It takes someone who has had panic and anxiety attacks to understand how to halt them in their tracks. Designer Ramon Telfer has drawn on his own experiences with anxiety to create a hand-held calming device that can help alleviate anxiety.

Telfer’s Calming Stone uses sensory experiences to help calm the nerves and create a sense of peace. It is shaped like a smooth pebble that’s easy and pleasant to hold in the palm.

A small opening in the face of the pebble releases cool air to help the user breathe easier. A cartridge can be added to release a calming scent like lavender, and a removable earbud can be used to walk the user through guided meditations.

A built-in nightlight lets the user find the calming device even in the middle of the night. Telfer has created a 3D printed prototype and has tested the concept during his own panic attacks to refine and improve on the idea.

“I have always felt compelled to design solutions to help people. When I take my own personal morals and experiences into consideration I believe mental health comes before anything else. Without our sanity and well-being we are helpless. Designing specifically to improve the situations of others who are struggling with their mental health only seems logical.”

“Due to my personal experience, I have developed a strong insight into panic attacks. This allowed me to test out ideas for the ‘calming stone’ while experiencing real panic attacks during the developing process. In addition, discussing my ideas with professional anxiety psychologists allowed me to develop ideas with complementary psychological techniques. I discovered that breathing is one of the most important aspects of controlling emotion, whether it be anxiety, anger, or sadness. By controlling your breathing and focusing on fresh, cool air many people have found that they can relieve stress. However, the depth of anxiety lies within the psyche. Anxiety can lead to irrational thinking and it is important to control these thoughts through guided meditation. Being able to focus on a soothing voice, reiterating positive ideas, while being guiding through several breathing techniques, can help to encourage someone undergoing a panic attack to think positively and control erratic breathing.”

“With these two highly effective techniques I have developed the ‘calming stone’. The form was inspired by the idea of Japanese Zen stacking stones, which are traditionally used to reduce stress.The ‘calming stone’ has an organic design that fits into your palm. The form is relaxing, non-intrusive and ergonomically designed to naturally fit in the hand. Integrated into the design is a breathing cavity where cool air is released out onto your face for a cool, calming sensation and is to be inhaled by the user. Smell capsules, such as lavender, can be additionally inserted to accompany the sensation. An easy to use wireless earbud can be simply removed from the side of the calming stone as a discrete audio experience for the user. There are also a series of simple to use buttons that run down the side of the calming stone, which are designed align with the fingers to create an intuitive user experience. It was important to design a device that was uncomplicated to use for a person in a state of panic.”