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.
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 recent 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, apple.com
Fitbit Charge 2
Our current fitness tracker fave follows in the footsteps of the Apple Watch by adding a new Relax feature that offers guided breathing training squarely aimed at helping you de-stress.
Also available for the Fitbit Blaze, Relax uses the onboard heart rate monitor and HRV monitoring to detect changes in heart rate and offer personalised breathing options that are available in one-minute or five-minute long sessions.
When you're not taking a breather, there's all the usual fitness tracking features to make use of as well along with improved sleep tracking and a VO2 Max test to determine your current state of fitness.
Wareable verdict: Fitbit Charge 2 review
Garmin Vivosmart 3
Like the Charge 2, the Vivosmart 3 adopts a more mindful approach to fitness tracking.
Using heart rate variability (or HRV), the Garmin wearable is able to track your heart and present a stress level score at any moment of the day. If it happens to be high, you can kick off a guided breathing exercise to re-centre yourself and get back to a calmer state.
The Vivosmart 3 also packs in a bigger display than its predecessor the Vivosmart HR+ and offers gym-friendly features like rep counting to keep a closer eye on your weights sessions.
Wareable verdict:Garmin Vivosmart 3 review
After launching its first device in 2016, the Touchpoints Basic promises to kill your stress in just 30 seconds.
Worn on both of your wrists or clipped onto your clothing, the Basic wearables harness neuroscience technology sending alternating vibrations that aim to alter the body's Fight, Flight or Freeze response to stress and anxiety. This will then apparently restore homeostatic nervous system functioning, which will allow you to think clearly and become calmer.
The Touchpoints Basic has just completed its Indiegogo campaign and is scheduled to ship the wearable in August 2017.
From $129, thetouchpointsolution.com
This smart sports bra successfully completed its Kickstarter campaign and now it's ready to go into production in the quest to help its backers relax.
Read this:Vitali smart bra wants to fight stress
The garment is embedded with sensors that are able to track breathing rate, posture and heart rate variability. HRV is a clinically proven indicator of stress and along with tracking breathing and posture will help identify what triggers stressful moment in your life.
Vitali and its embedded sensors is washing machine-friendly, just make sure you clip off the module that packs in the tech first.
From $129, vitaliwear.com
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.
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.
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
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
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 Pro
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 Pro
The device, which sits around the neck and uses 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.
From $149, thync.com
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.
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
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