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7 Small Pieces of Technology That Will Change Your Life

7 Small Pieces of Technology That Will Change Your Life

One of the most influential and life-changing pieces of small technology is the smartphone, but there are many other worthwhile options that you may not be using. Whether you want to lose weight, protect your home or keep a closer eye on your health, you have the ability to turn to a relatively small and inexpensive technological advancement.

Although some people question if technology is driving a wedge between social interactions, the reality is that it can be used to improve our lives in numerous ways. The best part is that this doesn’t require a big budget or even a lot of storage space. Here are just a few of the best small examples.

1. Fitness Tracker

Wearable technology offers much more than merely a statement piece. In fact, for the estimated 20 percent of Americans who wear a fitness tracker, this small piece of technology offers many important statistics to help them get into the best possible shape. Long gone are the days when it was hard to keep track of vitals such as pulse rate, blood pressure and temperature.

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This could be life-saving for the 29 percent of people living with hypertension because it offers important clues about the impact of physical activity, diet and stress on their blood pressure levels. Additionally, individuals who need help getting active can receive regular reminders from their fitness tracker.

2. Home Monitoring Device

Being able to monitor and change things from afar such as the temperature in your home is a highly useful tool that enables people to save money. It’s also a great way to ensure that your house is safe at all times. Home monitoring systems are typically small and unobtrusive, and they work with your smartphone.

It’s possible to lock your doors and turn your lights on or off without being home. Even better is the ability to monitor for issues that could cause massive damage, including flooding. According to Alder’s flood calculator, a toilet overflowing in a 1,500 square foot home would cause an astounding $1,861 worth of damage in a mere 30 minutes. With a home monitoring device, you’ll be alerted before this type of damage is able to rack up.

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3. Electronic Food Scale

Are you truly aware of how much food you eat on a daily basis? Sadly, 68.8 percent of Americans are currently overweight, even though many of them make a regular attempt to keep their weight under control. One of the biggest problems is the prevalence of large portions, tons of sugar and sodium in the typical American diet. However, you can get this under control by using an electronic food scale to ensure that you stick with reasonable portion sizes. By doing this for every meal, you’ll adjust to consuming less food, and you’ll soon find yourself feeling less hungry throughout the day. As a result, you’ll be able to lose much more weight than you would be exercising daily without making a calorie adjustment. There are even some scales available that have built-in food information and tracking, and it’s possible to get a scale that can sync to your smartphone.

4. Built-In Water Filter

Many modern refrigerators include a built-in water filtration system that offers cleaner, tastier results. Chlorine is typically filtered out, which means you get the benefits of having it sanitize your water without having to smell or taste it. This technology can make a huge difference with the many water problems that have been plaguing the U.S. recently.

Of course, you should always review the user manual of your refrigerator to determine what type of water filtration system it uses and what contaminants are filtered out. That way, you won’t inadvertently keep drinking a contaminant that could be removed with further filtration. For example, the CDC has indicated that reverse osmosis systems are best for removing certain parasites, but that will require you to install one of these systems in addition to using the refrigerator’s filter.

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5. MP3 Player

You may be asking yourself, “How will an MP3 player change my life?” We all know that MP3 players have made it more convenient to carry a large library of music, so that’s far from breaking news. However, are you aware of the impact that music can have on your mental health? Studies have shown that listening to enjoyable music can reduce your stress levels by a staggering 61 percent. When you consider the fact that and could literally kill you, it makes sense to invest in any small technology that will reduce stress and improve your overall quality of life.

6. Blood Glucose Monitor

Are you diabetic, pre-diabetic or have a family history of diabetes? If so, a blood glucose monitor is a piece of small technology that you should definitely own. These monitors have been available for several years, but the technology behind them keeps improving. As a result, combining a blood glucose monitor with a wearable fitness tracker will provide you with one of the best defenses against the damage that can be caused by living with dangerously high blood sugar. In other words, this one small piece of tech could actually save your life.

7. Solar Powered Keychain Battery Charger

Power outages in the U.S. have been increasing since 2000. It’s also necessary to pay attention to the damage that global climate change is causing and take steps to correct the problem. Fortunately, a solar powered keychain battery charger gives you the ability to keep items charged without electricity while also helping the environment. These portable chargers double as a keyring and typically come with a built-in flashlight. Simply expose the charger to the sun’s rays in order to charge it up, then use it to charge you smartphone or anything else that is powered via a USB cord.

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Technology, in general, has dramatically altered the lives of almost everyone on the planet. Due to this, even the most elderly members of society are learning to use and embrace many modern pieces of tech. By adding items such as a home monitoring device, a fitness tracker and a solar powered keychain battery charger to your life, you can boost your health, improve your quality of life and become more self-reliant.

Featured photo credit: Intel Free Press via flic.kr

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Holly Chavez

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Last Updated on October 23, 2018

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

Science Says Knitting Makes Humans Warmer And Happier, Mentally

My mother was a great knitter and produced some wonderful garments such as Aran sweaters which were extremely fashionable when I was young. She also knitted while my father drove, which caused great amusement. I often wondered why she did that but I think I know the answer now.

Knitting is good for your mental health, according to some research studies. The Washington Post mentions a 2013 survey of about 3,500 knitters who were asked how they felt after a knitting session. Over 80% of them said they definitely felt happier. It is not a totally female occupation as more and more men take it up to get the same benefits. Harry Styles (One Direction) enjoys knitting. So does Russell Crowe although he does it to help him with anger management!

The Neural Knitwork Project

In Australia, Neural Knitworks was started to encourage people to knit and also become aware of neuroscience and mental health issues. Knit-ins were organized but garments were not the only things created. The knitters produced handmade neurons (1,665 of them!) to make a giant brain. The 2015 project will make more neural knitted networks (neural knitworks) and they will be visible online. You can see some more examples of woolly neurons on the Neural Knitworks Facebook page.

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While people knitted, crocheted and crafted yarn, they listened to experts talking about mental health issues such as addiction, dementia, depression, and how neurons work.

The knitting and neural connection

The human brain has about 80 billion neurons. Learning new skills, social interaction, and physical activity all help to forge neural connections which keep the brain healthy and active. They are creating networks to control movement and make memories. The knitters learn that as they create the woollen neurons, their own neurons are forming new pathways in their brains. Their creations are mimicking the processes in their brains to a certain extent. At the same time, their brains are registering new and interesting information as they learn interesting facts about the brain and how it works. I love the knitworks and networks pun. What a brilliant idea!

More mental health benefits from knitting

Betsan Corkhill is a physiotherapist and has published some results of completed studies on her website, appropriately named Stitchlinks. She conducted some experiments herself and found that knitting was really helpful in reducing panic and anxiety attacks.

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“You are using up an awful lot of brain capacity to perform a coordinated series of movements. The more capacity you take up by being involved in a complex task, the less capacity you have for bad thoughts.”- Betsan Corkhill

Knitters feel happier and in a better mood

Ann Futterman-Collier, Well Being Lab at Northern Arizona University, is very interested in how textile therapy (sewing, knitting, weaving and lace-making) can play an important role in mood repair and in lifting depressive states.

She researched 60 women and divided them into three different groups to do some writing, meditating and work with textiles. She monitored their heartbeat, blood pressure and saliva production. The women in the textiles group had the best results when their mood was assessed afterwards. They were in a better mood and had managed to reduce their negative thoughts better than those in the writing and meditation groups.

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“People who were given the task to make something actually had less of an inflammatory response in the face of a ‘stressor’.” – Dr. Futterman Collier

The dopamine effect on our happiness

Our brains produce a chemical called dopamine. This helps us to feel happy, more motivated, and assists also with focus and concentration. We get a boost of dopamine after sex, food, exercise, sleep, and creative activities.

There are medications to increase dopamine but there are lots of ways we can do it naturally. Textile therapy and crafting are the easiest and cheapest. We can create something and then admire it. In addition, this allows for a little bit of praise and congratulations. Although this is likely not your goal, all these can boost our dopamine and we just feel happier and more fulfilled. These are essential in facing new challenges and coping with disappointment in life.

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“Sometimes, people come up to me when I am knitting and they say things like, “Oh, I wish I could knit, but I’m just not the kind of person who can sit and waste time like that.” How can knitting be wasting time? First, I never just knit; I knit and think, knit and listen, knit and watch. Second, you aren’t wasting time if you get a useful or beautiful object at the end of it.” – Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much.

If you thought knitting and textiles were for old ladies, think again!

Featured photo credit: DSC_0012/Mary-Frances Main via flickr.com

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