- From easing your anxiety to just plain helping you unwind, wearable technology may offer a promising solution to those who suffer from stress.
- We’ll explain exactly how they work.
Everyone gets stressed at some point, but unfortunately, stress is a routine part of their daily lives for many people. No matter where it comes from, long-term, chronic stress can harm your health and your ability to sleep and even function properly. Here in this blog post, we’ll look at how smart devices and wearables can help you combat the tension you’re feeling.
We know, we know — the thought of smart wearable technologies helping you cope with stress does sound pretty outlandish. But we’re not making this up. Read on to find out more.
So, Why Do You Need to Track Stress Anyway?
The link between stress and illness and chronic disease is well established. Not only does it raise the risk of heart disease and type II diabetes, but endocrine, brain, and cellular function are also affected by stress.
A lot of people seem to be caught in a vicious cycle of anxiety and sadness. Chronically stressed people are more likely to adopt bad dietary and exercise habits. Sleep deprivation, excessive alcohol consumption, and ignoring the link between nutrition and mental health are just a few examples. Inflammation in the body and anxiety are two things that are exacerbated by these kinds of behaviours.
Stress has both immediate and long-term effects. If you’ve been overwhelmed with it for a long time, you may have symptoms like:
- Difficulty with normal day-to-day activities like showering or doing chores
- Sleep issues, like insomnia
- Thinking about things again and again (rumination)
- Chronic fatigue or tiredness
- A significant decrease in energy and productivity issues
- Your mood is negatively affected by small things
- Unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking, doing drugs, or drinking excessively
The very first step to fighting the plague that is stress would be tracking and monitoring it. That’s where a stress tracker comes into play. In addition to other wellness practices such as mindfulness or keeping a stress journal, a wearable stress monitor can help you pay a bit more attention to your mood, feelings, and stressors.1
How Do Stress Trackers and Monitors Work?
A couple of things that show that you’re stressed are sweaty palms and a quick rise in your heart rate. Stress trackers observe how your body changes to see how you’re feeling at any given moment.
Fitness trackers measured only average heartbeats per minute when they first came out.
Nowadays they include HRV tracking as well, especially the more pricey fitness trackers like Fitbits and Apple watches. Heart rate variability (HRV) is a better predictor of stress than average heart rate (ABM) because it is a more reliable measure of stress. Human respiratory variability (HRV) is a measure of heart rate variability.
Typically, you’re in good shape if your HRV is high, and you’re either out of shape, tired, or dehydrated if your HRV is low.
Certain trackers have begun using electrodermal activity (EDA) to measure stress levels in the last year. When you sweat, the electrical activity of your skin changes, which is referred to as EDA. EDA may also be referred to as a galvanic skin response (GSR).2
Other General Ways to Reduce Stress
Here are some ways to reduce stress that can complement the use of stress-relieving wearables:
- Listen to Music/Singing Your Heart Out – Sometimes, singing or listening to your favourite song can be soothing to the soul. We recommend singing energy-pumping songs or listening to classical music right before bed
- Progressive relaxation includes tensing the muscles in one body area at a time to create a state of utter relaxation
- Drink some green tea. L-Theanine, a substance found in green tea, has been shown to reduce anger
- Cuddle up with your furry companion. Their affection and love can be just what you need to feel much better
- Snack on some delicious chocolate. An ounce and a half of the sugary treat can help you relax by cutting down the stress hormone cortisol. Dark chocolate works best
- You can lower your blood pressure and heart rate by taking deep, slow breaths. The yogic style of pranayama breathing, which involves inhaling and exhaling through one nostril at a time, can help alleviate stress and instill a sense of harmony
- Standing up for a bit of stretch may help you de-stress and unwind after a long day at the office. If you can’t get up from your chair, do a simple shoulder roll or a chest-opening stretch instead
There are a bunch of different ways to gauge stress today. Stress trackers aren’t the only way to beat stress. However, it is possible to gain valuable insights into how stress affects our bodies and what we can do about it and assist you in developing healthier habits and decisions regarding your physical and emotional health.
If you enjoyed reading and found this piece helpful, consider leaving a comment below letting us know which fitness tracker you use!