Wednesday, 29 November 2017

10 Apps to Increase Your Wellbeing.

Woman Relaxes on Grass

Quantified Self is a growing trend that utilizes apps on our mobile phones to create the interventions that can help us measure, analyze and optimize our lives. Of course, the apps don’t automatically make you happier. They simply provide the permission to reflect on your life and gather data about your actions and how your behaviors make you feel. It’s by taking a measure of your life, in the literal and metaphorical sense, that you can identify what brings you increased health, happiness and meaning and focus on those moving forward. Let's take a closer look at ten apps that can increase your wellbeing.

Multiple studies show that increasing your physical exercise can also increase your happiness. There are dozens of apps and wearable technologies (like bracelets with sensors embedded inside) focused on helping you track, measure, and optimizing your health. For a great list of over 500 apps, check out the Quantified Self Guide and download some free apps along these lines to try for yourself.

To get you started, check out the Cardiio app. Born out of technology from MIT, the app measures your heart rate by pointing it at your face. Less light is reflected to your face every time your heart beats, and the biosensors in the tool use that to provide an accurate heart rate. Data can be shared via social networking channels, and insights about other people in your age/health range help provide a context for how you can improve your health.

Mood Panda
Created in the UK and used by tens of thousands of individuals, Mood Panda is one of the most popular apps in the ‘mood tracker’ category. By creating a ‘mood diary,’ users can begin to see when, where, and potentially why they experience certain moods at certain times. The service also lets users share their moods as a social network, to benefit from the support of others in the community.

Moodjam  tracks your moods using colors and visualizations that help people experience a more visceral sense of their emotions when studying and optimizing their wellbeing.  You can share your moods with friends and family, and track your moods over time. 

Visualizations provide a key way for users of any app to identify and better experience their emotions and compare their trends with their peers of the general public.
Moodscope expands the mood tracking idea to a greater level by helping users identify a group of friends who support your personal happiness project. The service also helps users track their daily mood/happiness with an online card game, designed to help eliminate survey bias or fatigue that sometimes happens when you use the same service every day.

Moodscope also features a daily email service featuring transparent and indepth insights from members of their team.

Happier is a highly visual app that encourages users to take photos of the things that make them happier. As gratitude is a key attribute of positive psychology, the idea is to help people literally see and capture the things in their lives that increase their wellbeing, focusing on them to understand the blessings in their lives. It’s like an instant-happiness Instagram.

Ask Me Every
Ask Me Every lets you prompt yourself with questions about anything you want to track. The idea here, like the philosophy of quantified self, is to create the habit of tracking behavior you want to analyze or change. You can get emails or texts with questions based on your happiness, weight, sleep or other data.
Track Your Happiness
Track Your Happiness was born out of research from Harvard University, and features a scientific method of study known as “Experience Sampling,” pioneered by positive psychology luminary, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. The method, utilized by this app, involves sending a series of questions like the ones above to users throughout the day in the form of texts, emails or other prompts. 

The logic is to help a user examine how they’re feeling in a specific moment when the app alerts them. This means data collected will have less bias then in a traditional survey. When using these types of apps, users often are very surprised at the data aggregated about them, not realizing how much they don’t realize they experience as they go about their days
Mappiness was created in the UK and utilizes the experience sampling method while also adding passive sensors in your phone to better understand how you feel in a particular moment. For instance, mappiness opens up the microphone to sense the ambient noise around you when you type in an answer to a question like the ones you see here. Analysis of sound can be correlated to stress (louder, city like sounds will often indicate a user is more anxious than someone in a relaxed, country setting), so the idea here is to utilize the sensors in your smartphone to give clues about your behavior of happiness you may not even know about yourself.

Happify is an online social network (that also features an app) utilizing the science of positive psychology to increase people's wellbeing via various tracks supporting gratitude, savoring, etc.

Users post their success stories in a Facebook-like environment to receive encouragement from other members.  Expert tracks also feature research and advice from thought leaders in the fields of positive psychology, therapy and business.
While not directly focused on increasing happiness, Tidepool is an app that encourages/improves emotional intelligence, especially at work. In a game-like environment, users (above) determine their dominant personality traits, helping to better match them to colleagues at work. 

A second game lets users see a photo of a person's face and rate their emotional expression. As the game gets faster, users have less time to assess how others may be feeling based on their expressions in the photos in the game.  The app encourages people to reflect on other people's emotional states as a way to improve empathy as well as workplace productivity. As altruism and compassion are shown to increase happiness, this means users can improve their happiness while helping their colleagues do the same. 

John C. Havens is the founder of The H(app)athon Project, a non-profit organization, “Connecting Happiness to Action” by creating sensor-based smartphone surveys utilizing economic indicators to increase civic engagement and wellbeing. This article is based on John’s upcoming book, Hacking Happiness –- Why Your Personal Data Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World. (Tarcher/Penguin, March 2014). 

No comments:

Post a Comment