Mental Health

I tried technology to beat anxiety – here’s what happened

Can technology really help with our mental health crisis? Head of Digital, Amy Moore explains what happened when she trialled Alpha Stim to help beat anxiety…

It’s no secret that many of us struggle with our mental health. According to Mind, one in six people report experiencing symptoms like anxiety and depression in any given week in England.

And midlife women are often one of groups hardest hit. Career stress, caring for loved ones and kids flying the nest can all take its toll. Add into that fluctuating hormones, and it’s little surprise that more than half of all perimenopausal women report an increase in depressive symptoms.

While HRT is the first-line treatment for dealing with low mood brought on by hormonal changes, keeping calm is also key for keeping troublesome menopause symptoms at bay.

But, on our busiest of days, there often isn’t the time to carve out hours to go for a walk in nature, or head to a yoga class. This is where mind-soothing tech can be a gamechanger.

What happened when I used technology to support my mental health

For me, keeping my brain happy is a little like having a temperamental house plant. Failure to keep on top of the basics – good nutrition, fresh air and plenty of water – and it all quickly goes downhill.

And, while I aim to maintain a healthy routine where possible, I don’t always get it right.

On busier weeks, I can be guilty of only looking up from my laptop at the end of the day and eating breakfast, lunch and dinner ‘al desko’, before flopping onto the sofa, feeling tired from the day but wired from stress.

So, when I was offered the chance to trial a gadget that claimed to be able to help relieve anxiety, depression and improve sleep in a matter of minutes, I jumped at the chance.

I tried Alpha-Stim – here’s my review

The gadget in question is the Alpha-Stim AID. This small handheld device utilises cranial electrotherapy stimulation to help calm the mind. It works by modulating the activity in the part of our brains that governs how relaxed we feel.

It does this by delivering a low amplitude waveform to the brain via electrodes that clip onto the ear lobes. This waveform works to stimulate cranial nerves and alters activity patterns in the temporal lobe (the part of the brain associated with regulating our mood, emotions and memory).

“The device offers an opportunity to reset,” explains Steve Hutchinson, Managing Director of the UK distributor for Alpha Stim. “It can bring you back to how you want to feel. If you’re feeling overstimulated, it will help to reduce those feelings, making you relaxed.

“Or, if you’re tired and groggy, it can help you to feel more alert. It brings you back to your baseline and back to a state of equilibrium.”

First impressions of Alpha Stim

My package from Alpha Stim arrives quickly in the post and, after a brief look at the instructions, I feel ready to give it a whirl.

The settings on the device relate to the level of stimulation – i.e. the lower the setting and stimulation, the longer the session. The lowest setting seems plenty for me, and I sit with the device on for around 40 minutes.

The first thing I notice is my level of focus.

While I’m only watching TV while wearing the device, I notice I no longer feel the urge to pick up my phone and scroll. I simply sit and concentrate on what I’m doing. A first for me.

As time progresses, I begin to feel incredibly tired, almost to the point where I could fall to sleep.

“We’re under constant bombardment and stimulation,” explains Steve. “Our brains need rest, but so often they don’t get that. If you notice that you’re drifting off using the device, it’s a good sign that your brain is responding to the device and taking that moment to reset.

“Start low and slow. Then, as you become more familar with the device, you can increase the stimulation and decrease the time spent using the device.”

In my few first initial sessions using Alpha Stim, I nod off on more than one occasion for a quick power nap. It seems my brain really did need a good rest. But, as Steve promised, the more I use the device, the less sleepy I feel.

At the end of each session, I feel relaxed and calm – even after the busiest of days. My nerves are no longer jangling. Hours that were often spent staring at the ceiling, willing on sleep, are replaced with a comfortable slumber.

Part of my morning routine

After using Alpha Stim in the evenings for around a week, I start to feel a little more alert than felt normal for that time of day. So, I catch up with Steve to find out what’s going on. It’s here that he suggests a different course of action.

“Ideally, we want to feel calm yet alert after using the device,” he says. “I’ve stopped using the device at night and now use it in the morning instead. It sets me up for the day, starting with calm and focus.”

And that’s exactly what I do. On mornings where I have a bit more time, I sit with my Alpha Stim and aim for as slow a morning as possible.

I find it becomes a helpful aid for meditation – allowing me to focus solely on one thing, and preventing my thoughts running away from one another. Other mornings, I might just sit with it on while I enjoy a morning cuppa, looking out my window at the world below. I notice a significant difference in my ability to be present, and no longer worry about what the day might hold for me.

Another time, I trial using Alpha Stim during a Zoom call with my colleagues. Sometimes I get a little anxious on these calls, tripping over my words when I have to present something. But, with my Alpha Stim clipped on, I feel calm, collected and in control.

My honest thoughts

I was hooked after my first few sessions of using Alpha Stim and, as time has gone on, I’ve become even more impressed.

I sleep so much better and I know that, if I’m feeling anxious, I’m just a short session away from feeling more regulated and relaxed once again.

So, it’s no surprise to learn that, in clinical trials, 94% of participants report feeling less anxiety after just five weeks of using Alpha Stim. While it’s no replacement for a healthy lifestyle, it has become an essential companion for keeping me calm on those days where things get too much.

Hire Alpha Stim for four weeks from £120. Find out more about buying Alpha Stim here. Don’t forget to use LIZLOVES to save 15% off your order.

Our pick of the best technology for better mental health

Alpha Stim

This electrotherapy device utilises waveforms to help regulate brain activity, bringing us back to a state of balance.


The ultimate companion for your breathwork practice. Simply breath in and out in time with the device to help calm your mind.


Sensate gently stimulates the vagus nerve through vibrations to help lower stress levels in a few minutes each day.

Apollo Neuro

This wearable gadget uses non-invasive touch therapy to send silent, soothing vibrations to the body.

Read more features like this

Please note, on some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage and always honestly review. For more information please read our Affiliate Policy.