Trying the Calmigo Smart Calming Companion
I recently had the opportunity to try out Calmigo (Smart Calming Companion), an inhaler-type device that is said to “provide drug-free relief for moments of distress or anxiousness”. Check out my feedback in the video below or read on – and grab the coupon code LIVEHAPPY for $30.00 off if you are interested in purchasing the device!
When I was approached to try the product, I was immediately interested due to the trauma work I do and the focus on emotion regulation that work involves. A cornerstone of any emotion regulation practice involves deliberate breathing: learning to slow and deepen the breath.
Too often we just haven’t learned to breath in a way that positively impacts our health. Without this learning, we end up taking shallow breathes, breathing rapidly, or holding our breath – all of which ramp up the physiological experience of stress in the body and do nothing to calm and sooth our mind, emotions, and body.
What is Calmigo?
Why Breath Regulation is Important
When we are stressed or emotionally flooded, we tend to breathe rapidly, or shallowly, and even hold our breath. When we experience anxiety and panic, our sympathetic nervous system is activated, which causes us to take these shorter, rapid, more shallow breaths. This is part of the body’s fight-or-flight response to perceived danger and it causes our breathing rate to increase as our body prepares to take action. This heightened level of breathing can lead to further feelings of anxiety. That’s why breath training is such an important component of emotion regulation.
All too often we aren’t aware that our rate of breathing is having a negative impact on us, activating that stress response system. As we start to gain this awareness, we can then implement changes: slowing and deepening the breath, inhaling through the nose, pulling that oxygen right into our abdomen so that our abdomen expands..
Using our breath to settle anxiety sounds simple because it’s something we are doing anyway – but just because it a concept is simple doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Breath regulation can be a bit hard to learn when you first start, especially if you’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long time. When we do something often enough, it becomes habit forming – so for anyone who’s been struggling with anxiety for a while, they might be up against a habit of holding their breath, or of taking shallow breaths. I appreciate the Calmigo device because it provides guidance as we learn to regulate our breathing, while grounding with our sense to settle out of anxiety.
How Calmigo Works
To use Calmigo, simply turn it on, and begin exhaling out of your mouth into the mouth piece, inhale through your nose, and repeat.
During exhalation, you will be prompted to elongate the rate of your exhale to turn on 3 lights, one by one. And, when you inhale, you get to experience the calming scent that is located on the front of the device.
The breath regulation strategy Calmigo is based on to help you shift anxiety is: inhale through the nose / exhale through the mouth. Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth is a simple and effective technique for calming anxiety. Taking slow, deep breaths is one of the quickest ways to relax and lower your heart rate. By breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth, you are allowing yourself to take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide in a controlled, rhythmical manner. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety by triggering the body’s relaxation response.
Why a Multisensory Approach to Reduce Anxiety?
When it comes to reducing anxiety, an approach that includes more than one of our senses is preferable for rapid relief. It’s a more efficient approach because it harness several of our senses, to help shift us out of that fight or flight system and anchor us back to the present moment.
When we experience anxiety, nervous system activation happen in the body; we start to experience a rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, upset stomach, goose bumps on your skin, and racing thoughts.
Because the sensation of emotional activation is felt all throughout the body, a multisensory approach is important because it accesses multiple senses for a more full body experience.
A calming scent is believed to be stress-reducing and calming because the specific scent stimulates the brain to release calming hormones such as serotonin, endorphins, and oxytocin. The scent options offered include lavender, citrus, or peppermint. I choose peppermint, and I was extremely pleased with my choice! From the moment I opened the package I could smell the refreshing minty smell, and it was lovely.
Feedback & Suggestions
My eyes can be sensitive to light, especially when I’m tired, and so something I appreciate about the device is that it’s designed in such a way that you don’t actually have to look down at the lights. So, it is more gentle on the eyes than I expected, and you can maintain your gaze in the room, not straining to look down.
Overall I find this to be a pretty useful little device for settling activation and also for training breath regulation. Most of us are not breathing in a way that supports our health and well-being – and for those of us experiencing anxiety and panic – this is a huge problem. I appreciate the Calmigo device because it can help you learn to regulate your breathing, and with practice, you can learn to take slower and deeper breathes so that you can feel calmer, breathe more deliberately, and overall – you’ll be promoting your physiological and emotional wellness.
If you decide to purchase Calmigo, use the coupon code LIVEHAPPY for $30.00 off your purchase price (https://calmigo.com)
Practice using the device before you need it. Treat it like you are learning a new skill, and practice breathing with it daily for 3 minutes. After all, the more you use the device, the more it will guide you in regulating that exhale. And the more you use it, the more you will feel confident with it.
Practice with it when you aren’t feeling anxious or stressed. We don’t tend to learn well when we are in the stress response system. As you practice, get a sense of what it feels like to deepen your breath, to slow the rate of your breathing.
Tell the people in your life about it (if it’s safe to do so) – get them on board with why you are trying it. This is all about being more authentic and genuine. None of us are fine all of the time – so be truthful and let people in. Let them know how you are actually doing and why you are seeking help with this device.
Try to get into a habit of taking the device places with you: start out using it in places where you feel comfortable so that you get a sense of what it feels like to use it in a public place. That way, when anxiety or panic does strike while you are out – you already know you feel pretty chill about taking it out and breathing with it.
Susan Guttridge is a trauma-informed Master level Counsellor with the clinical designation of Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCPA). She has 20+ years experience providing individual and group therapy.