If you’ve never experienced a panic attack yourself, chances are you know someone who has. The sweating, shaking, shortness of breath and accelerated heart rate. It’s a worrying sight and experience. But why do panic attacks happen, and what can you do about them?
If you’ve ever seen a doctor in a movie take someone’s heart rate just as they’ve collapsed and someone yells “Is there a Doctor in the house?!” you may have wondered why the physician always grabs their writs and looks at this watch as he calls for complete silence. From an outsider’s perspective it looks like he’s trying to see if the heart beats are in-time with the second hand as it ticks forwards.
Stress is a part of most jobs these days, but constant employee stress can actually be harming your bottom line. While the average amount of employees disengaged and overstressed at work is reaching 70% in leading UK sectors 1, companies are being faced with the bills that preventable, stress-related chronic diseases produce. It’s been noted that companies spend more than £29 billion a year on sick days in the UK alone 2, which is nothing to sniffle at.
In our review of the wearables landscape some time ago (now outdated by some dozen incumbents and newcomers, from Jawbone and Garmin to Huawei and Xiaomi), we focused on Heart Rate Variability as the apex of analytics for wellbeing. Back then, only the Basis band offered HRV analysis (Fitbit and Nike+ didn’t and still don’t, and neither does Apple). Since, lots of devices have started to support HRV analysis, like the Polar H7 and the Mio Alpha, and the (now being discountinued) Microsoft Band, which we used in our pilot at BNPP with AXA in order to track over 500 users’ stress, fatigue and burnout.
Elevated stress levels in individuals are reaching epidemic levels in the modern world and are taking a significant toll on industry. We know that stress is a major issue for employees and employers alike, and that work-related stress costs employers up to $300 billion a year; despite that only 36% of employees receive sufficient support to manage stress.
Yet, when we prioritise health and wellbeing, academic evidence proves performance increases and 70% of preventable chronic diseases can be reduced making large savings to healthcare spending and insurance claims.
Mindfulness has been all the rage with CEOs, in the workplace, and in startup scenes, but people of all ages can (and should) benefit from this popular movement. Especially considering the fact that children are facing higher levels of stress at younger and younger ages… which may be taking a significant toll on their health.
Workplace stress is a serious subject. According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, more than one third of American workers experience chronic work stress — and this is costing American businesses billions of dollars a year in lost work hours and medical bills. More importantly, all this worrying at work can have serious consequences for our quality of life — not only at the office, but everywhere else as well. So how do we regain our sanity and take back our lives?
At the beginning of 2013, Apple announced that its customers have downloaded more than 40 billion apps with 20 billion in 2012 alone. These are some staggering figures and show how influential these little super computers in our pockets are to humankind, after all that’s nearly 6 apps for every person alive today (calculated using the ever engrossing World Population Clock).
Here at BioBeats, we’re building our foundations on being ‘device-agnostic’ when it comes to the quantified self – that is, our platforms will be able to pull in data from various sources to give you a greater overall picture of your health and wellness from drawing on numerous data points (so much more than just your heart rate variability).