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.
What are the underlying conditions of our BFRBs? How do you meet yourself with compassion? What we use as reminders? What does pain push us to do? Featured guest: Aneela Idnani, cofounder of HabitAware.
This post was kindly contributed by Aneela Idnani, Co-Founder ofHabitAware.
"For more than 20 years I hid my hair pulling out of shame and fear of judgement.
Hair pulling actually started as thumb sucking as a baby. My parents and grandma did everything in their power to get me to stop – including handmade knitted mittens. My thumb found a way through those holes but eventually I stopped and graduated to hair twirling. Every night, I drank a warm glass of milk & twirled my hair as I fell asleep, all cuddled in my pink comforters."
"Something I have struggled with, for literally over 20 years, is pulling my hair out. I’m not talking about those silly cartoon moments, where a character is “pulling their hair out” because they’re frustrated. This is something that’s much more in-depth, and more serious. Hair-pulling falls under the category of Body-focused repetitive behaviours or BFRBs, for short. This also includes nail-biting, and skin picking, etc."