App Helps Teach Happiness Skills

A new app aims to help you learn how to be happier. Time Warner Cable News’ technology reporter Adam Balkin checked out Happify and filed this report.

Can playing on your computer or mobile device make you happy? The creators of Happify, an online “gym for your soul,” certainly think so. The virtual tool is designed to make you better at being happy.

 “Think about it as your online personal happiness trainer,” says Tiffany Sun of Happify. “Scientists at places like Penn, Harvard, Stanford have been researching the science of happiness for about 15 years now and they know that there are certain skills that can actually make people happier, more emotionally fulfilled, less stressed and they can improve your relationships and so we’ve applied these skills into Happify’s framework."

For about ten minutes a day you play games, complete tasks, watch videos, all designed to help you exercise five basic happiness muscles: Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give and Empathize.

Since everyone’s path to happiness is different, the program starts off by giving you a quick questionnaire to find out what kind of person you are, what makes you happy or more importantly, what's preventing you from being happy.

 “It tries to assess what’s going on in your life, how you feel about your life, how stressed you are, if there are any challenges that you’re facing, whether you’re employed or not, and based on your responses we suggest a track for you. What we’ve done is we’ve worked with different experts to create four weeks’ worth of activities and games that fit different life situations, so if you’re really stressed out, you might be in a track about coping better with stress."

Finding happiness through Happify starts off free but to delve deep into the program it’ll cost you as much as about $13 a month for a monthly plan to as little as about four bucks a month if you sign on for two years. The app version is iOS only at the moment; an Android version is due out any day now.

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