I don’t know about you, but it scares me how accurate the ads on Facebook are for me. I see eBay and Amazon have now offered my browsing and shopping history to allow Facebook to show me things it knows I want.
Well done, but yikes.
An ad for games and activities website Happify that’s been popping up all the time lately in my feed is a different story. My doctor-patient information is confidential, so how does Facebook know I am one of the one in 10 Americans suffering from clinical depression?
Maybe there’s others who have a health problem that’s extremely embarrassing (erectile dysfunction?), and now it’s the third thing you see every time you scroll down your feed.
It just gets a little too creepy, that’s all. But, yes, I totally clicked on the Happify link; it said it was going to stop negative thoughts — how could I not!
Following the link to Happify was nicer than most ad trails. I wasn’t prompted for my credit card information or social security number, and after answering six semi-personal questions, it generated a custom plan tailored to help me get glad.
Happify presents happiness as a product that is winnable. Practice makes perfect, and here are the simple steps to repeat and make it a habit to be happy.
Happify says five basic skills separate happy people from everyone else: They savor the moment, thank those who matter, aspire to meaningful goals, give of themselves and empathize with others.
The site lays out a path for you, with each track consisting of a week’s worth of activities that are fun and grounded in real science.
If these basic skills sound like things you already are practicing, I’m not surprised. After living all over the world, I’ve found that Hawaii is filled with people who truly get it. Since moving here, I’ve only had four episodes in 13 years, which is really good compared to the repeated downward spirals I experienced growing up.
I do have anxiety. It’s not treated, because the Western treatments for it scare me. While there is nothing that can pull me out of the darkness of the occasional major depressive episode (except a medical doctor), the anxiety can be mellowed out with disciplined self-help and, so far, with this website.
According to its data, 86 percent of regular Happify users saw happiness improvements in two months. Their research shows you can achieve these benefits by using Happify just three to four times per week.
User Lori N. said, “I’ve learned to re-frame my negative thoughts.”
It’s that simple. I’ve only recently started entertaining the whole self-help thing, but this happiness science is sweeping the conference circuit as more and more presenters are getting through to web and mobile app developers.
The verdict for me is still out, but I’m a week in, and it’s looking pretty good. I’m particularly interested in how this website could impact adolescents, who way too often feel as if their entire world is crumbling down. If we ALL tried this, our Facebook feeds could improve, if anything. Until then, you can use the settings to unfollow negative posters.
Christa Wittmier is “SUPERCW” on all social media. Find her on Snapchat, SoundCloud, Twitter, Vine and Instagram. By night, she is known as DJ SuperCW. By day, she is known as senior marketing director for Young’s Market Company of Hawaii. Her nightlife blog SuperCity runs every Wednesday on HonoluluPulse.com.