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Can Smart Glasses Help You Practice Mindfulness?

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In this digital age, many companies and individuals have begun harnessing the power of digital technology to help enhance mindfulness practices. Previous human-computer interaction studies have investigated digital approaches to strengthen mindfulness, including the invention of multimedia technologies to support mindfulness meditation. These approaches typically use digital devices like smartphones, tablets, or desktop systems for private individual use and in the scope of organised therapies. Similarly, virtual, augmented, and mixed-reality technologies have become increasingly popular.

Today, digital mindfulness support involves digitised forms of guided meditations or mindfulness tasks, where our devices act as digital substitutes for human teachers or meditation partners. One of the forms of digital mindfulness technologies available and gaining popularity today is smart glasses. A form of wearable technology, smart glasses can help make mindfulness practices more approachable for people who may not be used to traditional forms of mindfulness practices like meditation.

In a previous post, we discussed Zen meditation as a beginner-friendly form of seated meditation, helping people who seek peace and clarity in their lives. Zen meditation, or Zazen, can help people cultivate a deep sense of presence and awareness through breath control. For mindfulness beginners, Zen meditation is helpful when practised through slow, short sessions to help build a routine. By maximising the accessibility and hands-free nature of smart glasses, more people can access and learn meditation practices like Zazen without relying too much on their smartphones.

Below, we’ll look at how smart glasses and the various technologies powering them can help you practise mindfulness:

The rise of smart glasses

In the past few years, smart glasses have become a sought-after investment by tech companies and startups. More recently, many smart eyewear startups have begun working with health and wellness entities to implement fitness and health features. For example, Innovative Eyewear recently announced its partnership with fitness footwear and clothing brand Reebok to launch a line of smart eyewear products in 2024. These Bluetooth-connected audio glasses with four open-air speakers enable hands-free usage while connected to mobile devices.

Meanwhile, other smart glasses boast different capabilities. Some have built-in cameras so wearers can capture images and videos; others allow you to take hands-free calls; and others offer functionalities to help people with vision or hearing problems better navigate the world around them. Other products focus on augmented and virtual reality to provide additional information to their wearers. As new innovations continue to take space in the smart eyewear segment, many show promising features that can help boost digital mindfulness support and practices.

Smart glasses for guided meditation

One of the most straightforward uses of smart glasses for practising mindfulness would be enabling guided meditations. Today, many smart glasses have built-in discreet speakers that turn the eyewear into audio glasses. For example, the Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses allow people to take calls and stream music thanks to its built-in open-ear speakers. The smart glasses also allow people to live stream, which may indicate potential use in streaming guided meditations to larger audiences remotely if you’re a teacher. Similarly, if you’re just learning, you can listen to guided meditations or even hold calls with a meditation teacher without the distraction of your smartphone.

Many smart glasses also connect to your smartphone via proprietary apps. Most mindfulness apps available today work solely on your mobile devices instead of connecting to specific smart eyewear products. However, it can be interesting to see future integrations with smart glasses. For example, apps like Calm, Headspace, and Balance can be listened to or controlled via smart glasses instead of earphones, which can be a more discreet option for those looking to meditate in public spaces or away from home.

Smart glasses for mental health therapy

At the same time, some smart eyewear products today are used in specialised healthcare settings. Several healthcare startups have begun implementing VR technologies to treat severe pain and mental health conditions. Mental care providers can assist patients dealing with stress and anxiety remotely by using smart glasses. Of course, mental health care can play a significant role in boosting mindfulness practices, allowing people to seek appropriate professional care for problems that meditation may not be able to help. Conversely, combining mindfulness with self- and mental care practices can help boost mental health by reducing stress.

Studies have also demonstrated that soothing, relaxing sounds and calming visuals shown to patients through VR headsets can help reduce stress and anxiety caused by medical procedures, highlighting their effectiveness in helping boost mindfulness and rooting people in the present during times of duress and crisis. Meanwhile, Oxford VR offers automated VR cognitive therapy by using headsets to replicate real-world scenarios related to triggers of mental health symptoms.

VR for meditation

Finally, smart glasses can also provide a visual and virtual element to meditation. Many unfamiliar with mindfulness practices like meditation tend to shy away because they don’t understand it or don’t know where to start. Using virtual reality glasses and headsets, people can approach meditation and mindfulness from a digitised perspective. They would also be able to learn and figure out which meditation practices work best for them in the privacy of their home without the anxiety of doing it with other people.

For example, the VR meditation app TRIPP can connect to Meta’s VR headset to transport wearers into a virtual otherworldly landscape where meditation meets video games. The project combines a gamified approach to meditation and mindfulness, featuring daily Focus and Calm sessions to boost mindfulness and reduce anxiety. Wearers can also use the Composer feature to choose from meditations that address impatience, anger, trauma, low confidence, self-doubt, and more.

Ultimately, while the world of smart glasses is yet to reach its full potential, many of the features and capabilities available today can help bridge the digital world and our physical and spiritual wellness. While they may not be a solution for everyone, they show promise in helping make mindfulness and meditation more accessible and approachable to those who may otherwise be intimidated by them, all while taking the attention away from our smartphones and the fast-paced nature of digital information.

Can Smart Glasses Help You Practice Mindfulness?
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