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How does a smartwatch measure stress and help you control it

how does a smartwatch measure stress

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Smartwatches or fitness watches can track your fitness progress, calories burned, steps, and other stats. Imagine one that can monitor stress levels and even help you breathe correctly. Nowadays, they can be an effective way to control and manage your stress on the go. So, how do smartwatches track stress levels? Can they help you control it?

Smartwatches use heart rate monitors and algorithms to track them.

For example, Garmin fitness trackers such as Instinct, Vivosmart 4, and Fenix 5 Plus use the Firstbeat algorithm to monitor how your heart is beating from one moment to next. This is called heart rate variability, which tracks any changes in your heart rate between physical activities.

Other trackers such as Apple Watch Series 3, use your heart rate information to calculate the resting heart rate. In addition, it also calculates how long it takes you to recover after your workout.

These two pieces of information tell us where your heart stands and an increase in the heart rate would help you confirm your stress levels.

Can smart wristwatches help you control stress?

When we feel emotional or physical tension, our nervous system releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol).

Severe stress and tension can be relieved with physical activity. Self-monitoring your progress with a fitness watch can help you remain engaged. Check out our useful buying guides to help you make a smart buying decision.

As a result, our body will react to these hormonal changes which prepare us for a fight or flight response.

Our heartbeats increase, the muscle tightens, and the breath quickens. This is what we call stress.

Many companies, such as Garmin, Fitbit, and Apple have created smartwatches, not only to measure stress levels but also to help you cope with tension, by controlling your breathing.

Here are the ways that smart bracelets or fitness trackers can help you lower stress levels:

  • Nowadays, fitness trackers can help you customize your workout depending on your goal and help motivate you to keep moving. We all know exercise helps you release your stress
  • As we mentioned earlier, trackers also help you give you an insight into your heart health by monitoring the heart rate variability.
  • There are many smartwatches that can track sleep quality which is affected by stress
  • The heart rate monitoring on the smartwatch can tell us how stressed out we are and if need to make adjustments in our lifestyle
  • Many fitness trackers or smartwatches measure not only stress levels but the intensity and recovery which show how much your body is spent dealing with the stress and how it was able to recover.
  • The data can be shared with your doctor or compare results with the doctor.

Recommended reading: Breathing timer feature: Learn how to reduce stress levels fast

Can they help manage anxiety disorders?

More than 18% of adults between the ages of 18 to 54 in the United States are affected by anxiety.

This disorder can be defined as a feeling of nervousness in an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Although normal levels of anxiety can be normal and healthy disproportionate levels can become a disorder.

You may have tried many ways to relax and control your anxiety. The good news is that there are many smartwatches that can measure stress, can simplify our lives and even help manage anxiety thru guided breathing sessions.

This feature will help you control your breathing and learn how to breathe the right way which is essential to learn to control your anxiety and prevent panic attacks.

If you suffer from panic attacks or anxiety, visit our website Breathe Out Panic Attack, designed to help you defeat them the natural way.

Using smartwatches to manage stress and anxiety

Using smartwatches to measure and control your stress levels or manage your anxiety can be effective because it will motivate you to take care of yourself.

For example, if you did not work out before a fitness tracker can motivate you to exercise. As you may know, physical activity helps reduce stress, regulate high blood pressure, and improve your wellbeing in general.

Here are the below tips to control your stress levels using a fitness tracker:

  • If effective stress management is your priority, try to find a smartwatch or fitness tracker that monitors at least the resting heart rate.
  • Keep yourself active
  • Use your fitness tracker’s move alert or steps counter
  • If it is possible to use a fitness tracker with a blood pressure monitor
  • if you don’t feel motivated enough to work out, try to exercise in the mornings
  • Set up a realistic goal based on your health data
  • If you have a smartwatch with guided breathing session try to use it three times a day or anytime you need it. Improving your breathing will help manage your stress levels.
  • Also if you have sleeping problems try to get a sleep tracker watch
  • Many smartwatches can monitor your heart rate continuously which gives you a big picture of your heart health.

Are these stress fitness trackers really accurate?

Fitness trackers can be accurate enough. However, an effective way to know if the heart rate monitor on your fitness tracker is accurate just compare your health data with your doctor’s.

You can also check your pulse manually and compare the results with the ones with your tracker.

What are the best stress tracker watches in the market right now

There are no perfect smartwatches or fitness trackers but the right one for you. Depending on your goal or your preference you can find a fitness tracker that can suit your needs.

For example, if you are concerned about your stress levels but you want to keep things simple I would suggest you a smartwatch or fitness tracker that can measure your stress levels or with breathing guided sessions.

Many smartwatches can measure your stress and also can alert you when it is time to chill.

Also, if you want to get a bigger picture of your heart health you can get a smart wristwatch that can track the resting heart rate and stress recovery.

Keep in mind that the more features you get the more money you will pay.

I have researched many fitness trackers, features and prices to help me find the best stress tracker watch for my needs to help me control my anxiety. Here are some of the trackers that I would choose to monitor and manage stress levels:

  • LETSCOM Fitness Tracker

If your sleep quality is your concern the LETSCOM (Check out this popular fitness tracker on Amazon) can be a great option but will not compromise your budget. This affordable and functional, not only tracks your heart 24/7 automatically but also monitor your sleep quality. It can also track your activity throughout the day and can track 14 exercise modes. Although it does not have integrated GPS you can connect your smartphone to track your routes.

What do I like about the LETSCOM?

It has an intuitive heart rate monitor that can track your resting, maximum and average. It is a great way to not only monitor your heart health but also your fitness progress. Also, it keeps you motivated by alerting you to move when you are sitting too long.

  • Fitbit Charge 3

If you want to get a bigger picture of your health and fitness the Fitness Charge 3 can be a great alternative. Affordable and stylish, the Charge 3 monitors your heart rate continuously, tracks 15+ activities, and the battery life is up to 7 days. You can also track your progress and keep you motivated to exercise. You can check your heart rate at any time and see any changes. Unlike Charge 2, it is swim-proof (50 m), you can receive app notifications, and it is a touchscreen.

What do I like about Charge 3?

For a good price, you can get a more detailed insight about your heart health and also monitor your sleep quality. In addition, it also features a guided breathing session which helps you reduce stress levels and anxiety.

  • Garmin Forerunner 35

If you want a great user experience and easy to use fitness tracker with an affordable price, the Garmin Forerunner 35 (Check out this easy to use and advanced fitness watch on Amazon) is a great option. Not only it can monitor your heart rate all day and night, but also you can track your resting heart rate with no strap required. You can monitor your running, walking, indoor/outdoor activities and reminds you when to move.

What do I like about Forerunner 35?

I like that it is easy to use and that the GPS is integrated. You can get almost everything with the Forerunner 35. Also, it includes heart rate zones and the Move IQ detects and records activities.

  • Apple Watch Series 5

If you want a smartwatch with a more proactive health monitor the Apple Watch Series 5 may be what you are looking for. A great upgrade from the Apple Watch 4, the Apple Watch 5 features the Always-On retina display which means that the watch face remains on without tapping the screen.

Other interesting upgrades: it alerts you when decibels rise to levels that can impact your hearing and it tracks the menstrual cycle. This versatile watch also features ground elevation and a compass which is awesome if you like hiking. You need to download the Compass application to see the inclination, elevation, and coordinates. Also, it features built-in GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo for more precise positioning.

It can track your activities and your fitness progress with more advanced metrics. Released on 9/20/2019, this Apple Watch can help you keep track of your stress levels and any spikes in the heart rate. through the Cardiogram app. In addition, this model has the cellular functionality version which is $280 more expensive but you can make emergency international calls. Find out more about the Apple Watch Series 5 on Amazon.

What do I like about the Apple Watch Series 5?

I like the Always-On retina display because you do not have to interrupt your workout to check the time or fitness progress. Also, the new upgrades make this smartwatch a complete one. It also tells the time and it makes you forget your smartphone.

  • Amazfit Bip

Affordable, stylish, and functional, the Amazfit Bip (Find out about this popular and versatile smartwatch on Amazon) has a built GPS and optical heart rate monitoring to help you with your stress levels. It can also monitor your running, treadmill, cycling, and walking giving you an idea of where you stand. It has a 30 days battery life, real-time activity tracker, dust and waterproof.

What do I like about the Amazfit Bip?

I like that it is affordable and it has built-in GPS, unlike many recognized brands. Also, you don’t have to charge it all the time. It also monitors your heart rate 24/7 and you can check your heart rate every couple of minutes. Although it is waterproof it cannot be used for swimming. However, it is a decent smartwatch for the price.

  •  Garmin Vivosmart 4

An upgrade to the Vivosmart 3, the Vivosmart 4 (Check out this amazing fitness and stress tracker on Amazon) is easy to use and can monitor your daily physical activity, such as yoga, walking, running, and more. Also, it features a continuous heart rate monitor and sleep monitor.

In addition, it also tracks your oxygen saturation level during the night and stress levels the whole day. Not only monitors your stress levels but also features a breathing timer to help you relax. That makes it one of the best stress trackers watches on the market. I have the Vivosmart 3 and I used the breathing timer which has helped me control my breathing.

Just like its predecessor the Vivosmart 3, it tracks your VO2Max to help you improve your cardio fitness level. Moreover, battery life is up to 7 days. However, if you use the oximeter battery life will be reduced.

Great news for those who love to swim! The Vivosmart 4 can be used while swimming and under the shower, too. Also, it features smart notifications. You can send text replies from an Android device.

What do I like about the Vivosmart 4?

The all-day stress tracking is great for those who are concerned about stress levels like me. Also, I love that it is water-resistant and you can track all your physical activities. It is a great fitness watch for those who want to stay motivated to keep moving.


Now that we learned how a smartwatch measures stress, it won’t be a bad idea to invest in one. With that said, fitness trackers can be a great alternative for those who are busy and don’t have time to go to the gym. The great news is that many of them can give you an insight into your heart health, and stress levels. That could help improve your lifestyle and quality of life. Also, you can share your health data and progress with your doctor to help him diagnose any illness or conditions. Smartwatches with the guided breathing session feature can be a great help to reduce stress levels and improve quality of life.

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