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More data, more intuition, more well-being?

Technology helping with our sixth sense

Well-being has been in the forefront due to many reasons. The on-going pandemic, information overload and attention disorders, emotional regulation and productivity, to mention a few, are all contributing factors to our increasing stress levels and mental health issues like anxiety and depression. The U.S. Census Bureau stated that 42% of Americans reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in December 2020, an increase from 11% the previous year (Peakon). Globally, the impact of mental health illnesses on the economy is significant. The cost of productivity lost annually is approximately $1.15 trillion, while almost 4.7 billion days of productivity are lost. One out of six people around the globe are currently facing at least one mental health disorder, with stress and depression cited as the most common issues (Business Wire; ReasearchAndMarkets.com report). 

Meditation and mindfulness are gathering momentum, soaring in downloads of different applications. According to mobile app market analysis service Sensor Tower, over 5,000 meditation apps have been launched since 2015. Morgan Selzer, VP of Content at Headspace, told IndieWire that in mid-March 2020, as the US headed into lockdown, their app download rates doubled. According to an August 2, 2020, MSN News article, Headspace also saw a 500% increase in partnership requests between mid-march 2020 and the end of August, with more than 1100 companies enrolled in their Headspace for Work program.

Massmarket of digital wellness

Beyond meditation and mindfulness, the use of digital fitness programs soared during COVID and continues to grow. A recent BBC News article cited that Health and Fitness app downloads hit 59 million during the week of March 22, 2020 (following the COVID- 19 lockdowns across the US and EU), delivering a 40% increase over the weekly average for the two 2 prior pre-COVID months. April 2020 saw the biggest spike in the global demand for health and fitness apps with 276 million downloads. By August, we witnessed a global spending high of $185 million, with a 45% year over year increase. We use technology to reconnect with ourselves.

We have gathered and gained information about our habits over the years. Personalised approach is taken into account whenever it’s possible, and self care is in the focus. In the first wave came tracking of weight, steps, sleep, blood pressure and so on. Now we understand our biorhythms through more precise and combined data creating new insights to ourselves - we can measure not only our activities but also bodily reactions. The invisible can be made visible and hone the intuition more. 

4 P’s of well-being - personalized, precise, proactive, preventative 

Recently there has been a discovery of the sixth sense - interoception, which means that some of us can be sensitive enough to sense what’s going on in our bodies. Technology helps those of us whose interoception sensitivity isn’t that high. We can be more connected than ever to our own well-being and understand ourselves better. Different devices monitor us on the go and provide real-time recommendations for bettering our physical and emotional well-being. There will be a rise of new and emerging digital health solutions which will lead up to more personalized and precise medicine and well-being. Proactive, preventative approach is encouraged, starting with learning the basics again. 

Omni-present health and well-being

We have an ever increasing number of different kinds of wearables and trackers to tell us how we are performing and feeling. However, intelligence is taking over little by little everyday objects and we can acquire different data in new ways. There will be a plethora of new biomarkers to monitor combined with applied neuroscience, and therefore we’ll have more precise instantaneous guidance. We can acquire new data for example from emotion, bone and bioacoustic recognition. We will see new combinations of wellness, neuroscience and entertainment to create ever more holistic well-being, healing and recovery experiences.

Go and explore this future scenario in Hotel U14, Unioninkatu 14, Helsinki.

The installation has been concepted and executed by Neubit, Loihde Advisory and Loihde Factor.