Wearable Tech for Better Mental Health
We have heard of wearable technology helping physical well-being but how can wearable technology assist with mental health? As social distancing and isolation continue to take a toll on our society, mental health has become the next big issue to descend upon us. Wearables have the unique ability to help monitor some of the early signs of depression or anxiety and might even be able to help curtail the manifesting of these mental health issues before they become a larger problem. Some of the ways wearables can help are:
1. Keep you on a schedule. - Having a routine or healthy schedule is one of the most important factors for keeping a healthy mindset. With unemployment or work from home orders, many people have lost their typical routine and wearables can help keep on track with alarms and reminders to keep those who need it in a healthy routine.
2. Track your sleep - Good rest is important for good mental health and wearables can help keep track of what type of sleep one is getting and if it is adequate to their needs as well as help find ways to improve sleep patterns.
3. Track your HRV (Heart Rate Variability) - This tracking will record more than a typical fitness tracking watch and new research has shown those having higher HRV helps one be more resilient with stress.
Unlike basic heart rate (HR) that counts the number of heartbeats per minute, HRV looks much more closely at the exact changes in time between successive heartbeats which gives you a snapshot of how your brain is processing stress. The Sympathetic Nervous System’s physiological response to stress with 'fight or flight' response and adrenal stress, focuses on short term survival in lieu of long term health. This acute response can become chronic from factors in life such as stress, poor sleep habits, dysfunctional relationships, unhealthy diet, isolation, and lack of exercise. This 'Chronically Accumulated Stress' from many sources can contribute to poor health and performance over the long term and affect your life expectancy while remaining undetected because they are so subtle. Without having to go to your doctor, the best way to check HRV is to buy a chest strap heart monitor such as Wahoo or Polar and then download a free app, Elite HRV, for example, to analyze the data. It is best to check your HRV after you wake up in the morning, a few times a week, and track for changes as you incorporate healthier interventions such as meditation, yoga, or better sleeping habits. Now with this state-of-the-art, available, wearable tech, you can help train the unconscious part of your brain to help handle stress better as well as monitor your autonomic nervous system in a non-invasive manner.
These are just a few of the ways that wearable tech can help with mental health. The information it provides about the physical body can assist as the wearer strives to attain not only a healthier physique, but a healthier mind as well.