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These apps will make you happier in 2021 – LifeSavvy

A young woman sitting on a couch drinking coffee, smiling while using a happiness app on her smartphone.
shurkin_son / Shutterstock

We often use our phones when we are bored or stressed. Unfortunately, scrolling through social media and the news rarely improves our mood. However, there are plenty of apps designed to make you feel happier.


7;ve picked out some top picks in both general areas of happiness and self-improvement, and organized them by month. If you’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed lately (and who hasn’t?), Getting into a new habit every month is a low-stress way to start working towards a happier you.

We started meditation because starting a new year with a deep breath and some reflection seemed like the best way to dive into a journey of happiness, but feel free to mix it up!

January: meditation

The splash page for the Ten Percent Happier app.
Ten percent happier

Meditation is a great skill to learn early so that you can benefit from it for the rest of the year (and your life). This mindfulness exercise has been shown to reduce stress and improve your mood.

The Ten Percent Happier app is full of guided meditations and exercises you can do anywhere that focus on positivity. Insight Timer allows you to choose meditations based on your focus such as sleep, anxiety or stress.

Like any skill, meditation requires constant effort and practice. At first it can be difficult for people with quick thoughts. Start slow and relax. Soon you will be looking forward to how happy you feel after a few minutes of mindfulness.

February: self-care

The splash page for the app Jour.

Spend the most romantic month of the year learning to love yourself. Start by downloading Jour, the app that serves as your daily self-care diary. It helps you keep track of your moods and feelings easily. It also provides insights for a more positive mindset. Fabulous helps you build healthy habits, including scheduling regular time for yourself.

Self-care looks different for everyone. Some people prefer hot baths, while others like to cook. Experiment and try different things until you find the activities that relax and revitalize you. Then make sure you make time in your schedule to do those things several times a week.

March: stay connected

The splash page for the Touchnote app.

Even when we’re not in a pandemic, keeping in touch with friends and family can be difficult. Make this month all about finding new ways to connect with loved ones. House party is designed for virtual hangouts. You can play games, have a karaoke party or chat with up to 10 people at the same time.

While recently eclipsed by Zoom, Skype is a solid option for video calling and works with all smartphones.

For grandparents or those who prefer more old-fashioned contact methods, Touchnote lets you create cards and send them to loved ones straight from your phone. And of course text messages, phone calls and handwritten letters are always an option.

April: nature

The splash page for the AllTrails app.

When spring finally arrives, fresh air and sunshine will work wonders for your mood. Celebrate the outdoors by walking, biking or running on one of the thousands of routes mapped out in the AllTrails app. Or take a nature walk and identify the plants you encounter with PictureThis.

Combine plants and stay hydrated by downloading Plant Nanny. This app gives you the task of taking care of an animated plant that only gets water when you do (so to speak). Avoiding dehydration will make you (and your baby plant) much happier.

May: exercise

The splash page for the Fitbod app.

Regular exercise has been shown to make you healthier and to pump oxygen to your brain, which improves your mood. Whether you work out at home or at the gym, or just squeeze it whenever you can, there are plenty of apps that will help you reach your fitness goals.

Fitbod is a highly rated option that allows you to create personalized workouts based on your goals. FitOn gives you access to group workouts for everything from yoga to Pilates.

Or just use the AllTrails app from April to go for a walk.

June: travel

The splash page for the Lonely Planet app.
Lonely planet

According to Yale’s popular course on the science of happiness, one of the best ways to experience joy is planning future experiences. Spend June planning outings you could take. Even if you don’t go in the end, it’s the expectation that makes you happy regardless of the outcome.

Apps like TripIt and Mapify plan routes from your phone. You can also check travel guides from Lonely Planet or TripAdvisor for inspiration. Then head to Expedia or Priceline to get deals on hotels, rental cars, and flights.

July: volunteering

The splash page for the Point app.

Giving back is one of the easiest ways to experience true joy. Set aside a few hours each month to volunteer locally. Golden Volunteer Opportunities puts you in touch with companies and organizations that need help. The new POINT app tries to make volunteering as easy as possible.

For more specialized capabilities, you can download apps such as Be My Eyes, which can help blind people with everyday tasks from your phone, or ShareTheMeal, which can pay for meals for those in need.

August: positivity

The splash page for the Motivation app.

Not everyone is a natural optimist. Sometimes we need a little help to stay positive, especially when the going is tough. The app I am sends you positive affirmations every morning for a happiness boost.

Motivation app allows you to download positive quotes on a variety of topics including letting go, friendship and love. It’s also easy to use the quotes as a background or share them on social media.

Figuring out how to be more positive is a personal journey. First you have to find out what makes you happy. Some may be excited by reading Bible verses daily, while for others, pictures of baby animals may do the trick. Embrace what works for you!

September: productivity

A startup page for the Todoist productivity app.

While productivity is certainly not the key to happiness, it doesn’t help you feel unproductive either. If you’re a student or working from home, Evernote can help keep all your notes, photos, and lists organized and easily accessible.

TickTick and GoodTask are great options if you are a fan of to-do lists. If you want an advanced task app that also includes built-in motivation (you earn “karma” for completing tasks), Todoist is a great choice.

Do you want to gamify your productivity? Then be sure to check out Habitica. This robust, yet whimsical to-do list platform is like an RPG: your character will level up when you tick things off your to-do list.

Whatever apps you use, productivity is all about compromise. Prioritize your work and be realistic about how much you can accomplish each day. Also give yourself plenty of breaks.

If you have trouble concentrating while working remotely, try these tips to design a home office that will help you stay productive.

October: Humor

The splashpage for the site JibJab.

While October is traditionally the month to focus on dark and spooky things, try adding some extra humor as well. Laugh My App Off sends you short, silly jokes every day, while JibJab lets you create funny ecards, videos and GIFs right on your phone.

There are also plenty of ways to laugh through apps you probably already have on your phone. Many comedians and humorous content creators share their stuff on YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and more.

You can also check out the constantly growing list of comedy specials on Netflix to find a new favorite.

November: gratitude

The splash page for the 365 Gratitude app.
365 Gratitude Journal

Be happier with what you have by expressing gratitude during the month of gratitude. The Gratitude app is full of quotes, vision boards, and other resources to help you be grateful for what you have and make sure you want to give back. 365 Gratitude Journal sends you clues every day to help you think about the good things in your life.

Whether you use an app or not, just trying to be more grateful will make you happier every day. If you spend just a few minutes every morning thinking about the things you are grateful for, you will be amazed at how much better you feel.

If you have children, you can also try some of these activities to help them in a grateful spirit as well.

December: sleep

The splash page for the Sleep Cycle app.
Sleep cycle

Getting enough sleep is crucial to overall health and well-being. Poor sleep can affect your immune system, your heart health, and your food choices. Take advantage of the holidays by figuring out how to create an ideal sleeping environment.

You can start with the Sleep Cycle app to analyze your sleep patterns and find out where you are struggling. If you have trouble falling asleep, download the Calm sleep meditations app or the Sleep Sounds app for a wide selection of white noise and ambient music.

If you tend to fall asleep quickly but wake up in the middle of the night, try some of these tips. If nothing seems to help your poor sleep patterns, talk to your doctor to rule out medical problems.

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