We don’t want to admit how many hours each day we spend playing Angry Birds and Candy Crush (just assume you’d be embarrassed for us). After all, while the borderline-addictive games are fun, they’re also pretty mindless. That’s why we were so excited when we heard about Happify, an app that uses similar activities and games to help you overcome negative thoughts, anxiety, and everyday stress.
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The app—available on Android and iOS devices—isn’t a magic pill to get the dopamine and good feelings flowing. Instead it’s like a gym membership for your emotional health and well-being. The first time you open the app, you’re prompted to select a track that best meets your needs, whether it’s finding more “me” time or better handling stress. Each track is designed by an expert using the latest scientific research and full of quick, daily activities (games, mindful meditations, and assessments) that you can do whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
It can seem gimmicky at first. How can playing games—like using a slingshot to destroy words that make us anxious—really improve our mental health? But the mix of activities forced us to make happiness a priority and gave us tools for coping with any tough times ahead.