Tap into the ancient wisdom of the Apple Watch Breathe app

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Chill out with the Apple Watch Breathe app.
Chill out with the Apple Watch Breathe app.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

In today’s fast-paced, connected world, the demands on our time seem endless. We spend much of our day in a state of constant hyperactivity. Apple Watch and iPhone add to the pressure, with their endless notifications telling us what we should be doing, who we should be speaking to and where we should be going.

Fortunately, Apple also offers an oasis of calm that can help us slow down this frenetic pace. The Apple Watch Breathe app draws on the ancient wisdom of Buddhist monks and yogis who practice a technique called “resonant breathing.”

Luckily, you don’t need to be a master of meditation to use the Breathe app that comes built into your Apple Watch. With clever visuals and smart features, it will guide you through this time-honored method for relaxing your body and clearing your mind. It’s a surprisingly subtle and relaxing experience that you might really enjoy.

In this quick guide, we’ll take a look at the origins of the Breathe app, how it works, what the benefits of resonant breathing are, and how to take advantage of this calming tech. So take a deep breath and let’s get started.

Turn your phone into a tool for relieving stress [Deals]

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Your iPhone doesn't have to be a distraction. With the Aura app, it can actually help you get back in touch with the moment.
Your iPhone doesn't have to be a distraction. It can actually help you get back in touch with the moment.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

For all their many uses, let’s face it: our smartphones are a major source of distraction. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, with the right app, your phone can actually help you regain focus and reduce stress.

Use your iPhone to improve your state of mind for once [Deals]

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This meditation app offers guided meditation sessions and breathing exercises with tools for tracking your practice over time.
This meditation app offers guided meditation sessions and breathing exercises with tools for tracking your practice over time.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Let’s be honest, many of us have pretty unhealthy relationships to our phones. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Your phone can become a reminder to take your eyes off the screen and keep your mind centered.

Writing assistants, unlimited phone plans, and more [Week’s best deals]

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Writing assistants, meditation apps, lifetime phone plans and more are all part of this week's best deals.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

Here at the Cult of Mac Store, we delight in finding great new deals on tools and tech every week. This go around, we’ve got a gravity-operated mobile car mount, and a super useful writing assistant. Additionally, we’ve got an app to guide you in meditating (really), and a phone plan year of unlimited talk and text. Discounts run from a third to as much as 90 percent off, red on for more details:

Coding classes, wireless earbuds, meditation apps and more [Week’s Best Deals]

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This week's best deals will turn your phone into a mindfulness tool, make your PDFs more flexible, and more.
Photo: Cult of Mac Deals

It’s getting hot out there. But it’s still nowhere near as hot as the new deals coming into the Cult of Mac Store. This week we’ve added an app that’ll change how you work with PDFs, and a set of future-ready Bluetooth earbuds. There’s also a comprehensive set of courses in Apple’s Swift coding language, and an app that turns your phone into a mindfulness tool. Most are discounted by half or more, read on for more details:

Apple Watch is getting better at fitness tracking, but it still sucks for running

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Activity app rocks. Workout app sucks.
Activity app rocks. Workout app sucks.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

At WWDC this week, Apple all but confirmed that Apple Watch is really just a health gadget. Tim Cook described it offhandedly as a “device for a healthy life,” and most of the watchOS 3 segment of the keynote was devoted to health and fitness.

This focus on health makes sense. As an activity tracker, Apple Watch is arguably the best on the market, and watchOS 3 will make it even better. Apple’s wearable is ideal if you are simply looking to live a healthier day. But, despite some minor improvements, Apple Watch still sucks if you are into running.

Cleaning Up Your Messy iTunes Playlists Can Boost Your Brain Power [Interview]

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You might have suspected that the right music – whether it’s thrash metal or Mozart – keeps you more focused or relaxed.

Now a trio of brain researchers have Your Playlist Can Change Your Life. In the book’s 200-or so pages, they explain how to use specific playlists to alleviate anxiety, promote concentration, get happy or move into a flow state thanks to Brain Music Treatment or BMT.

If you can’t make it to New York for BMT therapy, for $9.99, you can also download a Common BMT File. Created from more than 2,000 people’s brain waves with the help of evidence-based BMT tech, they say it acts as a kind of aural “first-aid” before you get your own playlists together.

Intrigued (my current nightstand read is Mark Changizi’s excellent Harnessed about music and the brain), I talked to author Dr. Galina Mindlin about what playlists have the most impact, cleaning up your music collection and her current heavy rotations.