I recently read an article in The Evening Standard about a new mindfulness app launch. From TV presenter to app entrepreneur, Poppy Jamie is the individual behind the new release. The new app is aimed at stressed millennials to help turn confronting anxiety into a simple game.
Poppy Jamie designed Happy Not Perfect to turn mindfulness into a strategic game to attempt to ‘hack’ the brain. It is said that the app will help people sleep better, de-stress before a meeting and get over their ex, and all by using it for just five minutes a day.
The new launch enters into a market filled with a mass number of meditation apps such as Headspace and Calm, both of which I have tried before. But Happy Not Perfect takes a more practical approach, by turning mindfulness into a game.
I believe that a large number of people are addicted to ‘likes.’ With the rise in mental health illnesses over recent years, it is evident the negative impact technology can have on people’s confidence. I feel that it can make us feel vulnerable the entire time. Jamie has spent the past three years working with neuroscientists and breathing experts to unpick the science behind positive psychology and distil their advice into a simple, daily seven-step “daily refresh” routine.
On the app, to begin, you select the emotion ruling you that day from a list of 13, which includes “meh”, “anxious”, “heartbroken”, “weird” or “rejected” — though “excited” and “happy” are also options. I agree with Jamie when she says that acknowledging how you feel can decrease the impact of the feeling.
The next step is a breathing tutorial for relaxing. I know that sometimes I forget to breathe and realise I’ve been holding my breath for slightly too long! James states in the article, “It’s the freest, easiest trick for mental wellbeing yet nine out of 10 people don’t know it.” She uses it in stressful meetings. “It’s changed my life”.
The third stage asks you to write down an anxiety before “setting fire” to the screen by tapping in the left-hand corner. Flames will curl up the paper — the symbolism works. In the next screen, tap out something you’re grateful for. The point is to find a positive perspective on your day — unlike the anxiety, the gratitude note gets logged so you can reflect on happy thoughts at a later date. In a tough stressful time, I always try to think of what I have achieved, rather them what I’m yet to. Having said this, I find this much easier to say than do!
Next, there’s a mini-game, which changes every day and is designed to trick your brain into focusing on something that’s fun. Games include navigating a ball through a maze. Next there is a “compassion challenge” — to answer questions such as, “What would you tell a friend experiencing the same thing as you?” Lastly, you’re invited to send a “vibe”: a positive message to brighten someone else’s day, whether that’s wishing someone luck in an important meeting or thanking them for being a good friend.
I always find that making someone feel good makes me feel good in turn. The team working on the app are all millennials so they understand the demographic and their anxieties which I think is great! I really feel that stress is taking its toll on our bodies. I found out that 95 per cent of all illnesses start from stress.
We are all constantly running around non-stop and rarely stop to think about our wellbeing, I’m as guilty as the next person. I find that meditation isn’t always practical; you really need space and time to block out reality. However I do think that Happy Not Perfect would be a more practical alternative and maybe would fit more fluently into a daily routine; you can do it at your desk, or on the commute. I just feel however, that I would forget to use it like I did with the other apps I’ve previously used.
I think it’s all about a mind cleanse: thinking about how to turn a negative mindset into a positive one. It’s important to have the tools to deal with this, which is where Jamie hopes her app can help.