This tool will assist with:
- Learning positive psychology skills
- Practicing positive thought habits
- Proactive strategies for building better mental health
Happify is a website with accompanying app that provides a range of ‘brain-training’ games and activities based on principles of positive psychology, with good links to the evidence base behind positive psychology practice. The aim of the program is to help users improve their ability to practice the five ‘essential’ skills of happiness – the ability to savor, thank, aspire, give and empathise.
A user joins the site and completes initial questionnaires to obtain baseline data on their current state of happiness and wellbeing. They then have the choice of over 20 ‘tracks’ to complete on specific target areas for various life situations such as ‘Be Kinder to Yourself’ and ‘Build More Self Confidence’. New activities are made available each day and users can track their progress over time.
Where to access this tool
Visit the Happify website
View the iOS app on iTunes
Pricing: Happify is free for one activity per day. To access additional features and games users can pay a subscription fee. We recommend trialling the free version with a young person and letting them decide for themselves whether it is worth paying the subscription.
When to use Happify
Happify is suitable for older adolescents 16+ who:
- don’t have a significant mental health issue
- feel that are a bit stuck even though there are actively engaged in life
- are looking for proactive strategies to improve mental health.
Certain tracks of Happify would be applicable for young people with mental health difficulties, stress or those with a negative mindset. The principles of Positive Psychology can benefit all young people in a preventative way.
For a young person with a severe mental illness such as major depression, this site may not be a good place to start treatment.
“I would use this tool to keep my brain ‘fit’ and make sure I’m mentally healthy.” - Michael
Introducing Happify – example conversation:
- Sometimes in life we find it easy to focus on negative events and difficult to focus on small everyday positive events. This website aims to train you to focus your thinking and behaviour on positive events and gratitude.
- If you would like to try this website we can complete the initial questionnaire together and have a look at the first few activities. You can choose to keep your answers private!
- The regular emails are a good reminder to keep practicing the skills to build gratitude.
What young people thought of Happify
- Useful information and explanations.
- It had some really interesting activities to complete and all the activities were very different from one another – definitely kept your attention!
- It had achievable goals, which keep you interested.
- Had subtle reminders, which were useful, and kept you coming back.
- Was tailored to suit your specific needs (after filling out a few questionnaires at the start).
- Social aspect was great. Good and topical forum / threads.
- Can’t customize your own program.
- Limited choice of activities without paying, and you are limited in what you can do in a day.
- Some of the activities were repeated in different tracks.
Professionals’ advice on using Happify in practice
Young adolescents 10-15 may not find the information presented in a way that appeals to them – the people pictured are all adults.
I would introduce the theory of Positive Psychology and possibly review the section of the website called ‘The Science’ with the young person, which gives clear connections to the activities and the scientifically proven benefits. Given a task is made available on a track each day, I would suggest they complete the track before returning for their next appointment.
I would also promote the site to young people as something they could complete independent of receiving counseling and identify specific tracks that are age appropriate.
This website / app would also be useful to recommend to parents, given the tracks include ‘raise, happy resilient teens’.
Advice from young people
Not very useful on its first use. Really great to use over an extended period of time.
Maybe talk about some of the activities in sessions, as many activities involve a lot of thought.
Appropriate for all ages!
This tool was reviewed by Chelsea and Michael, young people from the ReachOut.com community. Professional advice was provided by Angelique Foran (Clinical Psychologist) and Laura Allison (Psychologist).