A new technology is set to hit the market, one which could potentially change stress management techniques from an internal method to an external stimulus, and could potentially bring the stress of the nation under control, but also has some worrying grey areas.
Called Thync, the device manages the mood of the mind through external electrical stimulation, applying minor electric currents to key nerve points about the head.
To ensure it fits into the modern, wearable tech era, it is controlled by a smart phone app, giving it the potential to grow and develop with concurrent updates in the future.
Using programs called ‘Vibes,’ the stimulating electrodes apply currents in a particular way to affect the state of the mind. A stimulating Vibe will make you more aware, whereas a relaxation one will calm you and make you feel at peace.
“Everything seems more finely etched, crisper,” wrote one reporter who was trialling the stimulation vibe. “I notice more details in the world around me, and the sense of dullness that [had been] draped over my brain seems to have been peeled away.”
He went on to talk about how the feeling of crispness continued, and how it positively benefitted his day thereafter.
However, he was worried by the feelings of wanting to feel so tuned in to the moment all the time, and wondered: “Would Thync make me a wirehead, eager to feed sweet current into my brain to keep that sense of being ‘overclocked’?”
This thought is alarming, although the creators of Thync have assured that the theorised, psychological addictive qualities of the technology are not a problem. Compared to pharmaceutical addictions that people use to manage their stress, like alcohol and recreational drugs, it seems fairly safe, with few, if any, side effects.
However, the clear mindedness the reporter described, and the relaxation generated by the opposite Vibe, does not have to come from an external source. Practitioners of mindfulness can become far more aware of the moment, and replace their woes of the past and future with the sensations that are happening to them currently.
Managing stress like this leads to a better ability to relax, and feel at peace. Learning to achieve this in one’s own mind this rather than relying on a technology is preferable because it is more reliable, and has zero negative side effects.
However, this kind of technology could help to relieve stress on a day to day basis, and ironically could be more readily accepted by the community than the (natural) process of mindfulness. Although great steps forward have been taken to promote meditation and the like to modern people, full scale, nationwide acceptance is still far over the horizon.