Happify: The Science of Being Happy

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Can we really change our level of “happiness”? Is happiness something you can measure, chart and increase? According to current science, we can. In the last few years scientists have been able to locate the parts of the brain that cause depression and happiness. By “exercising” the parts of the brain that make us happy, we can indeed increase our happiness! And Happify has set out to do just that.

A few months ago I was asked to be a Happify Pioneer and try out the site before it went public. What is Happify? Happify is  a website dedicated to sharing the science of happiness. I was willing to give it a try. Why not? I can’t say I was expecting much to change. First of all, I didn’t particularly feel the need to “increase my happiness”  and second, I wasn’t sure playing a few games on the computer could accomplish this anyway.

In the nitty-gritty Happify is a website with games and activities designed to increase your happiness. Sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it? The games range from The Mindfulness Game where you are given a picture and need to find a certain number of hidden items, to “recording a moment” that made you happy that day, to “anticipating and savoring” an upcoming event or “finding a way to make another person smile”.

So does all this actually work? Does it increase happiness? After each activity is completed on Happify, you can click on a tab labeled “why it works” which explains the science behind how that particular activity increases personal happiness.

Science aside, what about my personal experience with Happify?

happify

Guess what? It works.  The simple act of going on the website for five to ten minutes three or four times a week has changed how I view my life and the things around me. I find myself noticing little things and savoring them even more. While on my walk/run recently I noticed myself consciously observing the blue sky and thinking to myself how very thankful I was for the mild weather that allowed me run in the dead of winter. Almost taking a mental picture of the moment. I find myself consciously anticipating upcoming events (even small ones) and savoring them while I am there. All of this leads to constantly appreciating and being satisfied with the small (and large things) around me and I find it does lead to me “feeling” happier.

As I discussed this with my children, Adalia pointed out that it makes me more thoughtful by making me stop and think about ways to make people smile. Hmmm…she was absolutely right.

In one sense, Happify is a bit like Facebook. You can follow people and like posts. But unlike Facebook, it is not filled with drama and negativity. You are not going to read about what someone had for lunch, unless, that is, they are pausing to appreciate and savor the moment.  In our Happify community we share photos and stories. On the Happify Pioneer Facebook page I was recently able to share the great news about Apollo’s swallow study. I was almost immediately surrounded my encouraging feedback. People who rejoiced with me in my moment of happiness. And you know what? It felt good.

It reminds me of years ago when I was first married. I determined not to surround myself with ladies who bad-mouthed their husbands. I could see, as a newlywed, how detrimental that could be to a marriage. Why sit around complaining about our spouses and “one-upping” each other with stories of “mistreatment”? I vowed never to do that, and I have continued that practice for seventeen years. Happify is a bit like that. No one is pretending their lives are perfect and filled with nothing but sunshine and rainbows. We are just a community of regular people who are choosing to focus on the positives in our life.

So has Happify made me a happier person? Honestly, I’d have to say, yes, it has.

Check out Happify and let me know what you think!

24 thoughts on “Happify: The Science of Being Happy

  1. Sounds similar to the decisions we made together as a young married couple. we found during our first couple of yrs, we had complained. About the weather at our first base, missing our families, his working hours, we often spent our time together worrying about our time apart! We made a decision after that to savor every moment, to enjoy our time, to find the small wonderful things in life. When tired, find some way to enjoy each other and our children. Now when he tells us he is deploying again, we fill the last few months before leaving with fun and happiness. We make a daily, even hourly points to seek out small things that make us happy. We choose as a family to BE happy, with sometimes bad or hard moments. But we are happy. It is our verb and noun all at once. Sounds like a much better site than FB!

  2. This sounded great to me… I believe in gratitude as being the foundation of each day, and each experience, and was excited to join this community. Unfortunately, I don’t have a facebook account and can’t find a way to join with my twitter account. It’s looking like maybe there are a few bugs they still need to get worked out…

      • I”d very much like to explore Happify, but I”m always wary of linking my FB data to another company.
        –Cait (found this post searching for info on Happify)

      • Hi there –
        I found your site and this post when I googled “contact us” for happify.com . I’ve seen enough to want to try them out but I hate this new trend of logging in with my FB account – I like to control my data and it bugs me to be forced into joining this way.
        Do you have any email address to contact them at? Truly appreciate your help.
        cheers,
        Lila

        • Lila- Right now Happify is new and Facebook is the way they are managing log-in. I totally get your frustration. I *can* tell you that Happify posts don’t show up on Facebook. And I of course, don’t work for Happify, I am just a member. You are not the first person to ask about this, so perhaps they will change the log-in system.

  3. What a great post on Happify. I am so glad I met you and am part of this pioneer team. It’s amazing how much positive enforcement there is with everyone. You family is amazing Renee. So glad I get to hear you share your stories.

    Irish at Dedicated 2 Life

  4. Thanks for posting this… I just joined, on the “appreciate what you have” track because that’s something I’ve been struggling with lately! I hope you can do additional tracks after because I want to do the coping with stress one too.

    It will never post/show up on Facebook automatically on my wall will it?

  5. Hi there, I’m Robyn and I blog at Mrs D plus 3 (based in Sydney, Australia). I have just received an email asking if I would like to participate in the happify pioneer program. I have to honest and say I almost deleted it as I thought it was spam!! But something made me look twice and I came across your post. THANK YOU! I agree, the whole concept does seem a little silly but I am totally intrigued now and I think I’m going to give it a go. I mean what’s to loose right?? and who doesn’t want to be happy!

    • You are the second person to email or leave a comment checking to see if Happify is legit! I totally understand, I was pretty skeptical at first too. I am happy to say it is the real deal and I love Happify! Come find me if you set up an account over there :)

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  7. Hello there,

    I was late in responding to the email from the Happify Team but, I spent my first session on the site today. While I am very new to it, I can say it did give me a moment or two to reflect on the things I am grateful for, even my super duper washing line and that made me smile :-)

    • Yay! I hope you continue to enjoy the site. I have found I do reflect much more on the good things in my life.

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