Life is Good creates some high-tech happiness with the Power of Optimism Machine

Lifestyle apparel company Life is Good has brought the power of positivity to life in an incredibly engaging way.

Whether a glass is half full or half empty depends largely on a person’s perspective: are they looking at it through a positive or negative lens? Life is Good’s new Power of Optimism Machine uses electroencephalography (EEG) technology to literally demonstrate the power of positive thinking right before people’s eyes.

By either thinking of things that make them happy, or viewing a screen showing the brand’s uplifting artwork and phrases, users can literally fill a glass with water using only the power of positive thoughts.

Joanne Fletcher, senior brand director of Life is Good Canada, says the goal is to inspire people to focus on the good all around them and live with an eye toward positivity.

“Optimism is a powerful tool, with both emotional and physical benefits,” says Fletcher. “It creates positive energy that can change your mood, your mindset, and even your health. We love being able to physically demonstrate the power of optimism as a strategy for living a more fulfilling life.”

The power of positivity is palpable. Researchers have found that having an optimistic outlook is associated with better psychological and physical health. Optimists typically possess better coping strategies than pessimists, and are more likely to engage in lifestyles that protect against disease and illness. And a 75-year Harvard study found that people in happy relationships tend to live longer.

The Power of Optimism Machine is the creation of Toronto-based creative agency, The Garden and was developed by Toronto-based creative digital production studio ThinkingBox. The machine uses Emotiv’s open library of commands to create a signal that is sent to a tap that integrates with an arduino microcontroller and computer through bluetooth. This signal then passes through the computer and Arduino to the tap’s on/off switch.

While many people who tried the machine were convinced they would be unable to make it work, everyone was ultimately able to fill the glass with water. There were differences between what constituted positive thoughts for children and adults, however: For adults, positive thoughts tended to be complex or highly specific, such as walking on a beach and feeling sand between their toes, while children tended to focus on simpler things, such as cupcakes or basketball.

“Most people know that positive thinking can affect your mental health, but we wanted to demonstrate that optimism can have physical benefits as well,” says Shari Walczak, Partner and Founder at The Garden. “We came across this idea of using positive brainwaves to create a real-life reaction, and realized we could literally demonstrate the power of optimism.”

Life is Good has been dedicated to spreading the power of optimism and helping kids in need since its early days of selling t-shirts on the streets of Boston. The first ever “Life is Good” design served as a simple reminder to focus on the good, and the brand quickly forged meaningful, emotional connections with its community. Committed to building a world where Life is Good for all kids, the brand has since donated over $11.5 million to children’s charities.

“We need the power of optimism more than ever right now,” says Fletcher. “What makes each person happy is completely unique. But the tenets of optimism are accessible to all and can be practiced by anyone. Optimism isn’t about blind positivity or irrational cheerfulness – it’s about embracing the belief that life is not perfect, life is not easy, but life is good.”

The Power of Optimism machine is currently in Life is Good’s Canadian showroom in Toronto for customers to experience when they come in. The brand intends to bring the machine to retailer events throughout Canada this year so they too can experience the power of optimism for themselves.


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