aNewDomain.net — Can you make yourself happier via routine and regular practice? That’s the idea behind Happify, a website that bills itself as a workout for your happiness muscles — flexing them on a daily basis is scientifically proven to make you happier.
Crafted by a team of research scientists and game engineers, Happify encourages regular participation in specially-crafted activities that its makers say will boost your happiness, that is, your overall feeling of well-being.
Researchers say genetics determines just 50 percent of our typical day-to-day happiness levels. The rest results primarily from our behaviors, actions and thoughts.
Recent research into activities that promote positive emotions suggests that such qualities as kindness and mindfulness are teachable — and those seeking positive feelings can reach them through training and practice. It’s like anything else. Practice makes perfect.
The game developers at Happify are translating this research into simple and fun science-informed games and activities to boost your happiness levels.
I found Happify to be like any workout. If you don’t enjoy the activity, it’s difficult to convince yourself to do it regularly. Happify has this covered with an array of activities at varying levels, all presented in an upbeat and user-friendly platform. Participants complete different activities related to one of the five essential happiness skills. And they measure their happiness, track their progress and earn rewards.
Happify screenshot image credit: Becket Morgan
Happify’s proprietary S.T.A.G.E. framework helps users master what it claims are the five essential happiness skills: savoring, thanking, aspiring, giving and empathizing.
Savoring is the practice of taking time to prolong your enjoyment of good things in your everyday life.
Thanking and appreciating others fills us with optimism and self confidence and deepens our relationships.
Optimism attracts others and enables us to feel and be more successful. Giving helps us feel more connected to the world and open to new experiences.
Empathy, the ability to imagine and understand the emotions or ideas of people that are different from us, allows us to become less judgmental, less angry and more patient.
Happify users sign up for tracks — they include ones like Cope Better With Stress, Build Self Confidence and Be More Socially Connected. The system unlocks new activities in each track daily.
Or click on the Skills tab and tackle some of the essential happiness skills separate from the organized track.
I participated in the beta version of Happify as a Happify Pioneer. After completing a few tracks and logging in a few times per week to complete several activities, I’ve concluded the platform is awfully clever.
In my view, the key to its success lies mostly in Happify’s social element, which allows users to respond to each other’s posts and provide encouragement. Happify execs say they are gradually adding more users to the beta test — and they recently launched a Happify app for Apple iOS. An Android app is around the corner.
The site isn’t yet open to the public, but if you’re interested, try to request an invite here and participate in the beta version like I did.
Researchers and ancient sages have long attributed that feeling of well-being most Westerners call happiness to certain attitudes, mindfulness practices, altruism and ways of being. Whether Happify will take off is anyone’s guess, but getting regular reminders to stop and enjoy the moment sure can’t hurt.
Did someone just say Om?
Becket Morgan is an aNewDomain.net contributor and non-profit professional based in central Vermont. She chronicles her adventures living in a 120-square foot tiny home at www.tinyhouseadventures.com. Email her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @becketmoorby, +BecketMoorby on Google+ or www.facebook.com/tinyhouseadventures.