Using Digital Technology to Find Happiness

Is there an app for that?

Using tech to increase happiness.

 (fizkes /

Digital Technology is the major engine of modern life. It provides us with our means of communication, employment, entertainment, and social lives. It is all encompassing. But can technology also be a source of happiness? Can we use the technology around us to become happier people? Is there an app for that? Find out how you can use technology to find happiness.

A double-edged sword
The last few years especially have shown how important digital technology is to our lives,  as the pandemic forced us to move online. According to Forbes Magazine one predictor of well-being during the Coronavirus shutdowns was access to digital technology.

At a time when physical distancing between people was paramount, the ability to connect with people virtually became vital to our sense of happiness. After all, humans are social creatures. We need to connect with one another in order to be happy.

However, technology can be a double-edged sword. For some people it can be a tool that can be used to pursue happiness and connection, for others it can lead to feelings of depression and unworthiness, and for some it can do both. A 2020 National Library of Medicine literature survey shows that for adolescents, at least, it can be a mixed bag. Some studies show a link between the use of digital technology and depression in teens, while others point to less of a connection than one might think.

Apps for happiness
So going back to our opening question, how can we use digital technology to become happier people? There are a myriad of apps that claim to help people find happiness: meditation apps, heart-rate trackers, exercise apps, affirmation apps, etc. How can we know which ones are truly helpful, and which ones do more harm than good?

According to Fast Company there are three things you can do to ensure that your digital technology tools are having a positive impact on your life. Firstly, be certain that the app is designed in such a way that it serves your purposes and not the company’s purpose.

Some apps will overwhelm you with notifications and data, and that could be more detrimental to your mental health than helpful. You never want to feel like you are beholden to an app, or that it starts making you feel bad about what you should or should not be doing.

Secondly, make sure that the science behind the app is good science. Before downloading an app that claims to make your life better, do a quick Google search and read up on the science behind it. Sometimes app designers start with the best intentions, but then get too invested in the engineering and details and lose sight of the science that they are basing themselves on.

Thirdly, make sure you try out the app before you use it. Not every app is right for every person. Read the fine print and inform yourself regarding return policies and trial periods when you download a new app. Don’t use an app that isn’t right for you. Remember, when it comes down to it, an app is a tool, and you always want to use the highest quality tools. 

Test the tech by tuning out
One of the best ways you can ensure that the digital technology you use is contributing to your happiness is to get off it from time to time, Dr. Mark Williamson, the director of Action for Happiness points out in a blog in the Huffington Post. Go outside and take a walk, take a minute to just breathe and be in the moment, and do something to make someone else happy. 

Remember, life is a balance, and the pursuit of happiness doesn’t have only one path. Use the tools that are helpful to you, digital or otherwise, and find your way. 

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