Tonematrix: click the boxes. Listen. Repeat as necessary.

Really calming gifs. I must have stared at the second one for at least five minutes.

Do Nothing For Two Minutes: Bad at relaxing? This one will get on your case if you don’t stop doing things.

Fly a Line: Move your mouse about–and then set a timer, because I got lost here for a while.

Cassini: made entirely of photos from Cassini, an epic journey around Saturn, accompanied by appropriately dramatic music. [Epilepsy warning-some flashing]

Pale Blue Dot. Press play, close eyes.

And more Sagan, converted to an unbelievable choral suite.

The Sound of Silence

Calming Manatee would like you to know that you’re great.

Weave Silk

The Thoughts Room: put your stress here.

Paint a Nebula–just what it sounds like.

Information is Beautiful–breathtaking infographics.

Anaheim Ballet: this and this.

Seaquence: Tonematrix meets biology.

Little Alchemy: Chrome extension or stand alone, you start with earth, air, fire, and water. Pair the elements–and then pair the results of those elements to create 400 objects. Mindless, with lots of little fizzing rewards.

Hobbies masterpost from tumblr. Want to learn something? Anything? There’s probably a link here for some anxiety reducing hobby.

Secular meditation. (More resources here would be appreciated!)

Breathe2Relax for Apple & Android: a variety of guided breathing exercises.

Make your own Zen Garden. Apple/Android

Flowing: use your mouse to gobble the smaller organisms in an electric blue life-soup.

Flower Reaction: set off the biggest chain reaction.

Little Wheel: stunning graphics, lovely music.

Red: endless astroid defense turret game with nice background music.


Three hours of background fireplace noises.

Add your own in the comments!


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  1. 1
    Andrew Tripp

    I like to combine these two: http://www.rainymood.com/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrXGQ6IWK4M. Then add in music to your decompressing tastes; I use Miles Davis a lot of the time.

    1. 1.1
      Kate Donovan

      Duly updated!

  2. 2

    Corrected link: Information Is Beautiful

    My first acquaintance with that site was with What is Consciousness? | Information Is Beautiful — cutesy animations illustrating various theories of consciousness.

  3. 3

    you asked for more secular meditation links, and I have some for you that I’ve had a lot of success with.

    UCSD and UCLA both have strong “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction” programs, and both have provided a bunch of mp3′s for guided meditation. (Readers of Greta’s blog will recognize MBSR as the style of meditation that she’s gotten into.)

    UCLA has several short ones (3-12 minutes) and “instructions for meditating” (19 min), which is great for someone new to it. http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22 They also have a weekly podcast; I’ve never listened to it, but if you find you’re getting bored, there are like 100 available http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=107

    UCSD has some longer ones, ranging from 10 to 45 minutes:

    There’s probably lots more out there, but I’ve been using these two resources for about 6 months, and they’ve been really great.

    (Also, these links are great! Thanks!)

    Skeptically speaking, it’s likely that meditation is little different from other relaxation techniques. There are some findings which suggest that it’s good for improving executive function and working memory and things like that, but the evidence is preliminary; the prior plausibility of the claims for meditation re concentration etc seem pretty good, since you’re basically practicing how to focus. But, in any case, ain’t nothin wrong with relaxation! If it turns out that meditation isn’t better or worse than other techniques, then it’s still worth doing.

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