10 apps to make you happy – yes, really!
Happiness can be elusive, but it's one thing we all want from life. If you're looking to be happier, you could change your job, adjust your sleep patterns, eat a well-balanced diet or start getting more exercise. Of course, you could always download an app too.
There's an app for everything these days, from organisation to weight loss and travel. So it makes sense there are apps designed to boost your mood. But what are the best ones and do they really work? The Expertrain team has worked hard to bring you the top 15 apps to make you happy – try one or try them all, but do let us know how they work for you!
#1. My Mood Tracker
Did you know that mindfulness can help you to be more positive? By keeping track of your moods – the ups and the downs – you can start to notice a link between your moods, the people you've talked to, places you've been and even your diet and exercise regime. You might notice on days where you have made healthier food choices that you've felt happier. This nifty little app can also gather information about your exercise regime and sleep pattern. It's a reliable, simple to use app which will quickly become a great way to monitor your happiness, and improve it! It's available free for iOS.
This free iOS app is ideal for anyone wanting to explore keeping a gratitude journal. “What's that?” you might ask. Well, a gratitude journal is an opportunity to write down something that makes you happy each day. Buddhists believe that gratitude fosters happiness, and this app makes you more aware of the little things in life that are often so important! You can record happy moments and even share them on social media. The colourful interface is fun and this app is really easy to use; we can't guarantee it will make you happier, but it will definitely make you more mindful.
Reaching our goals gives us a sense of accomplishment that can become addictive (in a very good way!), so it makes sense that a goal-tracking, motivational app such as Lift can help you to be happier. Lift features a range of 'plans' and challenges that you can choose from. Each plan is led by experts in their field, and the available plans include fitness boot camps, yoga, meditation, weight loss and more – great motivational tools to get you started on the right track towards health, fitness and happiness. The app makes tracking your progress easy and there's a supportive community to help keep you on track. You can also set your own challenges; anything from quitting smoking to being more sociable. This free app is available for Android and iOS.
For £1.49 on the app store (free on Android), we think Fig is an app well worth downloading. The app suggests activities designed to improve your well-being, across a range of six categories – eat, refresh, connect, move, feel and go further. Each activity comes with a snippet of information about the benefits for your health and well-being. You can add your own activities too, so whether you're into rock climbing or just want to start eating more fruit and vegetables, you can track your progress. The social aspect of the app lets you share your success with others.
The Expertrain team are huge fan of meditation for relaxation and as an easy way to boost your mood. But sometimes guided meditation can be easier than going it alone, and we know you don't all have time to go to a class every week. The Headspace app, available on iOS and Android, makes guided meditation available on the go, wherever you are! The free app lets you enjoy ten days of guided meditation, aimed at beginners, after which you can stay with the free service or upgrade to their paid subscriptions. This is the perfect way to take some time out during a busy day.
#6. Live Happy
Available for iOS, this free app has been featured in publications such as the New York Times and is a highly-rated psychology app that aims to boost your mood. The suggested daily activities are scientifically proven to boost your happiness, both in the short-term and the long-term. The app is based on research carried out by Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology professor at the University of California. Nice touches include the ability to create albums with positive notes and images, as well as a goal-tracking feature.
#7. Healthy Habits
Healthy habits are something we all long to have; for many of us, bad habits sometimes rule the roost! This app isn't about happiness per se; it's designed to help you think more about your eating and lifestyle habits, and what effect these can have on your mood. Research shows that altruistic behaviour (helping others) can help you to be healthier and happier (1), so set yourself positive goals such as volunteering at a local soup kitchen or setting up a befriending scheme in your area to help the elderly. The app lets you add your own habits and goals, and makes tracking your progress easy with colourful graphs.
Last year, Google launched a new app (2), working in conjunction with NHS Choices, aimed at anyone suffering from stress and anxiety. The free HappyHealthy app lets you track your moods, which means you can pinpoint what could be causing your misery. The app is based on the simple belief that 'happiness is an inside job'; what we eat and our lifestyles (such as how much exercise we get) can directly influence mood. Because changing bad habits can be difficult, reminders from the app help you stay on track. So if you're stressed, anxious or find it hard to switch off, this could be the app for you – it's been shown to improve happiness levels by 12% in the first week of use.
This great free app has been created by Ofer Leidner, a scientist who is a convert to the field of 'happiness science'. (3) Launched in Autumn 2013, the app provides users with a series of guided reflections and games designed to make you more optimistic and improve your happiness levels. The exercises include “Shine On”, which challenges you to list three 'victories' from your day (a sort of gratitude journal). Data collected from users by Happify shows that 86% of users felt happier after two months of using the app. Whether you believe in the science or not, the app promotes self-awareness and living in the moment; two things which have been proven to make us happier and less stressed.
#10. Stress Free with Deepak Chopra
For just 69p in the iTunes App Store, you can download this handy little app, which gives you a six-week interactive course designed to eliminate stress. With advice and interactive exercises relating to yoga, meditation, nutrition, music therapy and exercise, you can remove stress from your life for good and be happier and healthier! Stress can lead to high blood pressure and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, so it makes sense to keep your stress levels under control.
READ THIS NEXT: Reduce your stress levels with these 15 simple tips