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How to use the Breathe, Reflect, and State of Mind apps

The Apple Watch suffers from a name problem. The word ‘watch’ makes up half of its name, but using it to tell the time is a feature I only use for a total of about a minute a day. A quick glance takes little more than a second or two, and I doubt I check the time on my watch more than 30 times a day.

If the Apple Watch is barely used to tell the time, what’s the point of having one? Well, like I said, the name is all wrong, because the Apple Watch is so much more than a watch. It’s a fitness tracker, a communication device, a gaming machine, and even a way to find my iPhone when it’s fallen down the side of the sofa. It’s also a great tool for improving your mental health, thanks to the built-in Mindfulness app. Here’s everything you need to know about the Mindfulness app on the Apple Watch, 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 first-party 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 appapple watch mindfulness breathe app screenshots

Apple designed the first mindfulness app it released on the Watch to help users take a few moments out of their day to focus on their 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 be 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 appapple watch mindfulness reflect app screenshots

In 2021, the Reflect app was added to the mix, which encourages users 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 appapple watch mindfulness state of mind moods

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.

Audio meditations

Sleep Meditation - Apple Fitness

Apple Fitness+ subscribers 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.


What is Apple Fitness+? Apple Watch workout programme explained

Did Apple just end the gym in one fell swoop? Find out all you need to know about its the Fitness+ subscription.

How to use the Apple Watch Breathe app

New version of Apple Watch Breathe app suggested in code photo 1
Apple / Pocket-lint

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.

  1. Open the Mindfulness app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Tap Breathe.
  3. Following the on-screen instructions, inhale as the animation grows, and exhale as the animation shrinks.
  4. Keep breathing in and out for the allotted time, which is one minute by default.
  5. 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.
  6. To change the breathing duration, tap the Three Dots icon on the Breathe button in the Mindfulness app.
  7. Tap Duration.
  8. Select a duration between one and five minutes.
  9. To change the breath rate, open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  10. Scroll down and tap Breathe.
  11. 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.

  1. Open the Mindfulness app.
  2. Tap Reflect.
  3. Read the prompt for information on what you should reflect upon.
  4. Tap Begin to start your period of reflection. By default, this is one minute.
  5. An animation will play on your Apple Watch as you reflect.
  6. After the allotted time, the animation will stop.
  7. You’ll see one final piece of advice about how to use what you’ve reflected on in your daily life.
  8. 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.
  9. To change the Reflect duration, tap the Three Dots icon on the Reflect button.
  10. 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.

  1. Launch the Mindfulness app.
  2. Tap State of Mind.
  3. Select Log how you’re feeling right now or Log how you’ve felt overall today.
  4. 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.
  5. When you’ve made your selection, tap the Tick icon.
  6. You have the option to describe your current feeling by tapping as many of the options as you wish and tapping the Tick.
  7. You also have the option to state the things that are impacting your mood. You can select multiple options.
  8. 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 log moods and take a mental health assessment in Apple Health, and what happens after?

In iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, a new tool lets you log your mood and emotions to help track your mental well-being.

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 realizing you’ve forgotten to breathe.

  1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Scroll down and tap Mindfulness.
  3. Toggle the Start of Day and End of Day reminders to the settings you want.
  4. To add a reminder at a specific time, tap Add Reminder.
  5. Tap Change Time and use the digital crown to set the time that you want.
  6. Tap Repeat to set the days when you want the reminders to occur.
  7. You can add multiple reminders throughout the day if you wish.

How to get the Mindfulness app back on your Apple Watch if it’s missing

Sometimes when you set up a new Apple Watch, you may find that some apps are missing; I pulled my hair out for about an hour trying to figure out why the Sleep app was missing from my Apple Watch. If you find that the Mindfulness app is missing from your Apple Watch, or you accidentally delete it, you can reinstall it via the App Store app on your Apple Watch.

  1. Open the App Store app on your Apple Watch; the app isn’t available on iPhone.
  2. Tap the Search icon.
  3. Type Apple Mindfulness and tap Search (searching for Mindfulness alone brings up a lot of third-party apps at the top of the search results).
  4. Find the Mindfulness app in the results and tap Get or the Cloud icon.
  5. The Mindfulness app should then install on your Apple Watch.

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.

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