Symmetry Sussing: A Modern Gluttony in an Age of Wellness

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A Modern Gluttony

in an Age of Wellness


We are ever self-disciplined in our wellness pursuits, but for all the mindfulness and self-control there can be a parallel gluttony in our digital indulgences. It starts with checking your phone.

Most of us vastly underestimate the time we spend 'checking' our smart phones.

Cyber Psychologist Mary Aiken estimates we check our phones 1,500 times a week, or 214 times a day. Other studies put her estimate on the lower side of reality. 

Millennials top the charts for checking their phones and also lead the way for the dermalogical blight du jour that is tech-neck, a gravitational droop of skin caused by down casting over devices (not to be confused with ‘text-neck’ which is a stress injury caused by the same thing).

Why do we check our phones so much? 

It begins with temptation; the former Google Ethicist Tristan Harris likens the urge to 'check' smart phones to the lure of a slot machine. We keep on pulling down that handle looking for a win - a text or email, a like or a follow, a 'notification'...  but all that regular repetition can lead to habitual behavior.  How many times have you logged into your phone and forgotten why you're there?

The connection here is that the pursuit of wellness and the equilibrium so many of us strive for is not really supported by that kind of automated, unacknowledged and unaccounted for superfluous smart phone activity. 

Many of us get greedy for the distraction of our smartphones whenever there is a dull moment; on the toilet, in the line, in the night, waiting for a meeting, waiting for a friend, waiting for exercise to end, rebelling in a meditation… If that smart phone was food would we bite so incessantly? Would we be so greedy or would we have more restraint?

So what is balance? What is too much? What renders you 'tech dependent'?  When does a device become a vice?  When do we stop and think that we've got a bit greedy? Do we wait for a gravitational droop?

Balance is a subjective pursuit and we all have a different ratio of requirements, but a mindful approach to smart phone usage costs less than a green juice or a spin class and reaps its own kind of wellness retreat.

 

Sam Smith

This article first appeared at Arianna Huffington's Thrive Global