Rachel Yarcony is the CEO and co-founder of myAir Smart wellness, a scientific solution to monitor and balance stress
How does an Angelina Jolie decision represent some of the most powerful drivers of our time, and how can it support a less stressful routine?
As consumers, our decision-making is guided by two main pillars: the power of data and the power of personalization, or “the strength of me† Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo preventive surgery to prevent cancer exemplifies these influences and underscores their continued importance in our lives today.
After losing her mother to cancer, Jolie looked for answers about her own risk of developing the disease. When she got data from her doctor, she discovered that she had a 87% risk from developing breast cancer; Jolie made the educated — and life-changing — choice to undergo a double mastectomy.
While this is an extreme example, whether we’re deciding what to eat for dinner or choosing our next book, data can help make our everyday choices more informed and more in line with our tastes. Even the dating scene has been completely reinvented by data with the pursuit of a significant other that amounts to a swipe left or right.
Important for those who need to make high-level business decisions, I believe that assessing data around areas such as stress, as part of a self-reference effect, can create electronic activation in the prefrontal cortex, the area of our brain where we “knit memories together† Through research recently sponsored by my company, we can see how understanding and actively monitoring these metrics can help you reduce stress.
The entire decision-making process has become Yelpified as we turn to reviews and AI-powered recommendations tailored to our own past preferences and behaviors. The evolution of data-driven decision-making is particularly prevalent in the food and wellness industry, and brands have evolved to cater to the health-conscious consumer.
This change started with companies reducing or eliminating harmful ingredients like sugar in their products. Then came the addition of functional ingredients to foods such as probiotics and proteins. Cafes now offer turmeric lattes and supermarket shelves are filled with apoptogenic mixes.
However, with all these wellness-focused nutrition options at your fingertips, deciding what to eat can be a daunting task. Ashwagandha or astragalus? Chaga or moringa? The options and their benefits seem endless.
But with a better understanding of individualized health and the spread of wearable technology—including Apple Watch, Garmin, and Fitbit—and in addition to apps that help you log and track your diet, I see a third generation of personal wellness based on tailor-made nutritional advice grasp.
Today’s AI-powered nutrition is driven by the affordability of big data, the availability of biomarkers, and the recognition of customers’ individual psychological and physiological profiles. This data and personalization revolution focuses on preventing and managing chronic situations through nutrition.
In fact, we are already seeing this trend taking shape. It is powered not only by the power of data, but also partly by ‘the power of me’. I hope we can use the data types and methods that many medical institutions that we are already exploring so that we can evaluate and refine our decision-making processes ourselves. This is especially important for business leaders who face stressful decisions every day and need to get the most out of themselves in a rushed, high-stakes environment.
dr. Daniela Kaufer, associate dean and professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley and chief of stress science at my company, recently led research in collaboration with my company and Garmin. As part of the research, Dr. Kaufer notes that collecting and evaluating data on stress is the first step to reducing it.
In the study, participants received both real-time feedback and progressive insights into the factors that influenced their stress by evaluating data points from a wearable activity tracker. They were also given food based on their individual nutritional needs and profiles. As a result, they were able to evaluate data about their own stress and take immediate action to reduce it. Ultimately, 80% of the participants saw a reduction in stress. This supports other research showing how: using technology monitoring your stress levels and diet can help control symptoms.
Lazarus’ theory of stress and coping may explain why this combination of data and action works for stress relief. The theory holds that one’s assessment or perception of a stressful event or situation is more important than the event itself. Several studies have been conducted on this concept of your perception of tension. If you feel that a challenge is too overwhelming, it may exaggerate the stress you feel.
I believe that by arming yourself with data you can better manage and manage your stress. With the proliferation of apps on the market that track stress and diet (with even some targeting) small business owners), and with more tools hitting the market every day, this is quickly becoming the new reality.
Deal with stress
The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the growing world of personalized nutrition and wellness is growing. Rather than traditional advice, which often has a set list of good and bad wellness habits, these programs are more like personal assistants that help one make quick wellness choices. The algorithms use factors such as DNA, microbiome profiling, sleep quality and other cognitive data to create an in-depth behavioral signature. Rather than another one-size-fits-all solution, the personalization based on an individual’s parameters enables personalized wellness recommendations.
For me, my moment of truth came at a time when it was out of my control. I discovered how data could support my journey to understand myself and improve my well-being. I encourage you to empower yourself and understand your stress patterns (most stressful hour of the day, most stressful days of the week, sleep quality, etc.) with the tools available around you to create new habits and find your optimal zone to keep.
By leveraging data through things like wearable technology, we can assess our diet and stress and determine how they affect our health. By taking control of the data, you can manage it.
The information provided here is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult a qualified healthcare professional for advice on your specific situation.