Lief Stories: Reto G., meditating more with the help of Lief

Lief Team
October 3, 2023 • 1 min read

Interview conducted by Divya Sharma. Note this interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Tell me about yourself.

My name’s Reto. I’m a PTR (Professional Tennis Registry) certified tennis pro down here in sunshiny Florida.  I just recently started being a solar specialist with Momentum Solar. So, I’m selling solar and trying to get people to put panels on their roofs. 

I’m originally from Canada. I was born in Canada, but I’ve been in the US since 1990 when I went to college on a tennis scholarship, and I progressively worked my way south. So, now I’m in Southwest Florida, and I don’t plan on going back up north!

How long have you been using Lief?

I started with Lief in May of this year, so I’ve been using the device for about 5 months.

When did you start noticing any changes, and what were they? 

I think I noticed changes right away, but bigger and more changes were noticeable as I went along with the process. I really had never actively done any breathing practices in the past or meditations. I’d been to a few meditation classes, and I’d seen some informational meditation things online, but I had never really been on a daily program. My Lief coach originally told me to try to do the HRV biofeedback practice for at least 20 minutes a day, 4 times a week. I started doing that, and I immediately felt like I was meditating.

Meditation can come in many forms, but I wasn’t always very good at it. So I said to myself, if I ever wanted to try meditating, maybe I could do more mindful breathing. This is exactly what the Lief program helped me do. The HRV biofeedback is basically doing mindful breathing practices about 15 to 20 minutes a day. 

Back to your question, when did I start noticing changes? Right away. I really started noticing changes in how I felt in terms of lower stress levels. I would say after a week and a half to two weeks of doing it every day, I felt less stressed. 

How do you integrate Lief into your daily life? Do you have a set time of practicing, or do you do it when you need it?

When I’m on a work schedule, I’ll try to do it in the morning for 5 to 10 minutes and then again in the evening for 5 to 10 minutes. I’m a competitive person, as you can imagine. So there’s something about when it says you’ve reached your daily goal at the end of the day – I like getting to that level. I mean, it’s not the end of the world if I don’t.

 If I’m around and not doing anything and my device is charged, I’ll put it on intermittently during the day. I like to have it go off when I’m doing activities, and then I know, “Oh, this actually stresses me out. I didn’t know that.”

What do you value most about tracking your HRV continuously throughout the day?  

Especially in the beginning. It was recognizing things that previously I wouldn’t have thought would drop my HRV level or put me in fight-or-flight, even if it was minimal fight-or-flight, for instance. Sometimes it would go off when I was playing an online scrabble game called “Words With Friends”. Again, because I am a competitive person,  it would start going off if somebody got a better answer than mine. I’m like, “Wow, this is actually stressing me out” – Not in a majorly bad way, but it surprised me that while I’m playing what I would consider to be a relaxing activity like online scrabble, the thing would go off. 

At other times, it’s not going off when I’m doing an activity, like cooking or something.  So I really value the auto-dose feature. Especially in the first month or month and a half, when it would go off, and I’d be like, “I’m not stressed out, why is it going off?” And then I realized, “Oh, well, maybe this activity did make me a little anxious,” and I recognized that. I like knowing what things make me anxious and what things stress me out, so that’s what I value most. 

The other thing I love about Lief is when I put it on in the morning about 90% of the time I get a daily message. Kind of like a “Lief fortune cookie”, I call it. That tells me where I’m at and how to approach the day. So, I really like that feature of it as well.

How has Lief influenced the way you respond to stressors? 

No matter what I’m doing, I usually stop and take note of my breathing. When I get an auto dose, I stop to do the breathing practice before it recalibrates or gets me into a better HRV, and you can see that with the color coding if you’re watching the app. But there will be times when I’m doing something that I don’t want to stop, and I’ll try to breathe and still continue my activity that I’m doing. So, basically what it does for me is that it forces me to check myself when it goes off for the auto dose. 

What advice would you give to others who are just getting started with their Lief?

When I started out, I was on a three-month program. It worked for me, and I love my device. I would tell people to do the exact same thing. Sign up for something at least 6 to 12 weeks with a Lief coach. You get 20-30 minute coaching sessions. Biweekly coaching sessions in the first 2 months really helped me, and I was off to the races in terms of  continually using Lief for what I think will be the rest of my life. 

Believe it or not,  as soon as I started, my sister started recognizing some differences. My sister’s like, “Can you have that Lief for life?” And I say, “Well,  I’ll see if I can practice for life.” And ironically, the word “Lief”, if you rearrange the letters, it spells “life”. I don’t know if that was part of the device creator’s plan, but it’s a pretty neat idea.

Any last thoughts or anything else you’d like to share?

I know there’s a lot of stuff out there. I don’t have an Apple watch yet. I know a lot of my friends do. I know there’s pedometers and devices that you can put on to track the number of steps you take per day. I’ve done some meditation classes in the past. I’ve also had my sister tell me about how she does her breathing practices. But for me, in 10 years of exploring meditation and breathing practices (not every day, but like overall), I’d say this is the best piece of equipment that I’ve ever come across.

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See also

How to do HRV biofeedback with Lief

What is heart rate variability biofeedback? Heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback is a powerful tool for improving emotional regulation skills …