March 17, 2019

Nowadays it almost seems like there is technology for any purpose, and this is only going to continue to grow with every passing year, decade and century. Even this year in 2019 there is both widespread amazement about what is now available and also various concerns about what technology is doing to us. These concerns mostly involve fears of current and future generations losing intellectual as well as physical abilities because of tech gadgets doing too much for us. My personal opinion is that this is true to some extent. However when technology is used correctly and healthily its benefits are enormous.

In this current decade smartwatches such as Fitbits and Apple Watches have quickly become household names all around the globe. When I first heard about these (then) new gadgets, I noticed that they were mainly advertised as “wearable tech” and even as a device to use with physical exercise. But in truth that’s only a very small part of what gadgets like this can do.anxiety, autism, motor skills, independence, smart watch, special needs, autistic

Three years ago I bought my first Apple Watch and ever since then my life has been helped immensely. The decision to buy one came to me when my resting heart rate was discovered to be dangerously high, and my therapist suggested for me to use some kind of monitor to control the anxiety which caused that.

Luckily my stepfather had been given an Apple Watch by a local store for being a loyal customer, and found that he didn’t use it because he already had a Fitbit and several other watches. So I ended up buying it from him. During the early days of monitoring I discovered that my resting heart rate was 140bpm (as a result of my constant anxiety) and during extreme meltdowns I had experienced (at that time I averaged around three every day) there was often a reading of over 300bpm. This was very dangerous indeed, and doctors were telling me that if I had been a few decades older I would have been extremely likely to have a heart attack or a stroke. Yet the Apple Watch would send me an alert (via a buzz in the wrist) every time my heart rate spiked, and then it would give me a breathing exercise to do.

Usually I’m unaware of anxiety escalating until I have a meltdown. However my meltdowns have reduced in number greatly since my watch has been giving me these warnings. My resting heart rate is now 88bpm too, which is down into the average range (of 50bpm to 100bpm depending on the individual’s biology).

Something else I need to monitor is my quality of sleep, as my extremely busy mind (with all of the involuntary flashbacks I get constantly) and anxiety levels affect that too. There are apps I can get on my watch that inform me of how and when I slept and woke at different times each night. Not only can I analyse graphs containing all that information, I’m too given alerts and reminders of what I should (according to my personal results) be doing in the day and evening to give myself a good night’s sleep.

Last week I replaced my first generation Apple Watch with a new Series 4 model. From what I can do with it, it’s definitely worth the cost! Also I’m now covered under warranty for two whole years. Unlike the original I previously had, the newer generation watches are waterproof as well.

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