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5 Apps to Make You Feel Truly Happy Even If Life Is Hard Sometimes

5 Apps to Make You Feel Truly Happy Even If Life Is Hard Sometimes

Fact: Life is stressful. Another Fact: It does not have to be.

In a sad statistic, only 1 out of 3 Americans can say they feel truly happy [1]. This means the other two are either depressed or general ‘meh.’ These unhappy feelings are certainly valid in difficult economical times. It gets harder and harder to find work every day, and the bills and payments associated with adulthood don’t slow down just because your paychecks do. People also feel unhappy when a relationship ends or becomes challenging. There are plenty of explanations as to why we are all so bummed out.

We live in a crazy world full of obligations, responsibilities and time frames forever-shortening with the advancements of Technology. Picking up your beloved cell phone can be a great distraction throughout the day, but did you know there are certain apps that can help you to feel happier and less stressed?

Nearly two-thirds of Americans can say they own a smart phone [2], so read on to find out how you can make your phone work for you.

Why our recommendations can be trusted.

Social media and content platforms can be tricky to navigate. Often times, influencers across the web are paid to advertise a product. This doesn’t automatically mean they wouldn’t use the product otherwise, but the line blurs. The apps that will be featured in this article have either been used by us here at lifehack.org, or we have researched the app and paid close attention to the reviews. This isn’t a sponsored ad, so don’t worry about getting conned out of $0.99. Besides, I prefer free apps myself.

I became interested in happiness-inducing apps as soon as I realized they existed, but I was also well-aware I needed them. Have you ever noticed how anxious you can feel after scrolling through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? It’s so common to come across a picture of your ex with their new partner, or see a friend you’ve been arguing with getting coffee with your frenemy. Sure, it seems petty, but that doesn’t make it any less true; it’s hard to not be bothered by things when they’re directly in your face. So I’ve found apps you can install to split your time between chaos and stress and meditation and bliss.

If you go to the app store and search ‘happiness,’ you will be inundated with thousands of apps. So where do you start? We’re going to list out our top five happy apps that we have used and love, and the highest rated. These apps will be rated on their uniqueness, price, usability and appearance.

Headspace

I’ve used this app and I really enjoy it. It’s short meditations which is great for beginners who don’t yet know how to quiet their mind. There are levels to ensure you slow down and truly do one at a time, but each guided meditation session lasts only 10 minutes. The narrators voice is calming and steady which helps keep you focused.

     Uniqueness: 8/10

    My favorite unique feature is the SOS option. If you just had a stressful argument with a coworker or partner, you can go to the SOS screen and choose a topic to get you back on track quickly.

     Price: 10/10

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    This is a free app!

     Usability: 9/10

    I think this app is super user-friendly when it comes to navigating and also accessing in general. Because the meditations are short, it’s easy to carve out ten minutes of the day to listen and be still. Sometimes I’ll listen before bed to drift off to sleep easily. And as a side note, it has an incredible 5 star review on iTunes.

     Appearance: 10/10

    This app is clean, attractive and fun. The colors are vibrant without being loud, and the animation is adorable. The app is happy to look at, and makes you feel happy!

    Happify

    This app offers activities and games to help with stress. It’s a new app and only has a handful of reviews, but they’re five stars so far! I’ve got this app on my phone and it’s such an interesting approach. You don’t just sign in and start, you fill out a questionnaire and it finds the right tracks for you. It provides customized games and activities that focus on happiness and positivity. It’s easy, customized and fun!

       Uniqueness: 10/10

      I appreciate how personal this app is. It helps me feel like it’s really focused on my happiness and not ‘general’ happiness.

       Price: 10/10

      It’s free!

       Usability: 8/10

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      It does require some reading and tutorials. None of it is complicated, but you can’t just download and know what to do right away.

       Appearance: 7/10

      Some of the graphics aren’t super impressive, but ultimately it’s a colorful app that’s easy to read.

      Happier

      This app aims to do exactly what it sounds like: make you happier! This app connects with Apple Watch, and you can allow the app to randomly send you happy quotes. The app also serves as a gratitude journal. More so, you can take expert-led, short courses to discover new ways to find joy. You can keep your account info private or share your gratitude with other users.

         Uniqueness: 7/10

        This is such a neat app. It takes all the best elements of social media (sharing happy photos and positive interactions) and adds meditation, boy, community and more.

         Usability: 6/10

        You can connect with Facebook to quickly create an account, and I find that super convenient. It also allows you to invite contacts to grow your own little community of real life friends and family.

         Price: 10/10

        It’s free!

         Appearance

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        This app also uses lots of bright orange to keep everything positive. The graphics are nice and the lines are clean.

        Stigma

        This is a great app if you are more concerned with documenting your mental health rather than meditating or finding courses. This app allows you to track your mood and anxiety which can really help to pin-point what triggers your unhappiness.

           Uniqueness: 10/10

          I think this app deserves such a high score because it takes a unique approach to your own daily experiences.

           Usability: 10/10

          Easy to understand and easy to reflect upon.

           Price: 10/10

          It’s free!

           Appearance

          Clean lines, calming colors, easy-to-read font.

          10% Happier

          Honestly, this one has to make the list because I think it’s so funny. This app is specifically targeted at “fidgety skeptics” and boasts “no robes, no crystals.” Everyone should have access to meditation and happiness, not just the metaphysical yogis. The 5 star rating clearly proves people agree.

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             Uniqueness: 10/10

            This app is 100% unique in its approach to mediation and making this app attainable to everyone.

             Usability: 10/10

            It doesn’t get simpler than this.

             Price: 10/10

            It’s free!

             Appearance: 6/10

            It’s not the cutest app, but it serves its purpose.

            Have you tried any of these apps? Do you have an app not featured on this list that you swear by? We want to hear about it!

            Reference

            More by this author

            Heather Poole

            Heather shares about everyday lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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            Published on October 30, 2020

            11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

            11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

            There are numerous ways to build your mindset, but none are as profound as reading philosophy books. Through these books, some of the greatest minds around ask questions and delve deep into thought.

            While there isn’t always a clear and distinct answer to the many questions of philosophy, the entire field is a gateway to a higher sense of self. It gets you to think about all manner of things.

            Below, we cover some of the essential philosophy books that are best for those who are just starting or looking to expand their mind.

            How To Choose a Good Philosophy Book

            Before getting to this list, we’ve researched ideal philosophy books to help you expand your mind.

            We’ve found that the best philosophy books excel in the following criteria:

            • Complexity – Philosophy isn’t a subject that you can’t dive into immediately and understand everything. The books that we selected are great for people making the first leap.
            • Viewpoint – With philosophy, in particular, the author’s views are more important than in your standard book. We want to ensure the viewpoints and thoughts being discussed still hold up to this day.
            • Open-mindedness – Philosophy is all about asking perplexing questions and unraveling the answer. You might not reach a conclusion in the end, but these books are designed to get you to think.
            • Culture – The last criterion is culture. A lot of these books come from early philosophers from centuries ago or possibly from recent years. These philosophy books should paint a picture of the culture.

            1. Meditations

              One that you’ll find on many of these types of lists is Meditations and for good reason. It’s the only document of its kind to ever be made. The book focuses on the private thoughts of the world’s most powerful man who advises himself revolving around making good on his responsibilities and the obligations of his position.

              We know enough about Marcus Aurelius to know that he was trained in stoic philosophy and practiced every night on a series of spirituality exercises. These exercises were designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever problem he had to face off. And he faced plenty of problems since he was basically the emperor of roughly a third of the planet.

              All of that is poured into this book, and you are bound to remember a line or more that will be applicable in your life. It’s a philosophy book staple.

              Buy Meditations here.

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              2. Letters From a Stoic

                Similar to Marcus Aurelius, Seneca was another powerful man in Rome. He was a brilliant writer at the time and was the kind of guy to give great advice to his most trusted friends. Fortunately, much of his advice comes in letters, and those letters happen to be in this book. The letters themselves provided advice on dealing with grief, wealth, poverty, success, failure, education, and more.

                While Seneca was a stoic, he has a more practical approach and has borrowed from other schools of thought for his advice. As he said when he was alive, “I don’t care about the author if the line is good.” Similar to Meditations, there are several brilliant lines and advice that are still relevant to this day.

                Buy “Letters From a Stoic” here.

                3. Nicomachean Ethics

                  Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher at the time with profound knowledge. He’s named after a form of logic as well called Aristotelian logic. Through this book, Aristotle writes about the root of all Aristotelian ethics. In other words, this book contains the moral ideas that form a base for pretty much all of western civilization.

                  Buy “Nicomachean Ethics” here.

                  4. Beyond Good & Evil

                    Friedrich Nietzsche played a big role in the philosophical world. He was one of the leading philosophers of the existential movement, and it all came through this particular book. He is a brilliant mind. However, the issue with a lot of his work is that it’s all written in German.

                    Fortunately, this book is one of the slightly more accessible ones since it’s translated. Within the book, he breaks down the paradoxes of conventional understandings of morality. By doing this, he sets the stage for a lot of the 20th-century thought process that followed.

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                    Buy “Beyond Good & Evil” here.

                    5. Meditations on First Philosophy

                      In Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes breaks his book down into six meditations. The book takes a journalistic style that is structured much like a six-day course of meditation. On day one, he gives instructions on discarding all belief in things that are not guaranteed. After that, he tries to establish what can be known for sure. Similar to Meditations, this is a staple and influential philosophical text that you can pick up.

                      Buy “Meditations on First Philosophy” here.

                      6. Ethics

                        Written by Benedict de Spinoza, this came at a time during the Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment was a movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries and with that, many schools of thought emerged and were presented through books.

                        Out of the many influential philosophy books published back then, Ethics dominated during this period as it discussed the basis of rationalism. Even though we’ve developed further beyond that, Ethics can introduce new ways of thinking from this particular school of thought.

                        Buy “Ethics” here.

                        7. Critique of Pure Reason

                          Immanuel Kant is another great philosopher who brought together two of history’s biggest opposing schools of thought into a single book. Those schools being rational thought and empirical experiential knowledge—knowledge gained through experience.

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                          In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explores human reason and then works to establish its illusions and get down to core constituents. Overall, you can learn more about human behavior and thought processes and thus, open your mind more to how you think and process everything around you.

                          Buy “Critique of Pure Reason” here.

                          8. On the Genealogy of Morals

                            Another piece of work from Nietzsche that is accessible to us is On the Genealogy of Morals. According to Nietzsche, the purpose of this book is to call attention to his previous writings. That said, it does more than that so you don’t need to worry so much about reading his other books.

                            In this book, he expands on the cryptic aphorisms that he brings up in Beyond Good and Evil and offers a discussion or morality in a work that is more accessible than a lot of his previous work.

                            Buy “On the Genealogy of Morals” here.

                            9. Everything Is F*cked

                              The only book on this list that’s been written in the past few years, this book by Mark Manson aims to explain why we all need hope while also accepting that hope can often lead us to ruin too.

                              While many of the books on this list are all practical, this one is the most realistic one since not even the greatest of philosophical minds could predict things like technology, Twitter, and how our political world has shaped.

                              Manson delivers a profound book that taps into the minds of our ancestral philosophers, such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, and digs deep into various topics and how all of it is connected—religion and politics, our relationship with money, entertainment, and the internet.

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                              Overall, this book serves as a challenge to all of us—a challenge to be more honest with ourselves and connect with the world in a way we’ve never tried before.

                              Buy “Everything Is F*cked” here.

                              10. Reasons and Persons

                                One of the most challenging philosophy books to read on this list, Reasons and Persons will send you on quite the trip. Through a lot of painstaking logic, Derek Parfit shows us some unique perspectives on self-interest, personhood, and whether our actions are good or evil.

                                Considered by many to be an important psychological text around the 20th century, the arguments made about those topics will open your mind to a brand new way of thinking.

                                Buy “Reasons and Persons” here.

                                11. The Republic of Plato

                                  Written by Plato himself, this book is the origin of political science and offers a brilliant critique of government. As you would expect, the critique is still important today. If you’re looking to understand the inner thoughts of Plato, this is one of the best books around.

                                  Buy “The Republic of Plato” here.

                                  Final Thoughts

                                  Philosophy books take a while to digest as they provide profound knowledge and leave you with many questions. With many of these philosophy books, you need to take your time with them, and you might have to read through them a few times as well. And with every read, your mind will only expand.

                                  More Books to Open Your Mind

                                  Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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