What's this new Breathe app for the Apple Watch? How do I use Breathe, and what does it do?
Breathe is a new Apple Watch app designed to assist with mindfulness, meditation and stress reduction. It will be appearing on the Apple Watch as part of the watchOS 3 update, appearing alongside iOS 10 this autumn.
With Apple Breath you set a breathing session, either one or five minutes. The app then coaches you through the session, as you practise breathing. Apple Breathe monitors your heart rate, and provides a summary of the breathing sessions.
Apple Breathe will be installed as a default app on the Apple Watch alongside watchOS 3. The app is available to developers to test alongside watchOS 3, but it is not part of Apple's Public Beta. Non-developers will have to wait till Apple Breathe is released this autumn.
You can open Apple Breathe at any time, but it will prompt you for a focused breathing session every four hours.
Open Apple Breathe.
Tap Start to begin a new session (or Snooze if you want to practise mindfulness later).
The App then guides you through deep breaths. By default the app offers several deep breaths in one minute. One breath lasts roughly eight and a half seconds.
A circular graphic on the Apple Watch expands along with taps on the wrist. You slowly inhale along with the graphic and the words "Now inhale."
The screen then displays: "Be still, and bring your attention to your breath."
When the graphic starts to condense, you slowly breathe out.
A summary screen is displayed at the end of the session.
Mindfulness and breathing are increasingly being seen as an essential part of mental wellbeing. The NHS recommends mindfulness for stress, anxiety and depression.
The act of regular meditation has been proved to have several long-term benefits.
Long-term meditation has been associated with increased grey matter density in the brain stem. So it's good for your mental ability.
Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness, which, in turn, makes you more capable of resisting pain. So it's good for physical as well as mental pain.
Mindfulness can help people with ADHD, anxiety, depression and other psychological symptoms. Meditation alters the structure of the brain network, which helps manage psychological symptoms.
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, says: "It's easy to stop noticing the world around us. It's also easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' - caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour.
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