As parents, we constantly wonder, “Is my child happy?” We tend to think that if our children were just a little happier, they could be more successful in school or with friends. But how do we know if our children are happy? Is happy measurable? Is emotional well being measurable? And if so, does it really matter?
Happiness In Your Pocket
According to a recent The Atlantic article discussing the app, “Happify”. “Happify”, uses study based research to create “paths”. Each “path” includes games and activities based on its assessment of your general information and “signature strengths”. The idea is that through completing these exercises, users can begin to improve their emotional well being.
In the Harris Poll’s 2015 Happiness Index survey, only 34 percent of Americans say they are “very happy” and companies are beginning to capitalize on America’s pursuit of happiness.
Can We Measure Happiness?
According to the article: “Of course you can measure happiness,” says Will Davies, a senior lecturer of politics at Goldsmiths University of London and author of the book The Happiness Industry. “Measurement is always a type of abstraction and a type of simplification, and you can apply it wherever you like. The question is whether it’s useful or not.”
We all tend to put a premium on the idea of being happy. Happify gives its users weekly assessments.The check-in survey doesn’t take away points for the negative emotions, but the more negative emotions you feel, the fewer points you get overall. This can give teens the idea that happy equals success or happy equals better, instead of teaching them to experience their entire range of emotions.
In a CNN article on “Why trying to make our kids happy can backfire”, Clinical psychologist, Laura Markham, tell us, “There are a lot of feelings that don’t feel good to us, but if our goal is to make our child happy by stopping them from feeling those feelings, by preventing suffering … we’re giving our child the message that there’s something wrong with half of the feelings that make us human.”.
Emotional Well-being Beyond the App
While apps like these can be used to open discussion about self care and emotional well-being, it is important for teens to know that they can look to others for support in their mental health. It is crucial that teens have outside sources they can turn to when problems become larger than an app can handle.
blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11 to 17. Our students often grapple with anxiety, depression, and other emotional or behavioral problems. At blueFire, we strive to help each client succeed.
For more information about blueFire Wilderness, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today!