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I Tried 3 Different Devices to Calm Anxiety and Here's What Happened

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

"How has your anxiety been affected by the pandemic?" I asked Courtney* just a few weeks into our first-ever lockdown. Given that she'd experienced anxiousness before the pandemic, I'd suspected that she'd be in a rough state.

"Oh, I'm just fine. It's the people who are noobies to this whole 'anxiety' thing that I'm worried about!" she joked.

And she had a point. As you can see from the graph below, the number of American adults who reported having symptoms of anxiety or depression increased a whopping 31% from 2019 to 2020.

The need for mental health professionals grew as quickly as COVID, with some federal distress lines experiencing a 1,000% increase in calls in comparison to April of 2019. People needed help, and they needed it quickly.

That's when I started to see a surge in ads for anti-anxiety devices.

Whenever I perused TikTok or Instagram (which was frequently), I saw a device to reduce anxiety, an app that could teach you how to meditate, or a blanket to help you sleep better.

But do these devices actually do anything? I gave three different devices a try to see for myself.


Claims: deemed an "anxiousness & stress device," the CalmiGo claims to deliver "relaxation in moments of anxiousness by adapting your breathing and naturally quieting four senses."

How to Use It:

The CalmiGo basically looks like an asthma inhaler. You turn on the device, place your mouth on the mouthpiece, and inhale through your nose. Upon inhaling, you'll smell a relaxing scent. As you breathe out through your mouth (and into the device), three lights will turn on slowly, one at a time, until the device vibrates, which cues you to inhale again.

The Science Behind It:

When we experience stress or anxiety, our sympathetic nervous system is activated. As our breathing becomes more shallow, our exhales also become shorter. (This is always why I get annoyed when people tell you to take deep breaths when you're stressed—you actually want to take slow exhales, not deep breaths!)

The CalmiGo helps you take longer, prolonged exhales to decrease feelings of distress and help balance your body's level of carbon dioxide. In fact, they've done studies where people inhaled carbon dioxide for 15 minutes, which caused some of them to experience a panic response. Essentially, long exhales help rid your body of excess carbon dioxide, which can diminish symptoms of anxiety.

The CalmiGo also states that the relaxing lavender scent can help decrease activity in our sympathetic nervous system.

Effectiveness & Likes:

For me, this was the most effective of the three anti-anxiety devices I tried. I truly liked that it activated all of my senses: the lights gave me a visual distraction, the scent stimulated my sense of smell, and I felt the vibrations in my hand. Whenever I used the CalmiGo, I was only able to focus on the process of breathing itself—something that is difficult for me. Plus, it did a fantastic good job of regulating my breathing, and you can experience benefits from just using it for three minutes. <