While playing around with consumer electronics and finding moments of Zen may seem like mutually exclusive activities, the right tech can in fact have a calming effect on your mood.
As such, we’ve seen a new crop of devices designed for relaxation, meditation and mindfulness, for those moments throughout the day you can devote to yourself and your mental wellbeing.
From interactive sandscapes and Wi-Fi-enabled essential oil diffusers to wearable pendants and peaceful virtual reality (VR) experiences, there is something for all tastes and budgets.
In this space, we’ve examined apps to help you hit the reset button during a hectic day, but this time around, it’s a look at the latest gear.
Here’s a look at a half-dozen soothing suggestions.
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Available in 16 or 21 inches, the Homedics Drift may resemble a tabletop Zen garden at first glance, but instead of a rake, these circular bowls house a magnetic ball that automatically creates a variety of mesmerizing patterns within the sand.
After joining your Wi-Fi, an app lets you choose from several patterns and colored light options, plus you can also adjust the speed, brightness and more. But all this control is optional, if you simple prefer to lose yourself in a meditate state by watching the silver ball carve out a beautiful design before your eyes.
The drift app can be downloaded for iPhone and iPad, with an Android version available any time, says the company.
Available in black or cream, the drift tables cost $399 for the 16-inch model or $499 for the 21-inch version.
(Here’s my short Twitter video about it.)
A is for aromatherapy
Promoting calmness and self-reflection, the $40 Sierra Modern Home Smart WiFi Wireless Essential Oil Ultrasonic Diffuser & Humidifier features a 400-millimeter water tank (about 1⅔ cups) that allows for up to 12 hours of continuous mist, mixing vaporized water with oil droplets, to fill your room with relaxing sights and smells.
If desired, join it to your Wi-Fi and use your voice via a nearby smart speaker (Alexa or Google Assistant) to control it hands-free or download the companion app to tweak settings like LED color, mist intensity and timer settings and schedules.
Sold separately, pick up a collection of essential oils with aromatic fragrances, like sweet citrus, rose, lavender, mint and tea tree.
The Muse 2 ($249) is a lightweight brain-sensing headband, embedded with sensors, that provide real-time feedback on brain activity, heart rate, breath and body movements – and communicates it all wirelessly to a nearby smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android).
When using the Muse app and select what kind of meditation session you’d like and you’ll be guided through various sessions that train you to find calm in your otherwise hectic life.
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This price includes access to an annual Muse Premium subscription for $9.99 (normally $94.99/year), which provides access to more than 500 guided meditations on stress, sleep and focus; the option to pair muse with any podcast, meditation or music app; and receive post-session reports to see how your brain and body responded.
Wellness trackers are getting more fashionable.
The Bellabeat Leaf Urban Health Tracker (starting at $89.99) can be worn as a necklace, bracelet or clip, but it also tracks activity, sleep, stress and meditation.
Unlike Fitbits and smartwatches, there are no screens, no buttons and no need to plug in to charge up (as it runs on a replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery that lasts up to 6 months, included).
This water-resistant Bellabeat device is made from hypoallergenic stainless steel and a wood composite material (that looks like stone).
Tune in, space out
When you launch your favorite mindfulness and meditation app – like Calm, Headspace, BetterSleep, Sleep Cycle, Ten Percent Happier or Simple Habit – it’s best to slip on a pair of comfortable, wireless and noise-cancelling headphones to drift away.
Sony’s WH-CH710N ($179) are premium-sounding over-the-ear headphones, with 30mm (1.2”) drivers for well-balanced highs, mids and lows.
Listen without wires and block out ambient noise around you – so there’s nothing between you and your relaxation apps, music, podcasts or audiobooks. A built-in Li-ion battery delivers up to 35 hours of listening time, while a quick charge features gives 60 minutes of playback from just 10 minutes of charging.
Press a button on these headphones to activate your smartphone’s voice assistant, so you can ask to play a specific song, get directions, access calendar appointments and more.
VR mediation, too
Finally, virtual reality headsets may help you find your happy place, too.
Available for the popular Oculus Quest 2 headset and other VR gear, the Guided Meditation VR app ($14.99) offers more than 40 peaceful environments to escape the day-to-day grind, featuring over 30 hours of guided meditations to help with A to Z goals (Anxiety to Zen).
WHAT’S A GLIMMER? The opposite of a trigger. Go find yourself some.
Along with the guided meditative sessions, enjoy more than 200 audio tracks designed to enhance your experience, plus you have the ability to tailor it to your specific tastes, such as music with no vocals, no music at all, preset timers, support for virtual touch and more.
From Cubicle Ninjas, this 6.3GB download features scenic lagoons and waterfalls, forests and jungles, ice caves and mountain tops.