Apps for Calm and Happiness in the New Year

It’s time to take back your joy in 2021. These great apps will help you sleep better, stay focused, and find happiness and calm in the new year.

I Am — Positive Affirmations

If you’re someone who struggles with negative self-talk, I Am can help you reset your way of thinking. The app will first ask what areas of life you would like to improve. Then, receive positive affirmations throughout the day, such as, “I am doing the best I can, and that is enough,” or, “I am thankful for the good in my life.” Also, you can save favorite affirmations. The free version works great for most users, but a $20-per-year subscription offers further customized affirmations and more tips for positive thinking.

Jour: Journal for Mindfulness

Journaling is a great tool for self-improvement, but perhaps you haven’t kept a journal in years. Jour makes it simple to get started by giving writing prompts. For example, the app might ask how anxiety is holding you back, or how you can feel more confident at work. It also can keep track of daily moods and choose from preset answers if you’re short on time. For a $5-per-month subscription, you’ll get more audio prompts, daily motivations, and an expanded list of topics to write about.

Sleep Cycle — Sleep Tracker

Getting enough sleep is crucial to your well-being. The Sleep Cycle app helps track how much rest you’re getting. To get started, open the app, and leave your phone on the nightstand. Sleep Cycle then uses sound analysis to give you an overall sleep quality score. The app makes it easy to track how long it took to fall asleep, how long you spent in the deep sleep phase, and how often you snored. As a bonus feature, Sleep Cycle has an intelligent snooze mode designed to gently wake you. The premium plan costs $30 a year and lets you track sleeping patterns over time.


Americans check their phones an average of 96 times per day, or about once every 10 minutes. The whole point of Forest is to stop people from responding to every tweet or tag. Open the app, and set a timer for how long you want to focus. A cute digital tree will then block your screen. If you ignore your phone until the timer counts down, you’ll add the tree to your digital forest. But if you close the app, the tree withers and dies. The whole goal is to grow a lush forest while improving focus.


Nobody wants to think about death during a pandemic. Yet, according to Bhutanese philosophy, the key to happiness is pondering your mortality at least five times daily. WeCroak periodically sends you inspirational quotes from famous thinkers about death. You will receive five alerts a day at random times to help you remember that death could come at any time. It sounds morbid, but these messages are a great reminder to slow down, let go of unimportant things, and appreciate daily life.

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