It should come as no surprise that meditation and mindfulness apps were downloaded more than any category in 2020. People looking to cope with the pandemic, protests, and presidential election downloaded mental health apps just to relax, unwind and sleep.
Popular mental health apps are Calm and Headspace which both guides users in meditations. Other apps connected users to licensed therapists, others helped people fall asleep by playing soothing music on their device. Others took advantage of coloring book apps as a way to relieve stress.
But how many apps operate with the sole intent of making people happy?
Happify helps users block out negative thoughts and feelings to make room for positivity and happiness. It is a different type of mental health app for sure.
When you first open the app, it will ask very basic questions such as gender and age, then asks what issues you're facing and what you'd like to accomplish. Once those questions are answered, you are connected to a "coach" which is actually a bot that continues the conversation. Even though I wasn't actually messaging with a human being, the bot felt like someone was on the other side of the app that asked questions and responded with what would naturally be a follow-up question from a human counselor.
After answering a few questions, the app led me to a game where a bunch of hot-air balloons appeared on the screen. Each balloon had a word on it, some negative and some positive. I was asked to tap on balloons with positive words. The idea here was to ignore negativity and concentrate or focus on the positive words floating across the screen. Funny thing is, as silly as it felt at the time, I could see that by using the game, those positive thoughts and words would stay with me after I put the app away.
There are articles you can read about stressful issues and how to deal with them. There is also a forum for users to ask and answer questions from other users. Some of the questions had well over 1,000 replies so it's a pretty healthy group of people using Happify. Chatting with like-minded people with questions that have been bugging you seems helpful on many levels.
Of all the mental health apps I've sampled over the course of the past year, Happify is different. It gets great reviews from iPhone and Android users and the app claims people have seen real results within just a few weeks of using it 3-4 times a week.
How much does it cost? The app itself is free and there are a few guided exercises, articles, and games that cost nothing. A premium subscription is $15 a month which seems expensive. If you love the app, there is an annual subscription that costs $140. There's also a lifetime subscription that costs $450.