The things you can accomplish with an app these days are truly impressive. With a couple of taps on your smartphone, a taxi will pull up at your door, a tasty dinner will appear on your table, or your dirty socks will transform into neatly folded clean laundry. These feats can mightily improve your quality of life, sure, but can technology go deeper, addressing not only your material needs but boosting your mood as well?
That’s what a whole range of apps designed to help make you happier claim. On the Shareable blog, Cat Johnson recently rounded up a hefty 15 entrants in this category. Some serve specific niches, such as couples, while others are more geared toward improving physical health (or sleep habits as a way to improve mood, but some are intriguing tools that professionals hoping to be a bit happier might want to check out.
1. Gratitude Journal
“Something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism and it holds for the next six months,” Harvard’s Shawn Achor previously explained to Inc.com. That’s scientific backing for the idea behind Gratitude Journal ($1.99), which, as the name suggests, helps you boost your happiness by keeping track of all the good things in your life.
Don’t have the cash to jet away to some nature retreat and clear your mind? There may be a way to calm down free of charge—just download the aptly named app, Calm. “Featuring guided meditations, nature sounds, and a step-by-step guide to finding that all-too-elusive peace of mind, Calm is a great app to reach for when the fast-paced world gets a bit too much,” explains Johnson.
You need to hit the gym to keep your body in shape, so why do you think your mind will work its best without a workout? That’s what Headspace provides, offering “tons of content focused on creativity, decreasing stress, increasing happiness, conscious eating, and open-hearted living,” Johnson says.
Whether you’re a newcomer to meditation or an expert with a long-standing practice, the Mindfulness app has something to offer you, including a timer for meditators and guided meditations. A clearer mind will cost you $1.99.
5. Happy Habits: Choose Happiness
Meditation isn’t the only route to a healthier mindset and a happier life. You could also harness the insights of psychological science with this free app. Based on cognitive-behavioral therapy principles, Happy Habits offers tools “to assess your happiness, audio guides for relaxing and creating happiness, a journal for affirmations, a Happy To Do list, and graphs to keep track of your happiness levels.” It’s free.
This is another app based on psychological insights. For $4.99, MoodKit claims to help “you discover unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors so you can recognize them and ditch them,” writes Johnson.
7. Pay It Forward
One of the surest ways to feel better yourself is to do something nice for someone else. Pay It Forward is a tech tool designed to encourage you to do just that, sending daily suggestions for small acts of kindness, as well as offering features to track and share your good deeds (in case good karma isn’t motivation enough). Cost: $0.99.
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