Opinions tend to be negative. I have no statistics to back it up. It´s just an impression. But it seems pretty obvious to me that a good share of all opinions I read or listen to are criticism instead of praise. Moreover, if I analyze the opinions that I give to others, this is still true. Why is it that we feel more socially secure complaining rather than complimenting? Don´t you have the feeling that if you want to express support for something you need to back it up with a lot of arguments, while neglecting it only requires a vague frowned disdain?
I guess it´s human nature, probably good for evolutionary purposes, but pretty annoying nevertheless. And I'm sure it's bad for your health, makes you age prematurely and overall makes you look ugly and awful. (And THIS I can back it up with a page from Roald Dahl indeed).
But the point is, if you want to do something good for you and those around you, please stop being so annoying. As I understand it´s hard to go against our basic instincts, I'm here to help you out with (yes) a couple of apps.
One of the best things you can do to avoid your default reactions and behaviours is to be aware of them in the first place. That´s going to require some auto analysis and observation on your side. With a journey of guided sessions starting at 10 min (anyone can do this, come on!) this app will teach you to observe your thoughts from a distance and detach from your mind´s activity. Once you learn to observe the continuous flow of ideas and associated feelings, you realize how plain crazy and stressful it is to live in there, in your mind, 24 hours a day. The exercise to become an observer out of that madness becomes necessary, and over time that ability spans to your daily life, making you more aware when your mind (which is just a bunch of chemical reactions over an environmentally conditioned system) is overriding you.
All this stuff is traditionally known as mindful meditation but the name evokes all types of negative connotations. That´s why I wanted to give you the context first. I've been doind this for a while now and it works as advertised. If only it needs patience and perseverance, which this app helps you with thanks to the perfectly paced sessions and the magnetism of Andy Puddicombe. Check out his TED Talk if you want.
Now, journaling is something I associated with 8yo girls writing about the last conflict with her friends. Even before I started meditating I realized that was just me being annoying again and decided to give it a chance. The 5 Minute Journal is not only the easiest way to force you to write things down on a daily basis, but also it asks you the right questions in order to activate the mechanics of positive psychology (backed up by science). In a nutshell, our beloved brains are actually so limited and manipulable that by forcing yourself to think about positive stuff (what are you grateful for, what went well today, ...) it changes your mood over time and you become... well... happier. Yes, it was that easy.
I would call this hacking happiness indeed, but behind this the factual truth is that instead of letting your brain be conditioned by external stimuli that, as I've mentioned, is overall negative, you include in your daily routine a positive pill (at the beginning and at the end of the day) and take advantage of the limitations of our mind to push it in your advantage.
We tend to believe our mood is an objective evaluation of what is happenning to us: "world is unfair with me, that's why I'm frustrated". Wake up. The more research is done on this field the more obvious it is that, far from objective, our judgement is biased and flawed, and naturally steered towards negativity. In this brave new world where you shouldn't be sure even of your own feelings, everything is questionable and SHOULD be questioned, specially oneself.
So you know: gain perspective, be grateful and cheer up, is not that difficult!