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Self-optimization: What self-tracking does to the psyche

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Self-optimization: What self-tracking does to the psyche

Counting steps, measuring sleep, monitoring your heart: people use self-tracking to optimize their bodies. Many people just want to get their psyche under control.

April 12, 2024, 9:50 a.m

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Note The presumptuous person: Self-tracking can strengthen the feeling of control – or the feeling of failure. © [M] ZEIT ONLINE Foto: recep-bg/​Getty Images

A few years ago, a man named Florian Schuhmacher toured the country’s talk shows. He sat by Beckmann and hard but fair and there praised the advantages of a presumptuous life. Schuhmacher is an excessive self-tracker, so he meticulously records a lot of data about his body: How much did I move today? How was my pulse? How did I sleep? And how am I feeling mentally about all of this? He therefore belongs to the Quantified Self movement. Its members are convinced that they have found the key to a better life in constantly checking and measuring their bodies. People like Florian Schuhmacher were still rarities back then, in the 2010s.

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