Cybersecurity has never been a low-stress field. The industry attracts dedicated, highly-skilled perfectionists who are all too willing to shoulder the burden of a company’s cybersecurity without complaint. Yet, increased threats of ransomware and cyberattacks are creating an anxiety filled workplace. The current technological skills gap means there is frequently too much work for too few people. Stress, working overtime, missing holidays and birthdays, it’s all too often considered ‘part of the job.’ 9 in 10 CISOs said they were under high or moderate levels of stress; COVID only amplified this. 80% of information security personnel say they’re dealing with more stress in the wake of the pandemic, however the impacts are rarely talked about. 40% of CISO respondents said that stress levels impacted their relationship with their partners or children. As stress mounts for CISO’s, their ability to focus on their job, remaining calm and aware of potential threats, decreases. The Zensory is the first work-productivity app designed for professionals in high-stress fields, using multi-faceted tools to decrease anxiety and promote discipline in their work.
Stress isn’t some new phenomena, it’s a primordial response, an activation of the amygdala which triggers a hunter-gatherer fight or flight instinct designed to keep you alive. It was quite helpful back when threats were life or death. Now we are more likely to experience low-level stress, where a threat comes from a mistaken line of code or an untrained employee opening a suspicious link. This is chronic low-level stress, where the stress-centre of the brain is kept running like a car motor, and has knock-on effects on focus and productivity. Chronic low-level stress means the amygdala gets all the attention in your brain and prevents your prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain used for high-level thinking and creativity, from functioning properly and focusing at work. As this prefrontal cortex fails to get adequate attention, you lose focus at work, leading to stress about managing daily tasks, leading to less focus at work.
In CyberSecurity, many professionals self-medicate, the number growing in recent years. As professionals lean on these unhealthy habits, they lose their ability to focus, to fall into the flow state where their best work is done, and allow a vicious cycle of stress and coping to continue. The Zensory is the first step in hacking your habits to help rather than harm you.
The Zensory has been taking the lead in helping people hack their habits by using binaural beats, touchpads, naturescapes, movements, own brand scents and breathwork to create a focused environment and boost creativity. All with the goal of getting you into your flow state so that you can increase your work productivity and de-stress at your job. With 27 years of experience working with the cybersecurity industry, Yvonne Eskenzi is intimately familiar with the cycle of stress, bad habits and distraction that cybersecurity leaders are experiencing. Combining this experience with her daughter Jasmine’s background in healthcare, they founded The Zensory app to redirect the tendencies of professionals within high-stress jobs. Yvonne and Jasmine discovered that by including a plethora of research-backed tools and guidance to tackle their work and distractions head on, people could individualise their new work ritual and revolutionise their habits.
Already, the app has worked wonders for C-level executives and surgeons in the NHS. Ben Smith, the serial entrepreneur, said that The Zensory helped him do two weeks worth of work in two hours. Others on the App Store are saying that The Zensory is unique amongst other apps in being intuitive to use and actually giving them the results they are looking for.
Yvonne and Jasmine started their journey developing The Zensory over the pandemic, when the world was trapped in their homes. They noticed that their creativity and focus was being lost as they succumbed to daily distractions. Jasmine decided to understand why achieving a flow-state was so hard to find. She looked at over 200 research papers, talked to neuroscientists, composers, and authors of renowned self-help books to understand the methodologies and biological underpinnings of stress and focus. One immediate striking element the research indicated was that music was not an effective way to tune into one’s work. It may be a ritual for people, but it is often accompanied by highs and lows, breaks, and lyrics, which all can prove distracting from deep work. Despite this, people nearly always want some kind of auditory stimulus, whether it’s just part of their ritual or to actually block out other distractions. Instead of this, Jasmine decided to use binaural beats which have been increasingly shown to replicate brain waves states of alpha, beta, gamma and more, that were shown to boost their focus, relaxation and creativity.
Binaural beats are auditory illusions. Two different sounds are played into either ear using headphones at different frequencies. Your mind hears this and instead of either frequency it imagines it is listening to the difference between the two frequencies. This means that, instead of actively listening to music and becoming distracted by its high and lows, you are subconsciously stimulating optimal brain frequencies to improve your mood whenever you want to. On their own, these beats can be grating rather than focusing for some people. But, by layering over calm, rhythmic music and relaxing naturescapes, The Zensory creates an experience which removes anxiety from people in even the most stressful jobs.
The experience is not limited to sound. The Zensory also helps you hack your touch, smell, and taste as well, offering guided programs for low-intensity stretching to boost creativity and recommendations for essential oils, foods, and pressure points to help you relax and zone out at the end of the day. The Zensory’s main focus for most is its pre-made programs designed to allow you to either tune in to your work or tune out when you need to relax. These programs all feature binaural beats to get your brain stimulated and include movement exercises you can do while you work along with breathing exercises and touchpads to de-stress. All of these programs are designed to be implemented into one’s work schedule, going on for anywhere from 3-20 minutes and also incorporating a short 3 minute rest period. The best thing is, despite its stellar reviews and constant additions, The Zensory is still free! So if you’re curious about the unparalleled power of tapping into your senses, give it a go here.