“Good morning. How are you feeling today?” asks Youper, an AI-powered emotional health assistant app. Like a growing number of health tech services, the app seeks to address the growing rates of stress, anxiety, depression, and similar mental health issues. The AI company belongs to an industry both ripe for change and burgeoning with innovation: mental health tech.
While research has long confirmed the strong correlation between exercise and psychological health, a recent study utilizing cellphone data to track activities and moods has confirmed that people who move are overall more content than people who sit.
While previous epidemiological studies have found that people who are active are less prone to depression and anxiety than sedentary people, the majority of these studies solely focused on negative moods. They generally relied on people recalling how they had felt, in addition to how much they had moved or sat in the previous weeks—with little concrete, tangible data to support their recollections.
The new study used a different approach, focusing on correlations between movement and the most positive emotion: happiness. The researchers also looked at what people reported about their respective activities, comparing it with objective measures of movement.