How Science and Technology Can Help Make You Happier
By Katie Couric
Can you really click your way to happiness?
You've heard of Fitbit and FuelBand — high-tech ways to get physically fit. Now there are apps for "emotional fitness" and Happify is one of them.
Happify is a digital tool that offers science-based games and activities to boost your level of happiness. "The idea here and the innovation about Happify is, start thinking about your emotional fitness as important as your physical fitness," says co-founder Ofer Leidner.
The idea came to Leidner after his business partner introduced him to the book "Flourish" by psychologist Martin Seligman. He says, "I was very skeptical ... and after reading the book, I came back to him and said, 'You know what, how come so few people know about it and how come nobody has brought this science and its applications into mass market?'"
Consulting with scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Stanford, Leidner says Happify is "designed to really help people develop a set of emotional skills to impact happiness."
Since its launch in 2013, Happify has ganied over 250,000 users. Renee Lloyd is one of them. "I'm a mom and a corporate lawyer and a wife. ... My husband has cancer, and so we deal with more stress because of that." Lloyd says the activities give her the results she's looking for — centered and positive.
Happify claims 86 percent of its users report they are happier after just two months. But Maria Konnikova, a psychologist and contributing writer for the New Yorker, says self-reported happiness levels do not always correspond to actual happiness. "We really have no way of telling is this just they would have reported being happier just because you asked? Or are they actually feeling happier?"
Lloyd stressed "we have to be practical about these things." She says happiness is an inside job and that "it's on you to work on what it is that makes you tick."
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