Excerpt via NYT
“Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them”
– Poppy Jamie
In 2015, Poppy Jamie was hosting Snapchat’s first talk show, “Pillow Talk With Poppy,” when she began to think there was a particular malaise plaguing millennials. So she began incubating a new “brain health” app called Happy Not Perfect.
Given that Ms. Jamie’s 2016 TEDx talk, Addicted to Likes, explored a psychologically destructive social media culture, an app may seem an unlikely platform.
Below, a look at her newly released happiness app and a few others — all free to begin with.
Designed to bio-hack the brain in five minutes, Step 1 of seven, Check-in, decreases the impact of an emotion just by acknowledging it. Step 2, Breathing, takes you out of fight or flight. Step 3, Journaling, allows you process, digest, and let it go by way of a digital fire ceremony. Step 4, Gratitude, shifts the focus to the positive. In Step 5, a mini Mind Game disrupts thought patterns. Step 6, a Compassion Challenge, boosts self-esteem. Step 7, Vibes, lets you pay it forward. Guided meditations are optional.
Perk: A subscription ($9.99 for one month; $39.99 for six months; $59.99 for a year) provides access to more than 250 meditations and to a gratitude diary and compassion challenge history.
Developed by psychologists and educators, Smiling Mind is a nonprofit aiming to make mindfulness accessible to everyone, including children as young as 7. Meditations are offered according to age group and audience, for example Adults, Sport, Mindfulness in the Classroom, Mindfulness in the Workplace. Prompts like “How Do You Feel?” encourage checking in with oneself.
Perk: With Family Sharing, up to six family members can use this app.
The most popular free meditation app on Android and iOS stores, Insight Timer is home to some 4.5 million meditators and offers guided meditations, talks and podcasts by mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists and meditation teachers, in 25 languages, on topics including depression and grief.
Perk: Practitioners of all levels seeking community can see how many meditated “with” them, send direct messages and join discussion groups.
Named the No. 1 New App by Apple in 2017, Aura offers mindfulness meditations, short stories, music, sounds of nature, a gratitude journal and life coaching sessions to soothe stress and anxiety and help users sleep better. The artificial-intelligence-powered program uses questionnaires to personalize and improve the user experience.
Perk: A subscription ($11.99 for one month; $59.99 for one year; $399 for lifetime) allows unlimited access to meditations of 3 minutes, 7 minutes or 10 minutes (versus one 3-minute meditation a day).