The 2-Minute Breathing Exercise That Squashes Stress

guided-breathing_exercise_relaxationIt’s the most wonderful time of the year. There’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting—and ample opportunity for you drive yourself crazy trying to juggle it all: Americans report that their stress levels are more likely to increase rather than decrease during the holidays, according to an American Psychological Association Survey.

But here’s the good news: Research shows that one of the most effective ways to combat stress is also one of the easiest—deep breathing.

There are a number of different breathing techniques you can try, but if you own a Fitbit IonicFitbit Blaze, or Fitbit Charge 2, your tracker won’t just walk you through one, it will create a session based on your current heart rate.

How to Relax

To activate a guided breathing session using your Charge 2, follow these steps. (Just be sure to use caution or consult your doctor first if you have any pre-existing cardiac or respiratory condition.)

  1. Press the button on the side of your tracker until you see the Relax screen.fitbit_charge2_relax_inhale
  2. Your device will default to a two-minute session, but you can increase it to five minutes by tapping the screen.
  3. When you’re ready to begin, press and hold the button on the side of your device.
  4. Follow the directions on the screen, which will ask you to remain still and take slow, deep breaths for 30 to 40 seconds. Your tracker uses this calibration period to measure your heart rate variability (beat-to-beat changes in your heart rate), which it then uses to create a personalized guided breathing session.
  5. When calibration is complete, your Charge 2 will prompt you to begin. Try to match your breathing pattern to animated circle, inhaling as it grows and exhaling as it shrinks. Sparkles will appear on the screen if you’re in sync. Or, close your eyes, and let gentle vibrations guide you. (Not feeling any vibrations? Update your tracker’s firmware.)
  6.  At the end of the session, press the button to return to the clock.
  7. If you start to feel dizzy, weak, or otherwise uncomfortable during your session, sit down (if you’re not already) and breathe normally. You can’t pause the exercise, but you can press and hold the side button to stop the session at any time and return to it later. If you don’t feel better after resting, lie down and consider contacting your doctor if symptoms persist.  

One more thing: All notifications are automatically disabled during guided breathings sessions (unless you’ve set a silent alarm, which will vibrate at the time specified). So don’t worry about starting a session when you won’t be interrupted, just choose “Relax” and chill.

Read more about breathing:

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