Monday, July 1, 2013

Happify: The Science of Happy

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from an online company called Happify. They were asking if I would be interested in joining their site as a Happify Pioneer. I agreed and signed up for an account right away. Currently you have to be invited by a current Pioneer or be emailed by the site personally in order to sign up. Being as I am a valued member of the Happify community, I received five invites that I am open to sharing with anyone who thinks they could benefit from this website... Before you decide, I am going to do a short review of what I've found on the site so far.

A description from the Happify site:
Can we really train ourselves to become happier? Science says yes. Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at the University of CA-Riverside, is among several researchers who've determined the role genetics plays in one's well-being. Although each of us has a certain genetic set point in the way we do for weight, genetics only determines 50% of our happiness levels. We determine most of the remainder by choosing our behaviors, actions, and thoughts. 

When we have new experiences or look at something in a different way, neurons carve out new pathways in our brain to process that fresh information. By practicing certain techniques, we can create stronger neural connections in the regions of our brain associated with attention, motivation and empathy. And we're just beginning to identify what behavioral and mental techniques work best to increase our well-being. 

Recent research into the kind of “interventions” (i.e. “exercises”) designed to promote positive emotional qualities, such as kindness and mindfulness, suggests that such qualities may be the product of skills we can learn through training—in the same way that practice improves our musical or athletic abilities.
When you first sign up for the site, you're asked to take a short survey to determine your happiness. When I first took the survey, I was somewhere in the lower to middle 50s. I don't remember the exact number. Then you're asked to pick a track. These can be anything from Cope Better with Stress (my current track) or Set and Achieve Important Goals or Build Self-Confidence or Find More "Me" Time... Whatever track you think would make you happier.

In my track (Cope Better with Stress), I have been given a few small activities to complete within a few days. For example, one activity is to find six hidden objects in an image while you explore and enjoy the view of the photograph. Another one was describing why I think I am a good friend. Or describing three things that make me happy. Or giving a potential friend a small gift (i.e. buying the coffee for the person behind you in the coffee shop)... Etc... After one week worth of my track, I was asked to take the happiness survey again... This time I scored  70. My score has definitely gone up and the tasks that I've done have been fun and have lifted my spirits.

Today when I logged in, I discovered that I had been upgraded to a free Happify Plus lifetime membership and have been made a Pioneer Plus. This also was a little unexpected good news to better my happiness. I cannot say with absolute certainty that this site works. What I can say is that it has made a positive impact in my happiness in the short time that I've been using it.

If you think you could benefit from this site, please let me know. I will be honored to invite five people to the site upon my discretion.

1 comment:

  1. I really need this but can't afford it right now. Can you help??


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