Every day we experience stress. We deal with it from the time we wake up and start thinking of the tasks in store for the day, up to the moment when we lie down in bed at night thinking about things we have to do upon waking up the following morning.
Stress is such a part of life that we resort to various coping strategies to deal with it. Foremost of these strategies is meditation, widely regarded as one of the most effective stress-relieving practices. In its simplest form, meditation involves achieving mindfulness by being in the moment in a state of calm.
Most meditation practice focus on the breath to achieve mindfulness. There is no mystery to this. As a fundamental bodily function, breathing gives life. As a formal mindfulness practice, breathing and breath awareness is a basic and important technique in overcoming chronic stress and anxiety.
Meditation apps provide guided meditation that invariably involve breathing techniques to achieve mindfulness and calm. For the most part, these are effective. However, to attain the best results, breath awareness should be practiced not only during scheduled meditation sessions but throughout the day, especially during stressful times.
Your breath is a tool to achieve mindfulness and calm. Your body responds to the rate and depth of your breathing. Quick shallow breaths message your body of the presence of stress. Deep and slow breaths message your body to relax. And when your body and mind are relaxed, your health benefits.
A problem that arises is how to warn yourself that your breathing is shallow and rapid, so that you may then take conscious command of your breathing to deepen and slow it down. This is a familiar problem to many who are trying to achieve mindfulness throughout their waking hours.
You may create a mental reminder to yourself to focus on your breath and be mindful at specific intervals during the day, but this do not take into account the hours in between when you may in fact be quite stressed and not conscious of it.
Meditation apps help during scheduled meditation sessions. But they don’t monitor your breathing. However, there are devices that do so and remind you to breathe deeply and slowly. One of the best ones is the Spire Stone.
WHAT SPIRE STONE CAN DO FOR YOU
Spire Stone helps you to deal with stress and anxiety. It monitors your breathing throughout the day and guides you towards calm. It is an activity tracker that detects physical movement, position, and breathing patterns.
Via the Spire Health iOS or Android app, the Spire Stone uses the information it gathers to give you insights regarding your daily activity and state of mind. The app also helps to boost your activity, relaxation, and focus.
The science behind Spire
Spire Stone technology is based on psychophysiology or how the brain and body interact. Your state of mind affects your body, setting a chain reaction of physiological and hormonal changes such as an increase in cortisol levels. Stress is not bad per se. However, when it becomes chronic it can lead to health problems, both physical and psychological.
Your state of mind affects your breathing pattern. But the reverse is also true. You can consciously alter your breathing pattern to affect your state of mind. Spire's design and algorithms are based on research on maintaining physiological homeostasis, or stability, via the longest cranial nerve, the vagus.
The vagus nerve controls the mind-body connection, regulating our heart rate, speech, digestion, and fight or flight response. When you consciously control your breathing, you modulate the function of the vagus nerve.
Your breathing pattern, captured
Your breathing shows patterns associated with different emotional and cognitive states such as being calm and focused. Spire detects these and can tell whether you are physically or mentally active.
When you are stressed, your breathing pattern shows small hiccups, speed-ups, pauses, and slow-downs. Spire senses these and informs you that you need to take control of your breath.
Spire records and evaluates your breathing patterns. The way you breathe is rich in information. Breathing has many components such as rate, depth, inhalation-to-exhalation ratio, durations of inhalation, retention, exhalation, and hold, consistency, smoothness, and transition. Spire detects all these and provide you with information so that you can practice to breathe better.
Change your breathing, change your state of mind
Whenever we are stressed and anxious, the best advice usually given is to take a slow, deep breath. With Spire, you don’t need someone to tell you this. Spire will alert you when your breathing pattern has become fast, shallow, or erratic, and remind you to breathe slowly and deeply.
In the instance that you pay attention to your breath, you become mindful. You become aware of your breath, your body, and the thoughts that flit across your mind like clouds across the moon. You become grounded to the now, and are able to manage your stress and anxiety.
Practice makes perfect
Mindfulness in all aspects of your everyday life is hard to achieve. But there is an ever-present part of your being that can help you do so – breathing. And with a tool like Spire, you can take control of your breathing throughout the day. Spire will provide you with metrics over time so that you’ll know your progress.
With Spire, not only are you managing your stress and anxiety, you are practicing mindfulness every minute and every hour. Some would call this open-eye meditation. Who knows, you may achieve such a level of mindfulness that you’ll attain that which many seek but few find: peace of mind.
Spire uses proprietary passive sensors to determine your physiology by measuring the movements of your body in detail as you move and breathe. It doesn’t emit light, ultrasound, or any other radar-based signal.
Spire is perfectly safe for daily use. It communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth Low Energy and meets FCC and IC certification.
Spire is waterproof and can even endure a trip through the washing machine. The exterior shell is constructed from an assortment of durable plastics while the clip is fabricated from surgical grade stainless steel, which is durable and easy to keep clean.
You can wear Spire on your belt or under your bra. Though it doesn’t have to touch your skin, Spire is hypoallergenic. It is the size a small stone you can clasp in the palm of your hand.
A fully-charged Spire Stone battery can last up to 10 days. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you place the Spire Stone on its award winning wireless charger, made of reclaimed mahogany cork, overnight so that it is always fully charged when you wake up in the morning.