Friday, October 13, 2017

And then I Needed to Just Breathe...

Disclaimer: I received The Breathing App and gear in exchange for this blog post. All opinions are my own.

It's no secret to anyone that I am somewhat of a high-strung kind of gal. In fact, some call me type A+. Being driven is often a good quality-- as a type A person, I have high standards, I'm ambitious, I'm goal oriented, I'm not a quitter...but there are definitely some downsides to being type A. It is exhausting being such a perfectionist, and the drive to continually succeed can lead to stress. And we all know what stress does to a body.

Unless you're type B, that is.

Running has always been an outlet for stress relief for me. But what about when I can't run? It's not like I could just leave in the middle of my workday for a run, right? Can you imagine?

What I can do when I'm feeling overwhelmed is take a minute to breathe.


Recently, I was asked to try and review The Breathing App for iOS. I was interested in comparing this app to the one I've been using on my watch, the Breathe App. I have my watch set to remind me to breathe every hour. I don't always stop to breathe, but when I do, I always feel better. What I found is while the apps both use guided breath mediations, The Breathing App is based on the yogic technique of breathing 6 breaths per minute, or resonant breathing. There are a lot of health benefits related to this particular breathing technique. You can read more about that on the developer's website.

The app features different ratios that the user can set for the breath, and anyone who has taken a yoga class should be familiar with this principle. A longer exhale is more beneficial for those of us who use breathing techniques to relax. There is also a timer that the user can set depending on the length of time you would like to practice.

The user can choose from 3 different screens: A ball that "inflates" with the inhale and "deflates" with the exhale, a screen that counts up and down with the breath, and a musical screen, which would good for people who like to do this with their eyes closed. The musical option would also be great for anyone trying to relax before sleep or mediation. By the way, Moby developed the music for the app. You may be familiar with some of his works, including Porcelain.

Three screens to choose from
As always, life tests me and this week, I was able to use the app multiple times:

...at an office meeting this week, I was called out on something I didn't do, in front of everyone, and I was forced to defend myself. And then I needed to just breathe....

...as I was preparing to leave the house for work and I noticed that my dog pooped all over my dining room rug. And then I needed to just breathe...

...a hard run while feeling the effects of yet another RA flare in humid, windy conditions left me frustrated and tired. And then I needed to just breathe...

...the WiFi in my house was out and this post was due. I called Comcast and they can't come out until the weekend. And then I needed to just breathe...

...my youngest son has senior pictures coming up and he keeps "forgetting" to try on his suit even though I keep reminding him. And then I needed to just breathe...

Life is full of annoyances and all I have to do is breathe. It's great that there are apps like this to assist me. I am a perfectionist, you know, and I need to do it right. Although the developers assure us that since we already know how to breathe, there is no right or wrong way to do it!

I really like this app and will use it regularly. The big difference to me is that the app on my Apple Watch has a reminder and prompts me to take a minute to breathe. The Breathing App can only be used when I access it. I really like the music feature, which I think I'll use when I'm having trouble falling asleep. There is a timer that you can set so it will shut off automatically. I'd love to see the developers come out with a version I could use on my Apple Watch.

You can find The Breathing App as a free download in the Apple App Store. There will be an Android version coming out in November. If you'd like to be an Android beta tester, you can contact the developer here.

Because we all need to just breathe.

Do you practice breathing? Use breathing when you are feeling stressed? Have you ever used an app to assist you with breathing?

I'm linking this post with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday 5. I only gave 5 examples of when I used the app, but trust me, there were plenty more...


46 comments :

  1. Thankfully, I seem to be Type B. Although last night when I was teaching my son the math he didn't learn in class that day, I could have used a reminder to breathe...

    -MCM Mama

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    1. Doing homework with a child has to be one of the most stressful things ever! When my oldest was struggling in math, we hired a tutor!

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  2. The breathe app is great bc you can access it when it's convenient for you. The one that used to pop on my watch always seemed to be at a time that I would not just breathe. I like the simplicity of it

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  3. Many of my guided meditations include a breathing section, but a reminder is always a good thing! I'd probably be more interested if the app had that feature.

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    1. I like the reminder feature on my watch. You can set it to whatever frequency you want.

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  4. I am constantly reminding myself to "just breathe!".....Breathing AND stretching are two things I need reminders for! Maybe an app to remind me to stretch?? I have an Android phone, but I will check out the app when it comes out! BTW, Comcast has been a big source of annoyance for me over the past couple of months on occasion and I definitely had to remind myself to breathe while speaking to representatives!!

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    1. I need to breathe and stretch more too! A stretch app would be a good thing.

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  5. I am really loving the app. I honestly did not know such apps existed, but this one has been a great little tool to have. Too bad the sales reps I deal with (via persistent phone calls) don't use it!

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    1. But maybe you can use the app after you hang up on them! LOL!

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  6. There are many times during the school day I have to remind myself to breathe! I don't want to overreact and do/say the wrong thing. I have never thought of using an app to help me breath... definitely don't think I will ever do that!

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    1. I could have used it today but I was drowning and didn't have time to breathe! That's just wrong.

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  7. I use breathing techniques when I am stressed out. Probably practicing more regularly would be good overall.

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    1. I was pretty diligent about breathing, using the app on my watch, but I've fallen off the wagon. Time to get back on the plan!

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  8. As a type a I totally need to try this too! Seems like it could really help!

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    1. I'm sure if I was as diligent about breathing as I am about running, I'd be super relaxed.

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  9. I'm type B, but this has been a just breathe type of week. Tree down? Just breathe, then call the tree removal company. Water heater not working? Just breathe, then Google and find out how to re-light the pilot. It's been a bit humorous since Les is out of town.

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    1. I can only imagine. Fortunately when my husband isn't around, my oldest son takes over!

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  10. Was this app on Shark Tank?
    Being called out for something you didn't do is the worst. Sorry that happened to you.

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    1. I don't know if it was on Shark Tank! Good question!

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  11. My watch has an app that reminds me to breathe. Sometimes I do and often I don't but it's a good reminder.

    I'm type A too and always on he go. Deep breathing is a good way to relax and de-stress esp before bed.

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  12. I totally need to breathe right now. I may need resuscitation soon.

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    1. Ha! I had one of those days myself. The worst thing was that there was no time to breathe.

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  13. I totally practice breathing in stressful situations, but probably not enough as I should :-)

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  14. I'm also Type A. I can turn it off sometimes, though. I somehow taught myself to do that over the last few years. It's helpful. :)

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  15. Cool app! I definitely try to go back to my breath when I'm feeling overwhelmed or stressed and we tell our toddler to breathe when she's having a meltdown (you can imagine how that goes). It's really powerful!

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    1. I used to put myself in a time out when my boys were crazy toddlers! I'm sure there was some breathing too.

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  16. This was so interesting to me. I never knew there was an app for breathing. Why wouldn't there be? I totally found myself taking a long breath while reading this post. I am really intrigued and see how I could benefit from just breathing.

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    1. I think that there's an app for everything!

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  17. I definitely have a super type A personality (mainly in terms of wanting to have a plan + with time urgency)...I feel like this app would be good for me! :P

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    1. If nothing else, it will teach us all how to breathe!

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  18. Sometimes when I am stressed Rob will remind me to breathe and I suddenly gasp for air, as if I had been holding my breath! I am definitely type A and get really anxious over things that other people wouldn't think twice about. I definitely need to work on breathing!

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    1. I find myself doing that very same thing!

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  19. I need to take more time to stop and breathe. Sounds like a great app.

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    1. Reviewing the app was a good reminder for me!

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  20. Very interested in this. I love the Apple Watch reminder! PS - I needed to breath with you after reading about you getting called out in front of everyone. #1 rule to teaching/leading is NEVER humiliate. So sorry you had to go through that.

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    1. Some people don't follow the rules! Which is why we need to breathe...

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  21. I've always taken the time to pause and take a few slow, deep breaths when I was stressed. I like how the happy actually paces the breathing for a better effect.

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    1. It's nice to have a app that helps us focus and breathe!

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  22. Breathing is something I never really paid attention to until I started lifting weights and then all of a sudden it was like a lightbulb went off! Now I'm very conscious of my breath.

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    1. Yoga really helped me focus on the breath and it has translated to the weight room and to my runs.

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  23. It is amazing how breathing centers us!!
    At times when I struggle on a run my go to is reset the breathing...and at night when I can't sleep, breathe deeeep.

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    1. I've been doing that for years--focusing on the breathing has always helped when I've had a side stitch.

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