When you feel stressed, one thing that happens during this response is that your breathing becomes rapid and shallow.
Your body’s ancient defense mechanisms are activated and becomes prepared for “fight or flight” – to run, to attack, or to do something that requires high physical activity.
How often do you feel tense or overwhelmed during the day? Consider what these stressors do to your breathing patterns.
When considering what you can do to manage your stress, you must first start with transforming your perception of stress itself.
Neema Moraveji, a calming technique professional at Stanford University, suggests that by simply re-framing stress you can change the way your body deals with it:
By transforming your perception on stress you can bring ‘threatening’ to ‘challenging’ — challenging you to perform at your best.
Think of it as rewiring your brain to react to stress in a more positive way. Instead of overwhelming yourself with the uncertainty behind a stressful situation, you can find certainty in the way you manage your breathing.
Moraveji also suggests, through his research, that by implementing helpful breathing exercises to your daily routine, you can benefit from managing your practice of re-establishing calmness and focus.
What if there was something that could help you manage this perception as well as calculate your physical activity?
Wearable fitness technologies have made large strides in the last few years. Both Apple and Samsung have created entire portals for keeping track of your health through their inventive watches and wristband accessories. Similarly, the Fitbit has made major advances in the wearable fitness industry.
With tons of wearable options on the market, it can be stressful to pick one that best suits you. But as mentioned before by Moraveji, it is beneficial to gauge through your stressful situations by managing to breathe.
The Spire is a device specifically concerned with your breathing and how it affects your state of mind. Spire is a small, clip-like device that you can attach to your belt or undergarments, much like an old school step counter.
It just has to be attached to somewhere where it can feel you breathe. Spire measures the number of steps you take, the vigor of your exercise, your motions (sitting, standing, laying down) and your breaths. Then, it sends you appropriate notifications. For example, if you’ve been sitting too long, Spire reminds you that you should stretch your legs. If your breath quickens or you haven’t taken a deep breath in a while, it will suggest a breathing exercise.
With these breathing practices, you will begin to regain control of how you manage your breathing.
According to Moraveji: “Unlike other physiological functions, the breath is under both autonomic and conscious control.” What this means is that breath is not just “happening” in the background — it’s a lever, the gas pedal and the brakes for your brain and body.
It’s also important to know there is no “correct” way to breathe. Just like there’s no “correct” state of mind. Stress isn’t bad, it’s part of life, so let’s manage it as best as possible.