Aleksandr Lanin

Dec 1, 2020

5 min read

Dare to change the world — small steps by JOI team

Hi everyone!

My name is Alex and I’m the creator of JOI — a mood tracker for smartphones. I’ve always believed that all changes in the external world always begin with some shifts within a person. At least, it was exactly my story: the desire to solve my own problems and help others in this challenging task led me to the creation of a compact digital “psychologist” which will not only analyze your mental state but also give some recommendations. But first things first.

People, their relationship with each other and with the outside world — that’s exactly what I’ve always been interested in. And they felt it: friends and family had been constantly seeking my help. They did not hesitate to share with me some experiences that they would never have told others. I knew a lot about their problems in relationships, with family, at work, and always tried to help with advice. But the fact that I was a sensitive person didn’t work in my favor. I felt that I couldn’t cope with all the burden of my own problems, and, unlike my friends, I had no one to share my pains with.

At some point, I realized that the state of my mental health was close to depression. I didn’t even have the strength to get out of bed. Every day I had to force myself to do basic things: brush my teeth, cook breakfast, go to university, or work. I tried to contact psychologists, but this experience was extremely negative — I can share it another time if you are interested. Therefore, I thought that it would be nice to create a pocket psychologist — a digital assistant which would always be in touch, friendly, and helpful. At first, my ideas were somewhere in the field of website development, but then I realized that a smartphone would be a perfect platform for this as it was always at hand.

I interviewed my acquaintances and found out that some of them used the bullet journal. But this method had a significant drawback — you had to fill in all trackers for the next week/month/year by hand. And if you lost your diary, it was a disaster! Using a mobile application is much easier: you just spend a couple of minutes — and that’s it.

My friends had already used similar apps, but there you had just to choose the mark of mood and activities you were involved in that day, and nothing else. We decided to supplement and improve our application: we added questions, the ability to reflect and analyze the state of mental health. Our team decided to name the application JOI, which is consonant with the word “joy”. Joy and a great mood are definitely the things we strive for.

By the way, there was a funny incident with the name — it turned out that there was a category of videos for adults of the same title. Some users expected our application to be different :-) Besides, there is a namesake video chat, and sometimes you come up with it instead of our app. But we still decided to leave the name JOI! Our users are used to it and many still associate it exclusively with our application. We can say that this name already has its own soul.

What is special about JOI?

The ABC model assumes that events are recorded in the following order:

A — Activating Event, also called “Trigger”,

B — Beliefs/Thoughts and attitudes (thoughts that occur in response to an activating event),

C — Consequences (how people feel and behave when they have these thoughts Consequences are divided into two parts: reactions and emotions.

JOI allows to indicate what mood you are in today, and, according to the state you noted, asks leading questions:

By keeping a diary of your emotions regularly, you can trace patterns and understand what causes anxiety, irritation, or stress. Sometimes the results are unexpected — after I started using the app myself, I stopped meeting an old friend of mine, realizing that I was emotionally drained after this communication. Moreover, until that moment I hadn’t ever thought about it!

Personally, I really like the Stories feature — these are photo memories that appear depending on your mood at a specific period. They cheer me up a lot — it’s so nice to remember sweet moments with friends and family.

And as for practices — the new feature of JOI — I tried them all on myself and, it seems, that I became more tolerant of others. I care more about my mental health and understand this world a little better.

By the way, now we are working on a global update — the creation of an AI chatbot that predicts mood and analyzes things you should avoid or pay attention to. Its tips are based on your notes and mood/trigger marks, and the bot is constantly learning.

It seems to me that diaries and mood trackers have always been relevant, especially now, in pandemic 2020. Keeping notes is really helpful: your diary can be a creative laboratory, a caring psychotherapist, a source of memories, a tool for self-development, and most importantly, a reliable hideaway at the same time.

Our journal is more suitable for modern realities — it inspires you when you feel unable to write, draws conclusions, and shows statistics. JOI regularly sends you reminders so that you don’t forget to use it daily.

You can try JOI for Apple here

It’s completely free!

We continue creating products for health and creativity, and we will definitely tell you about them in the following publications. You can ask me any questions about mental health, application development, or just about life :) I am not a professional psychologist, but I am very interested in this area and am open to new information and suggestions.