An App to Consider: Oak

There are a lot of benefits to deep breathing. Although the steps are incredibly simple (deep breath in, hold, breathe out, repeat), you can try different patterns and lengths of time, and may need some assistance with it. You may also want a source of some background noise instead of searching “calming sounds” online and hoping for the best.

Oak is just one of many apps available on your phone that you can download in order to get introduced to and practice meditating and deep breathing. The interface is simple: everything is listed on two pages and doesn’t require much scrolling.

The first page divides the types of meditating into three sessions: Meditate, Breathe, and Sleep. Although they’re self-explanatory, each comes with a little description, and choosing one of the 2-3 activities under each one will explain what that one helps with in more detail. For example, one of the Breathe activities has one that’s there to help you wake up, while one of the Sleep ones has a series of exercises over a longer period of time to help lull you to bed.

The time of each activity ranges and you can set how long you want them to be. The Meditate and Sleep ones are a little bit longer and let you choose the gender of the voice guiding you, and the Breathe exercises are a little bit shorter. The Meditate and Sleep ones also give you the choice of what background noises you want (if any), which includes different levels of rain, white noise, and a fireplace.

The second page tracks your progress. If sticking to a schedule or maintaining a routine can be overwhelming or stressful for you, you can easily ignore this part. However, you can look here to see your streaks and how many days in a row you’ve meditated, the longest streak you’ve had (if you want a record to beat), and how many minutes and sessions you’ve done that day and total. You can also see in real time how many others are using the app and have used it that day, which can help normalize the activity and make you feel a little less alone.

The app is free and doesn’t require an account. Unfortunately, it’s only available on the App Store, so if you have an iPhone, you can download it here.

Have you tried deep breathing or meditation? Would you use an app to help guide you? What other recommendations do you have?

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