The Top 6 Apps for Thriving

Photo by: Benjamin Sow on Unsplash

Technology has forever changed the way we interact with others. Today’s emerging adults are growing up alongside the Internet. Consequently, this has significantly impacted family relationships.[1]

For example, in a study conducted by the Barna Group, parents reported that their children spend an average of five hours a day using an electronic device.[2] Many parents find this unsettling and even challenging.

While technology can have several negative effects on youth development, it can also provide many positive benefits. Psychologist and executive director of the Thrive Center, Pamela Ebstyne King argues that technology should be viewed as a potential source of transformation, and not just mere information.[3] Therefore, when used appropriately, technology can help us thrive in our beliefs, values, relationships, and purpose.[4]

Technology will always be present in our lives. So, how can we encourage appropriate tech usage in today’s youth and in ourselves? Our research team has provided recommendations on the top apps that can help your family form healthy technological habits.

Best for Relationships

  1. Stop, Breathe, and Think: Available for both children and adults, this apps tailors meditation and mindfulness practices to increase emotion regulation and positive interactions with others.
  2. Riza: Term for “root” in Greek, this new, forthcoming app provides a strength-based approach to family practices designed to cultivate a thriving digital ecology.
  3. Garden: A personal relationship management app, Garden allows you to track your connections and set up regular reminders to reach out to the friends and family members who matter most in your life.

Best for Beliefs and Values

  1. Headspace: Learn to manage stress, maintain your focus, and balance the things that matter most to you through guided meditations and mindfulness techniques with this app.
  2. Happify: This app provides science-based activities and tools to help you reduce stress, build resilience, and overcome negative thoughts.

Best for Purpose

  1. Healthy Minds Program: Translating decades of neuroscience into practical tools, this app helps you develop simple skills for a healthy mind through awareness, connection, insight, and purpose.
  2. Prayer of Examen: Developed by Fuller Theological Seminary, this app guides you through an end-of-day spiritual practice by integrating contemplative imagery to help you reflect on the day and prepare you for the next.
  3. I Am: This app provides daily affirmations to help you rewire the brain, build self-esteem and resilience, and change any negative thoughts.


[1] Hessel, H. & Dworkin, J. (2018). Emerging adults’ use of communication technology with family members: A systematic review. Adolescent Research Review, 3(3), 357-373.

[2] Crouch, A. (2017) The tech-wise family: Everyday steps for putting technology in its proper place. Baker Books

[3] Read Dr. King’s article, Telos, Technology, and Thriving to learn more on how technology can promote thriving in our lives.

[4] Schnitker, S.A, King, P.E., & Houltberg, B. (2019). Religion, spirituality, and thriving: Transcendent narrative, virtue, and telos. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 29(2), 276-290.

About the Author

Thrive Center

Thrive Center

At the Thrive Center for Human Development, our mission is to catalyze a movement of human thriving, with and for others and for a greater purpose. We conduct research and develop resources at the nexus of spirituality and human thriving in order to promote whole individuals and societies.

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