How can you keep your brain young, stay focused at work, improve your memory and reduce stress?

There's no simple solution, but a surprisingly helpful tool may be in your pocket. While smartphones are generally blamed for sapping our attention spans and stoking stress, a new range of apps aim to boost our mental wellbeing. Some research indicates that cognitive training carried out using apps can improve your brain health, although the hard science is still patchy, as this article explains.

One of the most popular brain-training apps, Lumosity is designed by neuroscientists to boost memory and attention spans, problem solving, speed and flexible thinking. The app has over 70 million users and developers say that only one session per day can improve your mental skills.

Image: Lumosity

Wizard

This app was created as a result of a collaboration between neuroscientists at the University of Cambridge, psychologists, a game developer and people with schizophrenia. It aims to improve a person’s unique memory of a specific event, and wants to help schizophrenia patients in their daily lives.

This app claims to help you to think faster, with more than 360 games and puzzles that get harder as you improve. The app tracks your performance and will make recommendations based on your progress.

Want to be able to memorize phone numbers or birthdays? Eidetic uses facts you have entered yourself – such as your parents' phone numbers – and periodically tests you to help you memorize them. You can also use it to learn languages.

Image: Eidetic

Launched in 2014, Elevate is designed to improve communication and analytical skills through daily challenges that test, for example, your ability to spot grammatical mistakes.

Image: Elevate

This app offers a selection of games, from solving mathematical problems, to playing sudoko and memorising letter sequences to keep your mind in good shape.

With a scheduling feature that reminds you to play, Mind Games is a free app that claims to increase your immediate memory, and expand your vocabulary.

Want to be happier? Who doesn't. Happify offers quizzes and polls aimed at helping you cope with stress and anxiety by teaching you to think more positively. It also has a relaxation and meditation feature.