With the IOT projections of over 4.9 billion connected devices globally in 2015, we've created more bytes of data than every spoken word in the existence of the human race.
The speed of technology is now surpassing the speed of our biological evolution, but how does all this data really impact our lives?
Take a look at your phone. How many health or wellness apps do you have?
Better question: How many of those do you actually use?
In a virtual sea of zeros, ones, notifications and apps, seekers of improved well-being are now poised to cash in on a gold mine of new digital resources that can enhance personal wellness.
At the core of all healthy habits we essentially find behaviors.
These behaviors are repeated regularly; sometimes even unconsciously. Digital health applications give us an edge in defeating our inner-dragons and training synapses to fire more towards self-care.
“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” -Plato
Here are four digital health apps that can increase mindfulness and the action steps they give us to feel, look, and perform better:
Fitbit – Released on iOS and Android in late 2014, SURGE is a fitness watch used in tandem with a smart phone that tracks your steps, heart rate, distance, GPS, calories burned, floors climbed and simplified heart rate zones. Biofeedback data can easily be exported and cross sectioned over your workouts, as well as automatically synced to a mobile dashboard to be analyzation and modification.
Tip: Invite up to 10 friends in a digital health fitness challenge where you can cheer each other on towards greatness. Strength in numbers!
Using wearables to increase mindfulness and improve health have already been approved by the FDA in clinical trials and national interest is burgeoning with Under Armour's recent purchase of MapMyFitness; adding momentum through digital health towards a more physically active world.
Equanimity – Available on iOS, this application is designed to help you establish and maintain a daily meditation practice. Equanimity times your sittings, provides a journal for notes, and displays graphical tracking that gives you clear feedback on your meditation practice. All of your recorded data can then be exported or emailed in individual entries- useful for sharing insights and encouraging further sessions.
During a 2013 study analyzing the effects of mindfulness meditation on serum cortisol, research over the course of 4 days showed significantly lowered cortisol levels and proved to be highly effective in decreasing stress while increasing overall well-being.
Day One – A type of life-logging app that makes it easy to quickly enter your thoughts, pictures, tags, and memories all backed up in the cloud. Since 2014 I’ve been keeping my Day One chocked full of life's lessons, successes, fears and dreams. I've found the ultimate value to gain from logging my life is the empowering reflective capability it endows.
Day One is an amazing tool to increase self-awareness, identify emotional eating, partition away friends that distract you from health goals, and remind you of amazing activities to re-engage in. Having a journal where you record your inner-most fears, secrets, and dreams can help in managing anxiety, reducing stress, and coping with depression.
f.lux – An application for smart phones and tablets that makes the color of your display adapt to the time of day; warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Its primary function is to block the “blue light” emitted by the screen, which has been proven to suppress melatonin production which is directly linked to poor sleep.
Travel Hack: Flying somewhere? Accelerate your return back to optimal homeostasis with the combined use of Re-Timer; a wearable technology device that uses light therapy to reset your body's internal clock and improve your sleep.
Digital health technology is empowering us to take control of our well-being by identifying better habits from the data our bodies create.
Incapsulated in a virtual world, the rapidly growing Quantified Self organization speaks perfectly to the underlying meaning of digital health with its motto:
“Self Knowledge Through Numbers”
When self-awareness increases through digital applications, we gain inner-strength.
Momentum builds and lives can can change.
About the author: Josh Trent, NASM-CPT, CES, HLC, is a wellness professional with over 9 years in the fitness industry. His passion is to empower people’s lives through technology by utilizing digital health and quantified self as integrative health practices. You can follow him on Twitter @wellnessforce or through his website at www.wellnessforce.com.