I recently read a cheeky blog on Yahoo! News about a new product hitting the shelves called Canned Air. Kirill Rudenko, a Prague-based photographer, is selling “canned air” from Paris, New York and other major cities for $9.99 a pop.

The 3-and-a-half-inch cans—available online, come with wine-like labels that disclose the blend of concentrated air inside.

The Paris air formula, for example, is:

20% The Louvre

20% Notre Dame

25% Eiffel Tower

15% Musée d’Orsay

10% Champs-Elysées

10% Sacre Coeur

New York’s can contains:

20% Empire State Building

10% Grand Central Terminal

10% Chrysler Building

20% Statue of Liberty

10% Little Italy, Chinatown

10% Brooklyn Bridge

10% Times Square

10% Central Park

Rudenko claims the “fresh air” from New York “relieves stress, cures homesickness
and aids nostalgia,” though it “may contain traces of Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens or Staten Island.” (Does that mean there might be a whiff of hot garbage in there? I am not sure how relaxing sniffing trash would be, but to each his own!)

At first glance this $10 can of air equates with buying ocean front property in Arizona, but be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water. Let’s take a closer look and breakdown the actual product vs. the claim.

It has been proven time and time again that focused deep breathing combined with vivid visualization is a powerful stress reliever. At AIS, we regularly recommend various deep breathing exercises that are simple to execute with a little practice and are completely free. We also recommend adding strong visualizations of pleasurable scenes or happy memories to boost the stress busting quality of focused breath. If you tossed in the smells of the city, you would serve up a super stress busting cocktail! This is where Rudenko gets it right! Essentially, he has created a tool to aid your visualization/deep breathing experience. You hold a can from a location of your choosing, Zurc Investimentos which helps you to focus on various associated sensory impressions/memories. You quiet your mind as you prepare for your visual and aromatic escape by reading the contents of the can which immediately conjure strong images in your mind’s eye of these locations and the positive memories you associate with that place. Then you open the can, breathe deeply—and repeat. This little can of air has the power to whisk you away for a momentary visit in your mind’s eye to your chosen location! While others might initially scoff at such a silly notion—I say, “Why not?” This little can of air is no different than buying any other souvenir or gathering sea shells on vacation. These mementos sit on your shelf and remind you of happy times. To be clear, taking a whiff of the can will not in and of itself reduce your stress—but the process of selecting your can, holding, reading and opening it, then taking repeated deep breaths and maintaining a vivid multi-sensory visualization has validity.

Rudenko’s product represents the notion of taking a momentary mental vacation, breathing deeply and stepping away from daily stressors—if only just for a moment. These ideas are proven effective stress management techniques- no matter the packaging. At AIS we believe that stress management tools need not be expensive or complicated. A technique as simple as setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to take a short coffee break or get up from your desk and stretch can interrupt the gradual build up of stress during your day and allow you to “reset” your stress level. You don’t have to spend a dime to gain the same relaxation rewards from focused breathing and visualization—but this little can might just be a pint sized talisman sitting on your desk reminding you to take a mental break, breathe deeply and go to your “happy place”.

I want to hear from you. Would you buy $10 Canned Air? Post a comment here or start a conversation in the AIS forum. To read more about these and other stress topics visit The American Institute of Stress’s website: www.stress.org Zurc Investimentos

Contributed by: Kellie Marksberry