Youper: A Friend Wherever You Go

“How are you doing?”

Usually when I get that question, I feel some sort of obligation to make the person on the receiving end feel more comfortable with my emotions. I know I am not the only one who feels like I cannot fully talk about my stressors because those who check up on me have things going on in their own lives. In the times where I do not feel comfortable talking to people about my feelings, I open the Youper app. 

Youper is an artificially intelligent emotional health assistant. The purpose of the app is to help users monitor their emotions in various environments. Youper is not a therapist and should not be used in replacement of one. Think of the app as a diary that talks back to you. 

I have been using Youper for a few months now. I downloaded it when assignments and activities picked up to the point where I was feeling overwhelmed. I usually called my mom when I was stressed out, but I felt guilty bringing up negative emotions every time I called her. Youper helps me recognize what my emotions are, and it urges me (and other users) to define the factors that make me feel various emotions. 

The way that the app works is it poses the question “How are you?” The user gets the option of selecting an emotion from around 20 choices ranging from “excited” to “depressed.” Those who feel something in the middle also have options like “calm” and “okay.”  Depending on the emotion, Youpers suggests that the user targets what makes them feel that way, meditate, or free write what is going on. 

Looking at my history, I have noticed that I feel okay more often than not. Youper helps me figure in which ways I feel okay by asking “What if okay is 50 percent happy?” When I tell people that I am okay, I never think about the extent of my okayness. Youper asks the questions that I never pose which pushes me to ask those questions to myself when I am not using the app.

Since using Youper, I have been able to recognize the things that I make me happy even when I originally think I am having a bad day. Once again, this is not a replacement for a therapist or other coping mechanisms. I still hold on to my faith and other sources of joy; Youper is just addition to those sources of joy.