HabitAware uses technology to help people become more aware of the body-focused repetitive behaviors they want to change. The company recently applied for a patent for Keen, a wearable device that vibrates when your hand moves into a position to pick, pull, or bite.
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First, it learns. Body-focused repetitive behaviors tend to have one thing in common. The use of the hands to bite, pull or pick and it usually starts with the dominant hand. Keen is a wearable device that senses movements and with the aid of a phone app, learns which movements are specific to the behavior for which you want to increase awareness. Next, it alerts. Once Keen learns your movements, it will alert you when you make movements that may be precursors to indesirable behaviors. It alerts you by sending a vibration through the wearable device. Allows you to make choices. Once you are made aware of the precursor movements, you can make a choice about what to do next. Do you follow through with the behavior? Or do you do something else with your hands?
Keen helps with awareness which is the first step in gaining control over the habit you want to change. Experts in treating body-focused repetitive behaviors find that habit reversal training is an effective way to help people gain control over their behaviors. People who struggle with picking or pulling usually fall into two categories: those who pick or pull subconsciously or those who do so in response to an urge or compulsion that may be related to stress or strong emotions. Many report a combination of both. It can be challenging tracking behaviors and it can take a while to learn the mindfulness practices that enable awareness of habits that have become part of your normal. Technology can help with that. Regardless of whether it’s an unconscious or intentional habit, the first step in habit reversal training is to recognize the habit, recognize triggers, and then make changes to how one deals with the triggers. Once you are aware of your habits and patterns, with Keen’s reminder, you can mindfully and consciously choose what you are going to do next.
The aspect of Habit Aware as a company is that it was created as an act of love to help one of its founders overcome a pulling habit by using technology. Keen’s creators are very aware of the shame and embarrassment that someone with a body-focused repetitive behavior experiences. With that in mind, Keen is stylishly designed and looks similar to other wearable devices. Its reminder vibration is a gentle reminder that vibrates on your wrist without alerting everyone around you. Keen’s training app has a variety of settings that allow you to change the frequency of reminders, snooze the reminders, or learn up to four trained behaviors that can be deleted at any time. If you forget to reset the snooze function, it will alert you to that as well.
Is Keen foolproof? No. It may alert you to some behaviors that you do not want it to, but the developers are aware of this and continue to improve the product. It is a step in the right direction for using technology to make you aware of habits you want to change. Once aware of a habit, you can choose to break it.
For more information on Habit Aware’s patent application: https://www.google.com/patents/US9721450
For more info on Keen visit Habitaware's website