Leveraging the power of Microsoft Band 2 sensors and comedy
we help you reduce your stress level when needed
Modern life is full of frustrations, deadlines, and demands. For many people, stress is so commonplace that it has become a way of life. Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper.
The body's autonomic nervous system often does a poor job of distinguishing between daily stressors and life-threatening events. If you're stressed over an argument with a friend, a traffic jam on your commute to work, or a mountain of bills, for example, your body can still react as if you're facing a life-or-death situation.
Stress that continues without relief can lead to a condition called distress -- a negative stress reaction. Distress can lead to physical symptoms including headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and problems sleeping. Research suggests that stress also can bring on or worsen certain symptoms or diseases.
Stress also becomes harmful when people use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to try to relieve their stress. Unfortunately, instead of relieving the stress and returning the body to a relaxed state, these substances tend to keep the body in a stressed state and cause more problems.
Laughter triggers the release of a cocktail of happy chemicals that boosts the immune responses, particularly components related to anti-viral and anti-tumor defenses. This cocktail includes NK cells, endorphins, serotonin, growth hormone, interferon-gamma (IFN) and a host of other beneficial substances produced naturally every time we laugh heartily for extended periods.
Laughter diminishes the secretion of cortisol and epinephrine, while enhancing immune reactivity. Laughter boosts secretion of growth hormone, an enhancer of key immune responses.
Laughing leads to the release of endorphins, a self-manufactured natural opiate that has been scientifically shown to carry messages of attachment and bonding (the scientific terms for love), and to stimulate feelings of caring and forgiveness in addition to acting as a natural painkiller. Endorphins create a positive state of mind and boost optimism, self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.
By enhancing the free flow of emotions, laughter can help dislodge blocked emotions stored in the body. Suppressed or blocked emotions can cause ongoing physical, mental and emotional problems and stress. Their release can be life-changing. Laughter provides an excellent non-violent method for emotional release and catharsis.
Laughter stimulates circulation and aids muscle relaxation, both of which help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. Expect to be far less tense and anxious after a Laughter Wellness or Laughter Yoga session! By increasing endorphins (hormones which assuage the sympathetic nervous system) laughter facilitates a state of peace in the body.
Laughter is a natural antidote to many of the illness-causing effects of stress.
*Check out our final paper for relevant sources.
We use the Microsoft Band 2 to collect our data to help you to the best of our ability. The app will connect automatically to your mBand, all you have to do is give us permission to measure your heart beats and you're set.
If you don't have one already, you can get it at:
Our system is designed to provide targeted comedy when a person is stressed. We do so by using a Microsoft Band 2 as part of a mobile health system. Overall our system is designed monitor a person's stress level at all times. When a person reaches high levels of stress, our system intervenes with a comedy filled video. The user watches the video with the by-product of calming the user down, decreasing their level of stress.
In order to create this system, focus was placed on two important subcomponents: stress tracking and comedy content delivery.
In order to measure a person's stress, we used a Microsoft Band 2 that could track health measurements of a user. From the mBand, we collected heart rate, RR Interval (Heart Rate Variability), and GSR (Galvanic Skin Response) data of a user as they went about their data. We chose these metrics specifically because they had been used as stress indicators in past research and proved successful in stress tracking studies.
With a suitable way to measure a person's health metrics, we devised an equation to measure a person's stress level. What we found was that this stress equation needed to be tailored to each individual user; for example, one user may have a naturally high heart rate while another a naturally low. Our solution was to pre-measure a user's resting health metrics. These metrics would set a low threshold value for indication that a user was calm. The stress equation would then check if a user consistently surpassed a certain percentage higher of that resting rate in the health metrics. If the user did, our system would indicate that the user was stressed.
With a system to determine when a user is stressed in place, we next focused on an automated comedy delivery system. We first researched what type of comedy content would be able to best reduce stress in universal demographic range. What we found was that text-based comedy, such as jokes or tweets, were too short to elicit a response. The same applied to images; users might get a brief chuckle, but their overall stress level did not decrease. With videos, however, we saw markedly lower stress metrics for the duration of the video and post-video. Because of this, we chose videos as our comedy delivery content.
Stress Equation Formulation
Main Guinea Pig
Video API Integration