Wednesday, 26 May 2010

How do you feel right now?

I've heard about experiments where people carry around little buzzers which fire randomly thoughout the day, and ask their wearer to record their mood. It has always sounded to me like you might collect an interesting dataset (and one of the keys to finding a magic wand is to look at the data)

I've also wondered about the level of research that goes into self-help in general. Sure, there sum total of things in the book may have been helpful for the author - maybe even for their clients (on average). But are they right for everyone? Magic Wand's is about finding what works for you in particular.

I'm very keen on mindfulness. Particularly on being aware of your own emotions and how they change.

So when my wife made a suggestion, I was intrigued:

"Wouldn't it be good" she asked "if there was a little device which asked you how you were feeling, every so often. Randomly. Then suggested something you could do to feel better?"

Yes. Yes it would. And wouldn't it be good if it could look at how you felt the next time it asked you, and was possibly able to tell if a particular improvement activity had any impact on your mood?

We already have the device. Its called a mobile phone. They interrupt you all the time and nobody bats an eyelid. Noone need know what you were doing.

So I thought about implementing this. And, over a few days, I figured out how to do it. The end result was


All you have to do is go to the website, and enter your email address. Straight away the site will send you an email asking how you feel. To reply, you just click on one of the links, and you'll get a simple self help solution. The sort of magic wand type suggestions which appear in this blog.

And then, a few hours later, you'll get another email. And you'll keep getting emails, at random times, asking you how you feel - then giving you a suggestion. In time the site will elarn which suggestions work, and which don't. At least, thats the plan.

Its all very much in early, beta, stages, right now. We have a limited number of places for sign-ups (although I'm trying to cope with as many people as possible... and we should always be able to accept your email address and tell you when we have space to start accepting new users).

There are lots of features I'm still looking to add (including one which will let you look at all your data) - but for the most part, I'm going to focus on adding new suggestions - because to see what works, we're going to have to try everything once.

Why not give it a go: this might be your magic wand.

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