Stress beating tech to keep you sane

These innovative wearables for your mind claim to make you calmer
Stress beating tech to keep you sane

You'd be forgiven for assuming that wearable tech is all about fitness trackers to help shed the pounds and keeping you on track to reach your fitness goals.

Over the past year there's been a steady rise in tech aimed at keeping our minds in shape, just as much as our bodies. A recent survey revealed that stress tracking is one of the most wanted features from wearable tech, while major players like Apple is even getting in on the calming act.

Read this: The science behind Apple and Fitbit's mindfulness push

There's been little conclusive research to date into the benefits of strapping tech to ourselves to keep us more calm, more grounded and more focused. But we've collected together some of the most interesting devices that claim to be built for your brain that you can buy now and one that'll be arriving soon.

Apple Watch Series 2

Apple's second generation smartwatch is sportier, but it's not all about tracking your runs and swims without your iPhone.

Thanks to the new watchOS 3 software update, the Cupertino company has introduced a new Breathe app with the goal of helping you to relax by focusing on your breathing.

Using Apple's taptic engine, you can pick from one or five minute sessions. A series of small vibrating buzzes will replicate a more calming breathing rhythm as you follow the instructions on the Watch display. It will also monitor heart rate to add to your breathing session data.

Wareable verdict: Read our full Apple Watch Series 2 review

From $369,

Vinaya Zenta

The unisex, biometric bracelet is an activity tracker but it's also packed with sensors that can track and study emotions to improve our overall wellbeing.

London based startup Vinaya is building a platform that aims to pull in data from Zenta's biometric sensors as well as from third-party smartphone apps and "minimal subjective input" to create a personalised emotional profile.

Read this: How Vinaya is trying to build an emotional AI life coach

The companion app will, via machine learning over time, give users actionable insights into what daily activities trigger negative emotions, stress or even depression as well as positive emotions, calm, stillness and overall wellbeing.

The iOS and Android friendly wearable is set to ship in March/April 2017.


Fitbit Charge 2

Like Apple, Fitbit is looking beyond simply tracking steps, sleep and heart rate. With the Charge 2, we now get a new guided breathing feature that aims to get you feeling more relaxed.

It's based around measuring heart rate (specifically heart rate variability) to ensure you're not inhaling too deeply or exhaling too quickly. The idea is to complete either the two or five minute sessions to cool down after a workout or to de-stress.

This is new territory for Fitbit and in our experience playing with it, the guided breathing exercises is a great addition to one of the best fitness trackers you can slap onto your wrist.

Wareable verdict: Read our full Fitbit Charge 2 review

$149.99, | Amazon

Feel wristband

This wrist-worn tracker claims to be able to monitor emotions and stress levels throughout the day and even help you get in a better mood.

Through multiple sensors including a Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), the Feel wristband is able to detect something called Electrodermal Response EDR, which is regarded as a great indicator of emotional state. That's also combined with a movement, blood volume pressure and skin temperature sensors to deliver the data to your phone.

Data logged can give an indication of your emotional state and help identify the factors that could be having an impact on it. Whether that's an environment you've been in or people you've met. It'll even offer offer breathing and meditation exercises to get you feeling good again.


Thync Relax

Last year we tried out Thync's Vibe, a small triangle that sits on your head and uses ultrasound to raise energy and lower stress. Now the makers of the mind-altering headset have tweaked the design for the stress busting Thync Relax.

The device, which sits around the neck and looks a bit like a pair of running headphones using similar technology featured in the first device that creates a kind of mini massage where you can control intensity from the Thync companion app.

Read this: Thync Relax killed my stress in 10 minutes

These feel-good signals aren't just meant to make you calmer, but can also give you more energy. Like downing an espresso, according to some fans. Or taking that pill from Limitless. It's not launching until 2017, but you can pick up the original Vibe for $199.


Bellabeat Leaf Urban

Dubbed "smart jewellery" rather than a headset or run-of-the-mill wristband, the Leaf Urban from Bellabeat is the startup's second generation activity tracker designed to monitor steps, sleep and ovulation.

Built with women in mind, the Bellabeat also has a huge focus on stress levels at its core with dedicated features on the way in the near future.

The device works on the premise that shallow, rushed breathing equals stress, so it monitors your breathing and teaches you how to re-focus and calm your mind through a series of breathing exercises that you can easily visualise with the Leaf's accompanying app.

Wareable verdict: Read our full Bellabeat Leaf Urban review



Prana is built to keep tabs on your breathing and your posture. But it's not been designed to purely stop your shoulders from hunching, it works on the premise that the better your posture is and the more controlled your breathing is, the happier and healthier you'll be.

Read this: Meet the biofeedback tech fighting a stress epidemic

Clip the little disc-shaped Prana device to your waistband and it'll track the way both your diaphragm and chest move in and out while you breathe and the position of your body.

Using a series of algorithms, the gadget can then work out the quality of your breathing and then urges you to make changes through a series of breath patterns, basic movements and simple games.



stress relieving techniques with gadgets

Another headset-style device, the Muse is all about sensing what's going on in your brain and allowing you to change your state yourself rather than zapping you with electric signals.

Using seven EEG (Electroencephalogram) sensors along your scalp, the Muse measures your brain activity in real time and alerts you to calm and stressed moments through audio cues. It then guides you through a series of exercises in order to train yourself and identify distractions.

The idea is you'll then be able to go it alone and apply these calming techniques to your daily routine. So it's essentially just meditation for those who need a tool to help them out.

Wareable verdict: Read our full Muse review

$299, | Amazon


The WellBe might look like your average fitness tracker, but it's built for wellness, not fitness.

A built-in heart rate monitor detects your stress levels based on time, location and the people you meet. The WellBe app will paint a picture of the things that trigger your stress levels, the premise being that more awareness will enable you to better deal with certain people or events. Whether this works to empower or overwhelm you in the real world remains to be seen.

Read this: The future of tracking - health, fitness & happiness

It also provides you with ways of reducing your stress levels when they soar, meaning it's not just about detecting stress but serving up solutions too, like meditation and focused breathing, when you need them.



Based on a similar premise to Prana, the Spire is a small wearable device that clips onto your clothes and monitors your breathing.

Using a series of sensors, Spire keeps an eye on inhalation and exhalation times, your breathing rate, the steps you take and the calories you've burned. It pairs up with an app that will deliver guided meditations and tips for chilling out when the device senses you're tense or your breathing is hurried and shallow.

The fact it also keeps an eye on steps and calories means it's a great all-rounder if you'd rather not spend all your wearable budget on a breath tracker. There's further good news that Spire now works with Android phones as well as iPhones.

Wareable verdict: Read our full Spire review

$99.95, | Amazon

Shop for recommended fitness trackers on Amazon

Fitbit Charge 2
Fitbit Charge 2
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
Garmin Vivosmart HR+
Misfit Ray
Misfit Ray
Xiaomi Mi Band 2
Xiaomi Mi Band 2

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