How to use tech for your health
Have you ever thought about how you can use technology to support your health journey?
We’re now living in a time when pretty much all of us own some sort of mobile device. They’re here and it seems, they’re here to stay. So, whilst we know that EMFs are problematic and there are social issues with overuse of mobile phones, taking us away from essential human connection and interaction, perhaps we can find some ways to let this technology support us in our health.
In clinic, one of the areas we recommend most of our patients invest time is in quietening the mind – meditation, mindfulness, journalling – call it what you will, we simply want to spend more time in a parasympathetic state. You see it is stress that underpins a great many modern health concerns and to suggest someone ‘empty their mind’ or find some quiet time can be difficult. Here are some apps that support this in many ways including educating you about the process of meditation, understanding what your brain is likely to do (and why that’s OK) and teach you how to make meditation part of your world.
One Giant Mind – One of my two favourite meditation apps. Local Aussie dude Jonni Pollard skilfully takes you through a series of focused, guided mantra-based meditations.
Headspace – The sweet tones of Andy – this is a fantastic mediation tool if, like me, you’re a visual learner. Lots of fantastic little cartoon illustrations to demonstrate behaviours and beliefs around meditation (like, for example, that during meditation you need to have no thoughts – as if!).
Calm.com – Choose from a selection of meditation techniques at Calm.com, where you are always invited to take a deep breath to begin your practice and then you can opt in to do a body scan, manage stress, improve sleep or anxiety as well as other fantastic meditations.
Conversation Starters – Danielle LaPorte is well known in the journaling/mindfulness space. This wonderful app allows you to access creative opportunities – simply tap on the conversation starters that give you an opportunity to question beliefs, behaviours and stories that may no longer fit you.
Heartmath –(called EmWave for android) this app can fall into the movement category as you can use it as a tool to predict if you are in the right state to train, but also as a wonderful development tool for emotional wellbeing. Coherence is an optimal physiological state shown to prevent and reduce stress, increase resilience, and promote emotional wellbeing. Coherence is measured through Heart Rate Variability (HRV) – a unique window into the quality of communication between the heart and brain which directly impacts how we feel and perform.
So, there are some great apps to begin your experience of meditation and mindfulness and of course there are plenty more to choose from. Now let’s look at another essential pillar of health – exercise. The ability to track and analyse movement so that we can be aware of how we’re going and when we need to do more to stay on track with our fitness goals.
Fitbit – How many steps have you walked today? What’s your sleep report (including waking through the night)? Do you have friends who’re in the Fitbit community? A simple download and you’re connected to all of this information and more. I like that you can set your own goals and work towards them.
Moves – a simple movement app that tracks all movement, has a pedometer so you can work towards your 10,000 steps daily, and you’re able to add over 60 unique activities so you’re able to track the activities you love to do. When you can see how much you’re moving, it’s a great motivation to stay on track. On the downside, it may use up battery due to its constant interaction so be sure to charge overnight.
When it comes to great health, we need to look at relationships and communication, wouldn’t you agree? The next few apps will have you sorted when it comes to initiating positive communication.
Gottman Card Decks App – In a time when conversation skills aren’t being nurtured as they once were, these cards create an opportunity to explore. After 40 years of researching couples, Gottman concluded that those whose positive communication outweighed the negative were more likely to have a successful relationship. Makes sense then to practice this skill, don’t you think?
5 Love Languages – are you wanting to have the best relationships possible but your partner/parent/best friend just doesn’t value the same things? Find out what their love language is (the way they give and receive love) and then you’ll know exactly how to press their love buttons. A powerful way to upscale and refresh relationships – and who doesn’t appreciate a healthy dose of love!
Healthy behaviours around alcohol and food are a big deal for a lot of people. Some of us don’t even know why we make the choices we do – here are a few apps that can help you out.
In The Moment – now here’s a great little circuit breaker. Reaching for a snack? Check in with the app to untangle the real reason you’re climbing the cupboard or frisking the fridge. Sometimes all you need is a little interruption and awareness to make a better choice.
Daybreak – from the creators of Hello Sunday Morning, this app will support you if reducing your alcohol intake is your next health move. From what I see it’s more of a support forum but there is an opportunity to have access to a coach or use the Wellbeing Choices section to learn about how to change drinking-related behaviour. This is for anyone who wants to set a goal of going booze-free with a little prop up.
Of course, there are literally millions of apps that you can start scouring to support your health and wellness experiences. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to keep it simple, bring in habits gently and look after those key pillars of health; stress, nutrition, hydration, movement and relationships.