If Arianna Huffington were to get into business today, she would have her sights on wellness and stress reduction.
The Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post thinks a new mobile app by The Huffington Post, GPS for the Soul, will be a tool to help people navigate their lives when it launches in July.
“It’s paradoxical, because it’s technology that leads us to be overconnected,” Huffington said at the C2-MLT Conference in Montreal on Wednesday. “But now we can to turn to technology to help us learn to relax.”
For the past few years, Huffington has led a crusade against excessive stress, lack of sleep, and the innumerable problems that result from them, as much because of their effects on health and productivity, as on mental health in general.
“Men are the worst in that respect,” she recounted during her talk with Mitch Joel at the conference. “And they actually brag about it! I once had dinner with a guy who told me he only had had four hours of sleep the night before, and I thought to myself: ‘Well, if you had had five, maybe this dinner would be more interesting.’”
Huffington pointed out that excessive stress can lead to serious consequences, from burnout to heart attacks.
“We need some sort of ‘GPS for the Soul,’ to help us find our bearings when we lose them, in this time when we are so over-stimulated and over-connected,” she said in conversation. Having given it some thought, she got the idea to develop a tool that could use technology to do just that. She said, “It’s paradoxical, because it’s technology that leads us to be over-connected. But now we can turn to technology to help us learn to relax.”
The GPS for the Soul smartphone app analyzes certain vital signs, including heart rate, that indicate stress levels, developed by HeartMath, and, when needed, it will suggest that it is time to do something to relax. The application will also allow each user to save whatever helps them to relax the most for future easy access, whether it’s music, photos, videos or favourite sayings.
“Each person will be able to find their own way of using this application,” Huffington said. The Huffington Post has already created a section called “GPS for the Soul” that deals with various ways of reducing stress, and it will also offer ideas and lists for application users.
“Conversation is still very much part of The Huffington Post’s DNA from the beginning,” she said.
“That kind of application is part of the role of a publisher: it’s another way to have a conversation with the members of our public, on a subject that matters to them.” The application has been developed by Blife, a company that already creates applications in this field. It will be freely available and have a sponsor, who has not yet been revealed.
“We may have premium apps later. But for the moment, we do not want to put barriers. We want as many people to use it as possible,” she said.
Huffington reflected The Huffington Post’s expansion, which is celebrating the first anniversary The Huffington Post Canada, which was the first international edition to launch. The Huffington Post Quebec was launched in February, 2012. Regional editions in Alberta and British Columbia are planned for later this year.
“We are very happy with the results in the Canadian market,” Huffington said, “as much in terms of response from readers as advertisers.”
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