4 Ways to Use a Smartwatch to Manage General Anxiety

Gillian Sisley

The most value doesn’t come from notifications, music controls, or weather forecasting.


Photo by Alvan Nee on Unsplash

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Garmin, and there no referral links within this article.

I recently became the owner of a Garmin Vívoactive 3 smartwatch, courtesy of the company that manages my Life Insurance policy.

These smartwatches are nothing new, and I recognize I’m fairly late to the party. But as a frugal person, purchasing one never seemed practical enough.

Now that I have one, I wish I’d gotten one sooner.

Among the many fantastic wonders of having a smartwatch, I’m starting to truly realize how much this device can be harnessed to improve my overall quality of life, living with trauma and PTSD.

I am not alone in living in this reality, especially in a world of women all too familiar with the damage caused by assault and abuse.

Which leads me to realize, I’m not the only one who can benefit from the features of a smartwatch to improve their quality of life, whether a person has one already, or is considering purchasing a smartwatch.

Let’s dive into the ways you can utilize a smartwatch to enhance your overall quality of life while living with general anxiety:

1. Pay attention to sleep quality.

This is often an indication of my anxiety level as I start my day.

If I had a bad sleep the night before, I can expect higher spikes in anxiety throughout the day.

Knowledge is power — if I know this is the case, I can be more intentional in managing and soothing my anxiety throughout the day, before it gets the better of me.

Some physical exercise, or general self-awareness in terms of how my body is feeling, can make all the difference on those days.

2. Put down the phone and walk away.

I used to carry my phone with me everywhere.

As a business owner, I need to be available at all times for my clients just in case of an emergency, and so I’ve carried my phone everywhere for 4 years.

But along with calls and emails, I also receive every notification from social media platforms, phone updates, etc.

My smartwatch allows me to filter through all the noise and disconnect when I feel overwhelmed. I only get the notifications I want and need, and none of that additional clutter.

I’m far more carefree knowing that I can stay connected to what’s necessary, but also don’t need to deal with the extra stimulation and information from annoying apps on my phone.

It can be hard to find a balance between staying connected and not getting completely sucked into our technological devices.

Now, I can see if someone’s calling and return to my phone in my office if need be, and can even scan through emails to determine their urgency right from my watch.

If I’m not immediately needed, I can continue to relax.

3. Actively settle anxious spikes.

Garmin has this great widget on many of their devices called a “Stress Sensor”. It monitors the wearer’s stress level, and indicates if your heart rate is spiking.


Photo via Garmin Support

This function also offers breathing exercises right on the watch — you can select anywhere between 1–10 minutes of guided breathing exercises to settle your nerves.

Due to PTSD, I suffer from panic attacks here and there. One of the first things I try to do when I feel a panic attack coming on is to start intentional, soothing breathing.

But when that internal pressure is building and your heart is racing to the point of disorientation, it can be hard to focus on the breathing I need to do. My smartwatch gives me a screen to focus on and follow when I need a guide through, particularly anxious moments.

I haven’t tried this function yet while in the midst of a looming panic attack, but knowing I have this feature attached to me for direct support truly eases the worry on my mind.

For now, I use it in my day-to-day life when I feel a spike and need a hot minute to recentre myself.

4. Listen to the heart rate monitor.

The more we know about our bodies, the better we can understand our triggers and navigate sometimes confusing feelings and symptoms.


Photo credit via London Drugs Store

We can do our best to listen to our bodies, but we as humans are not all-knowing. Frankly, there are more subtle changes happening to our bodies that we might not be able to pick up on, but technology can flag accurately and efficiently.

Garmin’s devices have health sensors to track heart rate, physical activity and other factors that play into a mounting pressure of energy that can turn into anxiety.

Final word.

I’m only a week into owning a smartwatch, but already I recognize the potential for how this little device can help me navigate my everyday life more effectively, and with my mental health top of mind.

When living with trauma, mental health struggles, or anxiety of any kind, life can be difficult on even the best of days.

This is worsened by the constant noise and content stimulation that we encounter every waking hour of each day.

I’m not here to tell you that buying a smartwatch is going to radically change your life — but I can say that I am grateful for the option to limit the number of notifications and stimulation from technology simply by putting down my cellphone, without being entirely out of the communication loop.

And wearing a device that is more so dedicated to my overall health rather than social media pings is just that additional plus.

To anyone who is not living with anxiety or trauma, these details may seem trivial. But to a survivor or warrior in the battle against mental illness?

Anything that even remotely improves our quality of life is absolutely worth the investment.

And you truly can’t put a price on that.

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Online solopreneur. Tea drinker. Committed optimist. I write about trending news, viral Reddit content, and anything else that tickles my fancy.


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