For many mental health professionals, it may have seemed simply a matter of time before the iPod was able to absorb some component of positive psychology and offer its customers a way to quickly pick up a brighter outlook. Well, the day has come; there isn’t an iTherapist quite yet, but a new application developed specifically for the platform focuses on positive psychology proponent Sonja Lyubomirsky’s steps to bring a better perspective into everyday activities. The application, which is less of a commercial effort than it is a creative way for Lyubomirsky to collect research data from an impressively large sample, allows users to keep track of their feelings of happiness based on different thoughts and activities recommended on the screen.
Lyubomirsky’s work focuses on the potential of positive emotions to act as catalysts for prolonged feelings of happiness, based on the idea that even in agreeable life conditions, people sometimes need easily identifiable emotional experiences in order to maintain a sense of being happy. To that end, she has written a text describing various ways to achieve instances of positive emotions, usually with fairly fast results. These methods have been transcribed to the digital world of the iPod, allowing clients who use the application to find activities that they’d like to perform, such as calling a friend or sending a nice note to someone, and to make a note of how the activity has made them feel afterward.
While the application may indeed prove helpful to some people, its utility from a mental health perspective may be most remarkable when considered from a research angle; as technology progresses, new ways to gather meaningful information aren’t only on the couch or under the microscope, but might be found in the daily activities of scores of people interested in furthering the cause of psychotherapy and cognitive science.
© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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