Feeling disconnected while being connected on the screen seems impossible. However, it is more common now due to burnout and anxiety. Anxiety at work is increasing due to an overload of responsibilities and not enough time away from the screen. In addition, most employees spend more time on their screens over face-to-face communication, making people feel disconnected from the world.
According to a 2021 study by Indeed, burnout has increased during the pandemic. With 52% of survey responders experiencing burnout in 2021 up from 43% pre-Covid.
This issue is increasing. Hannes Bend, the CEO of breathing.ai, wanted to do something about it. Hannes himself felt anxious and depressed until his early 30’s. He found a love for breathwork and yoga, which he incorporated into his daily life, which offered tremendous benefits for his mental health.
Therefore, breathing.ai was founded and started its first product development in the summer of 2020. The technology is influenced by years of award-winning scientific research on meditation and visual stimuli Hannes conducted from 2014-16 in neuroscience with renowned scientists such as National Medal of Science winner Michael Posner and the lab of Ed Vogel. The technology now improves people’s mental health at work to transform and reduce anxiety through breathwork. Moreover, breathing being a relaxing practice can help a person feel centered and better connected. breathing.ai is an accessible technology, which all workers can benefit from.
breathing.ai is a “patented technology using a webcam and AI to detect stress, to offer simple, short, personalized breaks and adaptive screen experiences,” says Hannes. After showcasing his work to mentors and friends, Hannes created a prototype and soon developed a machine that was available for all to use and benefit from.
Pre-pandemic stress at work was not so much of an issue. However, due to the pandemic, more and more people are spending longer on their screens, significantly impacting anxiety among many individuals. As a result, it is difficult to convince companies to implement wellness programs, suggests Hannes. However, it didn’t stop the team behind breathing.ai from staying self-funded and pursuing their dreams until companies latched onto the benefits for the mental health of people at work.
The company overcame this obstacle quite clearly as they were “able to secure first funding in Q3/2021 after over a year of working with a large team.” They have been backed financially, which has enabled them to grow their project and increase the development of AI technology.
The benefit of breathing.ai is that companies do not need to purchase new equipment. Instead, the technology can be installed onto devices employees already have to start using as soon as it’s set up. Moreover, it isn’t a costly or an extensive program that requires additional screen time, such as apps like Calm and Headspace.
The patented technology works to “provide break reminders based on a user’s live biometric readings and personal goal preferences.” It allows users to not even think about the technology. The aim is for the technology to detect stress through biometric data, which will then tell employees to take a break and reduce their stress levels.
When breathing.ai sends a reminder, Hannes himself was told to do the following: “Bring awareness to your posture, close your eyes if you feel like it, gently sense your breath, and try to take your deepest inhale with a bright smile! Now exhale, drop your shoulders, and sense how you’re feeling now.”
These simple acts can take a weight off shoulders and bring the heart rate down, which can make a person feel more centered and less anxious. Repeating these steps will help improve stress levels, which will help employees feel more balanced when they head back to work after their break.
A key benefit to this technology is that the reminders will repeat when the AI detects stress. This repetition of the breathwork will become habitual, which will help employees refocus and stay centered consistently. The habit will become natural, and in time, anxiety and stress levels can be reduced for good. Workers will find a better work-life balance yet improve performance.
The main purpose of breathing.ai is to improve people’s mental health at work through meditative practices. It doesn’t extend screen time; instead, it works to reduce screen time when stress levels are high. This balance between work and mental health can be improved with time away from the desk and breathwork, thanks to its tremendous benefits for reducing anxiety.
Seeing as most employees use screens to tackle their daily tasks, breathing.ai is a great way to implement wellness practices in the workplace. With over 100 exercises to choose from that can be picked at random or based upon the employee’s preferences, there is a multitude of ways to help improve people’s mental health at work in times of high stress and anxiety.
Published December 10th, 2021