Stress education app in development

A research team has received $2m in funding to develop a new app that aims to tackle the issue of stress eating.

Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute have worked together to produce a smart phone app that helps people try to understand why they are over eating.

The app is called Relax, and is primarily to help people in clinical programmes to try and lose weight.

Being overweight can lead to many health complications, as well as a low level of fitness that can make every day more of a trial. Relax aims to combat this by tackling the fact that people can tend to eat more when they are stressed out.

Using barcode scanning and user inputs, the app compared what people eat and when, compared to high stress level moments. In some cases, these will line up, and educate people in the way they tend to eat when under pressure.

By pointing out to a person that they rolled into a fast food restaurant at the time their stress peaked every day, it can help to make them consider alternative stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, as opposed to just eating. If this happens, they could get “prompted with a message asking them to think about what they are feeling and whether or not it is the right time to eat,” Bengisu Tulu, the study co-lead and associate professor at WPI said in a statement.

The app, however, isn’t likely to be with us soon. The development is thought to take up to three years, due to the research that is going to go into it.

As society’s focus turns towards the stress we put ourselves under, more stress reducing technology is being developed to help us out. In the future, technology could become a staple part of good stress management.

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