I want to introduce you to 3 stress-busting gadgets that could change your life! Gotta admit that I was a bit skeptical about using a gadget of all things, a piece of tech no less, to ease my stress. After-all it’s the tech that causes most of my stress, right? Also it feels a bit counter-intuitive to use something outside of myself to help me to find inner peace. But, there’s a lot of buzz going on around these devices, so I thought it was time to take 3 of them on a road test. I wanted to find out if any of them could possibly change my life in terms of reducing my daily stress.
Remember stress directly affects your health. Stress can weaken the immune system, disrupt the healthy bacteria in your gut, burns out your adrenal glands (hormones helloooo!), and of course be a contributing factor in heart disease. Aside from that, an overload of stress is unpleasant, right? A certain amount of stress in normal unless you live under a rock, but most of us have stress levels today, that would have put any woman from Jane Austin’s era into a very early grave. There is only so much we can withstand, and as outer stress triggers ramp up, we need to find a way to calm it all down within.
This is a gorgeous little gadget – a “fitness tracker” of sorts, but so much more. Where do I start with how much I love the Bellabeat? Let’s begin with the design: It’s so stylish and pretty that it can be worn as a piece of jewelry. Each Bellabeat can be either worn as a necklace (chain included), a bracelet (leather wrap-around included), or it can be hooked onto your bra strap or belt. What’s even better is that you don’t have to commit to one way of wearing it. I started wearing mine as a necklace, then when I had a meeting, I wanted a pretty bracelet; when I went for a run, I attached it to my sport’s bra – all in a day!! It comes in 5 different designs and color combos. I have the Leaf Nature, and I love the silver leaf against the blonde wood, with its taupe wrist strap.
The mission of Bellabeat is to “Change your life by making yourself a priority”. This happens to be my mission too. The people behind behind this brand are clearly giving a solution to a very real modern-day problem for women: We tend to put ourselves last on the list because we are not only working like the clappers, but also taking care of everyone else before ourselves. This little device aims to change that by not only making you aware of how you are or are not taking care of yourself, but also offering a solution.
The Bellabeat tracks how much you’ve slept, how much you’ve moved, and more importantly, your stress sensitivity. But best of all, it offers a solution in the form of a choice of high quality guided meditations. This is my favorite part of the Bellabeat because you key in a daily goal (maybe ten minutes of meditation), it helps you to do it, and then gives you a big pat on the back when you reach your goal. It works by positively reinforcing every self-loving action you take.
Some of these devices can end up being a bit of a headache in terms of syncing, getting set up, and general glitches, but the Bellabeat is slick and VERY easy to use. You don’t even have to charge it because it comes with a battery. I literally pulled mine out of the packaging and had it up and running with the accompanying App, inside of ten minutes. One day of use and I was fully into it, and couldn’t wait to use it the next day. A huge thumbs up for anyone who wants the a combo of an aesthetically-pleasing tracker, but one that will actually teach you to meditate, relax, and exercise when you least feel like it.
Muse is really interesting, and quite different from anything I have ever encountered. It’s basically a device that will help you to meditate by sensing your brain waves, and transforming the signals into sounds of nature. These sounds are indications of what your brain is going through during meditation. For example, if my mind wanders and become really stressed, the sounds of nature (crashing waves) intensify. When I calm down, the sounds of nature become softer … you might even hear birds singing when your brain is really relaxed. You may ask, what’s the point? Well, it’s the tech version of “mindfulness”. Instead of having to figure out if your brain is doing what it’s supposed to during meditation, it does it for you by guiding you with these sounds.
It was pretty easy to pull out of the box and get started. The first thing you have to do is charge the headband for a few hours. Then, as is the case with all of these devices, you download the App, which gives you detailed instructions on how to sync it. I didn’t read all the instructions first time around, and so couldn’t figure out how to sync – duh (so be warned to read carefully). Then comes the part of fitting the headband onto your head so that it can calibrate your brain waves. This is when I felt as if I were in a Sci Fi movie – seriously! It took a few minutes for it to “sense” my brainwaves, and then we were straight into a 3-minute mediation. I have to admit it was pretty fascinating, and although I’ve only done 2 meditations, I look forward to further exploration of my brain and it’s mysterious waves!
I will say that despite me wanting to think it was a load of nonsense, I can see how it can be incredibly helpful for someone who is learning to meditate and become more mindful. Unlike the Bellabeat, Muse is unisex. Actually now I think about it, a really great man gift if you are looking for something really unique. But, I guess the guy needs to be open, right? Because he’ll need to get over sitting there with a really odd looking headpiece across his forehead. When my husband caught sight of me wearing it in bed the other night (yep – I was trying out a bedtime mediation), he couldn’t breath through laughing.
The Wellbe is half way between the above 2 devices. It’s a tracker of sorts, but a tracker that measures your stress/calm levels by way of special sensors and patented algorithms, throughout the day. It’s a bracelet that’s designed with a super eco-friendly cork strap in either black or natural. I LOVE the cork because it’s sweat and water resistant! It’s also really pretty, especially in the natural color.
It’s pretty easy to set and and sync with the App, and will start measuring your stress levels right away. For me there is a plus and a minus. The plus is that to assess your stress level, you have to sit down and hold your wrist still for about 3 minutes so that it can check. By virtue of the fact that you have to suddenly sit still and calm for 3 minutes, you’re almost getting a meditation in of itself! The minus for me is the same thing!! – That I had to sit still when sometimes I just wanted a quick check in! The Wellbe builds a daily profile of the people, places and things that may be stressing you. My stress levels came as no surprise, because I know when I’m stressed, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of my triggers, and that perhaps it’s time to sit down and meditate.
The Wellbe offers guided meditations in the same way that Bellabeat does, and it’s just a matter of personal preference which set of meditations you prefer. I think that as they update the Wellbe, the choice of meditations will expand.
Out of the box, you will need to charge your Wellbe in it’s little charging station. I would have preferred the charge to last for longer, but it’s not too much of an effort to charge it overnight.
It’s definitely next generation in terms of helping everyone become aware of, and manage their stress. A much-needed device.
So, in conclusion, are any of the above life changing? I would say that each of them could be for sure. It’s very personal in terms of finding the gadget that works for your particular lifestyle. But, I will say that even for me (a gal who does daily meditation, yoga, and exercise), one of these devices could be life-changing because each one of them makes me hyper aware of my stress. In wearing the device I’m committing to take my stress levels down. I’m committing to becoming healthier. And most importantly, I’m committing to putting wellness first. So take, your pick…either way, you can’t go wrong.
Oh, and one more added helper to reducing stress and tension: ESSENTIAL OILS! My favorite for helping to clear and calm my mind is the Tension Remedy by H. Gillerman. This blend is quite magical. And her Stress Remedy is BEYOND!
Update: Many of you have commented that you have concerns about the EMF (Electro Magnetic Frequencies) emitted by such devices. Where I share your concerns, I am also very realistic about the following: If you use a cell phone, and especially if you hold it up to your ear, you are going to get way more powerful EMF’s emitted that most any wearable device (yikes!). The EMF’s emitted from your TV, home wiring, home appliances, wireless Internet, and much more, are pretty much unavoidable unless you live off the grid or in a cave! There is way more scientific research to be done (and a lot of currently underway) in terms of measuring the health impact of the wireless society that we now live in. Right now, I don’t think that adding a wearable device with very low frequencies is going to make a huge difference to the EMF’s that we are all subjected to. But I DO totally agree with many of you, that doing without as many blue tooth devices as possible might be a good idea – with the exception of your car (if you take you phone in your car).