Positive Thinking Apps

Apps That Can Change Your Outlook

Positive thinking can transform your life. While this is a commonly shared opinion, it is also one that is backed by research. 

  • Studies show that positive thinking is linked with greater health. Those who have more hope tend to engage in healthier behaviors and go to the doctor less frequently. They also tend to take better care of themselves and are better with preventative care.
  • Positive thinkers also tend to be happier. And this happiness can translate into success in other areas of life. Studies by researcher Barbara Fredrickson show that those who experience boosts in their mood tend to recognize opportunities more frequently and take advantage of them, leading to greater successes in life.
  • Research from Sonja Lyubomirski suggests that roughly 40% of our happiness levels are changeable, meaning that our ability to feel happy and think positively is not set at birth, but can be learned. One way to "learn" this happiness is to practice more positive thinking. 

This is all good news. Even better news is the fact that small and simple steps can lead to significant shifts in thinking so that if you're not a habitually positive thinker right now, this can be changed somewhat easily. The trick is to be consistent in your efforts to shift your mental habits and your focus.

One simple and convenient way to do this is to use an app. Maintaining a daily gratitude journaling practice, focusing on positive affirmations each morning, or simply making an effort to catch and change negative thoughts throughout the day can all work.

However, harnessing the power of a truly great positive thinking app can help you to stay on track with this new habit, and this route is often easier for people. The structure of a mental health app can be useful for those wanting to change their habits, but without extra strain or pressure.

The following apps are useful for many different reasons. See which ones work best for you.

Live Happy

live happy app

Live Happy

This app is based on findings from the field of positive psychology. The Live Happy app has been around for years and has several great features. There is a specific focus on activities that can bring about more positive feelings, like "savor," "strive," and "thank," for example.

Better still, there is a specific section of activities on optimism as well, which can lead to more positive thinking. These methods are backed by solid research, some of which you can explore through the explore feature. If you'd like to learn more about what can make you feel happier and more positive, this is a great app to start with.


Happify App


The Happify app is backed by research from a variety of experts. It includes many games and activities that can be practiced on your phone that have been proven effective to help you become happier and more optimistic, and even change your thought patterns.

You'll find writing activities and games that are designed to increase your happiness, as well as quizzes, forums, and ways to track your activities. One of the great things about this app is that they can quantify the effectiveness of the app. They have found that 86 percent of frequent users are happier in two months, for example. They have also found that the percentage of positive emotions the average user experiences tends to increase after regular use and participation in the activities as well.

As with other apps, having these activities at the touch of a finger can really help you to make them habitual parts of your life. 

Think Up

Think Up

 Think Up

There is ample evidence that positive affirmations do, in fact, work. Therefore, an app that can help you to make them a regular part of your life may be quite helpful. Some reviewers have called the "Think Up" app "life-changing,' and it basically helps you to incorporate positive affirmations into your life without much of the resistance we normally feel when adopting a new habit. 

This app allows you to find affirmations to use or to create your own, to set them to music, and to be reminded to focus on them. There are many ways that positive affirmations can help with positive thinking, but this one may work well for those who need a little structure (which includes most of us, doesn't it?) and may help to you stay motivated to continue.

Thought Diary

Thought Diary

 Thought Diary

The Thought Diary app employs the strategies of cognitive-behavioral therapy and enables you to track your thought patterns and change them when you see the need. It helps you to catch and change your own cognitive distortions, for example, and switch to healthier thinking patterns. This can significantly reduce stress levels and increase happiness​ and can help you to learn to make these shifts on your own without the app eventually. 




This app focuses on anxiety and is geared toward teens and young adults. MindShift helps those who experience general anxiety to learn how to face their fears rather than engaging in avoidance coping.

It allows them to understand how to face anxiety-provoking situations head-on and manage the feelings that can negatively affect their lives on a regular basis. It's simple to use and has had great results.

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Catalino LI, Algoe SB, Fredrickson BL. Prioritizing positivity: An effective approach to pursuing happinessEmotion. 2014;14(6):1155-1161. doi:10.1037/a0038029

  3. Lyubomirsky S, Dickerhoof R, Boehm JK, Sheldon KM. Becoming happier takes both a will and a proper way: An experimental longitudinal intervention to boost well-being. Emotion. 2011;11(2):391-402. doi:10.1037/a0022575

  4. Cascio CN, O'Donnell MB, Tinney FJ, et al. Self-affirmation activates brain systems associated with self-related processing and reward and is reinforced by future orientation. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2016;11(4):621-629. doi:10.1093/scan/nsv136

  5. Rnic K, Dozois DJ, Martin RA. Cognitive Distortions, Humor Styles, and Depression. Eur J Psychol. 2016;12(3):348-362. doi:10.5964/ejop.v12i3.1118

  6. Reaven J, Blakeley-Smith A, Leuthe E, Moody E, Hepburn S. Facing Your Fears in Adolescence: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders and Anxiety. Autism Res Treat. 2012;2012:423905. doi:10.1155/2012/423905

Additional Reading

By Elizabeth Scott, PhD
Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing.