How often do you check your phone? If you’re in the average group range, you check your phone around 200 times a day. Yep, your addiction is real.
It’s not necessarily how often you check your phone that really impacts your mental wellbeing (and your ability to concentrate and read offline, too), it’s the amount of time you dedicate to smartphone pursuits – especially the ones that don’t actually make you happy.
Research from phone usage-tracking app Moment uncovered that there’s an interesting correlation between time spent on certain apps and our happiness. Here’s the kicker, though: apps that were rated highest on the happiness scale were actually apps that demanded very little time of the user (apps like to-do list app Wunderlist and Waze, a traffic-dodging assistant rated highly in the study of 20,000 Moment users) and also were used the least. The only exceptions of high-use and high-reward apps were Facetime and Skype (any idea why?). Apps that rated lowest on the scale of happiness-inducing were those that, unsurprisingly, had a tempting capacity to rid us of our spare time without us even noticing: namely Facebook and Candy Crush.
Are you sensing a theme here? The fact that any app that demands a huge chunk of time without tangible reward is more likely to make us unhappy. It’s not something we don’t know – who has truly ever finished an hour-long scroll of Instagram and thought, ‘Now that was an hour well-spent!’ – it’s just something we need to be reminded of from time to time. If you want a long, fruitful weekend, maybe it’s time to live in the moment – and consider switching off.
If you can’t quite manage the digital detox this weekend, try these mood-boosting apps instead:
This clever browser extension technically isn’t an app, but it sure will make you feel good about your online shopping. If you download the browser extension, every time you make a purchase at one of 700 participating outlets, they’ll donate the retailer’s money to charity on your behalf. Yep, you read right – it’s not your money they’ll donate, it’s the money of the store you buy from. It’s genius.
Pay it Forward
Helping out someone else is a great way to make yourself feel pretty special and this addictive app helps you do just that. Every day, Pay it Forward sends you a little suggestion for something nice you could do for a stranger and tracks the results on a cute little world map, so you can see the kindness spreading globally.
Journalling is proven to boost your mood and it’s a pretty lovely way to easily appreciate everything that’s going on in your world. With Gratitude Journal, you can add photos of happy moments from your day and they’re all chronicled for when you might need a pick-me-up later – say, on a Monday morning?
Tap into your giving side with this philanthropic friend. Instead helps you swap the costs of something you could go without for a charitable donation instead. Simply open the app, tap on the ‘give’ button, choose a monetary value to donate to charity and enter what you gave up to do so. If you’re trying to cut down and don’t need your third cup of java, which usually sets you back $4, you can choose a non-profit organisation to give it to instead. (Don’t forget they take a 5 per cent cut of the donation to keep the app running.)