Technology to the Rescue

It’s about Time! Instead of technology increasing our stress, new apps are coming out that aim at helping us stay healthy and combat stress. In the last operating system upgrade (iOS 10) for MAC iPhones and iWatches, there is attention paid to reminders and apps that remind you to breathe or spend a few minutes of Mindfulness time. The new iOS 10 has actually added Mindfulness and Sleep to the Health Data built into the operating system. This allows you to track your Mindful Minutes daily. The phone also sends reminders to the iWatch wearer to Breathe or to take a Mindful Minute break. It tracks your heart rate and how much you move all day long. Reminders that it is time to stand up and move some are helpful on those days spent in front of a computer screen typing a report.

I know Apple is not the only smart phone provider and that other such apps exist. The point is that technology has finally turned its attention to seeking new ways to keep the population in a healthier state of mind (and body). One such app that debuted in 2012 is called, Headspace. Emma Watson, author of Sitting Still Like a Frog, said, “it’s kind of genius.” Headspace is meditation made simple. Install it free today to learn meditation and mindfulness in just 10 minutes a day. If you enjoy Take10 (taking a 10 minute break) and want to learn more, then you can choose to continue and get access to hundreds of hours of original meditations. These include guided and unguided lessons and range from 2 to 60 minutes long.

Another such app that costs the same as a fancy cup of coffee is buddify. buddhify is also a mindfulness app that is playful and beautifully-designed from a visual point of view. It boasts over 11 hours of custom meditations for many different things you might be doing during a day, including going to sleep, taking a work break, travelling, and many more.

When you start looking into apps designed to take some time for yourself or track changes toward adopting a healthier life style, the selection is surprisingly large. There is an app that tracks how much water you drink a day. There is a Diet Coach app. Many of these are free. One I just found while writing this column calls itself, “7.” It is a workout app that takes 7 minutes and challenges you to do it daily for 7 months. It is based on the workout featured in the NY Times magazine and it builds in a challenge: if you miss 3 days in a row, it resets your score to zero.

As the Apple announcer-lady with a cool British accent says, “Making small changes in 4 key areas can make a difference. Just move a little more. Eat a little better. Sleep tighter. And, take a moment to calm your mind.” It really is about time.

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