Often in software, we overlook the very human and perhaps psychological issues that we encounter on a day to day basis. We live in a technologically advanced world, perhaps we might say a world that has more stress and just generally more things happening, than ever before. Not only are we somewhat overloaded with things to occupy the mind, we’re only at the nascent stages of realizing that with the technology we consume. we have to find a balance that allows us to live a more human life. Once could think of us as being initial factory works , caught in the beautiful efficiency of the machine. I believe we need to have devices, or schemes in place that help us cope with the technological and connected world we live in. One way we might adapt is to develop technology that makes us more aware of self, and self needs.
I can recall the first time I encountered guided meditation. I was about 10 or 11 in a Goodwill, when I stumbled across, a purple book . It was new agey looking , written by an author whose name I can now no longer recall. The purple book claimed that you could “empty your mind”. Something about being able to have no thoughts intrigued me, even as child and so I purchased the book.
The whole of the book, I recall being a little bit campy and dry, but the meat of the book was an inspiration. The book really boiled down to a serious of steps that you would undertake to empty/clear your mind of thoughts that might have been occupying you during the day. The steps were something along the lines of the following - something along the lines of the following. - lie down - dim the lights - take a deep breathe - and slowly exhale - put your hand on your heart and listen to your hearbeats - feel your heart beat slow down and with each breath - imagine that your lungs were your heart and allow the longs to pump - blood to your extremities - can you feel the tingling sensation in your extremities ? - Now do nothing and just exist in the stillness - let background noise fade away
The above works incredibly well very slowly your mind gets taking away from the day to day concerns and transported to the warmth of your own body and the resounding darkness and space. Even as at the age of eleven I could enjoy the peace of mind. The exercise leaves you energized and the stillness provides some prospective of importance.
I haven’t really been big on incorporating a morning or evening meditation session into my routine, but yesterday I did an experiment. Much like the one I did as a kid , I simply lay in my bed, closed my eyes , and tried to visualize myself floating in a clam body of water. Normally, I’m able to simply float away and drift off into a light sleep.
However, this time as I was starting to drift. I could feel an incredible amount of tension, that I was holding on to slip way. I began to simply think about how, and why I was tense, and how I needed to let go of the tension that had held my body.
Truth be known that I’m probably always tense after work, the commute, the people interaction, the anxiety to get home. It probably leaves me with a clenched fist immediately when I get home at night. The thing is that this tension , must be psychologically released by me the holder. However, it is incredibly hard to release the tension when you don’t even realize how tense you are.
Tension, has many different physical signals, higher blood pressure, faster pulse, increased prespiration, I’m sure there are a host of other signs as well. That said, could we benefit from devices, that monitor these rates, and give us a signal to us to chill out ? I purpose the following.
Given sensor data about the body, could we simply use this data in an app to send ourselves a notification. When our tension level has reached some threshold … beyond avg. norm + some offset based off your personal avg rates, simply send a notification to take a break. However, sometimes we have a hard time setting up scenarios that allow us to relax, sometimes notification is not enough, sometimes we need help doing things that would allow us to relax. The second phase of the software, would be translating the signal into either serendipitous relaxing moments or prompting the user with a variety of situations proactively that would help you release the tension that’s capturing your mind.
Different things work for different people, that said I’d like the software to take an experimental type of approach. Where the results of the experiment, the “serendipitous action” or guided mediation are monitored and a model of what releases or helps you release your tension is created. For me it might be a guided meditation of myself floating in water, for someone else yoga. The point is tension affects our well being, which is something that we will deal with on a daily basis. Why not in the age of technology take proactive steps, to help minimize it or cope with it and make our lives better.