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  • Leticia Latino

Are you noticing the Horizon?

I was having lunch the other day with a friend, and since we are both in Technology and heavy advocates of the SmartCities movement, we were talking about the downside of "always-on" connectivity. A couple of decades ago, we would have never imagined that most of us, would find it impossible to live without the little screen we hold daily in our hands. You have probably been as shocked as me, to notice the increasing amount of families that don't even interact with each other while dining out, all glued to their phones (regardless of age) with zero interest in human interaction. It is then no surprise, that a new myriad of new health issues has arisen in recent years and that is attributed to the posture we take when using our smartphones or tablets. Here are some of the fascinating, yet troubling statistics around smartphones usage: (source: 2021 TechJury by Deyan G.)

  • Most mobile phone users check their phones up to 63 times daily, heavy users 85 times and above.

  • Americans spend an average screen time of 5.4 hours on their mobile phones daily (that's probably you even if it seems impossible, start tracking it and you will be blown away).

  • Currently, there are 294.15 million smartphone users in America.

  • Social media is responsible for 2 hours and 24 minutes of global internet time spent online by an average user daily.

  • 13% of millennials spend over 12 hours on their phones daily.

  • Baby Boomers spend 5 hours using their phones.

  • Millennials spend 48 minutes texting every day.

Doctors have confirmed that a condition called "text neck" is now quite common and is developed by looking down and dropping the head forward, this changes the natural curvature of the neck, and over time, that misalignment can strain muscles and cause wear and tear on the structures of the neck. Medical studies show that neck muscles, in their proper position, are designed to support the weight of your head, which is about 10 to 12 pounds. So for every inch, we drop our heads forward, we double the load on those muscles. Looking down at our smartphones, with the chin to our chests, can put about 60 pounds of force on our necks. Yes, that's about 5 times more it's intended weight resistance!

Other health issues known to be triggered by our posture when we interact with our personal devices include restricted and impaired lungs’ expansion and capacity (from being in slumped position), carpal tunnel (from using thumbs too much for texting) and irregular oxygen intake (which the heart needs to pump harder to distribute more oxygen-carrying blood through your body).

Did you know that meditation and well-being specialists, recommend looking at the horizon as a well-being exercise? Besides correcting all the issues highlighted above, it turns out that looking up is an extremely powerful exercise, both for your physical and mental well-being. When we strengthen up our body, stand tall, and look up, we are "creating space", we are engaging with the infinite and gaining different perspectives. Think about what we do when we look down? We constrain, we limit, we close ourselves to our environment and to what's going on around us.

We miss on life when we do not look up to notice the sky, the clouds, the sun. The Horizon is where our hopes, dreams, ideas and wishes get nurtured and where they find a place to live until we consciously manifest them into our reality.

So why not take a moment right now, as you stop reading this (hopefully insightful blog ;-) on your computer or smartphone, to go look out your window, or even better step outside to raise your gaze and acknowledge all the incredible things that are in your horizon if you care enough to look at it.

When we look up, it widens our horizons. we see what a little speck we are in the universe, so insignificant, and we all take ourselves so seriously, but in the sky, there are no boundaries. No differences of caste or religion or race.”
Julia Gregson, East of the Sun
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