The Apple Watch has always had a focus on helping you keep physically healthy by encouraging you to close your rings. In 2016, as well as encouraging users to move, exercise, and stand up regularly, a new app was added to help improve mental rather than physical health. The Breathe app was a simple but effective way to get Apple Watch users to focus on their breathing for a minute or two.
SInce then, both the Reflect app and the State of Mind app have been introduced, all under the umbrella of the Mindfulness app. This is everything you need to know about what the Mindfulness app includes and how to use it.
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What is the Apple Watch Mindfulness app?
The Mindfulness app is home to all of Apple's native Apple Watch apps that are focused on mental health. These are Breathe, Reflect, and State of Mind, with Fitness+ subscribers also getting access to audio meditations, too.
The Breathe app
The first native mindfulness app to hit the Apple Watch was designed to help us take a few moments out of our day to focus on our breathing. Studies have shown that deep breathing can lower blood pressure, lower stress levels, and even relieve some symptoms of IBS.
The Breathe app encourages you to breathe in and out guided by an animation on your Apple Watch. By default, Breathe sessions are a minute, but you can change them to up to five minutes. You can also change the breathing rate in the Apple Watch settings if you find the animation too slow or too fast.
The Reflect app
In 2021, the Reflect app was added to the mix, which encourages us to take time out to reflect on a specific prompt. These prompts are intended to put you in a positive frame of mind, so you won't be asked to think about that time that you forgot your lines in the school play. As you reflect, your Apple Watch screen plays an animation that looks a little like the inside of a lava lamp. If you're not a fan, you can always opt to close your eyes during the reflection time. When the Reflect app was introduced, both Breathe and Reflect were folded into the Mindfulness app.
The State of Mind app
In watchOS 10, there is a new addition to the Mindfulness app: State of Mind. This feature allows you to keep a log of your current mood, as well as an overall state of mind for each day. Over time, you see a broader picture of how your mood is changing. Using the Health app on your iPhone, you can also get useful insights, such as how sleep and exercise are affecting your mood.
If you're subscribed to Apple Fitness+ you can also access audio meditations from within the Mindfulness app. These are guided meditations with a specific focus, such as Sleep, Wisdom, and Resilience. You can listen to the meditations directly from your Apple Watch, and new meditations are added each week.
How to use the Apple Watch Breathe app
The Breathe app is very simple to use; start the session and follow the animation which will guide you as to when to breathe in and when to breathe out.
- Open the Mindfulness app on your Apple Watch.
- Tap Breathe.
- Following the on-screen instructions, inhale as the animation is growing, and exhale as the animation is shrinking.
- Keep breathing in and out for the allotted time, which is one minute by default.
- Once you have completed the session, you'll see your stats, including the length of time spent breathing, your heart rate during the session, your total mindful minutes for the day, and a button to log your state of mind.
- To change the breathing duration, tap the Three Dots icon on the Breathe button in the Mindfulness app.
- Tap Duration.
- Select a duration between one and five minutes.
- To change the breath rate, open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
- Scroll down and tap Breathe.
- Select Breath Rate and choose an option between four breaths per minute and ten breaths per minute.
How to use the Apple Watch Reflect app
The Reflect app offers a little more variety than the Breathe app, as each time you use it, you'll get a different prompt to reflect upon.
- Open the Mindfulness app.
- Tap Reflect.
- Read the prompt for information on what you should reflect upon.
- Tap Begin to start your period of reflection. By default, this is one minute.
- An animation will play on your Apple Watch as you reflect.
- After the allotted time, the animation will stop.
- You'll see one final piece of advice about how to use what you've reflected on in your daily life.
- When the session is completed, you'll see stats for the total time spent, your heart rate, and your total mindful minutes for the day, as well as a button to log your state of mind.
- To change the Reflect duration, tap the Three Dots icon on the Reflect button.
- Select a time between one and five minutes.
How to use the Apple Watch State of Mind app
The State of Mind app gives you two options; you can log your current state of mind, or you can log your overall state of mind for the day.
- Launch the Mindfulness app.
- Tap State of Mind.
- Select Log how you're feeling right now or Log how you've felt overall today.
- The default state of mind is Neutral. You can swipe up or down to select from Very Unpleasant, Unpleasant, Slightly Unpleasant, Neutral, Slightly Pleasant, Pleasant, or Very Pleasant. You can also scroll through the options using the digital crown.
- When you've made your selection, tap the Tick icon.
- You have the option to describe your current feeling by tapping as many of the options as you wish and tapping the Tick.
- You also have the option to state the things that are impacting your mood. You can select multiple options.
- Tap the Tick again and your state of mind is logged. You can see a record of your state of mind logs in the Health app on your iPhone.
How to set Mindfulness reminders on your Apple Watch
In our busy lives, it's easy to forget to take time out to breathe or reflect. Apple Watch allows you to set reminders to use the Mindfulness app, so that you don't get to the end of the day realising you've forgotten to breathe.
- Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
- Scroll down and tap Mindfulness.
- Toggle the Start of Day and End of Day reminders to the settings you want.
- To add a reminder at a specific time, tap Add Reminder.
- Tap Change Time and use the digital crown to set the time that you want.
- Tap Repeat to set the days when you want the reminders to occur.
- You can add multiple reminders throughout the day if you wish.
Your Apple Watch is a great tool for helping to keep track of your mental health and also allows you to take some time out from your day to be mindful. If you're looking to improve your physical as well as mental health, then there are some great Apple Watch fitness and health apps out there too.