, has breathing exercises and can help you fall asleep.

There are moments when people will lash out. Do not take it on. It is not about you. With these great apps, you can move forward and continue making the day great for those around you. What are your favorite ways to let the stress of work go?

Katie Schmitt

Katie Schmitt, PT, DPT, is a recent graduate physical therapist from Columbia University Medical Center. She can be reached at

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