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New app could help you manage stress

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Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), operator of health insurance plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, has launched an iPhone app geared toward helping you manage stress.

Centered, available exclusively for iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, takes a holistic approach to stress management by combining the benefits of exercise and mindful meditation to help reduce stress levels and improve overall health. 

Centered, a free app, builds on the popularity of personal activity-monitoring devices allowing users to track their daily physical activity in addition to providing guidance for mindful meditation exercises for a holistic approach to stress management and overall wellbeing. As the user makes progress towards their established activity and meditation goals, the two activities, represented as circles, converge to form a "centered circle," signaling completion of the weekly goal.

"In recent years, gamification has been successful in encouraging people to change behaviors and stay engaged in programs," said Kristin Conley, vice president, consumer lifecycle management, HCSC. "Centered employs game mechanics to encourage members to make the connection between exercise and stress management, which we believe leads to positive mental and physical health outcomes."

Centered, available exclusively from the App StoreSM, leverages HealthKit integration technology to gather steps information from other integrated wearable fitness devices. Additional features include:

  • Track calories burned, miles walked and time spent being active per day for the last 7 days.
  • Option to add a "today" view notification widget that will display progress towards their steps and meditation goal as a snapshot. 
  • Set goals and reminders for daily steps and weekly mindful meditation sessions.
  • Receive tips for successful meditation sessions and added daily activity.
  • View activity history for meditation sessions and steps taken.
  • View average relaxation rating pre and post meditation session evaluation.
  • Tips for more successful meditation sessions and being more mindful.

HCSC developed the app based on a study conducted with professors from the Adler School of Professional Psychology and the University of Massachusetts Medical School that found that abbreviated mindful meditation exercises result in significant reductions in stress levels and significant increases the participant's ability to focus attention on recent experiences in a clear and non-reactive manner (mindfulness). As a result, Centered has three meditation sessions, ranging in length from four to 19 minutes, as well as a session which explains the benefits of mindful meditation and instructions on how to get the most out of the meditation sessions.

"We're always looking for innovative ways to strengthen our commitment to our communities by providing tools and resources to empower them to better manage their health," said Darren Rodgers, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, HCSC. "Centered encourages positive behavior change and gives consumers greater insight in managing their health and well-being wherever they may be."

For more information on Centered, please view this video .  

To download the Centered App, please visit or text[1] Centered to 33633.


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