Digital Life


You know apps. There are apps these days that let you follow airplane departures and landings; apps that steer you to new restaurants; apps that can imitate bagpipes, flutes and bird calls; apps that can translate a baby's cries. But now, an app to relax.

Deepak Chopra joins us in our studios. He's taking his message of mind-body healing to the iPhone with an app called Stress Free. Right, Dr. Chopra?

D: That's right, Scott.

SIMON: Tell us what it does.

D: Well, most people, when they think of iPhones or BlackBerries or just everything that's digital these days, they associate it with stress. You know, people are distracted. People are...

SIMON: I'm sorry, I can't hear you because I'm checking to see if my iPhone is ringing.


D: Yes.

SIMON: That sort of thing.

D: You know, you've seen people, I'm sure, at parties and social functions. And they are constantly on their app, and they're never there. So the thought came to me, why not use the very technology that is supposedly distracting you to bring you to the present, to help you focus on the moment, to help you get rid of stress. There is no stopping technology. And what we do with it depends on us.

SIMON: How does this app promote that?

D: Well, first of all, this app reminds you constantly through the day to just stop and pause and reflect.

SIMON: It's like an alarm telling you to relax?

D: It's not an alarm, quite.

SIMON: Yeah.

D: A soothing message, if you will, which comes in the form of music or meditation, that says, you know, take a deep breath or reflect on why you're doing what you are doing. It also has inspiring messages, also has feedback. You can actually touch a portion of the app, and it might tell you if you are at this moment stressed or relaxed and where you are, and then tell you exactly what to do to counterbalance your stress, if you are stressed at that moment. You know, these days there's lots of ways to measure stress, as you know - Galvanic skin response, temperature of the skin, etc., etc.

SIMON: And the app can measure some of this?

D: The app will have a technology to be able to give you an assessment test.

SIMON: Oh, my word. And so, if in fact the finding is you're stress - you're stressed...

D: Uh-huh?

SIMON: ...what are some of the things you can do?

D: Well, many things you can do. You can - if you are not driving a car and you have a moment to...


SIMON: I'm glad you added that, yeah.

D: in a chair, you can do a guided meditation. Or you can just listen to a joke that helps you change your point of view of the world or you know, how you're looking at whatever you are looking at.

SIMON: I have to - are there jokes on this?

D: There are going to be jokes on this.

SIMON: Can you tell us one?

D: Yes. You know, this fellow ends up in hell and he is being shown around by the devil, and he sees a 97-year-old fellow with a 23-year-old girl in his lap. And he looks at the devil and he says, that doesn't look like hell to me. And the devil says, it is for the girl.


SIMON: Oh no, my gosh.


D: Helps you shift your perspective a little bit.

SIMON: That was not the joke I was expecting from you at all. All right, so it's jokes like that that you hear...

D: Yeah, lots of jokes. Lots of very interesting things, actually - visualizations, meditations.

SIMON: What would you say to those people who think that the best stress- reducing app they've ever heard of is the one that lets you turn off the iPhone?

D: Well, it would be wonderful to do that, except most people won't do it. So (unintelligible) I have to be very practical. I see some remarkable benefits that will come of this technology. You know, there will have been a revolution in Iran and the government would have fallen down had the Islamic government in Iran not worked with Nokia to stop the Twitter messages that were going back and forth. There is the breakdown of these wars that didn't exist in the first place and, you know, there's an emergence of a global culture and global values that will make some of the things we think of obsolete. You know, James Bond will be obsolete, for example, because there won't be any secrets anymore. So I don't know where we are going with this, but it could be very interesting.

SIMON: Dr. Deepak Chopra. He's got a new app out called Stress Free.

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