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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 7:55 am | Fair 42º


Santa Barbara Startup Launches Free Online Tool to Empower Users to Exercise Positivity

A growing body of research shows that taking breaks and exposure to positivity is as important to one’s well-being as regular exercise and good nutrition. However, finding time for a healthy dose of positivity remains a challenge for many, especially when common diversions like social media are in fact shown to have a negative influence on mood.

Now, UpJoy, a Santa Barbara-based startup led by world-renowned psychologists, has launched a free, web-based positivity tool that empowers individuals to quickly and simply enjoy positivity breaks on any computer or mobile device.

UpJoy.me works by allowing users to design and access customized feeds of positive media, including images, videos and film clips, that can be watched whenever and wherever a dose of positivity is needed at no-cost. The content also can be shared across multiple social media platforms and via email, enabling users to bond with others by passing along images that improve their mood. To start using UpJoy, users simply go to UpJoy.me to register and set up a free account.

“Bringing positivity into one’s daily course of living is typically harder for most individuals than one might think,” said Dr. Dan Gilbert, professor of psychology at Harvard University and senior research director at UpJoy. “As a society and culture, we are bombarded by negative messages in the media, and limited by demanding work and personal schedules. Applications such as UpJoy can balance this by enhancing positivity throughout the day and can yield significant and lasting benefits for users.”

UpJoy has been proven to be effective in uplifting user’s moods. In a study of a randomly selected sample of 200 participants, it was found that after just 15 minutes of UpJoy use, users’ moods improved significantly. Psychological research also has found that encountering positive video clips increases positive emotion and helps to ameliorate the lingering effects of prior negative experiences. In addition, scientific studies suggest that the positive emotions induced by viewing film clips, such as those curated by UpJoy.me, enhance creativity.

Taking breaks using positivity tools such as UpJoy.me also can improve one’s problem-solving abilities, according to recent research conducted by Jonathan Schooler, a professor of psychology at UCSB and one of the members of UpJoy’s research team. His recent study found that taking a break involving a brief, non-demanding task could help people to think of solutions they previously were not able to come to prior to taking a break.

“By incorporating non-demanding breaks into one’s day using tools such as UpJoy, individuals can elevate positivity effectively and affordably, resulting in a myriad of positive outcomes,” Dr. Schooler said. “UpJoy encourages people to take positive breaks by enjoying entertaining images and video clips that have been scientifically established to significantly boost users’ well-being in a very short amount of time.”

— Juliet Babros is a publicist representing UpJoy.

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