The Partridge Family sang, “Come On, Get Happy.” But that's easier said than done right now in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Isolation and fear can make us struggle with our mental health. On top of that, stay-at-home orders can complicate getting help in more traditional ways.
But thanks to technology, apps are available to provide help with anxiety and depression at your fingertips. With that in mind, I'm sharing some happiness apps meant to help calm nerves and help you live a happier life, even during these difficult times.
A few years ago I tried the app Happify. It caught my attention. For one thing, the name is catchy. Plus, although I want to be happy, I'm also cheap at heart, and the basic version is absolutely free.
The idea behind this app is that all it takes is a few minutes a day and you'll be on the road to breaking free of negative thinking. You'll learn to cope with stress and develop positive life-changing habits with some fun exercises and games.
According to the app you can strengthen basic happiness skills like: savoring the moment, thanking those who matter, aspiring to meaningful goals, eliminating dead end thinking, empathizing with others, reducing stress and negative thoughts, and improving your relationships.
After you download the app and create an account, Happify will score your happiness based on a questionnaire. Then, the app provides you with a series of tracks that you can use to start living a healthy, stress-free life.
Next, you choose a “track” to get started. A caregiver for my mother at the time, I thought I'd start on the one for reducing stress and anxiety. My first assignment: list three things I'm grateful for – and the kicker that really helped me – explain why.
This app rates high on many lists of best happiness apps and I can see why.
This is another app I've tried and love. Headspace provides tools and resources to help you stay mentally strong, reduce stress and anxiety, live healthier, breathe properly, sleep better, and have a happier life.
They offer a free two-week trial, after which you'll auto-enroll in their $69.99 a year plan. At the time of this writing, if you're unemployed, you can get a free year of Headspace Plus to help you get back on your feet.
I discovered this app while enrolled in Weight Watchers (WW), which offers it free as part of their program. I suffer from insomnia and their sleep meditation exercise helped me quiet my thoughts, breathe slower, and relax my body to ease me into sleep. I also used their “Take a moment to pause” exercise to help me stop for a few minutes when I felt stressed and refocus.
Calm is a similar app for sleep, meditation and relaxation to help you lower stress through guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing programs, stretching exercises, and relaxing music. Calm offers a 7-day trial, but after that you'll be automatically enrolled in their $69.99 a year plan.
Real Life Change
The app Real Life Change is meant to be a portable life coach, designed to take your social interactions, moods, decisions, discoveries, and emotions that you experience each day and provide you with meaningful, actionable feedback to help you live a better and more mindful life.
The basic plan is free. This app is available only on the App Store for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.
Track Your Happiness
Track Your Happiness is a free app used with your smartphone. You spend about 10 minutes answering questions, then you're contacted by e-mail or text – you choose how often you want the app to prompt you – and are asked to report what you're doing and how you're feeling.
A customized happiness report tracks your moods so you can learn what makes you happy, who makes you happy, and where you feel the happiest.
Super Better has made building happiness a game with short easy activities you complete as you go on quests to build happiness-boosting skills like resilience.
Their site claims that millions have played SuperBetter to achieve goals and tackle challenges including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and more. The Original Super Better is available for free.
Need more than an app? You may want to check out Talkspace which allows users to connect virtually with a licensed therapist. For $49 per week, you'll have private access to a therapist via text, audio or video chat, as often as daily or multiple times per day.
I'll let you make up your own minds. Find what works best for you and your life. There's many more apps available than the five I've listed. Who knows? A happiness app just might prove to be useful to you and provide feedback to brighten your day during these stressful times.