In a time like this, when the pandemic is causing a lot of trouble, working has become more complex. People go through a lot in their minds which leads to stress, and that is not healthy every time.
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People who are not good at handling stress can lead to an unbalanced lifestyle, especially those suffering it for the first time on this scale. As our working culture is getting busier, handling stress has become very important, and with the help of technology, it is now easy to monitor your health.
Wearables are improving at an unimaginable speed and are getting loaded with health-related features. Stress detection is one of those features; every major brand now includes stress management as one of the main features of the device. Every smartwatch comes with stress detection and coping technique.
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It’s not almost taking care of your mental prosperity. Wearables are also utilizing these physiological estimations to offer knowledge into the kind of stresses put on the body through workouts. That way, individuals can have a much better understanding of the strain and push you’re putting on your body that may affect future workout sessions. So, managing stress through wearables is a better and easy way for you.
Smartwatch Stress Management and Mindfulness
But buying a smartwatch with stress monitoring features is not easy. No worries! Here, we will provide you with details on how these smart wearables manage stress and provide you with ways to tackle it.
How Wearables Measure Stress?
Every major brand like Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, Garmin use heart rate sensors to monitor stress. Technical industries have developed many types of heart rate activity measurements to monitor and provide insights related to your health. The one most relevant to the present rise in stress monitoring is named heart rate variability.
Heart rate variability or HRV indicates the time interval between the heartbeats. While monitoring heart rate, the average number of heartbeats in a minute is provided. But HRV is more focused on small fluctuations in the heart. What causes these fluctuations? Well, there are many causes. These include age, body position, time of day, and your current health status, but crucially, emotional, physical, and mental experiences can impact heart rate variability.
A high heart rate variability is considered good; meanwhile, a low heart rate variability is considered stress. Most heart disease, cholesterol, and diabetes are some medical conditions related to low HRV.
Stress and Guided Breathing
Heart rate variability measurement is used to monitor stress and provide details. It offers insight into mental wellbeing. However, the raw heart rate variability data will not be of any good to normal people. So, we are provided with scores and other ways to understand stress more easily.
It tracks stress throughout the day continuously and generates scores from 0-100. There are many algorithms and techniques used by companies to interpret this score for users. The scores give you very clear data about the stressful moments you had throughout the day. We have also seen the utilization of guided breathing exercises that rest on onboard heart rate monitors and HRV to assist in indicating when you’ve returned to a calmer state.
Guided breathing is one of the most effective exercises to handle stress. It eases the mind and gives a relaxing sensation. Breathing in a controlled manner lowers heart rate and increases heart rate variability, which helps in controlling stress.
In this section, we will discuss the stress on your body after a workout. It is related to fitness and exercise. HRV is used to indicate the strain and stress on the body after a workout and what it means for your recovery. Brands like Garmin and Whoop use heart rate variability measurement to produce insights into how ready your body is to perform.
When you examine Whoop’s Recovery metric, you see that it uses heart rate variability (HRV), resting heart rate (RHR), sleep, and rate of respiration to work out your recovery state after your body underwent stressful endurance physical training.
The best thing about wearables is that it provides you with stress details even when you are busy and can’t sense whether you are stressed or not.
What if the sensors which provide these data are not accurate? Sensors play a key role in providing raw data for stress monitoring. If the sensor providing insight into our mental wellbeing is not reliable, then all the algorithms will mean nothing, and it will be chaos. So, the question arises about how accurate and reliable these sensors are.
Can the heart rate sensor on your wearable be trusted for your physical and mental health?
Garmin recently acquired Firstbeat, an analytics company that provides metrics for many brands. According to Firstbeat, their stress management analysis has improved and validate. Several experts say that measuring heart rate variability from the wrist is not easy and can have a little error. Heart rate variability can be measured more accurately when our hand is still.
These sensors can provide more accurate data when placed on body parts near to heart, like the chest.
Future Of Wearable Tech Stress Management and Mindfulness
There is no doubt that wearables are going to improve in the future. They are still in their early phase and can do a lot. What can the more advanced and finely build technology can do in the future will be a great experience?
The smartwatch sensors will become more accurate in the future so that you will be provided with better details about stress. Stress coping techniques will also improve; you would be able to tune your workout according to your stress.
Data regarding stress will keep improving as the sensors improve. But the biggest challenge is the cause of stress. Smartwatches will provide you details about when you experienced stress, but they won’t tell you the reason. Users still have to maintain awareness about what things are causing stress to them.
Top Best Smartwatches for stress monitoring
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As mentioned at the beginning of the article, we have a lot of wearables to monitor your mental fitness and provide you with data regarding stress. Most of them are smartwatches, but there is a different wearable also, which we will discuss later. These wearables will provide you with data and techniques to calm you during a stressed moment.
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Garmin is the biggest name in the fitness industry; it is famous for its sport-specific smartwatches. There are many Garmin smartwatch that provides stress management support, whether on the body or mind.
- Vivoactive 4
- Vivosmart 4
- Forerunner 245
- Forerunner 945
- Fenix 6
All these smartwatches provide some sort of stress management. Garmin monitors stress throughout day and night and also provides spot measurement. As mentioned earlier, Garmin has acquired Firstbeat, which provides analytics for Garmin. Firstbeat monitors heart rate variability 24×7 and breaks down stress in low, medium, and high. It also provides scores between 1-100 to understand the stress. A low score means low stress, which is good, and a high score means you need to do some breathing to calm yourself.
Garmin watches also monitor stress while you are sleeping so you can get a better understanding of how well you slept. It also provides Guided breathing exercises taking the HRV and respiratory data into account.
Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 6
Apple is one of the leading brands in the smartwatch industry. It has provided many breakthroughs in the wearable industry related to health. Apple also uses heart rate variability (HRV) just like other brands in the market. There is no doubt how well Apple uses anything, and it does the same with heart rate variability measurements to provide stress-related services.
Apple introduced its breath app with Apple Watch Series 5. It was launched to help users to relax by concentrating on breathing. The app helps users by reminding them every day to work out their breathing. It uses the haptic engine on the watch to help you in your breathing exercise. Apple also provides instructions and animations to indicate when to inhale and exhale. The haptic engine provides a series of vibrating buzzes to replicate a more calming breathing rhythm.
Apple also takes heart rate variability (HRV) measurement while you are using the workout apps. It provides you with the HRV details when you were working out so you can monitor stress on your body. It also helps in making workout plans according to the stress details.
Fitbit also offers many smartwatches to tackle stress. Just like Apple, Fitbit also does not provide scores for stress. Instead, it offers guided breathing exercises you can practice with a device with a heart rate sensor. Fitbit provides simple breathing exercises according to the heart rate variability measurement, which determines the breathing rate.
It provides you Relax app, which you can access to choose sessions for breathing exercises. The app offers breathing guidance to inhale and exhale, just like Samsung. You have to synchronize your breathing with the circle on the screen, and you will get haptic feedback on completing it. There are many Fitbit smartwatches that provide these features.
- Fitbit Charge 5
- Fitbit Sense
- Fitbit Charge 4
- Fitbit Versa 3
Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Charge 5 are the best devices for handling stress as it comes with an EDA sensor. Sense is the first smartwatch to have an EDA sensor. Electrodermal activity (EDA) responses are minor electrical changes on the skin that might reveal the response of your body to stress. Sense is a multi-path electrical sensor that uses your palm to detect EDA reactions.
The EDA Scan app from Sense measures your electrodermal activity while completing an EDA attention-to-awareness session. Just put your palm over your watch and get input instantly. Normally, the calmer you are, you will notice fewer EDA reactions.
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Another tech giant with smart devices in every field. Samsung is one of those brands that want a product in every field. So, it is obvious they would be having smartwatches for stress management also. Samsung has the stress management feature in many of its smartwatches.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 3
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
They also use the heart rate variability measurements for stress monitoring insights. You can check the details regarding stress on the watch face. It also provides the weekly graph for the same. There are also some breathing exercises for the users to practice. It provides animation for when to inhale and when to exhale. Their exercise uses deep and slow breathing to reduce stress. Samsung also collaborated with Calm to provide more stress managing measures. You can also see your stress breakdown after you finish meditating.
Google Wear OS smartwatches
Google has been making significant upgrades to its Google Fit health and fitness platform, including the ability to access new guided breathing capabilities from the wrist, like those offered by Apple, Samsung, and Fitbit. It can be accessed inside the Google Fit app on all Wear OS smartwatches with heart rate monitors. Breathing exercises take two minutes to complete and need you to remain motionless.
The screen prompts you to inhale, exhale, and slow down you’re breathing at a slower speed with an animated ring. If you finish, you will have a summary of how much time you spent breathing and how many deep respirations.
Google has not made anything too huge in this segment yet. But rumors are that Google will bring many new features to its fitness app in the future. Here are some Wear OS smartwatches to help you with stress.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4
- Skagen Falster 3
- Fossil Gen 5
- Fossil Sport
- Fossil Sport Watch E2
We mentioned that there is also something other than smartwatches for which can help you in handling stress. This is the different wearable we mentioned above. Muse 2 is a wearable that senses what’s going on with your mind. Muse 2 is a neuro tracker device that tracks brain activities and provides you with feedback.
The Muse detects your brain activity in real-time and informs you to calm and stressful times with auditory clues using seven EEG (Electroencepha-gram) sensors along the scalp. It then walks you through a number of tasks to train and divert you. And now, with a pulse oximeter, it has the capacity to detect cardiac rhythm and body movements to make it a more practical meditation gadget. There are adaptable sessions that are driven by mental activity, respiration, and cardiac speed.
By using Muse 2, you will adapt calming techniques to your daily routine and will be able to practice them without it after some time. So, it is just a helping device to meditate for people who have problems doing it and need the help of a tool.
So, these were the wearable that can help in managing and tackling stress. As already mentioned at the start, managing stress is an especially important task in current days to provide balance to life. I hope the article might have helped you in buying the best smartwatch that helps you track stress and mindfulness.