This is about how I made an iPhone app to help me with a little problem. [App store download link here]
2017 was a big year for us. It marked a transition from being full time travellers as we left Western Australia to settling into a nomadic life where we would spend longer stretches in the one spot.
For Willow the transition was easy. Lucky cat. She found her routine in every new place and it was a joy experiencing it with her over the months we stayed.
It was a relief to be able to slow down and spend time working on some new projects, to reflect on our travels so far, and prepare for the years ahead. But there were challenges.
It was difficult losing the notion that I needed to be somewhere else – to know I was where I needed to be. It was difficult establishing a routine and getting motivated with work on my own and dealing with the occasional ‘What am I even doing!?’ moments. I wanted to work on my wellbeing, to stay happy as happiness is so fleeting.
I knew at the start of the year that I would need a tool to succeed and the tool I found was learning about gratitude.
..the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Fortunately, gratitude and its effects on wellbeing and happiness have been studied extensively. In particular by Robert A. Emmons of University of California.
Emmons and his team have concluded that grateful people:
That was great and all but I had one question. How can I become more grateful?
According to the research the answer was simple. Gratitude intervention – taking brief moments throughout the day to consider what in your life you are grateful for. This simple exercise was enough to increase positive mood, connectivity to others, optimism, and even sleep quality compared to a control group.
Chances are we know generally what we need to be happy; whether we seek it is another matter. I know that I need to exercise more, to eat healthy, to practice mindfulness. What I have learnt over 2017 is that for me gratefulness is the foundation of wellbeing, the foundation of happiness.
Well not quite, so I made one. I got to work building an iPhone app which would give me daily reminders to be grateful. I could add messages along with photos that I would be reminded of throughout the day.
Changing behaviours and attitudes is hard – but I found this helped. Naturally most of the photos and messages I used over the past year featured a little cat named Willow! But you can use it with any photo or message; a photo of your pet, or a place that makes you happy, perhaps?
You can try it for yourself for free on the app store below:
Go to this link after you have installed to upgrade and install the Willow photo pack to use in the app.
I hope you enjoy it as much as a I do. It’s a simple idea, but I like it. That’s why I’m making 2018 another year of gratitude. What are you grateful for?