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Thrive app wants to help us unplug from our smartphones

We all love technology, but more often than not we are controlled by the constant stream of emails and text message notifications, to do lists and not to mention the pull of social media. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an off switch, even for an hour, to help us catch our breath?

Samsung has just partnered with the ‘Queen of Sleep’ Arianna Huffington to launch the Thrive app which helps people limit their smartphone screen time. The app blocks all communications except for those on a ‘VIP’ contact list, and will send auto replies to let non-VIPs know you’re on a vacation from your phone. Users can additionally track their overall and app-specific usage, as well as set goals. The Thrive app will be exclusive to Samsung smartphone users.

Huffington is former president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post before she stepped away to devote all her time to Thrive. She became a major advocate of the importance of a good night’s sleep after she collapsed from exhaustion in her office 10 years ago, breaking her cheekbone and getting a gash over her eye. It was the wake up call she needed and launched the Thrive movement, where she says the meaning of success needs to be redefined beyond the metrics of power and money. In being connected to the world 24/7, Huffington says we are losing connection to family life, relationships, and increasing our rate of burnout and stress-related illnesses.

In an article she wrote, Arianna Huffington said the app’s benefits are not just for the user, and therefore aims to have a ‘multiplier effect’.

“And it’s also bi-directional. So if you’re in Thrive Mode for the next hour, and I text you, I’ll get a text back that you’re in Thrive Mode until 11 a.m., which creates a new kind of FOMO, because it makes me wonder, “What’s she doing while she’s disconnecting? What am I missing out on?” I’ll definitely be intrigued and want to try it for myself.”

“And that’s why we want The Thrive App to be more than just a product. We want it to have a multiplier effect that begins to create new cultural norms about what we value – to go from valuing always being on to also valuing unplugging and recharging regularly.”

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