Breathe2Relax is a free app developed by The National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2), a component center of the Department of Defense. T2 has produced a video overview of the app that you can view by clicking on this link. This is a portable stress management tool which provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body and instructions and practice exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing exercises have been documented to decrease the body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ (stress) response, and help with mood stabilization, anger control, and anxiety management. This is a highly rated app and its available for iPhone (designed for both iPhone and iPad) and Android.
From the home screen you can:
- Watch a demonstration video of diaphragmatic breathing by tapping Show Me How
- Educate yourself on the biology and effects of stress on the bodyby tapping Learn
- Personalize the settings by tapping Setup — select scenery and background music and follow the onscreen directions to set up the length of your inhale and exhale
- Start your relaxation session by tapping Breath
Before you begin your session record your stress level on a 'visual analogue scale' by simply swiping the bar to the left or right. Tap Next to get to the start screen. You can also tap Skip if you prefer.
Once you read the directions, tap the Start/Pause button to begin. Follow the moving Inhale/Exhale bar on the left as you view the scenery and listen to the music you’ve selected. You can shorten or lengthen your inhale or exhale time from this screen if you need to make adjustments. Tap Done in the upper left corner when you’re finished. You'll be take back to the Rate Your Stress screen (above) in order to rate your stress level after the breathing session. Tap done a second time to return to the home screen.
You can view a graph of your stress ratings before and after your breathing practice by tapping the Results button.
Top image courtesy of stock images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net