Modern lifestyle factors such as excessive social media use, our environments, and long working hours can contribute to stress. If left unchecked, stress can snowball into complex physical and mental health conditions. However, you can manage it using everyday devices and apps.
While some types of technology can contribute to stress, others can help cancel it out. If you are struggling with anxiety or stress, here are some of the best services and gadgets to try out.
1. The Apple Watch
Smartwatches are one of the best ways of dealing with stress. If you hate constant notifications and are trying to limit 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 pick for this purpose.
The added 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 in check:
Heart Rate Notifications: Heart rate is one of the primary indicators of high-stress levels. An elevated heart rate also makes overlaying conditions such as heart disease worse. Therefore, you can set a heart rate threshold and receive notifications when it breaches that threshold.
Breathing Exercises: High heart rate affects your breathing. Shallow breaths increase anxiousness due to the lack of proper oxygenation. The Breathe app on the Apple Watch allows for quick one-minute relaxation. Deep breathing exercises positively impact your heart rate, mood, and concentration. The Breathe app tracks your heart health during the exercises.
Mobility: Sitting for long hours or having low mobility is detrimental to your physical and mental health. The mobility and cardio fitness tracking in the 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 wellbeing.
2. Get a Virtual Assistant
A long list of small tasks can take up your time. Additionally, keeping track of mundane tasks is mentally exhausting. Virtual assistants help solve a lot of these problems. Delegating small tasks will automate them. To begin with, you can give out simple commands to the virtual assistant on your phone. Some of the most basic productivity commands that will free up your time are:
- Setting alarms
- Setting reminders
- Adding or deleting events from calendars
- Creating a list or schedules
- Texting or calling someone
- Getting a weather forecast before you head out
- Booking movie tickets, getting reservations, looking up places
- Real-time translations
If you have a home device like Amazon Echo or Google Home, you can automate home chores too. For example, you can tell Alexa to start or stop your robot vacuum cleaner at a specified time. If you own a Google Home speaker, you can ask Google to find your phone when you lose it.
That will ring your device even if it is on silent mode. Use the virtual assistant as a workout timer for sets or control for other smart devices. When you have fewer tasks to deal with, you reduce points of stress throughout the day.
3. Build a Practice of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a practice that naturally works as an anti-stress agent. Deep breathing and meditation are the simplest methods to wind down. They do not require any equipment or dedicated space. Whether during your daily commute or at work, mindfulness helps you take a break anywhere.
Using a meditation app is the best for a quick relaxing session. If you’re new to meditation, the guided sessions are a must-try. Apps such as Calm, Atom, and Headspace have features that make meditation quick and easy.
For example, Calm has a daily meditation feature. Here, you can select a meditation ranging from 3 to 30 minutes. Choose specific meditation for stress, anxiety, or sleep. Its meditation timer, energizing breathing exercises, and ambient sounds can help instantly reduce stress.
However, if you would like to make mindfulness a more serious routine. You can also try out the 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 for keeping stress under control. Exercise, sports, or any physical activity improves blood flow in the body. It also releases endorphins and helps take your mind off things. Exercising regularly improves cardiovascular health and overall fitness. Thus, when you are physically fit, that has a positive impact on your mental fitness as well.
However, starting or following through with a fitness routine is challenging. Workout apps, fitness trackers, and meal planners are readily available tools to help you along the way. Apps such as the HIIT Down Dog, Strava, and Nike Run Club have ready-made workout plans. Workout reminders combined with AI trainers make working out from home hassle-free.
Fitness trackers such as Fitbits, Garmin, and the Apple Watch are great for getting detailed analytics. Health data from these trackers will help you map your workouts and eventually improve. Similarly, meal planning is an important part of fitness. Eating the right amount of calories and 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 while coping with mental illness. Getting professional help is recommended, but there are ways you can help yourself. Anxiety, OCD, and depression hamper productivity and significantly increase stress levels. Therefore, self-care is extremely important. Several free and premium mental health apps provide the preventive care you need for a fraction of the cost.
Most free mental health applications are a great way to keep issues such as anxiety, sleep, confidence, and procrastination in check. Apps such as Intellect and 29K offer free modules designed by psychologists. Daily check-ins and journaling help organize your thoughts.
Apart from self-care, telehealth apps can help you get in touch with therapists virtually. Self-care is a preventive and supplementary tool. It cannot replace actual therapy. Thus, telehealth apps make therapy more affordable and accessible than ever.
6. Optimizing Sleep
Getting enough sleep is necessary for normal brain function, improving productivity, and a healthy heart and body. However, stressful work hours and long exposure to screens can cut your sleep short. Therefore, there are several ways to limit stress and improve sleep quality.
Limiting blue light exposure before bed is helpful. At least an hour to two hours before you sleep, try to distance yourself from smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices. This is tied to how the natural circadian rhythm works in our bodies. According to the CDC, blue light from devices has the strongest impact on the circadian rhythm. This can make falling asleep difficult.
If you have trouble falling asleep, meditations with white noise on the Calm app can help. Another way to improve your sleep is by analyzing it. Through smartwatches or sleep tracking apps, you can get a detailed report about your sleep patterns. That will help you determine the quality of your sleep and ways to improve it.
Combine Multiple Technologies to Beat Stress
Making anti-stress measures a part of your routine can prepare you and become resilient. For example, mindfulness as a daily habit will lower your stress levels and improve other aspects of your life simultaneously.
Similarly, pairing fitness routines, meal planning, and sleep optimization allow for the best physical health—which ties into positive mental wellbeing.