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This week I’m going to cover three pieces of technology that I use to help me improve performance so I can function at my best. It’s amazing how much helpful technology there is available now. Since I’m most interested in the intersection of mind/body/spirit, my choices of technologies to feature run in that direction.
I have to admit, as a decades-long meditator, that when I first saw this device enter the biohacker space several years ago, I rolled my eyes. What free stuff like meditation would Americans find a way to commodify next?
Then I tried it and was humbled by the results. Granted, it was at a busy conference, with background noise and activity intruding on my session, but the headband showed me when my mind was calm in meditative focus and when it wasn’t. That day, it mostly wasn’t. I was hooked.
The Muse headband reads EEG signals to interpret your mental activity. When your mind is calm, the weather sounds get quieter and you hear birds. When your mind drifts into thinking and you lose focus, the weather sounds get louder, which alerts you to bring your focus back to your breath.
Having cues IN REAL TIME helps you develop your ability to focus because you’re reminded to come back to your breath again and again. You start to be able to feel when you’re drifting and can sometimes even come back before the weather sounds change.
Here's the thing, in the developed world, with its endless pull in many directions and its privileging of superficial flash over substantive depth, meditation has become a necessity, not a luxury.
If you want to improve performance and be successful, meditation is the number one practice to add to your day.
The Muse is a great way to train yourself to actually meditate, instead of sitting there the whole time wondering if you’re doing it right or not.
You can set the Muse session for any length of time, so you can start with 5 minutes and build up slowly from there. The most important part of any meditation practice is to sit down and do it, so 5 minutes is great if you do it consistently!
The Inner Balance technology combines an app you use on your phone that works with a sensor that you clip to your ear. By using this technology for 12 minutes a day, you can improve performance by training yourself to replace emotional stress with emotional coherence.
What is emotional coherence? It’s a state of synchronization between your heart, brain, and autonomic nervous system that’s been proven to have many mental, emotional, and physical benefits. It’s like being relaxed and revitalized at the same time.
One thing I love about this training is that it’s been around for a long time. The HeartMath Institute has been developing their various tools since 1991. Emotional coherence training is a well-proven biohack for reducing stress and increasing peace and physical health.
I use Inner Balance before important calls or presentations, before a stressful drive, and really any time I need to shift from a chaotic stressed-out state to a calm and centered one. It’s super portable so it’s easy to throw in a backpack or a purse and pull out whenever you need to get re-centered.
The feedback in real time helps you know that the nervous-system-level shift is actually happening, and over time you grow adept at feeling the difference in your own body between chaos and coherence.
The more time you spend in coherence, the better your body feels, and your sleep, focus, mood, and relationships all improve. This is nervous system support at its finest!
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten into tracking my sleep. It’s well-known that our bodies recover and regenerate when we sleep. The Oura Ring is the most elegant and accurate sleep tracker out there and it also does so much more!
Based on your sleep score, it tells you how recovered you are and what your optimal level of activity is for the day. For those of you who work out hard, this is an essential piece of info to prevent over-training and to keep your body performing at its best.
It tracks your steps and activity and even reminds you to get up to stretch your legs if you’ve been sitting for too long.
While this is the priciest of the three pieces of biohacking technology I’ve featured in this article, it’s the one I use the most. If you’re interested in improving performance and operating at your best, I highly recommend investing in the Oura Ring.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s foray into technology! When I’m working with my clients, I’m always listening for what could be supported and shifted in their lives by the practices I teach them, dietary improvements, sleep habits, and stress reduction. Sometimes it makes the most sense to have them get one or all of these pieces of tech.
Integrating any or all of these technologies into your life will have you well on your way to having the OOMPH and stamina to create the life of your dreams.
© 2019 Marie-Elizabeth Mali | All Rights Reserved
Images of Marie-Elizabeth by In Her Image Photography