THE BLOG
10/20/2014 05:04 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Apps for Addictions

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Too much of a good thing...

We all know that adage.

In fact, too much of anything can be bad for you -- except maybe love (but then don't read Gone Girl).

Too much sugar; too many carbs; too much coffee; too many alcoholic drinks; too much sun; too many tanning sessions, and on and on. Yet all of the above are fine for most people -- maybe even beneficial for some if consumed/used in moderation.

In fact, who knows what science might discover -- or rather, reverse discover -- in the future? Check out this clip from Woody Allen's movie Sleeper:

But back to the present:

A year ago Kent State University released a study that claimed "Frequent cell phone use [was] linked to anxiety, lower grades and reduced happiness in students."

And in an earlier study the same research team "also identified a negative relationship between cell phone use and cardiorespiratory fitness." IMAGINE THAT!

Bottom line: Too much of this good thing stresses you out and keeps you from doing exercise... makes sense?

And, lest you think that only Americans of Northern Origin fall prey to this addiction -- and addictions are diseases -- the British Psychological Society reported almost two years ago on a study from the University of Worcester that showed that although some thought smartphones decreased stress in work situations, the opposite was actually true, with people even feeling phantom vibrations and of course obsessively checking their phones. My wife could have told them that....

As my readers know, I have been advocating for people to take personal Sabbath breaks from everything social: pick an hour, pick a day and go cold turkey. Put it down and smell the roses. I guarantee you will benefit.

However, if you don't believe me, try one of the new apps that help you monitor your usage -- you might be surprised how many times you check your phone and how many minutes or hours you spend on it.

Moment is one, and Checky another. You can download them or read the Bits blog post by Jenna Wortham.

She has been writing about this for some time, like I have, and gets the notion of balance.

Again -- for the knee-jerkers -- this is not a screed against technology, nor is it a Luddite rant. Au contraire. But we can't let it control us. We must remain in control so our world doesn't become a cheap B movie.

Bottom line: Because technology in general adds so much good to our world -- and always has (not to mention evil) -- doesn't mean that even the good is good for everything. Listen:

"An idealist is one who, on noticing that roses smell better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup." - H. L. Mencken

And there you have it: That smartphone does so much more for our lives than our old dumb phones -- but don't assume it makes a better soup, as many in developing countries are learning.

Take that Sabbatical and share what you found. What do you think?