HOW CAN CONTROLLED BREATHING BE USED TO COMBAT TEEN ANXIETY?

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THE PROBLEM:

Teenage anxiety is rising all over the world. Whether it be the rise of social media creating unattainable lifestyle ideals, social disconnect because of technology and the pandemic, AP tests, college applications, or just living in the middle of a pandemic, this gen Z is the most anxious generation yet (American Psychological Association 2018).

Living a life disconnected and overwhelmed, feeling like all of your friends are fake, and that life ain’t a good time is no way to live. Most of these issues stem from the structure of our society and the root causes need to be addressed. Although outside mental health services are extremely important, teens also need to be given the power to cope with their mental health issues themselves. This raises the question: How can teens be given the power to address their anxiety?

A major problem is that many teens turn to unhealthy habits to deal with their anxiety and relieve stress. Whether it be watching random Youtube videos, numbing your pain with dank memes, or turning to food, porn, or drugs, we’ve all been there. However, just like like are unhealthy ways to deal with anxiety, there are also healthy ways manage anxiety.

MY RESPONSE (FOR-NOW)

From my personal experience, I found that doing controlled breathing exercises was a healthy and effective way to deal with my anxiety. Thus I wanted to be able to educate others my age about the benefits.

My startup/nonprofit idea is an application aimed at teenagers that teaches them controlled breathing techniques they can use anytime, anywhere. This application would feature a clean, modern interface and teach an array of different techniques. I don’t want my application to be more complicated than it has to be or have any unnecessary features. I just want users to breathe and use the app as little as possible.

You may now be wondering, what will make my application special compared to the other breathing application out there?

Simply an effective marketing strategy. I know that most kids my age have not heard of controlled breathing and don’t have any of the other applications; they are an untapped market. I also know that they won’t look for my application, so I need to market it to them.

An effective marketing strategy would target teens by advertising to them on Snapchat stories and Instagram stories. These two places would be the most effective places to market because these platforms are used by teenagers, and furthermore, these ads allow the advertised application to be downloaded simply by swiping up. I know this is effective as I have seen my friends do this and have also done it myself. By creating an advert that spikes their attention, teens will simply download the application and then be introduced to the breathing techniques.

Upon opening the application for the first time, teenagers will get a sort of “calling out” introduction that frames controlled breathing as a way to deal with the stresses of modern teenage life. Then teenagers would be given a short introduction to the techniques and feel the power of breathing. The application would also explain the importance of building healthy habits to deal with stress and encourage them to get off the app and just breathe. Although some guided sessions would be available, the most important thing is that the teens learn to use the techniques anytime, anywhere, even without the application.

CALL TO ACTION: BREATHE!

For an introduction to controlled breathing, I recommend trying the Wim Hof technique. The technique involves taking a deep breath into the belly and bringing it up to the chest and then “letting go”. Don’t breathe out completely, just let go of the pressure in your chest. This is repeated 30 times and then hold your breath until you feel the urge to breathe and then take a deep breath in, hold for 15 seconds. That’s one round. Trust me, you will feel a difference. Try this guided version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tybOi4hjZFQ

Do you have any feedback, comments, or questions?

In the comments please let me know :
1. Have you ever tried controlled breathing? If so, what was your experience?
2. What things do you do to deal with anxiety that you think could help others?

5 Comments

5 comments

  1. Hi Leo! I loved reading about your project! I use controlled breathing a lot and I have found that it almost always helps me calm down and relax. Other things I do for anxiety are walking outside and writing down how I feel, why I feel it and what might help in the future. Thank you for sharing your project!

    1. Hey Zoe! Thank you for your kind words. I also find that by writing down my thoughts and I am to clear my head and become much more focused.

  2. Hey Leo,
    I like your project. I think that using these strategies is a good idea to reduce anxiety. I do have a question though how will your app be different from other meditation apps in terms of content and how it will specialize in making teenagers actually use the app? I think that your idea is very good.

  3. Leo, this is an important problem to address, especially in our day & age. I have used controlled breathing for years and I wish more people knew about it. Your app is a great idea and I would encourage you to dig deeper to figure out how to get Gen Z more engaged.

    P.S. I am one fo Wim Hof’s avid followers too!

  4. Hello Leo! This is a very interesting idea. I used to use breathing patterns to help me fall asleep at night when I couldn’t go to bed. I guess the same could be applied for relieving stress or anxiety. The one question I have is how are you going to get the teenagers’ attention? What’s the hook or thing that makes the teens want to use your product?

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