Happier goes on The Doctors!

OK, no pretending needed, we’re pretty insanely awesomely excited that Happier will be part of the The Doctors episode today. A lot of people watch the show and we get a chance to share some of our tips for being happier with them? Awesome.

(In the Northeast we’re on at 2pm EST. To check your local channel listings, click here.)

Not only is this the first time Happier is on national TV but this was the first time I taped a segment for a national TV show. WHOA does a lot go into a really short 2-3 minute segment. I have a whole new degree of respect for the hundreds of people putting on The Doctors (and other similar shows).

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One of the fun parts of being on the show was picking out some orange outfits to wear. The producers asked me to bring 4-6 different options with me, which would be fine except I didn’t have 6 different orange pieces I could wear for the show. And since you guys know I wear something orange every single day, help to the rescue.

My dear friend is also an awesome stylist, so I asked her to help me find some awesome orange. I ended up wearing this dress she found and even a few of the doctors on the show commented how happy it looked on set!

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And funny thing about the dress: Because it had no belt they had to put my microphone charger pack behind my neck, taped to the top of my dress. About half way through the segment I felt something drop and there was my microphone pack, hanging down behind me. Lucky for me Travis, the doctor wearing scrubs, noticed it, gave a signal to pause taping, moved me off stage to get it fixed, and then walked me back to the right spot. What could have been a really stressful moment actually turned into a really awesome one when he gave me a hug and told me I was doing a good job. PHEW, because even though I am used to big audiences and lots of lights, nothing is quite like this.

(Here’s me, backstage, as they are putting the microphone stuff back together. One of the producers captured this shot.)

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If you have a chance to watch our segment, have fun and if you’re here because you saw us on The Doctors, welcome to Happier! We’re really psyched you’re here :) (And if you’re wondering where to get started, check out my Everyday Grateful Happier Course, which is the foundation of the happier life tips I shared on the show.)

 

All Aboard — Meditation Vacation is now departing!

Did you have a good weekend? It was an exciting one at Happier headquarters — after much anticipation and tons of hard work from our team, our second Happier course launched amidst much fanfare! (And by “much fanfare” we of course mean that we assume the folks who pre-ordered were delighted to begin their week of guided meditation, plus there may have been some celebratory dancing here in the office.)

 Meditation Vacation was developed along with Dave “Yeah Dave” Romanelli, a pioneer in modernizing yoga and mindfulness practices to make them accessible to everyone, no hippy-dippy-ness required (unless that works for you, of course). We knew there was no one better suited to help us develop a Happier mobile course in meditation, and Dave did not disappoint.

Look; when your mission is spreading happiness, you have to accept some hard realities… like that if happiness was easy and obvious, everyone would already be happy all the time and we would need new jobs. We knew from our scientific research that meditation has been proven to make people happier. We even knew that this isn’t exactly news. So we started with the barriers to developing a meditation practice: Time, first of all. Most people say they don’t have time to meditate because they’re too busy. In developing Meditation Vacation with Dave, we were able to keep each daily meditation practice under 10 minutes — enough time to truly connect and relax, but not so much time that you’ll be tempted to skip because you have other “more important” stuff to do.

Next, we moved on to the typical protestations about not being the “meditation type” or feeling weird sitting in the lotus position or whatever. Here’s where Dave’s talents really shine — throughout the week of guided meditations, tips, and stories, Dave does a masterful job of pointing out that the best meditation is the kind that works for you, whatever that may be. You don’t have to sit a certain way (or sit at all!) or do it when someone tells you is the optimal time. Our Meditation Vacation is like any other vacation in that it’s about doing what you want. After all, how could you be expected to make meditation a regular practice if you aren’t given the guidance and space to make it your own?

Because Meditation Vacation is right there on your phone, within the Happier app, it goes where you go and is ready whenever and wherever it best fits into your life. We think that by the end of the week, you’ll be hooked on your new meditation practice. And just as with every Happier course we offer, once you’ve purchased it, the content is yours to go back to again and again, as many times as you like. At just $19.99 for the week and unlimited access to the course content, we think it’s the best vacation bargain around.

Couldn’t you use a vacation…? Join us!

Here’s what the Happier team did for lunch the other day

I had a really horrible no good very bad morning the other day. You know that kind when everything goes wrong? THAT. By the time I ran into the Happier office I didn’t even remember which day it was.

Which is when I saw this:

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Now, forget about the fact that Vosges is only my favorite chocolate in the world. Or that there was SO much of it. The reason it was there was the reason my bad day was about to turn happier:

We were going to do our yoga and chocolate workshop with the awesome Yeah Dave!

Dave and I met when the wonderful Katie Rosman wrote about us for the Wall Street Journal. (The article involved going to Dave’s yoga class in NYC, while I was really sick, including a fever, and which turned out to be one of the toughest classes I’ve taken. I am very proud of myself for getting through that one:) He started telling me about meditation and I immediately cut him off to say that meditation was something absolutely positively not for me. In a serendipitous way, that conversation gave way to our Meditation Vacation course.

Dave also told me about yoga and chocolate workshops he did, to which my response was “You had me at yoga and then again at chocolate!”. I mean, who wouldn’t love that!

So here we were. At about 12:30 most of the Happier team (a few folks were unluckily out and missing it) changed into our yoga clothes, rolled out our mats, and took our places in the middle of the sunny Happier HQ.

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(I don’t think I’ve ever seen the team this peaceful. Or Colin be this still. And yes, that’s Colin wearing jeans because he can rock yoga in jeans!)

For 45 minute we did an awesome flow, with Dave keeping us smiling, breathing, and laughing with his awesome stories and humor.

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And then came the best part. Now, my favorite part of a yoga class is that amazing nap at the end. But this one was better because after class we got to eat chocolate!

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We tasted different flavor chocolate bars from Vosges, including this really interesting new flavor, Coconut Ash and Banana. Yoga – and any type of mindfulness practice – heightens your senses. And while I’ve eaten a LOT of great chocolate, I have to say it was really amazing to sit there, after a yoga class, and really taste and smell and feel the chocolate. Looking over at the team, I think we found a new activity that makes us happier :)

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Thanks, Dave, for making our day. We floated through the rest of it, making plans for in-office yoga and chocolate tastings.

Lights. Camera. Action. You!

Happier community, we want to know what makes you happier and we’d love for you to tell us – in a very short 10-20 second video!

All you need is your computer or iPhone. Your answers can be anything – you can tell us what makes you happier, show us, play a musical instrument, do cartwheels, anything at all. You can ask your kids what makes them happier. Your friends, your family or your colleagues. It’s entirely up to you!

What are we going to do with your videos?

We’d love to share them with our community to inspire others to think about what they are grateful for in their lives. And we’re working on creating a video that includes many, many folks sharing what makes them happier. This is what Happier is all about – focusing on the positive in our lives, capturing what we’re grateful for – and we think a video like that will inspire many people to do it.

What do you do once you have your video?

Simply email it to us to team@happier.com. We will be in touch from there. Please send your videos to us by Friday, December 6th.

And now, for some awesome inspiration, check out this great video from one of our Happiers :)

 

iOS 7: We’re ready for you

Hey everyone, I’m Brian, the iOS developer around these parts.  That means that I’m the guy working on everything related to our iPhone app (including the fishy animation)!

In case you haven’t heard, Apple recently announced their new operating system: iOS 7. We are super excited to get Happier ready for it! You might be asking yourself: “what’s so different about iOS 7?” One big change is that apps are going to be much more ‘flat’. This means that, for example, buttons won’t have as much depth as they used to. Here’s a preview of what you can expect in the next update:

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Take a look at the Me screens above in iOS 6 and iOS 7. As you can see, there are slight changes to how it looks, especially at the top of the screen. Many of our buttons in iOS 7 no longer have depth, which leads to a much cleaner design! Also, the status bar at the top is now orange to match the rest of our app (it is the happiest color after all!).

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Take a look at the side-by-side comparison of the settings screen above. As you can see, the rows look slightly different, as does the switch on the ‘Account is private’ row. Everything is much cleaner and smoother.

Besides the changes to Happier’s look, I’ve been spending at lot of time reworking the insides of our app to make it really speedy in iOS 7! The next update to the app will be coming soon and I hope you all like the changes!

Happier Hack Day: a secret revealed

Last week, we set aside a Hack Day to work on mini-projects.  This is a chance to work with new or different technologies and to build something small that we can get to you that might not be along the major roadmap of Happier features.

I’m Parker, I work mostly on what we call the “backend” of Happier.  This means I take care of storing and retrieving your moments and smiles.  This presents a bit of a problem for a Hack Day project where I want to get something out that users can see, but my expertise really lies in databases and servers.  To deal with that I teamed up with Brian, our iOS expert, to be able to display the results in the iPhone app.

For many months, I’ve wanted to be able to do language analysis on public moments.  And although all these features would be great to build, they all rely on being able to parse out the meaningful phrases in your moments.  That would probably take a week to do correctly, and there’s always something better we could be building with that week.

When the Hack Day came around, this seemed like a great candidate.  I’d do as much as I could in the 24 hours, and see what we come up with.  The hope was to come up with a handful of interesting phrases you used in your moments, and then Brian would show them to you on your profile.  And we did just that.  In a coming version, you’ll be able to see which things make you the Happierest.  Of course, it’s not perfect– if you get phrases that don’t make sense there, let us know and I’ll repair them.  But hopefully some of you see it as a fun little rollup of what you’ve been saying in your happy moments.

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All Happiers’ word cloud

Once this was done, I had on my hands a list of every phrase in every public happy moment of all time.  Just for fun, I threw them in a word cloud to share with the team.  And because I still had a few hours, I wrote some code to generate them for a single user, and made them for the whole Happier team.

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 Nataly’s word cloud

And as the minutes of the Hack Day wound down, I found myself with this fun little program that would make a word cloud for any user, and I’m sure many of you would like to see yours.  It would be a shame if you guys couldn’t get your own word clouds.  So I did what any somewhat sneaky engineer would do– I snuck it into the product.  Reading this blog post will be the first anyone on the team– even Nataly– has heard about it.  There’s a secret way to get your word cloud out of the Happier app.  It works with both web and ios, and it’s been there for a while.  I also know that no user has found it yet.

Maybe you will be the first? Happy hunting!

The Daily Orange: It’s big orange circle time

Besides wearing something orange every day I also have a slight obsession with wearing large or funky rings. I like having something on my hand that makes me smile when I see it – and since I spend so much of my day typing, a ring is a fun way to do that.

So here’s today’s big orange circle ring for my dose of The Daily Orange:

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If you dig orange, share a happy moment with a photo of you wearing it into our Daily Orange collection and you never know, you may find yourself featured on this blog :)

The best part about doing interviews….

… is seeing some of our Happiers’ happy moments featured on the big screen!

Can I be honest with you guys for a second?

Doing press interviews is really hard.

It may seem all glamorous and fun, and there are absolutely some fun parts, like getting my makeup done and looking way less tired than I usually do. But you have to answer hard questions, think fast, smile even when you really don’t want to, remember the key messages you want to say even when no one asks you about them, and you know, sound smart and represent the company in the best way.

Last week I went to NYC to do a TV interview on Bloomberg. It was live so I didn’t see what was on screen behind me and it wasn’t until I got back to the office the next day that I realized that some of our users’ happy moments made it on the big screen!

I was so excited I squealed (yes, in an embarrassing teenage girl way). But seriously, that is the absolutely best part of doing any press when I can share something about our awesome community. Here’s one (very low quality) screenshot from the interview:

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But it gets even cooler! See the awesome blueberries that I am sure made Bloomberg viewers happier? Jon, who shared the moment, saw it in the segment and shared this moment about it:

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That made my day and so did the fact that a few more of our Happiers saw their moments on the big screen and shared happy moments about it.

Thank you guys for being part of Happier, for making this all possible, and for sharing your happy moments – including these ones above – with our community and our team at Happier!

Welcome to Happier 2.0!

For the past five months since we launched the Happier app, we’ve listened to your feedback and watched this amazing Happier community take shape. You inspired us to think about how to make Happier easier, faster, more fun and, yes, happier. I speak for the entire Happier team when I tell you that we are grateful for your feedback and ideas and mostly, for how much you care about making Happier an awesome experience for everyone.

We’re beyond excited today to introduce Happier 2.0!

discoverHere’s what’s new:

- Easier ways to connect with friends. You can now follow anyone whose happy moments inspire you as well as look for friends by name, in addition to email, contacts or Facebook. Have fun connecting with other awesome Happiers!

- Fewer steps to share happy and cleaner overall layout. We’ve made it more fun and way faster to share your happy moments on just one screen and added frames so you can include more than one photo.

- Simplified privacy options. Share your moments with anyone in Happier, including friends who follow you. If you like, make your account private to approve who can follow you. (And no worries, any happy moments you shared before will only be visible to friends you had in Happier 1.0.)

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- Brand new celebrations that will make you smile. (OK, maybe even grin.) There’s no way we’re giving away the surprise so you’ll just have to share some happy moments to see them. – Happy moments from your past. Be reminded about what made you happier and inspired to find more happy moments in your day.

- More awesome quotes, fun challenges, and featured collections in Discover. You told us you dig them and we listened!

- See a moment that really inspires you? Tap “me-too” and share it to your friends to spread some happy.

We are excited to share Happier 2.0 with you and eager to hear your feedback. As always, you can reach us at team@happier.com.

(And don’t forget to check out http://www.happier.com – we promise it will make you smile! Android users, we hope you’ll join us there too!)

Thank you and happy sharing!

What makes you happier, Jayne?

Meet Jayne. She’s one of our awesome Happier users who runs marathons, loves dogs, and has a master’s degree in New Media. We got her to stop running and throwing a tennis ball long enough to sit down and talk to us about what makes her happier.

So, what makes you happier, Jayne?
I have two dogs, Connor and Gracie, and I love recognizing the things that make them happy. My husband, Jason, and I joke about their list of favorite things all the time: sausage, running in the woods, the beach, finding something to roll in at the beach, and their golden retriever-friend Barney. It’s funny that what makes me happier (black raspberry ice cream, running, and great friends and family) isn’t that much more complex than what makes dogs happier.

What makes Jayne happier?What’s your go-to when you need a boost of happiness?
Definitely a run with one of my dogs. Bonus if ice cream is also involved.

Describe your perfect happy day.
Sunny and 80 degrees, and I would go for an effortless yet super-fast run along the beach. In Hawaii. And then I’d hike a volcano with Jason, the dogs, and all of my friends. We’d stumble upon a bowl of ice cream (noticing a theme here?) and a cure for cancer… possibly a baby polar bear.

Have you realized something about being happier that you didn’t know when you were younger?
Mainly that I’m in control of it. It’s a decision that I have the power to make on a moment-by-moment basis.

We noticed a lot of incredibly delicious-looking photos in your ‘eating awesome food’ collection. What’s your favorite happy food of all time?
I’m afraid this sounds lame, but I make an awesome breakfast smoothie with fresh cherries, raspberries, avocado, and milk that’s perfect after a hot run.

As an avid social media consumer, what makes Happier different?
The design is smooth, light, clean, and clear. You open the app and immediately know what to do. I downloaded it thinking I might use it once a week or so, but I turn to it multiple times every day! It reminds me of a fresh, bright, and well-composed bowl of fruit salad (that’s a good thing). Happier Design Team: really nice work!