How ya feeling?

Written by Haylee Newman | Something that many people struggle with is talking about how you feel. Emotions are oftentimes very hard to put into words, or what you are feeling may be something you feel like you should not share. Although it may be difficult to share how you are feeling, it is important to recognize that you have emotions, and sometimes the best way to work through them is to share them with others. How We Feel is an app that was created by a group of scientists and therapists that allows you to share your emotions with friends with the click of a button. 

“How We Feel was designed to help users identify and track their emotions, learn what causes them, discover helpful regulation strategies, and identify patterns.” (Happ, Brough, Elbertson, & Brackett)

There are several apps that work in similar ways to How We Feel, but over the past few weeks How We Feel has become increasingly popular with CAC students. Several students have downloaded the How We Feel app and have been using it to share their emotions with the people closest to them. While many people love the app, there are some who think that it may not be as good as it seems. The app splits your general emotions into four categories: high energy unpleasant, high energy pleasant, low energy unpleasant, and low energy pleasant. From these four categories, they split off into 132 different emotions that users can pick from. These emotions range from ecstatic all the way to miserable. The app can notify users several times a day to check in their emotions. When you check in, you can choose for it to notify your friends on the app with how you are at that moment.  

“I think that it is a good addition to peoples’ day-to-day life,” said senior Elizabeth Coclasure when asked about her feelings towards the app, “I think that it is important to talk about your feelings and not keep them to yourself all of the time.” 

Elizabeth has had the app for about a month and thinks that it has been a great addition to her day. While some people may think that constantly sharing how you feel could be an invasion of privacy, Elizabeth said “I don’t think that the app is an invasion of privacy because you can choose who to share your feelings with, and you don’t have to share your feelings either if you don’t want to. It is 100% something that you can choose to do for yourself.”

Elizabeth is not the only student who loves the app, sophomore Jaxsen Myers said “I think that it is a great addition to peoples’ everyday lives. I think that it can help you understand what you are feeling and not keep it bottled up all the time. This app has helped me through a very rough time and I think it can help many people.” 

While many people love the app, there are students who are apprehensive about downloading it. Sophomore Hannah Custer shared that “[she does] not have the app for a few reasons.” She believes that it is important to share how you feel with your friends, but she thinks that you need to be very careful about which “friends” you choose to add on the app. “Personally, I have heard conversations where people are judging others for how they feel on the app. Our emotions are a very personal topic, and we should share them wisely.” 

Junior Sam Schimmel has had the app for about a week and loves the community aspect that comes along with it, but “what [he does not] like is that it keeps you on your phone, and that has been shown to often be what causes that anxiety and stress that people feel.” He believes that face to face communication about how you are feeling is much more beneficial to peoples’ well being than clicking your emotion on your phone screen. 

Something positive about the app is that it has caused people to start talking. Elizabeth shared that “the app has also sparked conversations in real life. If I see how somebody is feeling, I can ask them about it and they can do the same for me. If somebody has a bad emotion and they share that with me then I can ask them if they are okay and give them a person to talk to.”

Jaxsen shared a similar sentiment saying “it has helped my friends and I become closer because we check in on each other about the emotion the other puts.”  

An article about the How We Feel app from the Yale School of Medicine says “Emotions matter when it comes to creating a healthier and more equitable, innovative, and compassionate society. Our ability to use our emotions wisely impacts everything – creating and maintaining relationships, performing well at school and work, tapping into creativity, making good decisions, and cultivating mental and physical well-being.” (Happ, Brough, Elbertson, & Brackett)

Whether you decide to download the app or think that it is not a great idea, sharing and speaking about emotions is extremely beneficial in maintaining relationships and your overall health. Make sure you take time to not only check in with your friends, but also check in with yourself and remember to ask “how ya feeling?”