Our Productivity Ninjas won’t let you finish the year, without one more round of Productivity Apps in Test. This time we look at an app which will get you to switch off your mind and concentrate on your breathing. This might not just come in handy at work, but will also get you through family gatherings over the Christmas period. When it all gets a bit too crazy – remember: Just breathe!
Chosen App: Breathe2Relax
Available on: Android + IoS
Why did you pick this particular app?
I picked Breathe2Relax to help me manage my anxiety and to help me get better at meditation. I’ve struggled with anxiety a lot over the past couple of years, which often affects how I sleep. I’ve found two things help- keeping a journal and meditation!
How does it work?
The app teaches you how to use diaphragmatic breathing to relax and de-stress. You follow an ‘inhale’ and ‘exhale’ bar to guide your breathing rhythm- following 16 cycles with each cycle as one inhalation and one exhalation. A woman’s voice encourages you to count each cycle in your head, focusing on the number as a way to clear your mind. The app also allows you to shorten and lengthen your inhalation and exhalation bars depending on what’s most comfortable for you.
How did you use the app? And what changed for you?
I tried to use the app before I went to bed after particularly stressful days. For me, when I’m trying to go to sleep is when I find stressful thoughts to be most intrusive. The app really helped to clear my mind before bed- I found that just through focusing on my breathing I was usually able to put aside those thoughts and go to sleep without first lying awake worrying.
What was your favorite feature?
My favorite feature would have to be the Results graph. Before the exercise you are prompted to chart your stress level on a mood slider- ranging from relaxed to stressed. After you complete the exercise you’re encouraged to record your mood again. The app then uses this data to show how your overall state has progressed over time!
Nothing is perfect. What were the negatives of using the app?
Very few negative things to say here! The interface is really user-friendly and has lots of information on the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing and the harmful effects of stress- but overall it’s not that aesthetically pleasing. I guess it would be nice if it was as relaxing visually as it is mentally.
Will you continue using it? Why/Why not?
I will continue to use Breathe2Relax. Having an app where by using it I’m forced to just concentrate on relaxing for a few minutes has been really helpful for me- as I don’t always do that on my own. It’s also really helped me to get better at breathing and clearing my mind- which has helped my meditation practice overall.
Who would you recommend this app for?
I would recommend this app to people who like me- often don’t make time to spend a few minutes to unplug and relax. I would also recommend it for people who also struggle with anxiety, as I found it to be a really helpful tool to help me clear my mind to get a good night’s sleep.
Are you looking to improve your meditation skills? We also tested Calm, the meditation app. Still feeling overwhelmed and stressed? It might be time to get a Productivity Ninja into your office and take one of our Time Management Workshops.
By Caitlin Fox