The best apps hold the power to improve our well-being, lessen our stress, and change our lives for the better. Whether you’ve been working toward getting a better night’s sleep, staying on top of your fitness goals, finding more focus, or finally starting to meditate, apps can help us reach those goals, and stay more consistent in our habits.

We asked our Thrive community for the apps that were game-changers for them in 2019, and we were so inspired by how their favorites helped them thrive throughout the year. Which of these apps will you download for a happier, healthier, and more successful 2020?


“Without a doubt, the Instacart app has provided me with the biggest gift of 2019: time. The personalized grocery lists and one hour delivery have easily saved me 2-3 hours per week, which I now spend exercising, spending time with my family, or catching up on much needed sleep!”

—Anjali Bindra Patel, attorney and wellbeing coach, Washington DC 

Waking Up

“I thought about meditating for years, but I could never commit to it. Then, I heard about Sam Harris’ app. He is a neuroscientist with a soothing voice who shares all kinds of thoughtful nuggets in his daily 10-minute meditations. It has helped my mental health, my approach to self-care, and my ability to focus and be in the moment. The daily practice is now part of my morning routine!”

—Siobhan Kukolic, author, inspirational speaker and life coach, Toronto, CA

Daily Yoga

“I have wanted to learn yoga for years, and the class times never fit into my schedule. I decided to try a yoga app called Daily Yoga. Now, I have three to four 30-minute sessions a week and it’s made a huge difference! My initial expectation was to become more flexible and improve my balance, but I am experiencing improved strength, focus, and meditation! Daily Yoga has significantly improved my life and for a man over sixty — it’s awesome.”

—Jim Mikula, hotelier, Fredericksburg, TX


“The app that transformed me into a better human in 2019 is OverDrive. In 2018, I fell asleep to a lot of books, but I rarely sat down to read. The app allows you to connect your library card to your phone to access digital e-books and audiobooks. I’ve used my screen addiction in a healthy way to read, or listen to books that have taught me about mindfulness, conscious parenting strategies, and public speaking (including prepping me for a successful TEDx talk!)”

—Aneela Idnani, CMO at HabitAware, Minneapolis, MN

Insight Timer

“This app has literally transformed my day to day. With over 30,000 free guided meditations and music, you can use the many filters to get to exactly what you need in moments. Want to fall asleep easily? There are thousands of options from bedtime stories to binaural beats. Having a panic attack and only have three minutes to regroup? Covered. Prefer male or female voices, spiritual or non-spiritual content, background music or not?  You get to choose!” 

—Kate Carey, owner of A Blissful Life, Flagstaff, AZ


“This app changed my life. It’s a fitness app paired with a wristband that tracks metrics like sleep, recovery, and daily strain. After experiencing burnout at age 32, I realized I needed some external accountability to help me recognize when my body needs rest. As a professional speaker, I never realized the strain on my body of performing on stage and traveling as much as I do. The WHOOP band and app have kept me accountable to resting and recovering when I need to – even when I think ‘I’m fine.’ The app even has a built-in sleep coach that tells you what time you need to go to bed to get optimal recovery the next day. It’s a game changer!”

—Rachel Druckenmiller, professional speaker and trainer, Baltimore, MD


“My steady feed of books comes from Goodreads. Then I write using ReMarkable and — especially after I heard Arianna Huffington on a podcast say she now dictates her books. Grammarly works hard to keep my words fresh, and then I use Canva to deliver my stories so they swim easily in the digital ocean.”

—Allison Lane, writer, Annapolis, MD 

Asana and Canva

“The best apps for me are Asana and Canva. They help me, along with our board and volunteers, get things done efficiently and productively. Asana is a task and project management tool. And with Canva, you can create social media designs and post them on the fly. I couldn’t live without these two gems for my time management and creativity.”

—Adrienne McCue, president and executive director, Chicago, IL


“The app that has been the biggest game-changer for me is Wecroak. Being reminded of death seven times a day makes me be more mindful.”

—Maria Mayer Feng, creative director, New York, NY


“This app has brain waves with ambient sounds, and provides different brain waves for different needs. I use it to sleep, concentrate, focus, meditate, boost creativity, relax, reduce stress, and more. It also has a timing feature, which is great for plane rides, or when you are working at your desk.”

—Francine Tone, attorney and business strategist, Truckee, CA


“I started the year committing to a daily yoga session and vocal warm-up routine, but after a few months, I gave up — but I noticed how irritable I felt when my daily routine was lacking consistent rituals. Then, I discovered Habitify, where you input a daily task list, and it keeps you on track to stay consistent. The app lets you tick things off your daily to-do list, and gives you visual representations and data to illustrate how often you complete your goals. It’s helped me stay accountable and prioritize self-care. I recently tracked my 1000th habit!”

—Bethh LG, used glass jewelry maker, recording artist, and songwriter, Lake District, UK

Woven Calendar

“The calendar app from Woven was a game-changer for me this year. It’s the first app I’ve that has let me take control over my calendar, and schedule individual and group events seamlessly all from my phone. It has easily been the best switch of my year.”

—Joel Runyon, entrepreneur and athlete, Chicago, IL


“The mental health community chat app called HAPPY has changed the way people connect with one another about feeling depressed or anxious. You can anonymously chat with other people going through the same experiences as you, and there is something incredibly comforting about knowing that you are not alone, no matter what your experience is.”

—Cynthia, marketing, New York, NY


“I’ve tried several to-do list apps, and I could never quite get them to work for me. Then, a colleague told me about Trello, and said that she wouldn’t be able to manage her business without it. Today, the app has changed my work life. I love the different boards, lists and cards. It’s so easy to move things around, and see a visual picture of your to-do list. Each card has space for notes and checklists, and I can share a board, a list or a card with someone else. Trello keeps me organized, accountable, and balanced.”

—Marianne D’Alessandro, virtual assistant, Burlington, Ontario, CA


“It might not be an app that you’d normally associate with mental well-being, but iPassword has undoubtedly lessened my stress this year. This app is for everyone who has ever stared at a computer screen trying to think of all your usual password combinations, only to be notified in bold red letters that your email and password don’t match. iPassword has one password, and once you unlock it, you can store all your passwords in one place. It has completely freed up brainspace.”

—Mary Lagman Hammond, nonprofit, Los Angeles, CA

1 Second Everyday

“I started the year recording short daily clips and composing them into little videos every month, but sooner or later, I forgot about it. Then, when looking at old photos with a girlfriend, I stumbled upon my 1 Second Everyday videos, and watching them filled my heart with gratitude. The clips showed the little moments: going for a morning run, having lunch with friends, waking up to the view of my old room. But it’s though those little moments I got a reminder of how beautiful my life is! Today, I’m committed to capturing one second each day going forward, and I’m so grateful.”

—Natasha Zo, publicity professional, Barcelona, Spain

Do you have an app that you loved this year? Share it with us in the comments!

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  • Marina Khidekel

    Chief Content Officer at Thrive

    Marina leads strategy, ideation and execution of Thrive's content company-wide, including cross-platform brand partnership and content marketing campaigns, curricula, and the voice of the Thrive platform. She's the author of Thrive's first book, Your Time to Thrive. In her role, Marina brings Thrive's audience actionable, science-backed tips for reducing stress and improving their physical and mental well-being, and shares those insights on panels and in national outlets like NBC's TODAY. Previously, Marina held senior editorial roles at Women's Health, Cosmopolitan, and Glamour, where she edited award-winning health and mental health features and spearheaded the campaigns and partnerships around them.