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An anxiety-reducing watch could be the next trend in wearables

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Photo: Stocksy/Bonnin Studio

Your wearable can tell you how to improve your workout, how well you’re sleeping, and even make sure you’re breathing correctly. But even with the meditation features, there still hasn’t been a way to effectively lower anxiety levels completely. That may start to change: Scientists have discovered that a vibration that mimics a heartbeat has shown to be effective in making someone feel calmer.

The researchers had two groups strap on a tricked-out watch to wear before giving a public speech—something that’s at least a little bit anxiety-inducing for most people. For one group, the watch was set to vibrate at the rate of a steady heartbeat. For the other group, the watch didn’t vibrate at all. It turns out the vibration was actually effective in lowering anxiety.

“Listening to slower tempo results in lower arousal and subjective states of positive or calm emotional states.”

The author of the paper points out that when an infant is upset, a mom instinctually places the baby on her chest. It seems as if the calming effect of a steady heartbeat doesn’t go away when we become adults. “Listening to slower tempo results in lower arousal and subjective states of positive or calm emotional states,” the study reads. It’s in line with how meditation works too: Typically, teachers suggest taking long, slow breaths to feel more calm and small, quick breaths to feel more energized.

With this new evidence, you might start seeing anti-anxiety products in the next round of wearable updates. And the best part? No one will even notice the sneaky little way you’ll be calming yourself down. It’s all in the wrist.

Speaking of wearables, here are 5 cool tech trends—all with a healthy spin. Plus, why 2017 is the year of femtech