What appeals to me

Happiness Apps? I had no idea that such a thing dared to exist, but alas, it does. These are mobile apps that kind of mind your business. Being open-minded, one just might give back to themselves. It’s not that “stars and explosions” phenomenon, but with open-mindedness, you can see yourself for better or for worse.

In-flow gives us a “day in the life”. It’s kind of general although they try to be as specific as possible. I must admit that when I pulled up to my nephew’s baby shower and checked my phone, In-flow seemed a tad imposing. The timing was just not good, however I felt compelled to respond to get it out the way. Upon my return home, mind you I’ve been driving all day on my day off, I just don’t do that, but I’ve vowed to myself to be present at all costs. I’ve covered every borough in the city yesterday as I wanted my nephew’s baby shower to be a success, and I was no good when I returned home. Overall I felt contentedly satisfied  with the outcome of my day.

I was tired, extremely tired when I got home. Lo and behold, here’s In-flow on my phone asking me how I felt. It felt like such an imposition and that feeling lasted all of thirty seconds, after about thirty seconds, I was afforded a great moment of introspection, however vague. This pleased me very much, to be able to reflect on the pleasantries and accomplishments in conjunction with “being present” for my family.

I then came upon another app in which I downloaded. This app is called Emotion-sense. Emotion-sense seemed quite realistic insofar as breaking down my profile into 8 categories: Demographics, Personality; This has five subsections consisting of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, Extraversion, and Openness. There’s Gratitude, Health/Subjective Health, Sociability which consists of Relationships and Time with Others, there’s Job Satisfaction, Life Aspirations which subsections include Altruistic: (unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others. It is the opposite of egoistic), Relationships, Economic, Political, Pleasure, Spiritual and Artistic. Mind you this Life Aspirations segment encompasses most of the things that life is in its totality. The final category but certainly not least in my opinion is Connectedness. I scored low on this but hey progress not perfection right?

These categories have allowed me, the individual, an opportunity to account for my life. Simply setting up my profile are what these attributes amount to. It’s made me look at myself and my life. A happiness tracker? Probably not. It felt more like a holistic accomplishment tracker thus determining ones life’s direction to date. I appreciated it.

Anything else outside of the Profile segment consists of a week of tracking and it is all technological. This requests locations, has graphs of ones moods at certain times of the day, etc. What I get from it all is that this monitoring of happiness and well-being is big business. Although most of the apps are free, the attention that they get out of sheer curiousity, will line pockets right nice.

I’m no hater. If I like what I’ve seen, I will engage it. These apps are an effective way to check my feelings and moods, however, these apps didn’t check my happy. I checked my happy. Perhaps I was expecting a different approach from the apps I’ve looked into. Nevertheless it had a calming effect on me, allowing me to reflect and introspect in that order. Reminding me to remember where I came from, what I’ve come through. This work has, I guess it did please me somewhat. The nostalgia, the surviving it all, what I’ve amounted to after the pains and pleasures. To sum it all up, the Emotion Sense app has renewed my level of gratitude.

Summary/ Analysis of the article “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” by John Tierney

The article “How Happy Are You? A Census Wants to Know” by John Tierney, reveals how a small town called Somerville is providing a slight different content in the new census. The census sent to the citizens in Somerville was altered with a new question ” On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy do you feel right now?” The census was altered due to the advocacy by psychologists and economists, however “… without debate over how to do it and whether happiness is even the right thing for politicians to be promoting.”(Pg1) I think happiness can be promoted and it is promoted in many ways. Social media is used as a tool of promotion about happiness because it makes you believe that you need certain things in order to be happy such as; having the latest and most expensive car, money, good looks, and so on. The government already influences the happiness of the citizens by making decisions that will affect the community by lowering or raising taxes, therefore it is already promoting happiness to society.

The census has turned out to have various reactions from the citizens of Somerville. The author mentions that “… one man gave himself only a 6…” explaining that he is not satisfied with his height and that he wishes he could know Quechua fluently. Meanwhile, other residents “… felt flattered by the city’s attention.” I think everyone has a different meaning of happiness; therefore it would be very complicated for the government to be able to measure it. It depends a lot on the people if it could be measured, just like Connor Brennan said “ Of course, any survey like this is going to depend on the mood of the person at that moment.” (Pg2) However, if it is necessary to have a measurement of happiness in order to improve the community then by all means they should come up with an efficient method to do so. There are methods that could be similarly used such as the one Jetpac startup uses which is analyzing pictures of instagram to determine how happy the community is (click here for the article). Hence, if the government would measure the happiness of communities then it will have to think about all of the resources that it needs in order to do well. It’s just a matter of observing what the community is interested in, just like in Somerville where they are trying to improve the parks and bike paths. Resources such as efficient healthcare, education, and protection systems are important as well for the well-being of the community.

However, it can never be accurate to make every single person happy because as I mentioned earlier, everyone has different meanings of happiness and it would cause more conflict to satisfy all of them. For my well being I would say that as long as I can help my family and other people either economic or emotional wise, it fulfills my meaning of happiness. I also think that even though we all have a different meaning of happiness, we all share at least some general ideas of it such as being economically and socially stable. Therefore happiness could be measured if it’s for the purpose of improving the community, and it can be promoted but it doesn’t mean everyone will agree with it.