Technology is bad for your stress levels, or at least thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve been thinking for years. Scare-mongers will use pseudoscience to proclaim weâ€™re fast becoming a species harbouring declining cognitive capacities with shorter memories, lower levels of patience and a whole host of aches and pains. However, Iâ€™d like to offer an alternative perspective; I find tech to be therapeutic when looked at from a holistic angle. Now before you disregard me as some flippant digi-hippy, hear me out.
Over the last couple of years many â€˜digital detoxâ€™ retreats have sprung up, offering a break from the strains of modern life, much of this seems to involve doing a lot of yoga and getting some fresh air which, like everything, is good in moderation. Using a holiday to escape from technology is all well and good, but what about the other 95% of your year? Humans thrive at adapting to suit their environments. Itâ€™s what weâ€™ve done for thousands of years! Think of technology as another space for you to relax into and enjoy the advantages of, rather than maintain an air of caution around. Here are a few ways tech can help you reach that equilibrium we all silently crave.
My best friend introduced me to ASMR around two years ago and now if Iâ€™m ever struggling to sleep I will watch a video and nod off in no time. ASMR stands for Audio-Sensory-Meridian-Response. This is a feeling of relaxation evoked by sounds, the best way to describe this is it is the same feeling you get when someone lightly touches you, a â€˜tinglyâ€™ feeling happens on the back of your head and down your upper body. Not everyone can feel the benefits of this and some even find it unnerving. However if you are able to let go and go with the flow, give it a try by putting on some headphones (essential) type in â€˜ASMRâ€™ and skim youtube. The ASMRers I recommend for the ultimate â€˜tinglesâ€™ are Blue Whisper and Fairy Char ASMR.
Meditation websites, apps & podcasts
There are many websites, apps and podcasts which focus on meditation techniques that can help unpick the knotted parts of your life, and allow you to work through any issues you may be going through to bring you closer to experiencing peace and clarity. My favourites areÂ tinybuddha.com, the Guided Mind app and the daily meditation podcast â€˜Sip & Omâ€™. Mary Meckley ofÂ www.sipandom.comÂ even has a series on how to use technology to â€˜optimise, automate and outsource your lifeâ€™. Your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical so always take the time to â€˜breatheâ€™.
In line with ASMR and meditation websites, there are many sites that provide a constant stream of gentle, reassuring natural sounds, like waves, rain (www.rainymood.com) or forest soundscapes.
â€˜Save timeâ€™ apps
If youâ€™re someone looking for more zen in your life you are probably not the type that craves the perpetual flashes of notifications many apps gift us on a daily basis. However, you should never be scared of apps! Apps are designed to support and assist you, take for example TaskRabbit, the odd jobs delegator app, where you can literally, in the words of MsÂ Meckley, â€˜outsource your lifeâ€™. There are other practical apps such as CityMapper and AA Parking to help you get around as efficiently and calmly as possible. For more general assistance thereâ€™s Asana which allows you to create virtual to-do lists (these have the added advantage of flashing animated unicorns on screen when you complete tasks) and even health-focussed apps such as period-tracker Clue, which will helpfully tell you â€˜your cycle will begin soonâ€™, so youâ€™ll know exactly whatâ€™s going on when you start crying for no real reason.
As always there is the traditional â€˜escapeâ€™ sites where you can look at pretty things and forget about life, learning how to make your own dry shampoo and looking at endless streams of beautifully decorated layer cakes. Firm favourites are of course Pinterest, Etsy and HomeTalk.com
There is always someone working on a way to make otherâ€™s lives easier. Some apps designed to help us have been a work in progress for years, think of Uber and Deliveroo. Right at this moment there is a piece of software being developed which is going to change lives one day. So, donâ€™t rely on disconnecting yourself entirely from tech in order to release the tension modern living can sometimes heap on us, for there are always great things being cooked up in tech land.Â Stay in shavasana for too long and you might miss out on a hidden gem.’