How do you capture the essence of happiness? And, even more puzzling, how do you take that distilled essence and create a mobile app out of it? Sure, that sounds like a tall order, but against all odds it has been proven possible, at least to some extent, with the simple yet emotive Always BHappy. As far as self-help oriented lifestyle apps go, this one actually has the potential to make a difference, albeit in a gentle, unassuming way.
There is impressive subtlety here, both in feel and function. The aesthetic is pure iOS 7, clean and neatly laid out in that distinctive Cupertino design style, so effective that Always BHappy could be mistaken for a built-in app. Designer Ana Isabel Chimeno has done a great job with the interface, eschewing bells and whistles and keeping things uncluttered. This minimalist approach works well, but is perhaps taken a little far in some ways – there is very little in the way of guidance, options or parameters, so you’re pretty much left to figure it out on your own.
Thankfully there isn’t much to figure out. The heart of Always BHappy is a list of proposals, one a day, aimed at tweaking your mood in some thoughtful ways. Sometimes the proposals can be a bit obscure – possibly a case of interpretive inconsistencies from the developers Spanish roots – but for the most part they are direct and to the point. “Take a walk through your neighborhood and watch everyone”, you’re instructed. Simple enough. It may sound like an odd request, but it’s the kind of thing that, should you actually follow through, may lift your spirits or at least make you see things in a new way. More ambiguous proposals like “Give yourself into your desire” may need some introspection before you decide how to tackle it.
A new day brings a new proposal, and you’re challenged to complete each and then sign them off to your “Done” panel. Doing so also unlocks Badges on your profile, bringing a bit of that collector/achiever incentive to the process, but let’s be honest – happiness is surely prize enough. Always BHappy isn’t going to cost you a cent to get started, but you may want to customize your happy prompts to suit your lifestyle via various Happy Packs, categories like Fun, Couples, Adventures and so on. These are going to set you back a pretty heavy $1.99, but again, they are optional extras. There are also a few social sharing aspects, as well as the option to email your daily proposals to friends as challenges, but none of that takes away from the understated nature of Always BHappy.
As you can imagine, the impact that an app like this is going to have on your life is entirely dependant on you – if you’re going to skip the ones that don’t interest you, you might not get the full effect. But throw yourself into it with an open mind, and you could well notice a change in yourself over time. You could probably construct this concept on your own in your mind without needing an app to make it happen, but there’s something pleasant about the way that Always BHappy presents it all to the user. It’s hardly something that can be guaranteed or even measured, but with your happiness as the ultimate goal you .
– Always BHappy Requires iOS 6.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.