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How Technology Can Help Us Find Happiness

Map out your happy places

There are very few tools that can help us research, track and plan our own happiness. Online services now let users map out their happy places and discover where others have felt happy.

In theory, you can find the happiest spots in any part of the world where you could feed off the good vibes.

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How Technology Can Help Us Find Happiness

How Technology Can Help Us Find Happiness

https://bigthink.com/humanizing-technology/how-technology-can-help-us-find-happiness

bigthink.com

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Key Ideas

Map out your happy places

There are very few tools that can help us research, track and plan our own happiness. Online services now let users map out their happy places and discover where others have felt happy.

In theory, you can find the happiest spots in any part of the world where you could feed off the good vibes.

The significance

People should be able to track their happiness in a similar way they track their fitness goals. 

Apps tracking happiness effectively served as a glorified research project. The conclusion: people are happiest when they stop their minds from wandering.

Not just a feeling

Happiness isn't just a feeling that should be left entirely to chance. There are specific factors that influence your happiness, which can be easily tracked with the right tools.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking."

Marcus Aurelius

Where Happiness Comes From

Phenomena that happen outside of us don’t cause happiness. They might be correlated with happiness but it’s not a cause-and-effect relationship. 

The most important part is what happens in our brain between the external event (a good cup of coffee) and our state of happiness.

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."

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Not backed up by science

Not backed up by science

While popular, researchers say there is a serious lack of evidence to back up mindfulness apps, even though they are increasingly perceived as proven treatments for mental health. 

Seeking scientific validation

A handful of studies have been published on the efficacy of mindfulness apps, thanks in part to Headspace, one of the most popular apps in the field. In hopes of getting its app scientifically validated, the organization has partnered on more than 60 studies with 35 academic institutions. In the meantime, in lieu of research proving that apps work, marketers tend to draw misleading, but attractive claims.

The paradox of mindfulness apps

Mindfulness disrupts unhelpful habits. If you get distracted easily or have addictions, mindfulness helps curb these habits. But, in contrast, apps become popular and profitable by getting users lightly addicted to repetitive use. So, can an app really treat addiction, or is it inherently part of the problem? As of now, we don’t know the answer to that question.

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Habit-formation apps are aspirational tools

They're less about distilling your life into a series of data points and more about becoming your ideal self: If you use their app, you too can become a person who practices good habits. You can be...

The 4 tendencies when it comes to habit formation:

  • upholders: disciplined and respond to both internal and external expectations;
  • obligers :can’t keep commitments to themselves but respond to expectations from others; 
  • questioners: ask why and can keep a habit if they understand the logic reasoning; 
  • rebels: hate being told what to do by others, so it has to be something they want to do.
Depending on your habit-formation tendency, habit-tracking apps may or may not work for you. 

Habit apps use the psychology of habit formation

  • Many rely on a “streak” feature: they track how many consecutive days you’ve completed the habit;
  • Other apps offer accountability features to pressure you into completing your goal; 
  • Some apps turn habit formation into a game: The app rewards users who complete their habits with badges and other virtual incentives.

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