Manage Your Stress Levels With This Heart Rate–Measuring App


Americans are more stressed out than ever before. But luckily, technology makes managing that stress easier than ever, too. According to TechCrunch, an app called Welltory combines the personal approach of life-tracking programs with medical science to help users put themselves at ease.

The app starts by measuring your heart rate using the same technology that’s put into pulse oximeters. After it learns your heart rate variability (HRV), it uses that information to analyze the state of your autonomic nervous system—the control center that governs your body’s heart rate and stress levels.

One you've tracked your heart beats through your smartphone, Welltory generates a personal profile of your stress and energy levels. If you’re willing to pay $4 a month for the Quantified Self Dashboard, you’ll be given the tools to track other aspects of your life—sleeping, eating, physical activity, etc.—and see how these habits correlate with the stress you feel over time. The app is compatible with dozens of personal fitness trackers, the productivity tracker RescueTime, and even home weather stations. So after a few weeks or months, Welltory should be able to tell you if you tend to feel more relaxed on days you exercised or more stressed when it’s overcast.

The service also offers the Improve Yourself subscription for $19 a month. This includes lifestyle recommendations tailored to the data it gathers about you.

The HRV measuring devices used by professional athletes can cost hundreds of dollars. The creators of Welltory aim to bring this resource to the public through an app anyone can download to an Android or iOS device for free.

Interested in more ways your smartphone can help you decompress? Check out these useful apps for de-stressing on the go.

[h/t TechCrunch]

Celebrate the Holidays With the 2020 Harry Potter Funko Pop Advent Calendar


Though the main book series and movie franchise are long over, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter remains in the spotlight as one of the most popular properties in pop-culture. The folks at Funko definitely know this, and every year the company releases a new Advent calendar based on the popular series so fans can count down to the holidays with their favorite characters.

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Right now, you can pre-order the 2020 edition of Funko's popular Harry Potter Advent calendar, and if you do it through Amazon, you'll even get it on sale for 33 percent off, bringing the price down from $60 to just $40.

Funko Pop!/Amazon

Over the course of the holiday season, the Advent calendar allows you to count down the days until Christmas, starting on December 1, by opening one of the tiny, numbered doors on the appropriate day. Each door is filled with a surprise Pocket Pop! figurine—but outside of the trio of Harry, Hermione, and Ron, the company isn't revealing who you'll be getting just yet.

Calendars will start shipping on October 15, but if you want a head start, go to Amazon to pre-order yours at a discount.

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These Are America's 20 Happiest States

Natalya Zaritskaya, Unsplash
Natalya Zaritskaya, Unsplash

Personal happiness is subjective, but there are many factors that contribute to someone's well-being. Income, sleep habits, and work-life balance are a few examples. By gauging how these factors affect people across the country, WalletHub was able to put together a map ranking the happiest states in the U.S. in 2020.

To compile the list below, the personal finance website determined how all 50 states performed in three categories: emotional and physical well-being, work environment, and community and environment. These three labels cover more than 30 specific criteria, including divorce rates, unemployment rates, adequate sleep levels, and average work hours.

Hawaii tops the list, earning a total score of 69.58 out of a possible 100. It ranks second in emotional and physical well-being and third in community and environment. Just behind The Aloha State is Utah, which beats out all other states when it comes to work environment. Minnesota, New Jersey, and Maryland round out the top five. You can read the full list of America's 20 happiest states below.

Judging happiness levels by state is just one way to view the country's mental health. For an even more localized snapshot of happiness across the U.S., check out the country's happiest cities.

  1. Hawaii
  2. Utah
  3. Minnesota
  4. New Jersey
  5. Maryland
  6. California
  7. North Dakota
  8. Iowa
  9. Idaho
  10. Connecticut
  11. Nebraska
  12. South Dakota
  13. Massachusetts
  14. Virginia
  15. Washington
  16. Vermont
  17. New York
  18. Wisconsin
  19. Nevada
  20. Arizona