Data in the cloud means it’s everywhere you are

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Data in the cloud means it’s everywhere you are

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WeFeel works WITH you and your life. This isn’t an additional thing to buy and keep with you; WeFeel works on the smartphone, tablet, and (soon) desktop computer you already have. So you won’t need to worry about keeping track of or carrying one more thing, or upgrading another piece of technology (updates to WeFeel are included with your subscription). And, WeFeel works with the other “wearables” you own. We currently have support for the Microsoft band. Next up is support for FitBit, Apple Watch, and then other wearables so you’ll have heartrate and other “fitness” information to go along with your emotions.

We want WeFeel to be available to anyone who wants to use it. Currently you can get it on all 3 of the major platforms (Windows, Android, and iOS). And you don’t have to buy it for each one. Your subscription follows you. That’s the beauty of the cloud. Once you login to WeFeel you can access your information and track emotions on your ipod, your android tablet, your windows phone, and (soon) your windows 10 desktop. Or your android phone and ipad. Or… you get the picture.

When you enter information on one device it becomes available wherever you access it. You don’t have to worry about entering information on your phone but not being able to see it on your tablet because the information you enter is stored securely in the Microsoft Cloud and can only be viewed by authenticated access.


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Customize it to make it all yours

Nobody should have to fit into a preformed box. With WeFeel you can customize what you track and when you are reminded to track those things

Every day the number of apps available grows, and that includes the number of apps related to mental health. There is no regulation on mental health apps, but in April 2016 the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry published a commentary that gave some guidelines that care providers can use when evaluating apps for use in treatment. This framework is called ASPECTS, and the C stands for customization.

WeFeel is designed as a tool for use in a wide variety of mental wellness and care situations. Customizing what you can track is a key component to the flexibility that WeFeel offers. In addition to the six core emotions, individuals can add an additional 6 custom items to track. This provides flexibility to meet the needs of a wide variety of situations. For example,

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You can enter up to 6 custom items to track

  • in addiction recovery treatment individuals can track the intensity of their cravings.
  • in marriage counseling each partner can track how connected they feel to their spouse
  • for patients with bi-polar or manic/depressive disorder, they can track mania and depression independent of other emotion
  • new mothers with post-partum depression can track how postive they feel toward their baby or motherhood
  • those seeking treatment for generalized anxiety can track their anxiety separate from other fear emotions
  • individuals suffering from depression can track other symptoms like lack of energy or tiredness, insomnia, guilt, and persistent pain
  • and more…

The field is wide open to what can be tracked and each item that is tracked can also have its intensity tracked – just like the custom emotions. Once these custom items are tracked WeFeel has the power to show a correlation between a custom item and location, social situation, activity, or the core emotions captured.

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Setting custom and random reminders in App Settings

Not only can you customize what you track, you can customize when you are reminded to track it. That puts the power back into your hands to track emotions and custom items from regular interactions (like a specific class at school, a regular work meeting, the daily commute, or end of the day). You can set up to 3 custom reminders along what those reminders say. For example, at 10 am a reminder can pop up to ask “How was Mr. John Doe’s class?” You can also set the number of random “How do you feel?” reminders from zero up to 10 times per day.

Customization is a key component of WeFeel that makes it a useful tool for many different care situations. From parents and couples to professional counselors and paid care providers, WeFeel offers a new tool that will improve communication and understanding.


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Blurry Lines, Corporate Caste Systems, and the Emotionally Detached Leader

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I love lines, and boxes, and points of demarcation.  Everything in its file drawer in my head.  This is mine, that is yours. Useful person, Useless person. Godlike senior executive, plebian workers to be expended at will.

Oh wait. I think that last one may be wrong. Or maybe it’s not. No. It’s gotta be wrong doesn’t it?

What I mean to say is, traditional management teaches us to not get too close to those who work for us.  I know this ’cause I was learned it in the University.  I been gived readin’ books on “how to be a great boss” that done did said it.  Some’un wrotes it.  Must be gospel.

Just because an expert said something doesn’t make it the right thing for you

Here’s the problem with lines: Different people (often “experts” in their field) draw the lines in different places. This causes me all kinds of trouble. I go through phases of voraciously reading everything I can about a topic, and often end up with very conflicting points of view on the same subject bouncing around in my  head.  I have to actually think and come up with my own conclusions.

 

Many of the places I’ve worked keep some separation between management and not-management. Often, they go so far as to draw another line between executive leadership and management. This is great for the people that draw the employee charts. It leads to nice triangley shapes.  And since I’m an “executive” I get to be the pointy part at the top.  I like pointy, it’s better than pointless.

Speaking of points, here are some of the reasons I’ve been given to avoid fraternizing with the help.

Don’t develop close relationships with people who work for you because:

  • You’ll likely end up friends with some and not others, which could be seen as unfair.
  • They might not respect you, or take you seriously.
  • Friendships are based on equality, and bosses aren’t equal. They have to do performance reviews, set salaries, give promotions.
  • They might take advantage of your kindness.
  • You might have to fire them in the future, which will be difficult if they are your friend.

Here’s the thing. Or at least a thing.  Look at that list.  What’s the driving factor between each item.  I’ll give you a hint…they all take about future possibilities. Things that might happen.

When you don’t do something because it “might happen” you are acting out of fear.

Fear is a powerful motivator. It can be a great thing in certain situations. It keeps us safe from danger. But it also causes us to miss out on having a deeper, more meaningful existence. And more importantly, fear can cause us to draw unnecessary lines. Lines that keep people out of our lives. Lines that lead to thinking some are better than others.  Lines that effectively place a caste society right in your office.

Right now, where you work, do you really feel that your leaders sincerely care about your life?  Do you really care about people who work beneath you?  Have you ever thought about the fact that we use phrases like “Bob works under me” or “the people below me on the org chart”  are like saying we’re above them… better than, even?

And you thought we were progressing towards equality.

Here’s what I think:  I’ve chosen to treat people who report to me (directly or indirectly) as someone I care about. Yes, in the end I have to make the final decisions, and I get to bear the responsibility of failure or success, but having more on my shoulders shouldn’t have to mean I have to be some unreachable island. When I care about others I can best serve them as a leader, mentor, and even as a friend.

I get that it’s a bit ironic for me to say that, because by nature I’m about the most emotionally detached person you’ll find. Despite that I’ve found that when you see each person on your team as someone who is trying to do their best in life,  and someone who is worth getting to know, you’ll find coming to work is a much better experience. You will all be more productive and happier, which rubs off on customer interactions, which equates to more customer loyalty, which in the end means a more successful company.

So even though I’m simply not good at being a friend, and as a result I’ve failed my fair share of times, I still think my life has been better for trying to cross the line between boss and employee, and the teams I have been a part of  have been more successful for my efforts.

Have some taken advantage of me?

You betcha! But there have been many more times where someone would go the extra mile to get a job done because they knew that it mattered to me, and you do things for people you care about.

Have I held on to an employee longer than I should while trying to help them get their life together?

Check! While I’m a big believer in parting ways with an employee who can’t fit in for whatever reason as early as possible, I’m also a big believer in trying to bring out untapped potential. While I haven’t always succeeded in my efforts, I’ve had some people turn around to become top performers. I wonder what their lives would be like today had I just tossed them to the wind? Overall the benefit to myself and the companies I’ve worked for has been greater than the bit of wasted money on holding on to a few of the wrong people for too long.

Have I had to fire a friend?

I’ve had to lay off a whole team of people I cared about. It sucked. But years after we shut the division down the team arranged a get together dinner to reminisce on old times. I temporarily wrecked all their lives…and yet I was still invited. That meant a great deal to me.  I’m still proud to see all that they’ve accomplished since then.

If you are in a leadership position ask yourself:

“Do I keep an emotional distance between myself and those under my care because I am afraid of things that *might* be a problem later?”

If the answer is yes, maybe take some time to re-think what your team could be if they had a leader who they cared for as a friend. No one is saying you have to be BFFs, remember a friend is simply a “person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.”  So the question is:
Would you have a more positive workplace if there were more bonds of mutual affection?

Yes! Though it will be hard on you.  You will have to have the willpower to not be biased, to not make poor decisions because you don’t want to mess up a friendship, and to treat everyone equally.  But you rose to a leadership position because of your abilities.  I’m sure you can handle it.

And if you work for an emotionally detached leader, it might be good to put yourself in their shoes. Maybe they aren’t very good at forming attachments to people, or perhaps they may have been taught their entire career that they can’t be close to anyone who works for them. Can you imagine what it would be like if you had to come to work each day knowing you weren’t supposed be friends with the people you interact with the most? It can be really hard, so why not do what you can to help them out?  Afterall, they are also just there trying to do the best they can.

A wise mentor once told me “no one comes to work hoping to fail.”  It’s much easier to see that when you care about each other’s success. The point of all this: Even in my black and white world, I can see that some lines aren’t so great.  Sometimes we should blurry them up a bit.

Don’t let fear prevent you from getting out your eraser.


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Mix and match emotions

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An emotion entry page with custom icons too.

A core principle of WeFeel is that emotions mix and combine, and aren’t polar opposites of each other.  You don’t have to be somewhere on a scale of sad to happy.  You can be both.

A key principle in our philosophy at WeFeel is that emotions are not considered opposites. One good example of this is melancholy – being both happy and sad at the same time. For example: losing a race to your best friend. You are happy for them and sad for you; at the same time.

WeFeel has 6 core emotions you can track: Anger, Joy, Disgust, Sorrow, Fear, and Love. Where did these core emotions come from? There a wide variety of emotion models and lists that have been proposed by psychologists and research scientists over the years. We took a look at many of them and compared them to see what they had in common and where they are different. And it came down to these 6 core emotions, plus surprise; which you can see is missing from the core emotion icons. We do want to track surprise, but since it is a fleeting emotion (and tracking shouldn’t take the place of or interfere with living your life), future releases of WeFeel will track incidences of surprise with biometrics like heart rate.

But human emotion and life experience is a messy and complicated thing. One way of thinking about emotion refuses to accept that emotion CAN be boiled down to just 6 core emotions. Recently, David DiSalvo wrote about this in Forbes “Let’s talk about your Litost, and Other Emotions We Feel But Can’t Quite Explain”. And this graphic that I came across over a year ago gives a good visual representation. UntranslatableEmotionsinLanguagesotherthanEnglishvsParrottsEmotionClassification_50ffbf93965deThere are so many words, in so many languages, to describe emotion, and each one is a valuable and different experience.

So how does one put the idea of tracking emotion in 6 categories together with the amazingly diverse things that can be felt? WeFeel tackles this in two ways. First, the 6 core emotions are not discreet. You can choose both sorrow and joy. (And if you really want to you can also add anger, fear, love, and disgust. There is not a limit on how many of the core emotions you can choose.) And you can choose a different intensity level for each emotion you select. Second, you can add a note to specify the exact word for what you are feeling. Or, if you don’t know a word for it, you can note the circumstances for what you are feeling.

WeFeel doesn’t limit your feelings. We understand that getting in touch with your feelings can be a complicated process – and we want to make it easier for you. Letting you record a combination of emotions with different intensities is just one way we help you improve your emotional awareness.


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What makes us different?

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There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of apps out there that claim to make a difference in mental health. Many of them have a very different focus than WeFeel — they want to bring therapy and therapists closer to the people, or provide low-cost virtual therapy options. Some of them are trying to use various biometric data points like breathing, heart rate, and voice modulations to say how you feel. And a few of them let you track emotion in ways that might be similar to WeFeel.

So, what makes us different?

  • A core principle of WeFeel is that emotions mix and combine, and aren’t polar opposites of each other.  You don’t have to be somewhere on a scale of sad to happy.  You can be both.
  • We allow customization of what you track and when you are reminded to track those things.
  • We store data in the cloud so you can have it synced on ALL your devices.
  • WeFeel is as secure as you want to make it.
  • The dashboard provides visualization of your emotions through charts, graphs, word clouds, and more. This visualization can jumpstart therapy and make it more effective.
  • Users can opt-in to share their entries for research.

 

These differences are important to making WeFeel a solution that you can use to improve your life by increasing your emotional awareness. WeFeel isn’t a solution for all the mental health issues out there all on its own. It is a tool that you can use as an individual to better understand yourself. With better understanding you can improve your life and the lives around you. More importantly, WeFeel is a tool you can use with your therapist, whether you are in addiction recovery, individual therapy, marriage or family therapy, or in recovery from other mental health challenges. When you use WeFeel with your therapist you can make sessions more effective, and, we hope, reduce the  number of sessions needed to get to your desired outcome.

 


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All you need is love…

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Love is a very powerful force. It moves us to do things that we might not otherwise, for good or for bad. If you believe some philosophers it is what makes life worth living. It also gives hold for many of our emotions because it drives how we are connected to the world. Our fears, angers, joys, disgusts, and sorrows can be directly tied to the people and things we love most.

There are many kinds of love — from friendship to romance. It also is found in: affection, adoration, fondness, caring, tenderness, attraction, compassion, lust, desire, passion, and infatuation.

We love all our followers and would love it if you share our posts with your friends. Invite them to like our Facebook page WeFeelUs or follow us on Twitter @WeFeelUs to get more inspirational updates about our emotions and emotional awareness.


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What are you afraid of? Meet Fear.

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Fear is an incredibly useful tool, until it isn’t. Fear can keep you from taking foolish risks that would lead to severe death and injury. It protects you from danger. Fear floods your system with adrenaline to fight or flee. But sometimes fear can prevent you from doing what is necessary, or presents itself when you are not in danger. When that happens, the adrenaline flooding your system can interfere with what you want and need to do. So it’s a useful feeling, right up until it isn’t.

Fear sneaks into our lives under the guise of: nervousness, anxiety, uneasiness, apprehension, worry, distress, dread, alarm, shock, terror, and panic.

What am I afraid of? Comment your current fears and I’ll share mine with you.


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Today we meet sorrow.

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Considered by some to be the opposite of happiness, sorrow encompasses a wide range of feelings that are considered undesirable. Many people spend a great deal of time, effort, and mood altering chemicals avoiding this feeling. But sorrow is a necessary part of human existence. Much of it comes directly from the very best parts of our lives; we grieve when love and happiness are removed from our lives. The death of a loved one, the move of a friend, the loss of trust. Sorrow serves a vital purpose that helps us.

Sorrow goes by other names, some more intense than others, including: sadness, depression, despair, unhappy, grief, misery, disappointment, dismay, displeasure, embarrassment, humiliation, and insecurity.

When was the last time you felt sorrow? Share with us in the comments.


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Awesome Buts (Or this complement will self-destruct in 5 seconds.)

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Dude, that’s so cool that you climbed up there- let me get a picture. You are so awesome!

But, holy crap how did you manage to get your shirt so dirty???

See what I did there? Bet you’ve done it, or had it done to you. I just went and let my but get in the way of making someone feel good.

If you think about that from the physiological standpoint, what I did was even more cruel than it sounds.

A simplified explanation is that by giving some words of encouragement and approval his brain kicked up the levels of Dopamine, Oxytocin and Serotonin, making him feel good about himself, loved and successful. His reward system kicked in telling him everything is great. Shortly after, I knocked him down a few pegs causing those neurochemical levels to drop, inducing feelings of rejection and sadness, and since they were at a heightened state due to my previous statement, the difference felt is more drastic than if I’d not given the compliment at all. Not cool!

Flip your buts!

This isn’t my original idea, I first learned in from a leadership training session taught byKirk Weisler.  His suggestion is that if you’ve got a criticism to say, and you’ve got something positive as well, always give the negative first.

“Devin, your shirt’s really messy and you should take better care of it, but that’s a really awesome spot you climbed up to so let’s get a picture to remember it.”

Simple to do, and why wouldn’t you want to leave a person feeling good about themselves?  This isn’t just for with your kids or loved ones either.  At work we can change:

“Bob, you’ve done a great job with sales this quarter. You’ve blown away your overall target, but we need you to get more enterprise customers.”

to:

“Bob, focusing on getting more enterprise customers next quarter needs to be your priority, but I wanted to congratulate you on the awesome job you beating your overall sales target last quarter.”

Which is going to leave Bob feeling more motivated to go out and help the company with its goals?  The first scenario where we basically told him you did great but it’s not good enough, or the second where we gave him direction on where to focus his energy and then told him how how great he’s doing?

Follow This One Weird Trick to Make Your Buts Awesome

(Sorry, I just had to throw the click bait title in there, I couldn’t stop myself.)

I think Kirk’s advice is great, and I’ve tried to use it when I can.  Recently I’ve had more time to spend with my kids while Kim is out building support for our WeFeel Kickstarter campaign, and I’ve caught myself both remembering and forgetting to flip my buts.  And me being me, I got to thinking about how I could do even better.

Here’s what I’ve come up with. Whenever I feel the need to add a but to a statement, I want to try to figure out how to turn that into a learning opportunity.  Instead of “you did great, but here’s where you failed” or even the better form “here’s what you could of done better, but I’m proud of you” I think we have an opportunity for a real conversation.

Something along the lines of

“Hey let’s talk about <topic>. Here are some things you may not have considered that I think could help out…  What are some of the things you learned? If you were to do it again what would you change?   Cool, I think you’ve done an awesome job so far and it’s great that you are thinking about how you can do even better. I can’t wait to see how you do next time!”

See what I did there? I got rid of the buts. And despite Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s preferences, sometimes no buts are the most awesome buts.


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Ewww… Disgust

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Ewwwww…. Disgust. I have to admit that is not a pleasant emotion. But it’s not supposed to be. Disgust keeps us from doing things that are detrimental to ourselves – like eating rotten meat or accepting disease spreading behavior. Beware disgust’s stronger alias, contempt, it can be a relationship killer.

Disgust also includes boredom, distaste, revulsion, repugnance, aversion, contempt, nausea, and abhorrence.

Tracking how you are feeling, even when disgusted, helps improve emotional awareness. WeFeel is a great way to track emotion, journal and share.

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