Google has published its annual list of the best Android apps of the year. Its 2021 selections have a particular focus on mental health.

Six of the fifteen phone apps picked by Google’s editorial team have a mindfulness or mental health bent, which is perhaps no surprise given the events seen throughout the year.

These apps are Rabit, Laughscape, Clementine, Uptime, Balance and Empathy.

Many of you may have not looked beyond Headspace as a way to use apps to help out with your thought processes, so let’s take a quick look at Google suggestions.

Rabit, a “habit tracker and planner” is perhaps the most practical of the picks. It’s a organizational app that helps you break down your goals into manageable chunks.

It offers a friendly face for the kind of techniques you might learn in a cognitive behavioural therapy session.

Laughscape is a little more unusual. Developer Priceless Creators describes it as a comedic relaxation app.

It offers guided meditations hosted by Australian comedians. You might think of it as Headspace, but funny. You can listen to previews in the app for a taster, but need to get a subscription for full access.

It works out at $6.99 a month if you pay for a year, $9.99 if you pay per quarter or $12.99 a month. A 7-day trial is available too.

Clementine is a “hypnotherapy" app made primarily for women. Its library is made up of guided audio sessions led by a NLP & Cognitive Hypnotherapy practitioner.

A few sessions are available to access for free, while a subscription costs £8.99 (~$12) a month, or £49.99 (~$66) for a year’s access.

Uptime is less specifically about mental health, but might help if you’re feeling a little unproductive or directionless. It offers five minute condensed “takeaways” from books, documentaries and courses.

While it can be used as a way for people to seem better-informed then they really are at dinner parties, it can also be used to find new areas of interest you want to dig into deeper.

Empathy is an app designed to help those who have recently lost a loved one. A big part of the app focuses on the practical steps required, in elements like organizing a funeral and informing people. Five others can be added to your profile, to share out and keep track of these.

A paid-for section ($65 after a 30-day trial) also grants access to “care specialists” and a document library.

However, Balance was selected as the very best app of 2021. It’s a personalized meditation app that breaks the practice down into 10-day plans, and offers single “bite-size” sessions.

Balance also offers sleep aids and breathing exercises. The first full year of app use is free, and $69.99 a year or $11.99 a month after that.

You can check out the full Best of 2021 list, which includes games, and apps for both tablets and wearables, over at the Google blog.

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