Technology sometimes gets a bad rap. Many are quick to point out it’s detrimental impact to our health and society. While technology can have a negative impact if we are glued to our screens, there are many ways it can help us lead a healthier and more positive lifestyle.
Mindfulness and meditation are hot topics these days. There are a variety of studies that demonstrate the many benefits that stem from being more mindful, such as reducing anxiety, stress, and depression, as well as helping you sleep better.
The notion of building in 10–20 minutes of meditation into your day might seem overwhelming for someone who has never done it, but technology can help.
With a smartphone in hand, there are so many apps at your fingertips that can remind and guide you to be more present and mindful. These apps teach you how to meditate and help you create a habit of daily meditation. Some popular, free and premium apps are Calm, Headspace, Simple Habit and Mindfulness.
Another great tool to help you unplug is Forest. With this app, you basically ‘plant’ a tree, and phone use is off limits until the tree is fully grown. You can more finely tune the restrictions in the setup options.
If you try to use your phone before the time has elapsed, the app asks you, “Do you really want to kill this tree?” which is a ridiculously effective motivator to get through the period when you are forcing yourself to unplug. (Fear not, if there is an emergency and an actual need to use your phone you can merely click the home button.)
Not only does this app help you unplug for a bit, it also helps the environment. Planting virtual trees earns coins, which are used to plant real trees by the people who manage the app. According to the app, over 250K trees have been planted by this app.
Awareness of your movements, food intake, sleep, and moods can be a crucial step in making the right decisions that lead to better health. Many apps can help you track different aspects of your physical and mental wellbeing.
Daylio is a mood monitor which provides a private diary to track your mood and daily activities. Having this visual and written guide offers a roadmap for your day to aid in stress reduction by making you more aware of all your feelings.
Migraine Buddy is a tracking app that can help determine migraine triggers, avoid them and potentially reduce the number of migraine outbreaks.
The iPhone has built-in sleep tracking within the Clock app. It allows you to set a bedtime and a wake time, and then set-up a notification before your bedtime to help you stay on track.
It shows you how many hours of sleep you will be getting, as well as provides a weekly sleep analysis right in the alarm. This information is then integrated into the Health App on your Apple devices. It’s a great way to keep you on track for getting enough sleep each night.
There are also other third-party sleep tracking apps that help promote awareness of the quality and quantity of sleep. Sleep Cycle and Auto Sleep are two that I use and that have helped me focus on the amount and quality of sleep.
Chronic dehydration is another challenge for many. Hydration apps, such as Daily Water Tracker Reminder help you track the amount of water you drink, as well as provide reminders throughout the day to drink water.
The Plant Nanny app turns drinking water into a game and keeps you engaged in reaching your goals.
Personal goals and self-motivation get you started on your journey to renewed health and fitness. However, many apps can provide prompts, guides, and games that make self-care and fitness more engaging and sometimes, the little nudge that will help you along the way.
These apps are easy to use, which make them perfect for a busy lifestyle. Do you use any meditation or health tracking apps? What are your favorites? How have they made a difference in your everyday life? Please share your observations on our Facebook page.
(This article was originally posted on Sixty and Me)