It can be daunting and overwhelming to navigate the waters of mental healthcare. It’s often challenging to verbally or physically articulate intricate feelings, and diagnoses are a whole other story. While it might seem unsuitable to turn emotions into data, charts are famously helpful for making sense of things that are more difficult to visualize.
Self-proclaimed “happiness expert” Stephanie Harrison used her studies at the University of Pennsylvania to create a graphic experiment called The New Happy. The project uses data visualization to promote mindfulness and self-compassion through easy-to-digest, stunning imagery that breaks down convoluted emotions.
Her graphics turn complex thoughts into accessible, relatable diagrams that side-step the often unhelpful cliches of self-help messaging to create a lasting impact. While it’s easy to provide advice like, “one small step will help you achieve your goals,” reading and comprehension are two entirely different experiences. Harrison’s project ensures that viewers can accomplish both effortlessly.
Harrison’s formula of straightforward shapes and modern design has resonated enough to earn her hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram. The New Happy is currently also a newsletter and podcast, and will eventually become a book from Penguin Random House. With her intersection of design and philosophy, Harrison has created a valuable approach for anyone to find meaning and happiness in art, regardless of who they are.