I’m a compulsive list-maker, note-taker and journal-keeper. I stick Post-It notes to the back of my phone and find crumpled reminders in my pockets, draws and car. So when I started seeing ‘happiness journals’ in shops (God damn you, Paperchase) my heart sank a little. I loved the idea, but I was 100% sure there was no more room in my life for paper admin.
So I did something I never usually do. I searched for an app.
GROUNDBREAKING, I know – that a twenty-something would think to use technology for such a task. The thing is, as a paper-worshipper (sorry trees 🌳❤️), I’ve never really got along with apps. A lot of the time, I find they just don’t satisfy the need to instantly document something – but I appreciate that might just be a quirk of mine.
Still, I found a few interesting results and narrowed it down to one.
First impressions of Bliss
“Bliss increases happiness, motivation and effectiveness with scientifically proven techniques from top researchers.”
That’s certainly a bold statement. I’m a little sceptical about ‘proven’ techniques (having tried enough for a lifetime already) – but the reviews seemed positive and the screenshots were promising.
Okay bro, let’s see what you got.
I opened it up and was greeted with a clean design and straightforward-looking interface. Not many bells and whistles, but no clutter either. Based on just a couple of minutes of exploring, I decided Bliss was not to endure the Instant Uninstall fate I’ve previously banished many hopeful apps to. Time to give it a go.
Find the right exercises for you
There are a number of different exercises you can complete – each of which is prefaced by a short description explaining its purpose. From upping your optimism to problem-solving, you get a good idea of what the exercise is aiming to do before you engage with it. I actually really liked this – it’s nice to know the benefit of what you’re doing.
And you get quite a few choices, too:
Best possible future
Imagine how you might be completely fulfilled in several years’ time – describe your future life in depth.
Nice and simple – just write down what you’re grateful for, and why.
Could be worse
Document what your might your life be like had you not been as fortunate – what difficulties might you have had to deal with?
Write a short paragraph about a person you’re grateful to have in your life.
Three good things
Jot down three good things you did (or that happened to you) and how they made you feel.
Write down an issue that’s troubling you, then how it might help you grow as a person, then how you’re going to deal with the situation – what strengths of yours can you call on?
Meaning in work
Note how your work helps people – both customers and colleagues. Include the opportunities this offers and how you can use your strengths in your work.
Recount a moment you enjoy – whether that’s treating yourself to a slice of cake or going for a walk. Describe it vividly, as though you were encouraging someone else to give it a try.
You can pick as many as you like – I typically engaged with Bliss at the end of the day, so tended to gravitate towards the short-form options like Gratitude and Three good things.
Filling out Bliss actually didn’t feel like too much of a chore. I found the app particularly useful when I was going through a bit of a rough patch, since it encouraged me to reflect on my day and either see the good in it, or be proactive about any issues.
Still, even as a creature of habit (and with the help of push notifications) I often forgot to load up the app – so I’m pretty glad I didn’t commit to the paper version! Since most of us nearly always have our phones on us, it’s handy having the app ready whenever you need.
You probably need to be more dedicated than I was to get the most out of it – but it’s definitely more productive and helpful than some of the ‘inspirational’ apps out there. Sorry, but reading a clichéd quote when I feel terrible doesn’t work for me.
You can get Bliss on the major app stores – as well as a Chrome extension, if desktop is more your thing.
TL;DR: A simple little app that’s great for helping you work through any troubling thoughts or issues you’re having. The more you put in, the more you get out.