Big Ideas: “A smart bracelet that can help you break your bad habits” with HabitAware Cofounder, Aneela Idnani
February 28, 2019
As a part of my series about “Big Ideas That Might Change the World In The Next Few Years” I had the pleasure of interviewing Aneela Idnani. Aneela is Cofounder & President of HabitAware. HabitAware created its Keen smart bracelet to help people “Retrain the Brain” from unwanted behaviors, like hair pulling disorder (trichotillomania), compulsive skin picking (dermatillomania) & nail biting to healthier behaviors. Having grown up hiding her hair pulling disorder in shame, Aneela is now an outspoken mental health advocate, raising awareness of these very common yet unknown conditions. HabitAware is partly funded by a research grant from the NIH and was named a TIME Magazine 2018 Best Invention.
BFRBs aren't just bad habits that can be broken by sheer power of will— long-term treatment consists of identifying and treating the root cause of the behaviors, and even then, it's not guaranteed that they will stop. Many individuals suffering with BFRBs find themselves subconsciously repeating the behaviors, making it all that more difficult to combat them in the day-to-day.
At 17 years old, Aneela Idnani was struggling with the loss of her father. Over time, she developed a mental health condition known as Trichotillomania, a compulsion to unknowingly pull out one’s hair as a self-soothing mechanism.