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02/26/2021

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Sabrina

I think Wortham has a point. However, while it is understandable that she points out that separating different aspects of our lives becomes difficult when we use the same device to do those different things, I think that if we truly practice mindfulness, it is possible to remember to separate ourselves from our tasks. I think it is both a structural and personal problem. While it is inevitable that structure of using the same device for different tasks makes it difficult to separate ourselves from those different tasks; it is also a personal problem that mindfulness by nature helps us fix. However, that "fix" is dependent solely on truly making the effort to learn mindfulness, which is hindered by the fact that associating different tasks with the same device hinders the effectiveness of the second task (which is, in this case, achieving calm and/or mindfulness). It is inevitable, given the way our brain works, that we associate the device with the primary task (work) and that that association inevitably carries over onto, and into, the secondary task. It is an inescapable aspect of our associative brain. Thus, succeeding in personal mindfulness is possible, but extremely difficult. Thus, our success is dependent on both inside and outside factors. This is why what Wortham is saying is so important. Thus, I both agree and disagree: I agree that we must fix our structural dependence on a single (or two) devices for different tasks in order to maximize our chances for success. However, I disagree in the sense that while current structural designs of our lives make it difficult to truly meditate, that it can be done if we truly put our mind and effort into it long-term. However, I agree with her in the sense that leaving things the way they are is simply making it more difficult for us to succeed. Therefore, while it can be done, it should not be so difficult to do it. That is why, ultimately, I agree with Wortham. We must fix this structural issue of dependence on a single or two devices (our smartphone and computer). For example, I know I can achieve properly learning to meditate and thus the benefits, but the fact it is so difficult to do indicates that there is an underlying issue that must first be resolved to maximize our potential, as well as our ability to actually achieve it. In fact, there are two structural issues underlying this discussion: first, that the internet and our devices are designed to distract to maximize commercial profit; and two, that our brain is designed to only associate one impression with one object. That latter issue is an issue that can only be solved personally with meditation and learning to separate ourselves from our devices and associations. Thus, Wortham's point requires two fixes, not one. A structural revolution of the internet and our devices, to maximize our success at the second fix that is required: a successful long-term meditation practice to ensure that we do not limit our thinking.

Christian Loughridge

Mindfulness apps promise users a break from whatever is stressing them or to help them get healthier. The apps can have sound or meditation sites or fitness goals, just to name a few. I think Wortham describes these apps as a paradox because the apps are designed to help us "get away" from our stress or to accomplish goals that we could no longer do in person because of the pandemic, but on the other hand we are doing almost everything online during this time and the apps are another way to tie us to our phones or computers. Once you feel completely tethered to online classes, sites, etc., then you stay connected to your phone more and are essentially addicted. It's hard to get away and interact with real life because everything is online. I believe the mindfulness apps had good intentions to help people with their mental health, but I also think they are designed to keep you coming back, which socially isolates us with friends and family more. During the pandemic, I have been guilty of alienating myself with online games and movies and rarely talk on the phone to my friends, because I couldn't go see them in person. The more I played the games and the more tv series I watched, I just wanted to do that more.

Matthew Powell

With the appearance of the virus in the United States came along new societal guidelines. Now wellness apps were already very much a thing before the pandemic, as I used quite of few of them during my time in high school. With companies using wellness apps as a form of anxiety relief it raises the question of does corporate truly care about their workers. Companies are funding and backing these wellness apps in the name of better mental health ,but if you are finding that the problem is you have no other connection to society than through a phone or laptop why would using an app make you feel any better? I can understand what they want to have accomplished but I’m not sure if this is the only way for them to accomplish it. The backing of wellness apps is a good OPTION but that is what I say it is. It’s only an option. The shift to mind calming apps wasn't just due to the pandemic, but also because of a campaign for mental health thats existed for years before the pandemic so I’m not bashing the companies for funding but I’m instead glad to see that they somewhat care for the people they employ.

Trevor

Responding to point three that "the pandemic decimated nearly all sectors of the U.S. economy - except the tech industry" the Evidence can be found in recent surges in apps such as zoom, skype, gotomeeting, and more. These services have absolutely exploded since COVID-19 started. In addition, with technology being relied on to complete every day jobs that would usually be completed at offices has pushed the industry as a whole to focus on new ways to optimize work for those who are forced to do their jobs at home.

We had two other parts to our post, I was trying to copy and paste them but then I got moved out of our breakout group and it would not let me see the chat in our breakout rooms.

GV

Jenna Wortham begins her article, The Rise of the Wellness App, by explaining the stressors and causes of anxiety due to the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, which were totally true and relatable. She then goes on to talk about wellness apps that are created to help with the stress, anxiety and depression that people go through on a day to day basis. I agree with Wortham throughout her article with the contradiction of these wellness apps. The main issue people go through during the pandemic is the constant screen time. People work and do school via their electronic devices, which causes stress and anxiety for many, including myself. The purpose of the wellness apps once again are to help with these issues, but the contradiction in play is that these wellness apps are on electronic devices. Wellness apps try to take you away from your screens that cause you stress, but you are right there again staring at a screen. Personally, I find it exhausting and stressful to stare at my computer and do work, and then on top of that, staring at my phone right after on an app that is attempting to relieve my stress? Not for me. I’d rather go out on a drive and sit on the beach to wind down and destress. So, I completely agree with Wortham on the contradiction of the rise of wellness apps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Josiah Nelson

Wellness and mindfulness apps are a great way to relieve stress. According to Jenna Wortham, apps like “Calm and Headspace” for example, are known for their guidance of soothing people's anxieties. Most mindfulness apps assure their users comfort and support on whatever might be holding them back from being better versions of themselves. Currently, pandemic life is a huge cause of fatigue for almost everyone according to Wortham. As we all know, our lives have been completely transformed this past year. Living cooped inside of our homes has taken a toll on everyone's day to day lifestyle. The Calm app offers non profit relaxing services for their users which can be extremely beneficial, especially today where stress levels are through the roof. Being more isolated as a community definitely takes a toll on an individuals mental health. Jenna Wortham does a great job of expounding on solutions that are possible through wellness apps.

amandeep kaur

Mindfullness apps are helpful to reduce stress and calm some people down from stress life and days. It can help to be on those apps and learn a lot of things and we never knew about it before, but on the other hand it can make people addicted to their phones as well and can cause a lot of problems in life as well. Like weak eyesights and loss focus from study and listing to their loved ones.

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