Technology isn’t usually viewed as something that can help you feel more mindful. Mobile devices are typically seen as tools for constantly checking your Facebook updates, writing tweets and catching up on work emails. No doubt about it, your phone can bring you plenty of stress. However, before you write your phone off as a complete waste of time, know that there are tools out there that can help you lead a more mindful and centered life. From sleep-monitoring apps to devices that remind you to breathe more deeply, discover just how technology can help you.
One of the most important components of leading a healthy life is sleep. Getting a good night’s rest boosts your immune system and balances your appetite, according to the National Sleep Foundation. The Sleep++ app helps you measure your sleeping patterns. You turn the app on before you go to sleep and shut if off again when you wake up. The app then tells you how long you were asleep for and what portion of that time was spent in restless sleep. You can use this information to eliminate factors that break up your sleep patterns and get a better night’s sleep.
Most people breathe just enough to stay alive. You probably have to think hard about the last time you took a nice deep breath. Don’t you? Breath control is one the easiest ways to help you deal with stress, according to a Harvard Medical School study. It states that shallow breathing can make you feel anxious and short of breath, whereas deep breathing can slow your heartbeat and lower your blood pressure. Spire helps you breathe deeper and relax more. When you clip this compact device to your belt or bra, it monitors your breathing. If you’re breathing at a rapid clip, Spire sends you a text asking if you need to slow down. This is a good reminder to take a deep breath and lower your anxiety levels.
Yoga mats are probably the last thing you think of when you think of high-end technology. But SmartMat is out to change that. This yoga mat is outfitted with sensors that track your every movement once you link it to your mobile device. The mat, via your mobile device, gives you corrections depending on which posture you’re in, much like a yoga instructor would. You can pick from three modes: private home practice, in-class practice and zen mode. In zen mode, the mat tracks your practice without giving you adjustments. SmartMat also keeps track of your progress, so you can see how you’re improving.
Sometimes the best way to calm yourself down is to take deep breaths. This app helps with that. Pranayama contains a breathing course designed to help lower stress levels, fast. You also can customize the breathing patterns (for example, by inhaling for three counts and exhaling for five), so they best fit your preferred way to meditate.
Apple Watch Sport
One of the best ways to put all of these mindful apps to good use is with the Apple Watch Sport. Unlike an iPhone, the Apple Watch is compact, stylish and an item you’ll actually want to wear. It has all the function of the regular Apple Watch (you can receive texts, use apps and get notifications), but it’s lighter, stronger and more flexible, making it great for having an active lifestyle.