The third Monday in January has become known as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year.

Though it is just an arbitrary day with no real science behind it, this is the time of year when holiday debt, winter weather and failed resolutions could wear people down — and technology definitely has a role in that, says North by Northwest tech columnist Jamey Ordolis, and author of the blog Empirella.com

"Social media envy, looking at the greatest hits of other people's lives, can bring you down … the constant bombardment of emails and notifications, our phones' non-stop buzzing, produces additional anxiety at this time when we're already feeling a little more down than usual."

However, Ordolis said that ironically, technology can also be part of the solution.

"There are some great apps and gadgets and sites that I can recommend that will help you break bad habits and specifically focus on improving your mood and your happiness on a daily basis."

Mental mood boosters

Calm.com

For quick and easy guided, or unguided meditations, two to 20 minutes long, users pick a nature scene to look at, and the sounds that go along with it.

"I think it's great for doing at your desk at work, especially. You can also do it on your phone," said Ordolis.

Headspace.com

Another free online resource that gives the user mindfulness and meditation sessions, for a variety of needs, such as stress relief, increased creativity, or improving personal relationships.

mood

Got a rain cloud over your head this time of year? You're probably not alone. (Getty Images/Tetra images RF)

Brainwave Tuner (for iOS and Android)

For soothing ambient brainwave/sound sessions

Gratitude

The journal app that prompts you to focus on the positive.

"It'll ask you to take daily account of good things or moments. And that helps train your brain to think about the good things and to look for positive things, instead of looking for bad and thinking of negative things."

Happify.com

Activities and games that train your brain to be happy.

Notes from the universe

For a daily note of inspiration from the universe, to your e-mail inbox.

Emergency Compliment

To send to a compliment to someone who needs one.

For a physical boost

The Phillips light therapy alarm clock

For a more pleasant, energizing wake-up experience. "It's shown to improve the quality of your mood and help you feel more energized in the morning," says Ordolis.

The Fitbit

"If you're searching for any of these sleep trackers, heart-rate trackers, step counters, calorie burners, this is the best all-in-one," said Ordolis.

BeFit channel

Great free exercise streaming on YouTube.

Booyah Fitness

For all kinds of fun cardio and muscle-building workouts.

YogaGlo

Over 3,000 streaming yoga classes

Jackbox Party Pack 2

Provides a more social night of gaming

For a more positive social feed

Mute users on Twitter

Block people on Facebook

"Don't just sign up and then follow people and keep seeing things that after time you've discovered don't make you feel good, because what you see in your feed has been shown to impact your mood," Ordolis said.

Unroll.me

To unsubscribe from everything cluttering up your inbox


To hear the full story listen to the audio labelled: Apps and websites to help people improve their mood and happiness