Anti-Stress App Helps You Put Your Life On Pause

by Lara Rutherford-Morrison

So often, our smartphones are sources of stress: they bring a constant barrage of signals, messages, and notifications, demanding attention and insisting that we always be plugged in and active. Pause seeks to change that dynamic; it’s an app that combats stress with a calming game, intended to help the user stay focused on the present moment. The app was designed by Peng Cheng and Swedish studio Ustwo. In a video about Pause, Cheng explains that he was inspired to create the app after experiencing debilitating stress and depression in his own life and finding that meditation and tai chi helped him to stay focused on the here and now.

The app has users play a very simple game, in which they direct a pulsating inkblot around the screen, picking up smaller spots (Wired accurately likens the app’s appearance to a lava lamp). In order to “win,” the user has to move his or her finger “slowly, gently, and continuously”; the slow, steady actions required by the app are informed by Cheng’s experience with tai chi, a Chinese martial art that promotes mental serenity through calm, fluid physical movement. If the Pause user moves his or her fingers too quickly, the app will pause momentarily and encourage the user to focus. When the user succeeds, the app rewards him or her with “calming effects,” like soothing music.

Cheng explains that he wants Pause to help people rethink how they relate to technology, saying,

I want everyone to discover their own power to effectively relieve stress, and I also want to demonstrate the potential for a new dimension of relationships between technology, design, and human wellbeing.

Pause is currently available for iOS devices. Find out more below:

Images: YouTube (3)