Can You Find Happiness at the App Store?
Happiness: there’s an app for that.
While the digital revolution has provided plenty of distractions and worrisome, fidgety habits, it also provides a unique, binary pursuit of happiness. Whether offering helpful quotes, healthful tips, or avenues to tranquility, digital aids exist to stymie the intrusion of life’s slings and arrows.
Smart phone and tablet apps have redefined the way we access internet tools, and many are designed specifically to assist users in attaining peace and fulfillment. There are also other ways that your computer can save you from…your computer.
Below is just a small sampling of technological tools available to increase your self-awareness, personal happiness, and calm the sea of digital “pushes”, “posts” and “pokes”.
Happiness Quick Quotes (.99): This app offers just what you might expect from the name – a myriad of inspirational, motivational, mood enhancing quotes from around the world. One example: “Happiness doesn’t come from doing what we like to do, but from liking what we have to do. – Wilferd A. Peterson
Positive Thinking (free): This app breaks down positive thinking into three buckets: Steps, Tips, and Motivational Quotes. A few examples:
- Steps to develop positive thinking – “First step: Select a moment of the day in which you could be calm and think for a few minutes in loneliness. Choose a place in which you feel comfortable. Close your eyes. Breathe in and out. Try to make a slow and deep breathing. Calm down and relax.”
- Tips to develop a positive attitude – “Always focus your mind on the full half of the cup, not on the empty half
- Motivational Quotes – “A person will sometimes devote all his life to the development of one part of his body – the wishbone.” – Robert Frost
Happiness Tips (free): Get friendly advice on actions you can take to lift your mood. One suggestion: “Take a 10-minute walk every day; and while you walk, smile and think good thoughts”
One Thing to Do Today (free): Don’t just think happy thoughts, do something. Eleanor Roosevelt famously advised to do something every day that scares you. While these suggestions might lack a fear factor, they do suggest some active ways to experience life. For example: “Read the ingredients of everything you eat today.”
The Gratitude Habit (free): This app is hosted by a cartoon speaker who tells personal stories (apparently true experiences of the app developer/narrator) meant to illustrate the power of gratitude. A daily pep talk and suggested activities aim to raise your ability to appreciate the good and in turn, be happier.
“Do Not Disturb” on the iPhone: Go to your phone’s settings and switch this function on. It’s that simple. Once activated, the “Do Not Disturb” function disables all alerts from your phone and allows you little bit of “off-time”. Unwind when you need to, or set the function on a regular schedule to allow undisturbed meal times or evening rest.
Inbox Pause: A free service for gmail in which users can pause all incoming emails. The function sends auto responses explaining that you have “paused your Inbox” and will respond later. Exceptions can be added for those “cannot miss” emails from the boss, spouse, or big client.
“Self-Control” for mac users: block selected websites for a certain time period. Even if you uninstall the app, you will not be able to access the websites until the countdown is complete.
Track Your Happiness: start at trackyourhappiness.org and rate statements like “In most ways my life is close to my ideal” and answer questions such as, “Overall, how satisfied are you with your leisure time?” Describe your physical state, domestic life, exercise and eating habits. After the initial questions, you will receive links to 3 surveys a day, at differing times, to assess what you are doing and how you’re feeling. A happiness report is then compiled to show you when, where, and with whom you are happiest, and other factors that impact your mood (best used with iphone).