PITTSBURGH (CBS) — Improving your outlook on life may be easier than you think — it’s the power of positive thinking, and new technology you can use at home can actually train your brain to be happy.
“Happify,” is a new app that’s aimed to help users think more positively through simple games and mental exercises.
Barbara Kempe, a busy single mother of two, started using the app about six months ago.
“I was feeling overwhelmed, and I was feeling, you know, like it was really easy to be negative,” Kempe said.
Kempe uses two different games. In one, she takes aim to knock out negative words. In another, she gains points for recognizing the positives.
“It’s a very simple thing that doesn’t take much time at all, and it definitely makes me feel happier and more positive,” Kempe said.
Lorrell Commarato keeps a journal, writing down things she did well and what she is grateful for. It’s another technique taht she says is simple, yet effective in boosting positive thoughts.
“It was really hard to do it at first,” Commarato said. “I’m happy, I’m optimistic, and I’m doing the things I want to do.”
Psychotherapist Diane Lang teaches the technique.
“It shifts how you see things, it changes your perspective, and your perspective can change your whole world,” Lang said.
Some experts say that simple approaches are not for everyone.
“People shouldn’t look to these techniques as the panacea for all of the things that trouble them,” Dr. Carole A. Bernstein, of NYU Langone Medical Center, said. “I really encourage people to not to be overly simplistic.”
But for Kempe and Commarato, it works.
“I never thought I could be this happy,” Commarato said. “I would definitely say I’m a different person.”
Researchers say after a certain period of time, brain training techniques make positive thought patterns automatic.