As technological innovation moves us into an unprecedented era of rapid change, complexity, and stress it is becoming increasingly important to consciously manage our mental health as well as our physical health.
Fortunately, along with the rise of artificial intelligence, highly-distracting smartphones, and addictive social media algorithms, there has also been considerable innovation in scientifically-validated technology tools and wearable devices that can help one to cope in this new world.
I’ve found the most useful transformative technologies are those that help manage one’s mental state through meditation, relaxation practices, and guided audio experiences.
Biohacking Your Mental Health With Technological Tools
Let’s face it, it’s not easy navigating today’s fast-changing and hyperconnected world without at least occasionally feeling exhausted, burned out, or anxious.
That’s where biohacking comes in. Biohacking can be described as do-it-yourself biology where you use technological tools to make lifestyle changes that evolve over time into habits that recharge your mental health and well-being.
While many people turn to pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and narcotics to medicate themselves — transformative wearable technologies can offer a better way to get “in the zone”, relax after a stressful period and train our minds to thrive in a competitive world.
Here are some of the most innovative and exciting technology tools and wearables that are currently available for biohackers who want to experiment with technology-driven biological enhancement.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission from your purchase. This comes at no cost to you (in some cases you get a discount) and it helps support do-it-yourself biohacking guides like this one.
1. Wearable EEG Headsets
Build a meditation practice with real-time neurofeedback from a wearable electroencephalogram (EEG) headset that tracks your brainwave activity and guides you into deeper states of relaxation.
1. Muse – A wearable headband that uses EEG sensors to monitor your brain waves while you are meditating that comes with a huge suite of guided meditations and audio entrainment programs.
2. Sens.ai – A promising new brain training wearable geared toward training better cognitive performance using near-infrared light therapy to stimulate your mitochondria and audio cues to guide you into different brainwave states.
3. Neurosity Crown – An innovative neurofeedback wearable designed to help you boost your brain’s concentration by measuring your brain waves and playing music that increases your focus.
4. BrainBit – A wearable EEG headband that uses guided meditations to help you reduce your stress, improve your sleep, and train your ability to focus.
5. Mendi – While not an EEG, Mendi works in a similar way using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) for neurofeedback, which detects changes in the brain’s local blood flow and oxygenation in response to neural activation.
6. BrainTap – The BrainTap headset uses guided visualization along with LED light therapy and brainwave entrainment to shift your mind into a mental state where you are completely relaxed.
7. Flowtime – A biosensing meditation headband that helps you improve your ability to concentrate and relax by using biofeedback to monitor your brain waves, heart rate, and respiration.
8. FocusCalm – A wearable with guided meditations and neurofeedback games for training. Provides a real-time display of brain activity to give you a score of how stressed or relaxed you are.
2. Mindfulness Tools
Technology-assisted mindfulness tools can help you shift out of the overthinking characterized by high-beta brainwave activity into the relaxed and meditative state of alpha brainwaves.
1. Foci – A small wearable that can monitor your breathing and give you feedback that can help you improve your focus, reduce distraction and relieve fatigue during work and study.
2. Sensate – This relaxation device uses sonic resonance to calm your nerves. Simply lay down, set the device on your chest and the vibrations from Sensate will stimulate your vagus nerve to help you relax.
3. Narbis – A pair of neurofeedback glasses that tracks how relaxed, distracted, and focused you are and provides instant feedback through the darkening and clearing of the glasses.
4. The Shift – A two-inch stainless steel necklace that resembles a dog whistle and is designed to slow your exhale so you can breathe better and calm your nervous system.
5. The Spire – A stress management device that measures your breathing patterns and gives you notifications when you are stressed and prompts you to relax with mindful breathing and guided meditations.
6. Core – A handheld mindfulness device that helps to reduce your stress levels by monitoring your heart rate and heart rate variability while doing guided meditations, giving you feedback with small vibrations.
7. N.O.W Tone Therapy System – A mindfulness-enhancing speaker system that plays tones that help you shift into a relaxed mindful state in 3 minutes.
3. Brainwave Entrainment
Listening to brainwave entrainment audio programs using binaural beats and isochronic tones can be helpful for effortlessly guiding the brain into deep states of meditation.
1. Holosync – A popular brainwave entrainment program that has been around for 20 years, which guides users to increase brainwave synchronization and enter deep meditation in the theta state.
2. iAwake – iAwake Technologies offers the largest selection of brainwave entrainment audios for hacking your mental state, expanding your awareness, and accessing deep states of meditation.
3. Zen12 – A brainwave meditation system that claims to help you enjoy all the benefits of 1-hour meditation in only 12 minutes using brainwave entrainment music.
4. Virtual Reality
The heavy promotion and affordable price of the Meta Quest 2 have opened the gateway to a whole new world of virtual reality environments designed for meditation and relaxation.
1. Tripp – Imagine meditating while “floating around in a colorful kaleidoscopic abyss.” That’s how amazing meditating with Tripp can be.
2. Healium – In peer-reviewed journals, Healium has been shown to improve mood. They give the option to connect an EEG meditation headband to immerse yourself in interactive, nature-based escapes.
3. Guided Meditation VR – Choose from over 30 hours of guided meditations and match them with immersive environments designed to provoke a sense of awe.
4. Maloka – Where mindfulness meets play. Transport yourself to a meditative island where you can meet your spirit animal and experience guided meditations designed by experts.
5. Flow – Experience the natural wonders of Iceland through expert-guided meditations, music from internationally-acclaimed artists like Sigur Rós, and soothing nature sounds.
6. Liminal VR – Liminal applies research by neuroscientists and psychologists designed to induce immersive virtual reality meditation experiences of calm, energy, and awe.
5. tDCS Devices
Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation (tDCS) involves safe, non-invasive brain stimulation that delivers a low electric current to the scalp. It is generally used for improving focus, energy, and mood.
1. Liftid tDCS Device – A lightweight transcranial electric stimulation device that can improve attention, focus, and alertness in just 20 minutes of neurostimulation a day.
2. TheBrainDriver tDCS Device – Numerous studies have implied that tDCS can be a powerful tool for improving brain functions such as boosting memory, reaction time, focus, and energy.
3. The ActivaDose tDCS – A clinical-grade tDCS device that allows you to easily control the intensity of the electrical current and set an integrated timer so you can just sit back and relax during the session.
4. Flow tDCS Headset – A tDCS device designed specifically to relieve depression using a weak electrical current that helps to restore activity in brain cells which results in a reduction of depressive symptoms.
5. God Helmet – Based on the work of pioneering Canadian psychology professor Michael Persinger, the Shiva Neural Stimulation System, or “God Helmet” claims to elicit a wide range of spiritual experiences, visions, and out-of-body experiences.
6. FeelZing – A wearable patch that uses a form of neurostimulation called transcutaneous peripheral nerve stimulation (tPNS) to create the optimal state for productivity: calm alertness.
6. PEMF Devices
4. NeoRhythm – The first neurostimulation device using PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic fields) technology, which is similar to tDCS and helps you to reach a desired state of mind such as meditation, relaxation, or focus.
HigherDose Infrared PEMF Mat – Helps to recharge and ground at the cellular level for pain relief and deep relaxation.
6. CES Devices
Cranio-Electro Stimulation (CES) is a method of non-invasive brain stimulation that applies a small pulsed electric current across a person’s head. These biohacking devices are typically used for stress reduction, insomnia, and mood improvement.
1. David Delight Pro – An audio-visual entrainment (AVE) and Cranio-Electro Stimulation (CES) wearable that guides the brain into various brainwave states, increases neurotransmitter production, and improves cerebral blood flow.
2. Alpha-Stim – A drug-free treatment for relief from pain, anxiety, insomnia, and depression that is backed up by over 100 scientific studies and over 40 years of usage. It works by shifting your brainwaves into an alpha state.
3. Fisher Wallace – A neurostimulation device is cleared by the FDA to treat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Similar to the Alpha-Stim but at a much lower price point.
4. Circadia – Circadia is a CES neuromodulation device that has been shown by research studies to help stabilize mood, reduce stress, and improve sleep quality when used for 20 minutes a day.
5. KTS CES – A generic version of the Alpha-Stim device that is much more inexpensive and also works to relax your nervous system and shift your brainwaves into the alpha state.
7. Fitness Wearables
If you want a device that makes tracking easy then these are the best fitness wearables to track your workouts, sleep cycles, and recovery through heart rate variability (HRV).
1. Apple Watch – The Apple Watch is the best option for iPhone users for tracking fitness, sleep, and recovery with heart rate variability (HRV). It integrates with thousands of third-party apps that help you build better habits and track your progress.
2. Fitbit Charge 5 – Fitbit’s most advanced fitness wearable is the leading non-smartwatch fitness wearable. It integrates a suite of features for stress management, fitness tracking, sleep monitoring, and tracking nervous system recovery with HRV.
3. Samsung Gear 5 – For Android users, this is the top-rated smartwatch. It offers many of the same features as Fitbit Charge 5 with a more elegant design such as ECG apps, SpO2 monitors, sleep tracking, and stress management tools.
4. Oura Ring – This lightweight wearable ring provides excellent data and recommendations for improving your health and recovery. It gives you 3 easy-to-monitor scores: a sleep score, an activity score, and a readiness score.
5. Whoop – An innovative wearable designed to help high performance athletes track both their workouts and recovery. It measures your blood oxygen levels, skin temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate.
6. Pavlok – A personal life coach on your wrist with the rather novel feature that it can zap you with a mild electrical current to help you break bad habits. It also includes guided mindfulness practices, habit-building tools, and the ability to track your sleep patterns.
8. Heart Rate Variability
While you can easily track your heart rate variability (HRV) with popular fitness wearables, these biohacking devices help you train your HRV in real-time rather than just passively tracking it.
1. HeartMath Inner Balance – The Inner Balance sensor attaches to your earlobe and along with the HeartMath app teaches you how to shift from stress and frustration to balance and resilience with real-time biofeedback, based on your heart rhythm.
2. ApolloNeuro – A wearable device that’s designed to train your body to manage stress naturally using heart rate variability training. It can both stimulate you to focus and calm you for relaxation.
3. Lief – Lief works as an electrocardiogram (ECG) adhesive patch that you wear below your chest that measures your heart rate and breathing to monitor your stress levels in real-time.
4. iom2 – The iom2 measures your body’s heart rate variability to determine a resonance score, which reflects your state of stress or relaxation. This is paired with meditation journeys that help you gain more awareness of your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and physical state.
9. Sleep Devices
Given how important getting enough sleep is for cognition and mood, these sleep-enhancing devices can help you accurately monitor your sleep and improve your sleep quality over time.
1. URGOnight Headband – A wearable device and at-home sleep training program based on 4 years of research and development that is designed to improve your sleep in less than 20 minutes a day.
2. iBand+ – An EEG brain sensing headband designed specifically to improve sleep with audio-visual sensory stimuli, brainwave entrainment, lucid dreaming induction, and a sleep alarm.
3. Remee Lucid Dream Mask – Using gentle, customizable light signals, Remee can increase dream recall and vividness while helping you to become conscious in your dreams through lucid dream induction.
4. Philips Smartsleep Wake-Up Light – Unlike a traditional alarm clock, the Wake-Up Light is designed to wake you in a more natural way, using a unique combination of light and sound to simulate the sunrise.
5. Blue Light Glasses – While this may not seem like a biohacking technology, these glasses have lenses that block blue light from screens, which can actually significantly improve the quality of your sleep and overall mood.
6. LightimeTunnel Sleep Headphones – A lightweight sleep headphones mask that you wear when you go to bed. It helps you to fall asleep faster and works to relieve insomnia with relaxing music.
7. Hapbee – This device uses proprietary ultra-low radio frequency energy technology (ulRFE), which emulates specific magnetic fields to produce different feelings and states in the body such as focused, relaxed and calm.
10. Breathwork Devices
With the explosion of popularity in breathwork practices in the last few years, a number of devices have come out that can help you measure and improve your respiration.
1. HIHBI Pulse Oximeter – An inexpensive pulse oximeter that allows you to measure your SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) levels and easily track your breath-hold improvements over time with their mobile app.
2. Airofit Pro – A smart breathing trainer that exercises your lungs, improves your breathing performance and can help to improve focus, sleep, and cardiovascular function.
3. LoveTuner – A calming device you wear around your neck that works as a single-tone flute through which we can align ourselves with the relaxing 528hz sound frequency.
4. Power Breathe – A breathing training device that strengthens your diaphragm and breathing muscles using resistance training. It uses a practice called Respiratory Muscle Training (RMT) to lower blood pressure, improve respiratory function and reduce nightly events of sleep apnea.
5. Prana – Helps you track and train your diaphragmatic breathing along with improving your upper and lower back posture. The integrated app guides you through over 80 scientifically validated breathing exercises.
6. Oxa – Oxa monitors your real-time vitals and highlights the significance your breath has on your state of mind and emotions. Through guided breathing journeys you learn to decrease stress and anxiety.
7. Respirate – This device has a sensor that tracks your breathing rate and a set of earbuds for listening to guided breathwork practices that slow your breathing and help reduce your blood pressure.
The Future of Wearable Technology In 2023
In the coming year, there is a lot to be excited about coming out in the wearable technology sector. Here are some of the most anticipated new technologies:
1. Apple’s Mixed Reality Headset
Rumour is that Apple will launch a wearable VR/AR mixed reality headset or smartglasses in 2023 and the Sony Playstation VR 2, Meta Quest 3 and HTC XR headsets are also expected to be released.
2. New Biomarker Tracking
Exciting new features like blood pressure readings, core body temperature monitoring, hydration tracking, and measurement of blood glucose levels will be added to consumer wearables.
3. Brainwave Tracking Headphones
Given the huge potential for neurofeedback headphones to improve focus and productivity at work, I think there are going to be some exciting new brainwave tracking headphones in 2023.
4. The Evolution Of Smartrings
While the Oura has dominated smartrings, there is lots of new competition coming out like the Evie for women’s health, the HappyRing for mental health, and rumors of smartrings from Samsung, Google and Apple.