Category: Review

Apple and Google’s Digital Health Initiatives

Both Google and Apple recently announced major initiatives to address the problems of digital distraction, stress, and anxiety. These will affect all of their products.

Each of the companies has a different name for the department responsible for the initiatives. Apple calls it “Digital Health” whereas Google calls it “Digital Well Being.” Right at the top of Google’s Digital Well Being webpage, it says, “Great Technology should improve life, not distract from it.”

A Great Message

The initiatives are going to include a variety of features for their products, like an enhanced version of Do Not Disturb and other ways of giving users more control over how and when they’re interrupted or distracted by their devices. Some features will provide you with in-depth, quantitative information about how frequently you’re using your phone and what you use it for.

I think the details of these initiatives aren’t as important as the magnitude of the message Apple and Google are sending.Â

Like most companies on the internet, they have based a significant part of their business model on distracting people and encouraging them to maximize how much time they spend on their products and devices.

The launch of these company-wide initiatives is a pretty groundbreaking and historic event for two of the big five tech companies. The fact that they’ve decided to create and make major announcements about these initiatives shows that they are taking the problems seriously enough to invest in shifting their direction to enable people to live more balanced technological lives.

A Shift in Direction

It’s clear that some of the features of these initiatives will help people to spend less time using the devices and apps that Google and Apple make and sell. They must have decided that this would be more helpful to them overall from a business perspective.

I’m sure part of it was in response to increasing demand from individuals and businesses to address the problems of constant distraction and overuse of technology. Some of it may have been the result of a desire for people to use their devices in limited ways rather than not at all to avoid distraction. I don’t know what all of the reasons were behind these decisions. To a certain extent, they don’t matter to me.

In the end, it’s certainly a positive that these two huge tech companies have taken the initiative to display that they care about the well being of their users. I applaud Google and Apple for taking these steps and moving their future technology development plans in a direction that will give people more transparent information about how they’re using their products and more power over how they use them.

With all that said, both companies have previously taken other steps to address digital addiction and all of the issues we discuss on this blog. Let’s stay mindful of how they implement these major initiatives in response to our needs.

Smartphone Liberation — MIT, February 10

Tomorrow I’ll be leading an interactive session at MIT called “Smartphone Liberation.” In the session I’ll guide attendees through a series of guided meditation exercises using their smartphones, with the intention of helping us to become more mindful of how we interact with our smartphones. Although most mindfulness training requires you to begin by turning off and putting away your smartphone, in this session I ask that you bring your smartphone with you so that you can engage with it directly and, we hope, a bit more mindfully by the end of the hour. The event is on Friday, February 10 from 12pm-1pm at MIT, Building 66, Room 144. Hope to see you there!

Say Hello to Ella and Goodbye Pain

Today, it seems as though there’s an app for everything—whatever your problem,say-hello-to-ella-and-goodbye-pain technology seems to have a solution. And why should health care be any different? The world of mHealth (mobile health) is constantly expanding. Soon, those suffering from physical pain on a daily basis will also be able to start experiencing the benefits of mobile health with the help of Ella.

Continue reading Say Hello to Ella and Goodbye Pain

Review: stickK – How mindful technology can help you achieve your goals

How often do you set a goal that you don’t stick to? Ever forget to follow through on a new years resolution? We’ve all done it. Most of us have done it when it comes to losing weight. We say we’re going to do it, but somewhere after week one we trail off. This is exactly what stickK looks to resolve.

Continue reading Review: stickK – How mindful technology can help you achieve your goals

Review: Focus@Will Uses Music to Help You Stay Mindful

Focus@Willmindful technology  is a web site that plays music designed to increase the amount of time you can stay focused.  I started using the site a few years ago, after seeing two of the site’s founders, Will Henshall and Dr. Evian Gordon, give a presentation about the site at one of the Wisdom 2.0 conferences.

Continue reading Review: Focus@Will Uses Music to Help You Stay Mindful

HeadSpace Review: Just Pause for 10 Minutes A Day

HeadSpace Review: Just Pause for 10 Minutes A Day


If you look up “meditate” you will most likely come across a definition similar to the one above. It’s funny because when I think of meditation, I think of the opposite of “thinking deeply.” I meditate to calm my mind and slow down.

Continue reading HeadSpace Review: Just Pause for 10 Minutes A Day

The average cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day.

The average cellphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day.

Sign up to receive a free, 5 minute guided meditation that helps you gain control over your smartphone, instead of being controlled by it. 

You will receive our free 5 minute meditation soon!