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Be Mused

It’s been a little over a month since all of our visitors left, and I have a hard time figuring out where all that time has gone. At first glance, it just seems like wasted time, since there’s little concrete evidence that I did anything for nearly a month other than edit some photographs and post a few blog entries.

Looking back more carefully, I realized that my latest technological wonders have eaten a little further into my “free” time. One of my favorite toys is Muse: the brain sensing headband. I’ve actually been using since the end of April but I managed to skip several days while I was on the road and while I had guests. I do have a 47-day streak going now, though, and have managed to reach level 22 and have improved my ability to “calm” myself through some simple meditation. Lately I’ve been meditating for 20+ minutes twice a day, especially right before bedtime. Not sure what effects it really has, but I do feel calmer and, if the stress app is right, I’m pretty relaxed whenever I measure myself.

I’ve actually been meditating off and on for over 30 years now, but I’ve never managed to be very consistent. That’s how Muse has helped me most. It keeps a record of how often you meditate and how successful you are at calming yourself. Just seeing a constant improvement in calming down provides more motivation than I’ve had in the past. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I even like the “awards” you get for new accomplishments, like being 85% calm during a 20-minute session.

My other tech toy was a new Apple watch. I got it to replace aging Polar watch/chest band and my iPod that played music and recorded my workouts. It’s actually the first time I’ve worn a watch in years since I used my iPhone to tell time in recent years. The Apple watch apps use some of the same gimmicks that the Muse uses to motivate you, though it’s a little more sophisticated. As a result, I’ve gradually increased the time I’ve spent exercising since I got the watch.

Every time you start an exercise that you’ve done before the watch suggests a goal, one that’s incrementally greater than the previous time. It’s easier to just accept the suggested goal rather than changing it so I’ve found myself actually doing more exercise. The “Exercise” part of the app wouldn’t count my birding walks (all five miles of them) as “exercise” because they were too slow. So, I found myself walking faster at the end of birding just to meet my daily “exercise” requirement. I suspect that I am in a little better shape because of the watch, but I also find myself with a few more aches than I had prior to buying it.