While playing around with consumer electronics and finding moments of zen may seem like mutually exclusive activities, the right tech can in fact have a calming effect on your mood.
As such, we’ve seen a new crop of devices designed for relaxation, meditation and mindfulness, for those moments throughout the day that you can devote to yourself and your mental wellbeing.
Find me a parent who couldn’t use a little mental health break here and there, right?
From interactive sandscapes and Wi-Fi-enabled essential oil diffusers to wearable pendants and virtual reality experiences, there’s something for all tastes and budgets.
Here’s a look at a half-dozen soothing suggestions.
Available in 16 or 21 inches, the Homedics drift may resemble a zen garden at first glance, but instead of a rake, these circular bowls house a magnetic ball that automatically creates a variety of mesmerizing patterns within the sand.
After joining your Wi-Fi, an app lets you choose from several patterns and coloured light options, plus you can also adjust the speed, brightness and more. But all this control is optional, if you simple prefer to lose yourself in a meditate state by watching the silver ball carve out a beautiful design before your eyes.
The drift app can be downloaded for iPhone and iPad, with an Android version available any time, says the company.
Available in black or cream, the drift tables cost $499 for the 16-inch model, or $599 for the 21-inch version. So pricey, yes, but also cool and calming.
(Here’s my short Twitter video about it.)
Awaken your mind with aromatherapy
Promoting tranquility and self-reflection, the $55 Sierra Modern Home Smart WiFi Wireless Essential Oil Ultrasonic Diffuser & Humidifier features a 400-millimetre water tank that allows for up to 12 hours of continuous mist, mixing vaporized water with oil droplets, to fill your room with beautiful sights and smells.
If desired, join it to your Wi-Fi and use your voice via a nearby smart speaker (Alexa or Google Assistant) to control it hands-free, or download the companion app to tweak settings like LED colour, mist intensity, timer settings and schedules, and more.
Sold separately, pick up a collection of essential oils featuring aromatic fragrances like sweet citrus, rose, lavender, mint, tea tree and more.
From Toronto’s InteraXon comes the Muse 2 ($247.98), a lightweight brain-sensing headband that provide real-time feedback on brain activity, heart rate, breath and body movements and communicates it all wirelessly to a nearby smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android).
When using the Muse app you’ll select what kind of meditation session you’d like, and you’ll be guided through various sessions that train you to find calm in your otherwise hectic life.
This price includes access to an annual Muse Premium Subscription (normally $9.99/year), which provides access to more than 500 guided meditations on stress, sleep and focus; the option to pair muse with any podcast, meditation or music app; and receive post-session reports to see how your brain and body responded.
Wellness trackers never looked so good.
The Bellabeat Leaf Urban Silvertone Edition Collection ($129) is both a fashionable item you can wear as a necklace, bracelet or clip, but it also tracks activity, sleep, stress and meditation.
Unlike Fitbits and smart watches, there are no screens, no buttons and no need to plug in to charge up (as it runs on a long-lasting replaceable CR2032 coin cell battery).
Optimized for women’s health, this water-resistant Bellabeat device is made from hypoallergenic stainless steel, a wood composite material and soft rubber.
Tune in, space out
When you launch your favourite mindfulness and meditation app—like Calm, Headspace, BetterSleep Sleep Cycle, Ten Percent Happier or Simple Habit—it’s best to slip on a pair of comfortable, wireless and noise-cancelling headphones to drift away.
Available in black, silver or blue, Sony’s WH-CH700N ($199) are premium-sounding over-the-ear headphones, with 40mm drivers for well-balanced highs, mids and lows.
Listen without wires and block out ambient noise around you, so there’s nothing between you and your relaxation apps, music, podcasts, or audiobooks. Simply press and hold the NC button to activate digital noise cancellation.
A built-in Li-ion battery delivers up to 35 hours of listening time, while a quick-charge feature gives 60 minutes of playback from just 10 minutes of charging.
Optional, but install the Sony Headphones Connect app (iOS, Android) to adjust audio levels, customizable equalizers settings and a range of presets.
VR mediation, too
Finally, virtual reality headsets may help you find your happy place, too.
Available for the popular Oculus Quest headset and other gear, the Guided Meditation VR app ($16.99) offers more than 40 lush environments to escape the day to day grind, featuring over 30 hours of guided meditations to help with A to Z goals (Anxiety to Zen).
Along with the guided meditative sessions, enjoy more than 200 relaxing audio tracks designed to enhance your experience, plus you can tailor it to your specific tastes, such as music with no vocals, no music at all, preset timers, support for virtual touch and more.
From Cubicle Ninjas, this 6.3-gigabyte download features scenic lagoons and waterfalls, forests and jungles, ice caves and mountain tops.