How to Choose a Happiness App
Everything you need to know about how to choose the best happiness app for you.
Posted April 5, 2018
These days, there are tons of happiness apps. How do you know which ones work and which don't? How do you know which ones are most engaging? And how do you choose the best one for you?
Here are some tips to help you choose the best happiness app:
1. Choose a happiness app that starts you in the right place
It was my last year in university and I needed to take either physics or chemistry to graduate. I was super nervous because I didn't take either of these courses in high-school. I signed up for Physics but after a 1 week I was totally lost. I read the text book, went to office hours and joined a study group. In the end, I just barely passed the class. Without learning those foundational physics skills in high-school, learning these advanced physics skills was extremely hard.
This shouldn't surprise you. I started in the wrong place. I was in a class that was way ahead of my skill level.
If you try to learn something above your skill-level, you'll have a really hard time learning. To get a better idea of your skill level, start by taking a well-being quiz. Then, when choosing a happiness app, look for one that meets you where you're at.
2. Choose a happiness app that you enjoy
If you already use apps that help you practice mindfulness or gratitude but you still don't feel happy, you might need to re-evaluate whether these are happiness practices that fit you. Because even if you do things that build your happiness, you're not likely to stick to them for long if you don’t actually enjoy doing them.
Think of it this way.
Let’s say you want to be a musician. I keep telling you that the only way that you can be a musician is by playing the violin.
So you do it. But you really hate playing the violin, so you are bored and unsatisfied. You eventually give up, because, well… it's not what you want to be doing. Why would you continue doing something you don't enjoy?
Well, the same goes for happiness apps.
There are a bunch of ways to boost your happiness. Choose what fits you! If you choose a happiness app that you enjoy, you'll likely make a lot more progress.
3. Choose a happiness app that has variety
Some happiness apps focus on teaching you just one thing—mindfulness or gratitude or positive thinking. But it turns out that we can increase our happiness more by learning and practicing a variety of "happiness" skills.
Think of it this way.
Let’s say you want to build a fence, but you only have a hammer. Can you build the fence?
What if I give you a bunch of hammers? Now can you build the fence?
What if I gave you a diverse set of tools—like a hammer, nails, and wood? You'll probably have an easier time building a fence.
When it comes to building happiness, the same logic holds. The more tools we have in our toolkit, the better off we are. So you'll do better if you choose a happiness app that teaches you multiple happiness skills.
4. Choose a happiness app that fits your lifestyle
The reality is that it takes time and effort to increase your happiness. And that’s a problem because our time is already stretched tight.
So what do you do?
Try to find a happiness app that fits your lifestyle. What do I mean by this? Well, one approach is to choose an app that you can fit into the way you live. For example, if you regularly walk to work, you could choose an app that includes audio, so you can listen to a lesson or do a practice during your walk to work.
Another approach is to choose an app that that has a customizable reminder—so that you can set it to remind you to practice when you know you'll have the time. By taking these steps, you'll be more likely to use the app and practice the skills that increase happiness.
5. Choose a happiness app that you can use with other people.
With all these new happiness apps, and products, and online courses, you'd think we'd all be happier and healthier.
But we're not. The research suggests that anxiety and depression are on the rise. The internet and smartphones are not helping.
So what's going on?
We've forgotten something key: We need to build happiness together.
If we spend all of our time pursuing happiness alone, on our phones, we may be doing more harm than good, because social connection just may be the biggest contributor to happiness.
So, choose a happiness app that you can do with friends, strangers, or other groups. The whole happiness-building process will become so much easier and more fun.
There are lots of things that should be considered when choosing a happiness app beyond, "it looks good". With these considerations in mind, you can choose a happiness app that might really make a difference in your life.
Originally published by The Berkeley Well-Being Institute.