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Stressed about the future? Amazon and Fitbit may have an answer… for a price.

(EDITORIAL) Fitbit and Amazon are rolling out new stress trackers, and honestly? It’s a little stressful to think about, if you ask me.

Woman in home office space who isn't stressed out.

Let’s get a show of hands, friends: How many of you have been stressed out this year? Maybe just a smidge? Or is it more like, “Omigosh, Imma die of this stress if I don’t get it under control, like, yesterday” levels?

More than likely, it’s probably somewhere between these two levels, perhaps edging closer to one extreme rather than the other. And while the entirety of 2020 can be summarized as Arguably the Most Stressful Year Ever, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to join the panicked, frenzied, anxious masses. Listen, it’s just like your parents once told you — just because everyone else is doing it – doesn’t mean you need to, too.

Whew, yeah. I just cured your stress, didn’t I? You’re welcome. Who knew it was that simple?

Okay, fine. I realize that was an oversimplification of things. Of course, you can’t just casually will your stress away. That’s not how it works. Heck, for many of us, we don’t even realize we’re stressed out half the time. However, even though you may not consciously be aware that you’re experiencing the symptoms of stress, it doesn’t mean that your body isn’t paying attention. And, over time, if your stress remains unchecked? Well, it can lead to some pretty nasty health complications, including ongoing headaches, poor appetite, crummy sleep, and even frequent and unwelcome trips to the facilities. It’s not pretty.

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Fortunately for us, there are a couple of new fitness trackers out there whose sole job is to inform you when you’re juggling just a little bit too much at the moment. Both Fitbit and Amazon have jumped on the health tracking train, and while Fitbit is no stranger to monitoring your biometrics (they’ve been around for quite some time now), this is the first wearable made available by Amazon.

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised by this. Amazon’s been sort of nudging their way into all sorts of markets, kind of like an oversized and cuddly Labrador retriever who doesn’t realize he’s not a puppy anymore and still tries to crawl into your lap every once in a while. Definitely a little surprising when it happens, but not entirely unwelcome.

First, there’s the Fitbit Sense. This handy little device not only helps you monitor your sleeping patterns, how much exercise you’re doing (ahem—none—ahem), your weight, and all that good stuff, but can now also help you figure out how stressed out you are.

The Fitbit Sense comes equipped with something called an EDA (Electrodermal Activity) Sensor, which means that it can tell when your heart rate is up and you’re starting to feel a little heated. If it notices you’re feeling upset, it’ll let you know. But does it run to the fridge and grab the pint of mint chocolate chip for us, too?

The Amazon Halo is something else entirely. While it can detect through a galvanic skin response if you’re feeling stressed, it can also let you know if you’ve become a chonk while in quarantine. No, we’re not kidding. This sucker can actually scan your body and give you a fancypants 3D model of your body. And if you’re feeling particularly masochistic today, you can tinker with that model to see what you’d look like if you either gained or lost weight. Yeah, no, that’s only going to stress me out further. What the heck, Amazon?

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So there you have it. If you didn’t know you were stressed out before, learning about these two new fitness devices probably toppled you over the edge into full-blown panic mode. Or, y’know, maybe they didn’t. Sure, having all that information at your fingertips — especially in a time where we’re already glued to (and overwhelmed by) our technology — can lead you to overthinking things… especially if you’re already prone to anxiety.

But what if you use it like it was designed, just as a tool to help you become more aware of your own unconscious response to stimuli?

Look, we’re all feeling it right now. This year has been an overwhelming deluge of stress, and whether or not you need a tracker to tell you about it is nothing short of redundant. That said, if you’re feeling stressed, you’re in good company. Right now, a whopping 83% of the population has admitted that just thinking about the future puts them into paroxysms of stress. And while diving into that pint of ice cream may help you feel better in the moment, there are a few things you can do to help offset your current stress loads.

Vent it out. Talk to a friend, or a doctor, about your feelings. Take it out on the pavement with a quick 5K run. Enjoy a long soak in the tub, while reading your favorite book. Light some candles. But please don’t give up hope.

Yeah, things suck (like, a lot) right now, and the future is uncertain. If buying a ridiculous tech gizmo will make you feel better, then treat yourself. And if you think it’ll exacerbate your stress, well, by all means, skip it. Because, really, is there anything more stressful than paying off your credit card bill after impulse buying a new toy or gadget? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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Karyl is a Southern transplant, now living on the Central Coast with her husband. She's proud to belong to two very handsome cats, both of which have made it very clear as to where she ranks on the social hierarchy. When she's not working as an optician, you can either find her chipping away at her next science-fiction novel or training for an upcoming race. She holds an AAT in Psychology, which is just a fancy way of saying that she likes poking around inside people's brains. She's very socially awkward and has no idea how to describe herself, which is why this bio is just as dorky and weird as she is.

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