The app’s creator Dirk Trossen of the University of Cambridge believes the key to tackling rising stress levels in the modern world is to keep track of when we get stressed and why.
The app works by measuring over 60 potential stress-causers on a day-to-day basis, including background noise levels, social activity (by logging the number of calls and texts received) light levels, pulse, heart rate and even the posture of the user.
“The data feeds into software developed by Dana Pavel at Essex University that allows you to create a story-inspired visualisation on your computer. It walks you through your day. If you wish, you can zoom in and focus on flashpoints. What was it exactly that was noisy? Where was I? What texts and emails did I receive at that time?” Trossen explains.
He believes stress is difficult to keep tabs on without stringent tracking. Often when we feel stressed we don’t take the time to dissect our emotions or think about why we really feel like that because stress by nature impacts the ability to think clearly or rationally.
Prolonged stress can lead to ill health. It’s thought that higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol damages blood vessels and creates platelet blockages leading to circulatory problems and even strokes. The feeling of stress can also cause people to pick up unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and overeating – all of which have their own severe health implications.
Trossen says his stress-tracking app could help people recognise what’s making them stressed in their lives, giving them a chance to eliminate those factors by changing their habits. He also says that besides the potential health benefits, the app offers an effective memory collection tool that’s fun and enlightening to use.
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