As someone with an anxiety disorder, I’m always open to exploring new avenues to cope with daily stressors. When I’m feeling anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed, I’m often told, “hey, just take a deep breath.” It’s almost become a trite turn of phrase rather than honest advice. Maybe it’s time for something new. So, when I came across a product online called The Shift, I was immediately intrigued.

The Shift is a functional pendant worn as an attractive necklace. When you breathe through the pendant, it takes your breath from longer inhalations to longer exhalations. You breathe in through your nose, and exhale through The Shift pendant for ten seconds, which sends a signal to your parasympathetic nervous system to calm itself.

The Shift is made by Komusō Design in Fort Lauderdale. When I contacted the company, I received a lively response from president and co-founder Todd Steinberg. He clearly believes in this product and what it can help us achieve.

Inspired by the Komusō Monks of 17th Century Japan, who used an ancient bamboo flute called a Shakuhatchi to meditate, Todd and his wife Vanessa started the company in 2017 and created The Shift “out of personal need” to “improve our relationship with our thoughts.”

“Four to six of those breaths should be able to get you feeling calmer,” Steinberg said. “[When you exhale through The Shift, you] feel your rib cage squeeze out all of those toxins.”

I love the idea of calming my body by telling my blood pressure, heart rate and muscles to relax with something as simple as a ten-second exhale. Breathing through The Shift definitely has a positive, soothing effect on the body. I’ve been wearing mine around my neck almost every day for the past three weeks and just knowing that it’s there gives me a reassuring feeling. If I need peace, it’s within arm’s reach.

The Shift is a sleek, quiet tool. Exhaling through it is virtually silent, so if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself in public, you’re in the clear. The tranquil place for you to meditate can be where ever you are.

We can take a moment from the overwhelming dark cloud of the news, constant barrage of social media alerts and the incessant day-to-day rat race, to truly breathe right where we are. We can slow down.

As a necklace, it’s weighted, but not heavy. I generally wear very lightweight jewelry, so it took me a day or two to get used to it. However, the reasoning behind the weight of the product is sound.

“We designed the Shift to have that simplistic design, so it doesn’t distract you but rather remind you with its weight,” Steinberg said. “We want people to wear a proud symbol of peace of mind and to show their commitment to the lifestyle of stillness.”

Obviously, The Shift isn’t a quick fix. I suggest pairing it with other anti-anxiety strategies like the use of essential oils, self-help books, personal mantras, and so on. Personally, I would have preferred a slightly shorter chain for mine, but other than that, I’m completely content.

The Shift comes in array of finishes and is delivered in a small suede pouch with an instructive card. For more information, please see https://www.komusodesign.com.

Q & A with Komusō Design president and co-founder Todd Steinberg

TZR: Is there a mantra that you repeat while doing your inhales/exhales?

TS: We try not to dictate a mantra, because mantras can be deeply personal and everyone has their own goals when meditating or just trying to relax. My preference is simple; I am here, I am now, I am this moment. This allows your mind to redirect from whatever thought was causing stress to the present moment.

TZR: Are you planning on releasing new kinds of Shifts in the future?

TS: We’re super excited about our next product! We received so many emails and calls from moms who purchased The Shift for themselves but wanted to see if we had anything available for their kids. Kids don’t typically wear necklaces so we designed a bracelet that slips over their wrist made of silicon with a “Shift” attached to it so they can slide it out when they need a deep breath.

We’re excited about the potential impact this could have on children who have ADD, autism, learning disorders, and who are trying to learn meditation or just learn how to relax. Our goal is to provide children with a bridge to take control of their emotions so they can develop meditation as a habit which will serve them well into their future.

TZR: Where would you like to see your company five years from now?

TS: Maybe we’re dreamers, but we have really ambitious goals. We want to develop Komusō into the industry leader for “wellness fashion” and transform The Shift into a household name for adults who need a breather, college students who need to destress, and children who will replace prescription meds with an organic tool. What if everyone learned how to tame their minds by leveraging their breath? We’d all be kinder, calmer, and ultimately…happier.

About Author

Nice Girl extraordinaire, purveyor of all things Pittsburgh, firmly believes that Stephen Colbert should be president, finds the term “selfie” abhorrent, advocate for the appropriate application of alliteration.

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