The Secret of the Apple Watch’s Mindfulness App

Originally published at: The Secret of the Apple Watch’s Mindfulness App - TidBITS

To many, the Mindfulness app may seem pointless or even annoying, but Josh Centers has discovered that it serves a secret function in monitoring your health.

I’m the developer of Athlytic. Your past two articles " How I Finally Embraced the Apple Watch as a Fitness Tracker" and " The Secret of the Apple Watch’s Mindfulness App" are excellent and thank you for finding and mentioning Athlytic. Hopefully they will bring attention to these Apple Watch Features that, strangely, Apple doesn’t promote very much.

With regard to your higher HRV after using the Mindfulness App, one thing I would like to clarify is that when you use the Mindfulness App you will notice that the app prompts you to breathe very deeply in and out. We recommend that you do not follow the app’s prompting and just breathe normally. The reason for this is what while breath work has been shown to improve HRV, when you are essentially doing this same breath work while trying to sample your HRV (and measure the state of your CNS) you are sort of “hacking” your HRV to be higher than it might otherwise be if you breathe normally. If you just breathe normally as you would, your resulting HRV sample should be much within range of your normal ranges. Note that it can be difficult to ignore the Mindfulness App’s haptics, so we also recommend that you go into the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, then find the Mindfulness App, scroll to the bottom and set Haptics to “None.”

Thanks again!


I am deeply indebted to the Mindfulness app because it became the topic of one of the best humor columns I’ve ever written. I have a theory that it is somehow triggered to suggest I be reflective and mindful when I am bent over shoveling a cat litter box, on my knees taking apart the base of the washing machine, or atop a ladder wielding sharp pruning sheers or a dripping paintbrush.