This post will discuss the intersection of technology and positive psychology through Happify, an app based on science and positive psychology. Psychology transitioned from a science of pathology and victims toward a focus on positive psychology in the 1990s (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). The shift in focus is from negative personal characteristics to strengths (Fredrickson, 2001; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) with an aim of finding ways to support and bolster the strengths (Frederickson, 2001; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000), rather than highlighting the weaknesses (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000) of the human condition.
Focusing on the nurture aspect of a human’s sense of well-being and happiness (Cassity, 2018), Happify uses the science of positive psychology to change the It uses several primary components and weaves mindfulness into each portion of Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give, Empathize, and Other, each enumerated into as many as 315 subcategories (Other) (Happify, 2018a, 2018b). The approach of how these components are realized within the app and online through their website varies from mindfulness about negative habits to reinforcing positive habits. Often the app encourages external kindness and consciousness. (Cassity, 2018; Happify, 2018a, 2018b)
As an example, acts of kindness, even if not reciprocally rewarded or acknowledged, introduce endorphins into the physiological being that increase the sense of happiness (Cassity, 2018; Marsh & Suttie, 2010; Ritvo, 2011). Acts of kindness toward others are often associated with pleasure and enjoyment (Happify, 2018b; Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). As a side benefit, acts of kindness can also positively affect people who know about or witness the kindness (Cassity, 2018; Marsh & Suttie, 2010; Ritvo, 2011).
Acacia C. Parks, chief scientist for the company Happify.com, wrote that there are many lanes for positive psychology in self-help and positive psychology intervention (2014). This suggests that there are more opportunities to bring happiness and positivity into the digital world of mobile devices and online activities.
Cassity, J. (2018). The power of a single act of kindness. . The Science of Happiness – Positive Psychology – Happify Daily. Visited 2018-03-18 https://www.happify.com/hd/the-power-of-a-single-act-of-kindness/
Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The Role of Positive Emotions in Positive Psychology. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218-226. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.56.3.218
Marsh, J. & Suttie, J. (2010). 5 ways giving is good for you. Mind & Body. Greater Good. University of California at Berkley. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/5_ways_giving_is_good_for_you
Parks A. C. (2014),. Psychology in Practice via Self-help. Chapter: 14. Positive Psychology in Practice. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey. p. 237-248.
Ritvo, E. (2014). The neuroscience of giving: Proof that helping others helps you. On Vitality – Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/vitality/201404/the-neuroscience-giving.
Seligman, M.E.P. & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Psychology: an introduction. American Psychological Association, 55(1), 5-14. doi: 10.1037/00003-066X.55.1.5
Staff (Happify) (2018a). The science of happiness research references. The Science of Happiness – Positive Psychology – Happify Daily (Happify). Visited 2018-03-17 https://www.happify.com/research/.
Staff (Happify) (2018b). What is the science of happiness? The Science of Happiness – Positive Psychology – Happify Daily (Happify). Visited 2018-03-17 https://www.happify.com/hd/what-is-the-science-of-happiness/