Mindful breathing exercises have been proven to reduce stress and increase focus. While technologies are increasingly being used to support mindfulness practices, there has been little research that has evaluated how different modalities can affect everyday awareness. I utilized a research through design methodology to develop three different artifacts that use different feedback modalities to alert participants when their breathing pattern shifts from optimal diaphragm breathing to chest breathing. Using a mixed-methods study, I analyzed how different feedback modalities influence diaphragm breathing, and the corresponding impact on stress reduction, focus and productivity for students in everyday work activities. My findings show that when participants were able to achieve optimal diaphragm breathing patterns their stress decreased and their focus increased, especially if they participated in a regular body-based practice. I utilized my results to evaluate the five design guidelines that were applied in the development of the three different artifacts.
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Thesis advisor: Schiphorst, Thecla
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