What it is that really makes me happy

27 Mar

Months ago I had a post, in which I declared my intention to use my latest passion (and currently occupation) to crack down the secret the happiness (see it here). So, I collected some data about myself for a couple of months (I admit I was not persistent enough with it) and all the little things that might affect my well-being on that day. I analysed these data now, after finding some time, and *drumroll* here are the ffindings.

Details I recorded included how well physically I felt during the day, what was the weather like, how productive I was in my job, what kind of sports I did during that day (if any), what type of socializing activities took place, even things I had for breakfast and lunch (I admit I did not vary too much).

The sample was perhaps a non-typical period in my life as I was in the process of looking for a job, and job rejections or positive news on that front did play a role in my happiness level. I rated my own happiness in the morning and in the evening and in my analysis, I looked at both factor individually, as well as their difference. And yes, everything is super biased as technically there is only me in the sample. However, I was mining for some interesting patterns about factors that might be correlated with my happiness. So, sadly the findings do not apply to you or some average, representative population. Or perhaps there might be some coincidences. Overall some expected, some less expected things emerged from my little experiment.

  1. If I woke up in a bad mood, it was likely to be persistent during the day.
  2. Things such as self-rated health, health-related complaints, and even monthly hormonal fluctuations seemed to matter a lot for me (obviously, the healthier, the happier I felt).
  3. As to be expected, if I received bad news in my job search, this made me grumpier, but if the news were good, it would more than compensate any bad news I might have received on the same day.
  4. Doing any kind of sports increased my happiness (the sport activities were mostly running, or if the weather was bad, spinning and some exercises at home). Interestingly, the number of kilometers I ran is negatively associated with how happy I was in the end of the day. So, on a subconscious level I am lazy, I guess (or my body feels better if I don’t overdo it).
  5. If I did any sort of fun activity with other people/ socializing, I’d be happier. However, if the contact was mostly online (say, to some friends who live back home or moved abroad), the sign was negative. What explains this could be that if I am less happy, I might be more likely to reach out to some close friends with whom I communicate mostly online.
  6. Shockingly, the number of drinks I had in a day decreased my happiness in the end of the day. Again, this could be due to the fact that I seldom drink alone, so if this was the case, I perhaps felt gloomy and hoped the drink to cheer me up (we all do it sometimes, don’t judge). I will know better for the future and stay away from the wine and run for the chocolate instead.
  7. Recently I realized how important sleep can be. And the data confirm that if I had nice, long sleep during the night and woke up on my own (uninterrupted by noises and the alarm clock), I felt happier.
  8. As I expected, the hotter the weather was, the less happy I was (I cannot tolerate heat in general).
  9. And inexplicably, somehow omelette or French toast for breakfast make me really happy, but oatmeal or a smoothie really sad. This one is still a mystery to me.

Oh, I guess I should have given a dork alert earlier into this column 🙂


Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Uncategorized


2 responses to “What it is that really makes me happy

  1. Lydia

    March 29, 2016 at 6:31 am

    Nice!!! Something I wonder a about: did you include lags? For myself, I hold the hypothesis that I feel depressed the day after I had a lot of candy, and happy the day after I did sports. Never tested this, though… And about the breakfast: toast and such sound like a more typical weekend breakfast, or at least breakfast on days without having to rush; maybe that accounts for it?

    • violeta

      March 29, 2016 at 7:02 am

      Good remarks!! I did not include lags, though it would be definitely interesting. And I agree about the French toast. The data was mostly collected over the summer when I worked from home more and had more chances to take my time with my breakfast in the morning. I did not mention though that things such as pancakes (which also take more time to prepare) had a negative effect on my happiness in the end of the day. This could be again due to the fact that pancakes for me are like consolation food, so that if I wake up a bit gloomy, I might want to “spoil” myself with pancakes 🙂


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