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Have you ever met someone you were fairly certain was going to die young because of the stress they face? I'm pretty sure that I fit that bill pretty well, and it's not with a happy heart that I say this.
My job is stressful. I'm surrounded by people who either don't understand me, or don't care to try. By default, I'm alone most of the time. When I do try to expand my circle and include people from my industry, it gets rebuffed and thrown in my face.
It's gotten worse in the past year or so. Since I've moved away from New York, I am no longer close by to my support network—and if I'm being honest, my support network can be fairly toxic for me sometimes, too.
For the past couple of months, I've started to have some seriously disturbing symptoms. For the first time in my life, I started to get stress headaches. My skin started to get drier and break out. My digestive tract started to act up, and I even began to gain weight.
One day, it all came to a head. I was talking to a friend about what I had to deal with. As I started talking, I felt my heart start to do a little dance. It started to hurt. I started to gasp for air. I started to panic.
Yep, I started to have panic attacks—and that's how I knew something had to change.
The next day, I came up with an action plan that would help me out.
I was pretty sure that something had to change, otherwise I'd end up dead of a heart attack at 40. So, I started to get therapy—but that's not all I did. I realized that therapy was a long term process that would help me suss out my life over the course of months or even years.
My job was killing me, literally, but I couldn't quit because then I wouldn't have a way to pay my bills. So, I looked online to find something that could help me manage my stress while I worked.
That's how I found TouchPoints.
TouchPoints are the latest in neuroscience wearables.
It's hard to explain what TouchPoints are, but I'll give it a shot. A TouchPoint is a bracelet that senses your body's reaction to stress. Once it senses that you're stressed, it releases gentle vibrations that are designed to help you calm down.
TouchPoints are sold in a pair, and are designed to work in a pair. You put one on each wrist, and they look just like a pair of elegant wristbands, or a pair of wristwatches.
All of the work done by these bands are backed by neuroscience. So, you can expect them to work.
Let's talk about the vibrations.
Once these devices notice warning signs of stress affecting the body, they release vibrations that have been proven to lower stress. These pulses are called haptic micro-vibrations, and work to change your body's reactions to stress.
By changing the way your body reacts to the stressful situation, TouchPoints lower the physical and mental symptoms of stress. In other words, they can help you avoid having the kind of symptoms that led me to have a panic attack.
My first day of wearing them on the job was one filled with trepidation.
Though I wear them on my wrists, you can wear TouchPoints anywhere you want. Some hold them in their pockets, others put them in their socks. Where you place them doesn't matter. I kept them on my wrist because I'm a wrist-y type of person.
I charged them the night before, placed them on my wrist, and then went to work.
The way they work is pretty simple.
To start a TouchPoints session, you will need to press a button on one of your points. The button allows you to toggle between three different settings, each of which is represented by a different color light.
You can choose a meditation setting (blue), a setting to reduce anger (purple), or a setting that's designed to help you maintain calm and focus (yellow).
Once you choose your setting, turn your TouchPoints so that they face one another. They will both turn the same color, signaling that they are ready to go. Then, make sure that the TouchPoints are on either side of your body.
They'll start pulsing, and you'll start feeling better.
The first time I used it was when I had to deal with the office mean girl clique.
As per the traditional way things go, I went to work and got to overhear the mean girls chatting it up. I added my own comment, and they quickly told me how much they hated whatever I said. They then stopped talking until I left. It happens like clockwork.
Just like always, I got angry because rejection hurts. I decided to use my TouchPoints on "purple mode." Within minutes, the rejection didn't hurt as much. I felt like there was a little bit of ease in my life. Their snooty behavior didn't matter as much.
Then was the deadline crunch.
Admittedly, my lack of focus at work was starting to eat away at my ability to get things done on time. I looked at my calendar, and realized that my report was due today. So, I put it on "yellow mode."
Within 15 minutes, I found myself in the zone. I pounded out the report and somehow managed to squeak it in right before the meeting I had. If I was more stressed, I wouldn't have been able to concentrate long enough to do that.
They also came in pretty handy at home.
A funny thing happens when you're stressed beyond belief: You lose sleep. I've been struggling with sleeplessness for a while, and it was beginning to grate on me in a way that most people couldn't see happening at work.
So, I took the "sleep" mode of TouchPoints to the test. Not too long after, I started to feel drowsy. I took off my TouchPoints, set them to charge, and switched off like a light.
The longer I wore them, the more I started to experiment with them.
The cool thing about TouchPoints is how versatile they are. I've started to experiment with different settings, use them at random points throughout the day to see their effects, and also gave my friend them to use as he was going into a panic attack.
Personally, I've found them to be a world of help when I'm told to do office presentations.
Since I started using them, I started to feel a lot better—and think a lot clearer.
I don't know whether the stress was just messing with my mind, or whether it's the therapy, but since I started using my TouchPoints, my outlook changed.
I've started to feel a little more optimistic about the future. People have remarked that I'm more focused, less angry, and just a little more mellow. It's a great thing for my career.
Health-wise, I've started to get better, too. My skin's looking clearer, I look less dead, and my overall health has improved. TouchPoints definitely helped me out, and I'm glad I made the leap of faith.