How To Practice Mindfulness Using The Breathe App in watchOS 3

BY Khamosh Pathak

Published 31 Aug 2016

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Breathe is a new built-in app in watchOS 3 that will help you practice mindfulness as you go about your day. The app is designed to help you meditate and relieve stress, without you having to take time out of your day to go to a meditation center. Now, Apple Watch can be your mindfulness guru.

Here’s how it works. You get timely reminders about taking a moment and focusing on your breath. You can choose to snooze, but if you accept, you’ll be able to set a time (between 1 and 5 minutes) and then you’ll see an animation of mandala inspired concentric circles on the Watch. They’re visual cues for when to inhale and exhale. Each breath lasts about 8.5 seconds. At the end, you’ll get a report of how you did and what your heart rate was.

How To Use The Breathe App

On your Apple Watch running watchOS 3, click on the Digital Crown and from the honeycomb app launcher, find the Breathe app.

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You’ll see a timer for 1 minute and 7 breaths here. Use the Digital Crown to increase the time if you want (up to 5 minutes).

Then tap on “Start“.

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You’ll now see the circles start to animate and the text will read “Be still, and bring your attention to your breath”.

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Next you’ll see text that says “Now inhale” and “And exhale”.

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When the circle gets bigger, you’re supposed to inhale and when the circle gets smaller, you’re supposed to exhale.

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There will also be vibration feedback (using the Taptic Engine) for when you’re supposed to inhale. As the vibration stops, starts exhaling. This is a very intuitive interaction, my mom was able to figure it out in a couple of seconds. This means you can continue to meditate without looking at the screen, which is kind of the point.

When the breathing exercise are done, you’ll get a summary which will also tell you your heart rate.

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Also, just like Activity, you’ll also get a Breathe report for all your breathe sessions for the past week.

How To Customize Breathe Sessions

The Breathe app is customized for the average individual. But you might not be average when it comes to breathing exercises. If you want to increase or decrease the time of breaths, you can do so using the Watch app on your iPhone running iOS 10.

Open the Watch app and from the “My Watch” tab, go to “Breathe“.

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You’ll see lots of options here. You can turn off the weekly summary, customize the reminders and the intensity of the haptic feedback.

Tap on “Breathe Rate” to customize the duration of breaths. You can select between a range of 4 to 10 breaths per minute. The default is 7.

Why Use The App

Apple itself isn’t boasting about any scientific studies when it talks about the Breathe app. But there have been many. Mindfulness, even performed for minutes a day, has been said to help with stress, anxiety and even depression. Of course, you can be the judge of all of that.

But taking a moment from your work and taking a couple of deep breaths can’t hurt. They actually might help you out a bit.

What’s Your Stance on Mindfulness?

Do you practice meditation? What do you think about the whole thing? Share with us in the comments below.