Most people have some sort of stress or anxiety in their life that they would love to address – things like coping with stress, appreciating what we have, doing better with our relationships, managing our time, and more. That is the basis behind Happify, a new site and service that seeks to use research findings stating that ‘happiness is a skill’ to help guide people to a more balanced and happy life.
Take a look:
So … how does it work?
Basically you assess your values and current state on the site, and then choose a recommended ‘track’ based on where you think your effort would best be served. These tracks are simply areas such as ‘Appreciate What You Have’, which is what I chose to work on. The way you work on things is through a series of ‘activities’, which are often like multiple choice quizzes or surveys, other times like essay-based tests. Each time you choose an activity, you will get a number of pop-up windows telling you about the activity, about the science, and even sometimes reminding you to ‘read the description’.
For example, to ‘Love What You Have’, what you need to do is write down three things you have that you are thankful for. That sounds simple – but when I clicked that task, I got a reminder to select the activity from a drop-down to select that or another option (why? didn’t I just choose), then reminders to read the description, and one that simply wouldn’t go away about ‘the science’. Then you fill out the form, chose how the activity made you feel before you ‘Happify it’. That is how you submit your actions, and you get to choose who can see your results.
As to how I felt about this activity, I would have chosen ‘STRESSED’ if it was an option! Because like most things I have encountered on Happify, nothing is even simple and stress-free. Every activity has flashing boxes, pop-ups galore, and always with the science, the Science, THE SCIENCE! And historically, whenever I see a ‘soft science’ site pushing THE SCIENCE so hard … it sets off a red flag in my mind that makes me distrust whatever they say is happening.
I had nearly completed the first stage of my ‘track’ by the time Carly said she got an email that she was ‘out of time’ for her track. I had already seen several about completing my track, and quite honestly … it wasn’t making me happy.
Why wasn’t I happy? Well, I felt like I was constantly getting nagged to complete an activity; and when I went to the site there were loads of personal surveys and an interface with so much flashing and so many pop-ups that I wouldn’t have been surprised at the end to discover that “JUST ONE MORE SURVEY AND YOU WILL WIN A FREE IPAD”!
In other words, Happify was making me miserable! So I decided that I would be much happier WITHOUT Happify.
If I want to appreciate what I have, I will enjoy sitting on the front porch on a crisp morning with my wife drinking coffee.
If I want to be thankful for something, I will dry the dishes as my boys clean up and just chat about nonsense.
If I want to deal with stress I will sit around the with my wife, my boys, and our dogs at our feet while having a blast playing a board game.
Today I see more distance and difficulty in relationships created by an out of balance focus on electronics between people causing resentments or a breakdown in communication. So if you want to see what you have to be thankful for … perhaps a better idea would be to log out of these self-help websites and look around at what you actually have in your life.