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Optimism: Great Technology That Can Help You

By Therese J. Borchard
Associate Editor

Finding Optimism: When Technology Meets Self-Help

Ever since I was discharged from the inpatient psychiatric program at Johns Hopkins, I have kept a mood journal where I daily record the amount of hours I sleep, my mood (rating …

5 Comments to
Optimism: Great Technology That Can Help You

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  1. I don’t have time to comment at length, but I would just like to say, “WHAT”?!

    Optimism software? When are we going to have silicon chips placed in our heads, or maybe like the characters in “The Matrix”, have a port put in the back of our skulls?

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions. I sincerely believe this is intended to help people, but am I the only jaded, suspicious person traveling along in this medium to have to ask outloud why we are distancing ourselves from direct human contact?

    Some of these movies really reinforce the adage “art imitating life”. Truly brings me chills. I hope posts this week will be more grounded. At least I still have hope. For today at least.

  2. It was thousands of years since we live on this planet and we didn’t need any software to be happy. Why do we need it today? As for me it’s at least a bit awkward to use software to make yourself happy… Go for a walk, read a book, meet/make some friends etc.!

    Today we have epidemics of eating disorders and lots of people feeling bad about their weight and body image — It’s about being “perfect”. Isn’t the idea of getting perfectly happy, a kind of this way of thinking? Let’s have perfect health, perfect BMI, perfect job, perfect partner, perfect children, perfect friends, perfect holiday and perfect happiness! Let’s improve everything! And, let’s do it efficiently (because it’s a perfect way of doing)!

    Life is full of ups and downs and it’s perfectly normal. I see no reason to caring for my “happiness”. If I’d feel bad, I’d do something with it. Otherwise, I’ll just live my life, without bothering if it is, or isn’t enough perfect.

  3. Skillsnotpills – I’m not sure why you think this software would distance oneself from direct human contact. It’s just a software version of a daily journal/mood diary, something that mental health professionals (among many others) have been suggesting people use for years. In fact, keeping such a journal has been shown to help people use skills and not pills to manage their mental health symptoms, so I’m truly baffled by your objection. In fact, I could see this software as being invaluable for people who have developed Wellness Recovery Action Plans (WRAP). Perhaps I missed your point, however.

    Timo W – Striving for a better life is suddenly a bad thing? Nothing in the article talked about or advocated for a “perfect” life. Implying that being mindful of eating a well balanced, healthy diet will lead to an eating disorder is absurd. An emphasis on mindful eating is exactly what many clinics do to treat eating disorders, and this is software that could help someone with that task.

    Again, this software is just an electronic version of a mood diary, nothing to be frightened about.

  4. ditto Paul.

    This is not meant for everyone. Think of it as a coach to help keep one’s Mood Diary/Journal, well, more organized and prompts one to consider areas that might be missed otherwise.

    And, skillsnotpills, this software is an attempt to help persons in those skills – to develop the habits that will help them in their daily lives. Although I doubt you are cognizant of kaizen, this is precisely an application of this to one’s personal life. What you note and measure, you can then assess. Once you assess it, you can opt to make a change. Your continued monitoring (measuring, noting) will allow to evaluate if that change indeed made a difference, and if so, in what way. This notation basically makes you more “mindful” of what you are and are not doing – and feeling.

  5. The big question – did Ms. Bouchard receive anything in exchange for this positive blog? Did she pay for her software?

    Does this site have a vested interested in steering people to the the software?

  6. I stumbled upon this software a couple of days ago and thought WOW! this looks fantastic! I’m terrible with keeping journals, so i’m not sure whether this will be one of those good intentions things…but what really strikes me as useful is that the software can help you see patterns in your moods. I think that would be tremendously helpful in identifying triggers and planning ways to overcome them. As you said, skills not pills…that’s what I’m hoping.

    Now my only question is desktop software or online version?

    And I can’t wait for the iphone app. Anything that makes input faster and easier makes it more likely that I’ll do it every day.

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