A common question that comes up is: How often should I be wearing my Lief? At minimum, we recommend wearing your Smart Patch 5 out of 7 days per week for at least 4 hours per day, ideally around the same time frame. The more you wear your Lief, the more you’ll benefit from the program because:
- You’ll spend less and less cognitive energy remembering to put on your Lief as it gradually becomes an automatic habit that supports your mental and physical health
- You’ll be able to track how your HRV responds to different behaviors and environments in real time throughout the day, and observe trends around what stresses vs. calms your body and mind
- You can participate in Downtime practice throughout the day to train your HRV higher, thus activating your autonomic nervous system’s “rest and repair” mode on demand
Lief’s ECG-based method of tracking HRV is considered the gold standard, but most people aren’t used to sticking a Smart Patch on their torso each day. Thus, it can take some effort to remember to put on your Lief Smart Patch in the beginning. Below, we share tips on how to build your daily Lief habit.
Make Your Plan a Priority
Many of us already feel overwhelmed with our To Do lists. Even something that takes less than 5 minutes (e.g., flossing, stretching, watering plants) can fall by the wayside if we don’t plan and prioritize. The beginning requires the most effort, but the more you do it, the more momentum you’ll have to keep going. After you’ve formed the habit, you’ll be doing it on autopilot, thus freeing up your mindspace for other tasks while reaping the benefits.
Use Mini-Habits to Stay on Track
We tend to focus on the end goal we want to achieve, rather than the steps it takes to get there, e.g., “I want to feel less anxious at night” vs. “I will engage in calming breathing exercises every evening to help my body and mind relax.” The reasons for this include not knowing where to start, and feeling overwhelmed about how much progress needs to be made. That’s why in the beginning, setting manageable mini goals can be particularly helpful.
Examples of manageable mini goals you can incorporate daily:
- Wake up 10 minutes earlier
- Do 5 pushups before lunch
- List 3 things you’re grateful for in your gratitude journal
- Engage in 3 minutes of Downtime practice with your Lief before going to bed
Incorporating mini habits into your daily routine can make it easier to get started and keep going. As you successfully accomplish your mini habits, you can progressively ramp up until the desired behavior (e.g., 20 minutes of Downtime practice each day) becomes automatic. Remember that taking incremental steps towards your goal each day, no matter how small, is always better than doing nothing.
Be Kind to Yourself
Almost everyone can relate to the experience of wanting to incorporate a new positive habit, like flossing, but then feeling discouraged the moment you miss a day, and then dropping it. Establishing new habits, no matter how brief or easy they might seem, requires repeated discipline in the beginning. Thus, don’t be hard on yourself for missing a day or two or five when you’re first getting started. Instead, recognize that you need to set yourself up for success with a realistic plan, and make ongoing adjustments as needed.
Tips for Incorporating Lief into Your Life
Support repetition through structure
Charge your Lief in the same location every time, near something that you come across often (e.g., your laptop or coffee machine). That way, your Smart Patch will always be charged and ready to go, and you’ll have multiple opportunities to be reminded to put on your Lief throughout the day. Placing the bag of electrode stickers next to the charging pad is also a good idea, so everything you need to wear your Lief is easily accessible.
Take advantage of habit stacking
This refers to building new habits around existing routines. Anchoring to a routine you’ve already established makes it easier to remember to engage in the new behavior. Examples of habit stacking include, “As my coffee brews in the morning, I will put on my Lief“ and “After every meal, I will do a 3-minute Downtime exercise.” By attaching your desired Lief habit to an existing routine, it’ll make it easier to remember and enact.
Aim to achieve streaks
This takes advantage of the idea that small wins build momentum, which makes it easier to achieve a larger goal. For example, wearing your Lief 3 days in a row is a win you should celebrate! By recognizing this win, you’ll feel encouraged to continue wearing your Lief so you don’t break the streak.
In addition, the more you wear your Lief, the easier it’ll be for you to continue wearing it. Our brain builds a strong network of neurons to support current behaviors. The more you engage in an activity, the stronger and more efficient the connection becomes so eventually you don’t think about it much at all. This goes for negative habits too, like scrolling through social media, so be mindful of how you’re spending your free time.
Set realistic goals
If you know that it’s very unlikely you’ll wear your Lief every day in the beginning, adjust your expectations to something more manageable. You could start with weekdays only. Use the SMART structure to set a goal that works for you. SMART stands for:
For example, a general goal would be: “I want to wear my Lief more.” In contrast, a SMART goal would be:
“For the next 8 weeks, I will wear my Lief at least 5 days a week for 6 or more hours a day, and practice at least 10 minutes of Downtime each day.”
In conclusion, when building your Lief habit, ask yourself: How can I make it obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying? Although motivation is a starting point, your plan for implementation is the best determinant of whether you’ll succeed in achieving your goal. The tips above will help you incorporate Lief into your daily life so you can empower yourself to de-stress using the power of your breath.