An app for anyone who would like to improve their personal well-being and learn more about positive psychology.
What does the app do?
This app aims at making you feel happier. The core of the app is following different ‘tracks’ where you complete activities to reach a goal such as conquering negative thoughts, controlling anger, improving sleep etc. It uses ‘gamification’ with the ability to ‘level up’ and increase different ‘stats’ namely Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give and Empathise. The app is highly interactive, and there are many mini-games. You can take a positive psychology personality test to discover your strengths and then try and use these strengths in your daily life to increase wellbeing. For the complete app description, go to the App website , or iTunes and for a detailed review, see Reviews.
✔ Several trials published showing improvement in well-being in those with chronic health conditions and young people, but this research should be taken as preliminary given the lack of control groups in the studies and small sample sizes.
✔ Activities are extensively explained and referenced although exercises prescribed may be only loosely associated with the theories they reference.
✔ Community section, but I couldn’t see any evidence of it being extensively monitored.
✔ Complete a validated personal character strengths questionnaire.
✔ Paired website, can complete activities on all devices.
✔ Attractive format.
✘ Some mini games felt gimmicky and are only very loosely associated with the positive psychology research findings they claim to support.
✘ Free version is very limited.
✘ Navigation was very slow.
✘ App is glitchy and logging in on a phone can be difficult.
✘ The use of “tracks” or individually prescribed courses means that the user is set 3 or 4 daily tasks chosen by the app each day. It is difficult to use these tools and strategies outside the days they are prescribed, limiting users’ ability to learn how to use psychological tools and incorporate these into daily life. This is a very passive way of engaging in wellbeing strategies.
✘ Some users will find it frustrating to have little choice in the coping tools and strategies they use each day.
✘ New Zealand audiences may find some interpersonal tasks and assignments do not match their ways of expressing themselves in relationships.
- April 2022; Android
- April 2018; Android
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Reviewer: Kris Garstang, Clinical Psychologist, Life Mind Psychology
Date of review: April 2022
Version: 1.76.1-111002f62734 (Free version)
Comments: This app is a bit of a fun, light look at wellbeing. However, it can feel too superficial and the tasks assigned each day are not always actually evidenced based even though they are loosely related to research findings. I think that this app would be more effective if users were able to be more active in choosing their wellbeing activities each day rather than prescribed activities which must be completed before a user can move on to other activities. Some people will find this annoying. Some of the content is good but some is not and it is difficult to find one’s way to the tools and strategies that are useful and evidenced based such as mindfulness and autogenic relaxation exercises. Other exercises feel culturally inappropriate for a New Zealand audience, especially ones asking them to express feelings to others which may feel too expressive for New Zealanders. I would not recommend this app to friends or clients because of these factors.
NZ relevance: This app is designed for an American audience and New Zealanders may not relate to some of the assigned tasks.
Safety concerns: None.
Reviewer: Jeremy Steinberg, GP, FRNZCGP
Date of review: April 2018
Comments: This app mainly uses positive psychology to improve psychological well-being, which is an approach that has good research supporting it. There are also elements of other therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness. The text throughout the app is extensively referenced to supporting research which is fantastic to see and something very uncommon for medical apps. The app itself has had one poorly done trial published which showed improvements in well-being (but there was no control group)
The core of the app is following different ‘tracks’ where you complete activities to reach a goal such as conquering negative thoughts, controlling anger, improving sleep etc. It uses ‘gamification’ with the ability to ‘level up’ and increase different ‘stats’ namely Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give and Empathise. The app is highly interactive, and there are many mini-games but I found some of these gimmicky.
You can take a positive psychology personality test to discover your strengths and then try and use these strengths in your daily life to increase wellbeing. This is a standard positive psychology approach and is well validated. The free version only gives you your top three strengths which I found in poor taste given that it is a completely free online test.
I would not recommend the free version as it is extremely limited. The subscription price for the paid version is similar to its competitors such as Headspace and Pacifica. I would only recommend this app if this type of approach interests you and you would like to try ‘gamification’ of your goals.
Safety concerns: None.