Does This Wearable Really Deliver Mindfulness?
These days we’ve got trackers that monitor, well, just about everything: steps, workouts, heart rate, sleep, your dog’s activity …
(We are truly living in the future.)
And now we can add another thing to that trackable list (and it’s pretty darn cool): mindfulness.
Yep, by monitoring breathing patterns that indicate periods of tension, relaxation and mental focus, the Spire Stone ($129.95) claims to reduce stress and anxiety while increasing mindfulness as you go through your everyday life.
Does it work though? We tried it for a month and here are our thoughts!
Spire Review: Pros
The Spire Stone is seriously beautiful. The packaging is minimalist, it’s easy to set up (simply charge it, download the accompanying app, pair with Bluetooth on your phone, clip it on your waist or your bra, and you’re good to go), and its design is just pretty. Like, compared to other trackers out there, the Spire Stone looks calm.
It’s also easy to use — because you wear it close to your stomach or chest, you actually don’t use the device to look at stats — that’s all done through the app. And the app is really well done, too. It’s pretty intuitive and, again, quite calming to look at. There’s a home screen with a deep breathing exercise you can do; a stats page that shows you how many minutes you’ve been in a “calm,” “focus,” “tense,” “active,” or “sedentary” state in a day, week or month; and a whole “boosts” page that gives you a variety of downloadable meditations, tutorials and other cool exercises and visualizations to help boost your mindfulness.
The device is comfy to wear, too. I tried it on my bra (in the middle, between the cups) and on my waistband, and both places tracked my breathing patterns well. The device gives you the option (in settings) to alert you with a gentle pattern of buzzing whenever you’ve been sedentary or tense for too long — I’ll tell you from personal experience that this definitely makes you more mindful of what’s going on.
Other benefits of the Spire Stone? It’s washer-safe and it has a 10-day battery life. So, you know, it’s made for everyday living. (Because I don’t know about you, but I have ruined some wearables just by throwing it in the washing machine accidentally!)
Spire Review: Cons
There really aren’t many cons about the Spire Stone. It does its job and it does it well — using your breath to identify your state of mind is pretty right on. So much so that sometimes I’d get annoyed when it reminded me to take a deep breath:
Spire Stone: Bzzz, bzzz, bzzzz.
Me: Don’t you know I’m freaking out about XYZ and don’t have time to take a deep breath, Spire Stone?
Spire Stone: Isn’t it time you took a deep breath?
Me: Fine. You’re right. *Takes deep breath and feels better.*
But, besides me being stubborn about taking direction from the device (which was always right, for the record — I really did need to take a break or a go for a walk or breath deeply), I will say that the device needs a sleep tracker on it. According to its site, the company is working on adding this functionality, but the device only holds a few hours of data at a time, which makes sleep, well, not exactly trackable — and what is tracked, for me at least, came up as “focused,” which isn’t exactly right. Currently the manufacturer suggests you charge the Spire Stone overnight and not wear it during sleep, but that seems a bit of a waste since it does hold a charge for so long, ya know? You know.
Also, I do wish the activity portion of it was a bit more robust. I know it’s a mindfulness tracker and not an activity tracker specifically, but I think it would be cool to go a bit deeper into the breathing patterns of different types of activity — say running versus yoga versus weight-lifting. Plus, I’m not sure I’d want to wear this device AND an activity tracker at the same time. I mean, you could, but just seems like a lot of tech to wear at once.
Spire Review: Overall Thoughts
All in all, this is some cool new technology that’s only going to get better. If the Spire Stone adds sleep tracking and boosts its activity tracker stats a bit? Boom. The Spire Stone really could be the future.
How about you? Are you looking for a tracker that does it ALL? Or is just well-done mindfulness cool to you? —Jenn