Modern lifestyle factors such as excessive use of social media, our surroundings and long working hours can all contribute to stress. Left unchecked, stress can lead to complex physical and mental health conditions. However, you can manage it with everyday devices and apps.
While some types of technology can contribute to stress, others can help reverse it. If you’re struggling with anxiety or stress, here are some of the best services and gadgets to try.
1. The Apple Watch
Smartwatches are one of the best ways to manage stress. If you hate constant notifications and are trying to limit your smartphone usage, getting a smartwatch is a great idea. You can limit notifications, make and receive calls, and focus on other tasks. The Apple Watch is a great choice for this purpose.
The additional health features of the Apple Watch are the perfect stress buster. Here’s how you can use some of the features to keep your stress levels under control:
Heart Rate Notifications: Heart rate is one of the main indicators of high stress levels. An increased heart rate also aggravates overlying conditions such as heart disease. Therefore, you can set a heart rate threshold and receive notifications when that threshold is exceeded.
breathing exercises: A high heart rate affects your breathing. Shallow breaths increase anxiety due to lack of adequate oxygenation. The Breathe app on the Apple Watch allows for a quick one-minute relaxation. Breathing exercises have a positive effect on heart rate, mood and concentration. The Breathe app tracks your heart health during exercise.
Mobility: Sitting for hours or having little mobility affects your physical and mental health. Mobility and cardio fitness tracking in Apple Watch gives you a mobility score based on your activity. If you have a low mobility score, set reminders or alarms. Take a six-minute walk break to improve your overall well-being.
2. Get a virtual assistant
A long list of small tasks can take up your time. It’s also mentally exhausting to keep track of everyday tasks. Virtual assistants help solve many of these problems. By delegating small tasks, they become automated. First, you can give simple commands to the virtual assistant on your phone. Some of the most basic productivity commands that will save you time are:
- Set alarm clock
- set reminders
- Add or delete events from calendars
- Create a list or schedules
- Text or call someone
- Get a weather forecast before you go
- Book movie tickets, get reservations, look up places
- Translations in real time
If you have a home device like Amazon Echo or Google Home, you can also automate chores around the house. For example, you can instruct Alexa to start or stop your robot vacuum at a specific time. If you own a Google Home speaker, you can ask Google to find your phone if you lose it.
This will make your device ring even when it is in sleep mode. Use the virtual assistant as a workout timer for sets or to control other smart devices. When you have fewer tasks to do, you reduce stress points throughout the day.
3. Establish a practice of mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice that works naturally as an anti-stress agent. Deep breathing and meditation are the easiest ways to unwind. You don’t need any equipment or dedicated space. Whether it’s your daily commute or at work, mindfulness helps you take a break wherever you go.
Using a meditation app is best for a quick relaxation session. If you are new to meditation, the guided sessions are a must. Apps like Calm, Atom, and Headspace have features that make meditating quick and easy.
For example, Calm has a daily meditation feature. Here you can choose a meditation between 3 and 30 minutes. Choose a specific meditation for stress, anxiety, or sleep. Its meditation timer, energizing breathing exercises, and ambient sounds can help relieve stress instantly.
However, if you want to make mindfulness a more serious routine. You can try those too Muse headband. Muse is a meditation device that tracks your brainwaves, heart rate, and breathing. It uses this data to monitor how you are doing. Then it provides real-time audio cues as feedback.
4. Create a fitness routine
Physical fitness is essential to keep stress under control. Exercise, sport or any physical activity improves blood circulation in the body. It also releases endorphins and helps distract you. Regular exercise improves cardiovascular health and overall fitness. If you are physically fit, it also has a positive effect on your mental fitness.
However, starting and sticking to a fitness routine is a challenge. Workout apps, fitness trackers, and meal planners are readily available tools to help you with this. Apps like HIIT Down Dog, Strava, and Nike Run Club have pre-built workout plans. Training reminders combined with AI trainers make training from home hassle-free.
Fitness trackers like Fitbits, Garmin, and the Apple Watch are great for getting detailed analytics. Health data from these trackers will help you map your training and eventually improve. Meal planning is also an important part of fitness. Eating the right amount of calories and eating a balanced diet is a fundamental principle of staying fit. Meal planning apps like Mealime, Plan to Eat, and Lifesum can help you stay accountable.
5. Try a mental health app
Dealing with stress is difficult, especially when dealing with a mental illness. Getting professional help is recommended, but there are ways you can help yourself. Anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and depression hamper productivity and significantly increase stress levels. Therefore, self-care is extremely important. Several free and premium mental health apps offer the screening you need at a fraction of the cost.
Most free mental health apps are a great way to keep issues like anxiety, sleep, confidence, and procrastination at bay. Apps like Intellect and 29K offer free modules developed by psychologists. Daily check-ins and journaling help organize your thoughts.
Aside from self-care, telemedicine apps can help you connect with therapists virtually. Self-Care is a preventive and complementary tool. It cannot replace actual therapy. Here’s how telemedicine apps are making therapy more affordable and accessible than ever.
6. Optimizing sleep
Adequate sleep is necessary for normal brain function, improved productivity, and a healthy heart and body. However, stressful work hours and long periods of screen work can shorten your sleep. Therefore, there are several ways to limit stress and improve sleep quality.
It’s helpful to limit blue light exposure before bed. At least an hour to two hours before bedtime, try to distance yourself from smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices. This is related to how the natural circadian rhythm works in our bodies. According to that CDC, blue light from devices has the strongest influence on the circadian rhythm. This can make it difficult to fall asleep.
If you’re having trouble falling asleep, white noise meditations in the Calm app can help. Another way to improve your sleep is through analysis. You can get a detailed report of your sleep patterns via smartwatches or sleep tracking apps. This will help you determine the quality of your sleep and find ways to improve it.
Combine multiple technologies to combat stress
If you make anti-stress measures a part of your routine, you can prepare yourself and become more resilient. For example, practicing mindfulness as a daily habit will lower your stress levels while improving other aspects of your life.
Similarly, the combination of fitness routines, meal planning, and sleep optimization allows for the best physical health — which is linked to positive mental well-being.
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