Can An App Really Make You Happier?

PhoneHeart_AustinWatts paginatedIllustrated by Austin Watts.
These days, we're told our precious phones will give us anxiety — and that we are addicted to them. But, a recently-released app claims to make our phones a source of goodness in the world once again. By tracking your moods throughout the day, the Happyness app says it can help you optimize the best parts of your day, month, and life.
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The app, available now for iOS, lets you rate your current level of happiness and add a journal entry to keep track of when and where you felt the best. With that data, it will create nifty visualizations of your happiness ratings over time. Created by three students at UC Berkeley, the app is marketed as a tool to help you focus on what truly matters in life.
This cheerful piece of technology follows in the footsteps of another popular app, Happify. Unlike Happyness (which costs $0.99), Happify actually offers goals and concrete ideas to improve your mood. It comes with both glowing user reviews and a hefty price tag — $69.99 for a year's subscription.
On a related note, apps like T2 Mood Tracker and Optimism are geared specifically towards people dealing with mood disorders, to help them keep track of how they're feeling at any moment.
But, the effectiveness of any of these apps depends on the user. They force you to pay attention to (and record) how you're feeling — but what you do with that information is up to you. While mindfulness doesn't necessarily lead to a better mood, there's a growing amount of research suggesting that it can help improve our ability to cope as well as reduce stress. And, hey, if mindfulness works wonders for you, there's a whole world of apps to help you get your "om" on.
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