Being present and mindful is important not just for our physical health, but even for our day-to-day health and safety.
When your mind is wandering and you aren’t present, you may be more at risk of being in a car accident for example. If you’re not focused on what you’re doing at the moment, you may be more distracted behind the wheel and more likely to speed. Speeding is a contributing factor to 26% of all deadly accidents.
Mindfulness is something people often have to practice because, in our fast-paced world, our attention is incredibly divided at nearly all times. When you’re mindful, you are intentionally focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting that moment for what it is without judgment. It’s like a type of meditation, and there is evidence that practising mindfulness regularly can help improve physical and psychological health.
For example, mindfulness can improve your sense of well-being and the satisfaction you feel with your life. You’re more engaged with daily activities as they’re happening, and you then become more equipped to deal with negative events or outcomes.
When you practice mindfulness, it may help lower stress and blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, and it may also help with gastrointestinal symptoms. Mindfulness can improve your sleep quality, and it can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you find mindfulness challenging, there is a lot of technology emerging as a resource.
The following are some tech and gadgets that can give your mindfulness journey a boost.
Muse makes different wearable headband-style technology to improve mindfulness and mental health. The Muse 2 is the newest version of the headband, and it takes the activity of your brain and body and turns it into the sounds of weather to help you stay calm and focused. For example, if you have a busy mind, the Muse 2 will give you the noise of stormy weather.
The Muse connects to your mobile device through Bluetooth. You set it up and install the Muse meditation app. Then, you do a meditation session, and you can check your results based on your brain activity during that time. The Muse and Muse 2 are EEG devices that are based on neuroscience. They use signal processing to interpret mental activity. There are two sensors on the forehead, two behind the ears and then three reference sensors that detect and measure brain activity. There are also pulse oximetry heart and breath sensors.
The Philips Somneo is a technologically advanced alarm clock that can help with mindfulness as well. The device is a light therapy alarm clock and it’s also equipped with a wind-down breathing feature. The wind-down feature includes a combination of a sunset simulation to help your brain realize it’s time to fall asleep, as well as the breathing exercises. The light also brightens when you breathe in and fades when you breathe out. When you wake up in the morning, the light gradually brightens to replicate the natural effects of the rising.
Bellabeat is a company that specializes in helping people with their own wellness through science. They offer a product that’s a piece of jewelry called the Bellabeat Leaf. The Bellabeat leaf is an activity tracker, it tracks your menstrual cycle, and you can track your meditations and sleep habits.
Everything is tracked so that you can check in on your stress levels and get insights as far as your ability to deal with stress. The Leaf is made with movement sensors, and it continuously tracks your activities 24/7. It has a six-month battery life so you don’t have to charge it.
The Leaf isn’t the only wearable that can help you be more mindful from Bellabeat.
They also have a watch and even a smart water bottle.
The Spire Stone is a bit of wearable technology that monitors your breathing patterns throughout the day and helps you re-center and calm yourself down when necessary.
The small device measures your breath through the expansion and contraction happening in your mid-section.
It then analyzes your breathing to determine if it’s calm, focused, or tense.
You’ll receive notifications if there’s a sudden change in your breathing patterns so you can reset.
Neuroon Sleep Mask
The Neuroon Sleep Mask is an interesting bit of technology that currently performs EEG sleep tracking but soon will integrate mindfulness and meditation features as well.
The Neuroon pairs sleep science with biometric sensors. It analyzes sleep patterns and uses the information to create customized sleep and nap schedules that are then integrated with your daily life and schedule.
The goal is to use this information and the features of the sleep mask to help you stay productive and focused optimally during your day.
It can even change your dreams and create something called lucid dreaming because it exposes you to certain light and vibration-based stimuli that can then be incorporated into your dream.
When the meditation feature is released, it will use biofeedback as a way to promote your brain to release alfa waves to help you focus.
The Aura app claims to be a meditation app that will help relieve your stress in three minutes. Aura uses artificial intelligence and was created by meditation and health experts. The app uses soothing sounds, and it provides you with what you need to meditate wherever you’re at. You open the app and put on your headphones, and then select from a variety of guided meditations that last anywhere from 3 to 10 minutes. In addition, there are short stories that you can listen to in the app and a gratitude journal.
Technology can be a distraction that makes us less focused on what’s happening in the present in some cases. In other cases, we can actually use the power of technology to make ourselves more mindful, which can improve our health and safety.