Sleep monitoring and analysis, stress level monitoring and constant reflecting and comparing ourselves to others is damaging our mindset. During Slush, I saw several companies doing different kind of health and lifestyle monitoring and analysis. Even though, I believe that monitoring, gathering data and analyzing people quantitatively brings value to organizations it can harm us individuals if pushed too far.
Analyzing human actions gives multiple benefits for our ecosystem. Companies can offer better products and services by increased personification due to efficient analytics. We can understand human movements better. What made her react that way? What did she buy afterwards? When did she return to our shop? Data analysis goes much further and can be an extremely powerful tool if implemented in depth.
This post is not about the benefits of analytics. It is about our, individual lifestyle and how the modern human is constantly under surveillance. It happens both consciously and subconsciously. We are comparing our social media activity with our peers through different posts, pictures and videos published via multiple platforms; Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Tinder, blogs etc. Even the amount of different social platforms may be bumping up our cortisol levels. Should I film this video to Snapchat or save it, edit it and publish it in Instagram? We are constantly being pushed to act in these platforms. The Instagram mystory doesn't leave you alone before you have explored you're followings daily routines (the red/purplish ring just hangs there waiting for you to press). The Snapchat main view just forces you to watch your friends fuzzy stories from last night. Suddenly, you spend a good 45 minutes in bed just viewing the same stuff all over again bouncing from app to another.
Subconsciously, we compare the looks and posts of friends and people who we're following. What is she wearing? What event did he attend? What is she eating? How does he train? We might not know that we are doing this, but we are. It all happens automatically when you scroll your feed several times a day. This comparing destroys yourself. It loses your unique identity. It puts you under serious pressure. Are you actually you or just a copy and a mixture of the ones you are following? Do you like the way you live, eat or work or the people you hang out with, or is it just the social norms that rams you into that situation. Social media comparing can lead to insecurity issues, identity problems and mental disorders. I'll write more about this later.
Social media has been here for a while now and we know it has it's pros and cons. But I really wanted to go a step further and discuss the effects on actual lifestyle monitoring, the tracking of our physical actions. We see a lot of fitness trackers, bracelets and sensors that monitor our activity levels, eating habits and our sleeping patterns. So now, on top of that you are secretly analyzing people on Instagram, you are obligated to stress about your sleep. The sleep we our programmed to do every day. The sleep we don't need any motivation in. Lets say that you might've had a stressful day at work and you din't get your daily workout routine in. You couldn't post that sexy workout pic or a fancy tweet about your opinion on the current market trends. You ate a burger on your way home, while you're friends are working out and drinking green chlorella smoothies. You are a bad person. You feel that you're worse than the people you follow. Subconsciously you are doing this constant evaluation of yourself and the environment you act in. So, finally to the point. Once you get in your bed. You stress about your upcoming sleep levels as you know your day was not optimal for a perfect nights sleep. You can't sleep, you roll in your bed for an hour and you're stressing that in the morning your sleeping results were deeply poor. You are in this endless loop. Loop of constant assessment. Constant pressure and stress. More stress equals more cortisol, and we all know what that high cortisol did to David Moyes in Manchester United in just a year (for no-footballers, he gained 15 years of age in one year).
Startups are pushing these monitoring apps into our lifestyle so we can share and follow our daily habits. Yeah, it's pretty cool, but as an entrepreneur, focusing on the effects and impacts on what this constant tracking has to a human mind, and then curing that result. That is the future where the business is. Even more, not curing the result but focusing on the root cause would be purely amazing. We can see the growth of mindfulness in the western culture resulting from this interminable network connection. This is just one solution. There are several opportunities for entrepreneurs in this area and I hope to see multiple booths popping next to sleep trackers in Slush '17!
As a crystallization, don't nurture everyday life situations into problems. Sometimes it's simply just better not to know.
Have a stress-free weekend!
(P.S. I'm writing about this topic more in depth later. Stay tuned!)