Don’t we all know when we’re stressed? Can’t we feel the stress building? And don’t we know what situations cause us to feel tense? Is this device helpful?
I’m a skeptic. I wear a device that tracks my steps, calories burned, and sleep patterns. I only use it to find out how much I walk in a single day. It motivates me to reach 10,000+ steps every day.
A new wearable, the WellBe, that I received a month ago, looks a lot like the average fitness tracker that you wear on your wrist. The difference is that it has a built-in heart rate monitor that keeps track of your stress levels.
That’s where my skepticism comes into play. Don’t we all know when we’re stressed? Can’t we feel the stress building? And don’t we know what situations cause us to feel tense?
Full confession: I used to teach yoga and meditation. I thought I knew what triggered me to worry. A friend told me that if she wore one of these devices, her stress levels would spike every time her kids had a meltdown. Most parents would agree.
However, the WellBe does more than let you know when you’re stressed. The app that’s used in conjunction with it details everything that triggers your stress levels. What’s good about that is if you’re more aware of whom or what events make you tense, you’ll be better equipped to handle them.
For instance, I know that I get stressed when driving to new locations. I’m directionally challenged and hate getting lost. I rely on my GPS and thought that calmed me down. However, according to my WellBe, the moment I’m in the car programming my Waze app, my stress level rises. By practicing a few breathing exercises, I was able to lower my stress level. What’s cool is seeing it go down.
The causes of stress are different for each of us. Maybe it’s a supervisor at work or a family member that makes you feel anxious. The WellBe app works with your smartphone and scores from “Calm” to “High Stress.” It lets you record situations and people who upset you, and — most importantly — it offers solutions.
The app that’s linked to the heart monitor in the device points out solutions in the forms of meditation and mindfulness exercises. It shows you how to slow and focus your breathing. The number of online solutions that are solely available for WellBe users are narrowed down to your own personal needs. It will suggest programs that you can watch that are designed to lower your stress levels. Many are led by world-renowned wellness mentors. Plus, while you’re watching these videos, your stress levels are monitored so you can see what works and what doesn’t.
We all understand that stress leads to numerous health problems, from headaches to insomnia to high blood pressure, heart disease, and more. People who regularly wear a WellBe or other heart rate monitor believe it’s been beneficial to their health.
A friend of mine who wears one told me that she was surprised to learn how much stress is in her life. She said that within the first week of wearing it, she started watching the meditation and breathing exercises that were recommended to her on the app. Since her stress levels were so high, she has made time each day to practice about an hour of meditation and breathing. She also enrolled in a weekly yoga class and tries to practice at home. Since using these techniques, she has seen her stress levels go down within a couple of weeks.
This lightweight device, crafted from cork, teaches us how to adjust to stress, how to avoid it, and how to manage it. It comes in black, brown, and a light pine color called Natural. It retails for $149 on the WellBe website.
June 02, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN