Anxiety is crippling and it comes in many forms. It can catch in your throat and make you unable to speak, move or think. It can make you feel like the task at hand is impossible. It can take you by surprise and swoop in before you’ve had time to notice, or it can creep up on you slowly and build until it’s unbearable. However it appears, it’s getting more common and harder to shake.
We are more stressed and anxious than ever before. Since 2011, the prevalence of anxiety disorders has risen sharply with 1 in 5 Americans diagnosed with one according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Women are twice as likely to be battling an anxiety disorder than men. Workplace stress, family pressures, financial uncertainty, social media and the turbulent political situation are cited as the primary causes of stress.
But stress isn’t inherently bad. Good stress makes us feel alive and excited, it’s the kind of pressure that takes us further as individuals and as a community. However, bad stress manifests in the fight or flight response and it’s what we’re being exposed to on a daily basis. Being so connected and available at all times is putting our bodies and minds under constant pressure. How we cope with this accelerated pace of life is one of the most urgent contemporary issues.
Finding efficient ways to calm the body and mind became an important factor in my research with my co-founders. We wanted to find a way to tackle the mental response of anxiety by adjusting the physical ones. When you are stressed and anxious your heart rate increases and your breathing gets shallower. Stress is not just a set of thoughts in your mind but rather a combination of what goes on inside you that you perceive as stress. This is what we wanted to tackle. Zen masters can calm their bodies, no matter how stressful the external situation, it’s a superpower they have. We are not Zen masters but we can use technology to give ourselves a slice of that superpower. That’s what doppel does.
Doppel works by sending personalised vibrations, like a ‘lub-dub’ of a heartbeat, through the inside of your wrist to induce a sense of calm and focus when feeling anxious. Much like listening to a relaxing song, the vibrations help you feel calm but without the noise or distraction. It can be turned on to treat a sudden stressful moment or kept on all day to offer a constant, and grounding, feeling of calm. doppel doesn’t track anything, doesn’t send you notifications and doesn’t give you competitions or streaks. These are all addictive mechanisms that we now know backfire and have been shown to increase anxiety, stress and even insomnia. It simply makes you feel calm and focused, quickly, anytime and anywhere. doppel is deeply rooted in science and its stress reduction efficacy is supported by peer reviewed trial results.
By reducing the physical feelings of stress and anxiety, you can tackle the problems with a clear head. Between running a tech startup and my wonderful family, my time is precious and packed with very different projects all clamoring for my attention. I need a clear head to be my most efficient. I know that doppel is my key to staying calm and hyper focused on the tasks at hand. My calmer body means a clearer head, which in turn means I can tackle more each day and be in a positive cycle.
We all need to find realistic ways to tackle stress. Here are my three rules for staying sane:
- Stressful meeting? Important presentation? Didn’t sleep enough last night? These are all situations that get me stressed and they’re alleviated when I can feel my doppel beating away a little slower than my own heart rate. It’s like taking deep breaths or going for a walk in the park, except I can just get on with it.
- No coffee after lunchtime. It messes with my sleep and creates a vicious cycle of less sleep – more coffee – less sleep. I will either squeeze in a quick workout to wake me up if I have time or take a brisk walk to grab a fresh juice with ginger to give me a little kick.
- Offline time. Going offline is a struggle, I am as addicted to my phone as everyone else, but I do what it takes to put it away. Currently I lock it away in a box every evening! It goes in its box at 9pm and doesn’t come out until 7am.
And the most important rule that doesn’t even belong on a list? Connect with other people and do meaningful work for them. I am very lucky that this is part of my job. Our users are core to bringing our technology to life and they drive everything we do. When they tell me that doppel helps them calm nerves before public speaking, keeps them focused and grounded at work, soothes their worries and lets them enjoy life, my own stress becomes good stress. There is no question it’s a crazy world we are in but, together, we can find the resources to thrive.