"These are the very qualities that are diminished when we're burned out from being always on," Huffington said of human abilities like creativity. "One of the next frontiers in the tech world is technology that helps us disconnect from technology and create time and space to connect not with screens but with other people and with ourselves."
Self-care and wellness applications for smartphone devices have been booming. Meditation apps, like Headspace and Calm, have grown into huge successes on app stores by helping consumers manage anxiety and stress.
The National Institutes of Health funded its first study of internet addiction, focused on gaming, in 2017. (See also "Internet addiction is sweeping America, affecting millions.")
Headspace says it reached $100 million in revenue last year and also has a product in the works seeking FDA approval. The company and its competitors also have been finding success in corporate deals to improve employee wellness.
Last year Apple introduced Screen Timeto help its users — more than 1.4 billion people — manage their time on iPhones.
Many exercise and fitness apps continue to be popular, yet Calm (No. 1 overall) and Headspace (No. 3) are among the most downloaded apps in the health and fitness category, as ranked by iOS App Store and Google Play consumer spend, according to App Annie data. A recent round of fundraising for Calm valued the company at $1 billion.
While there is irony in the use of tech to manage our use of tech — and to manage the stress that may at least partially be caused by tech — the fact that mindfulness apps hold two of the top three spots in the health category speaks for itself. "The features and value proposition (access to wellness and meditation) of these apps are resonating with users," said an App Annie spokeswoman. "Users are deriving value from these features, and they are willing to pay for it, which is a huge testament to the success of both Calm and Headspace, as well as the shift in awareness and mindset."
Huffington's Thrive app has been a "very modest" performer to date, according to App Annie, though it only has been available for a short period of time.