While you may be deeply in love with (ahem, addicted to) the Candy Crush Saga app, don't expect this popular download to make you happy any time soon. Sure, it might relieve a little stress now and again, but then there's the whole frivolous spending on extra lives and the rejected invitations that will make you sad—really, really sad.
But if you can tear yourself away from candy crushing for a few minutes, there are some actual feel-good apps that can do wonders for your health and your productivity. These downloads will help you do everything from making sure you are well rested when you kick off your morning, to focusing on the happiest moments during your day, to ensuring you have a little bit of the best medicine just before bed.
Happier (iOS - FREE)
If you're a Facebook user perhaps you visit the site regularly to see adorable photos of a friend's new baby or a post from your grandmother's latest European adventure. Unfortunately, Mark Zuckerberg's darling is increasingly littered with people complaining about their jobs, lives, and today's headlines. To get a break from bad news, check out the Happier app. This social network is the perfect place to wallow in good old-fashioned cheerfulness. Connect to the happiest community around with your Facebook account or your email address. You can add your best moments of the day and check out others' happy times. Feel free to keep your positivity private or share it on Facebook and Twitter with the photos to match. Might sound corny, but give it a whirl to see if it puts a smile on your face.
Lumosity (iOS - FREE)
There is nothing more frustrating than losing your car keys when you're late for a meeting or forgetting a client's name at the wrong time. With Lumosity, you can train your brain to get better at the things that matter most. When you sign up for an account, share what you want to train on (e.g., getting better at multi-tasking or improving your memory). The app will create a personalized program that can adapt based on your ongoing performance. The training you do involves playing simple games, three to five times a week, which claim to boost your brain power for better living.
Senti (iOS - FREE)
Diaries are great for improving your fitness, but they can also help to improve your mood. Download Senti and answer a few random questions throughout the day about how you're feeling. With this information, and mood snapshots at your fingertips, you'll then be able to break bad habits to increase your overall happiness. For example, if you discover that you're unusually somber on Mondays, work to change the way you do things that day to have a more positive outcome. The creators of the app claim that in a year-long pilot, the app "matched people's reports of significant life events, improved recollection of prior day events, and gave meaningful insights into longer term trends in happiness."
Smart Alarm Clock: sleep cycles and noise recording (iOS - $1.99)
More than 7 million people and counting are trying this app for a better night's sleep. Let's face it, without adequate rest, the inevitable grumpy factor increases. This top download helps you track your sleep cycles so you can figure out when you should wake up (based on monitoring sounds that disrupt you while you're in bed). There are more than 100 different audio tracks to help you doze off every night, from crashing waves to the sound of rain, and there are also tunes to help you start the day. With these helpful sleep graphs and overnight audio recordings, you can better figure out which noises are keeping you from the best rest.
Official Comedy (Spotify app—free for subscribers)
If laughter is the best medicine, this app is the best prescription. Whether you like to chuckle to Cosby or smirk with Seinfeld, the Official Comedy app has curated audio playlists so you can take your favorite comedians on the go. The app has a few dozen comedian pages to get you started and also boasts the ability to share one-liners on Facebook with a link to the full comedic routine. While music can boost your mood, there is nothing better there a good belly laugh to sooth your soul after a stressful day.
[Base Image: Flickr user Jason Howie]