Monday, November 22, 2010

Quantifying happiness


I have a confession to make pumpkins: I felt a little down this weekend. I got slammed by a cold that I couldn't shake off and had to couch surf for most of the weekend. If you know me, you know I'm not one for sitting still and that I love marzipan. That last part about Marzipan was just an FYI. Accompanying my cold was a bit of despair. I told you it was confession time. I've been thinking a lot about my career lately and what natural talents/interests I can turn into a more fulfilling career. The task of figuring this all out had me feeling really blue this weekend, which got me thinking about happiness and how we quantify it.

I recently read on NPR that Harvard researchers have developed a web app to measure happiness. Volunteers receive messages (via text or email) 3 times a day, asking them how they feel at that moment. Participants receive a happiness report after 50 check-ins that describes patterns in their happiness. I wonder what the happiness report would say about me? Especially this weekend.  

I'm skeptical about reviewing the report after only after 50 check-ins. How do they measure for confounds like sickness? Clearly certain aspects of the methodology are questionable, but I am curious about the results.

I have an iPhone so I'm going to sign-up and report back to you on the findings. Join me! Sign up here.

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out when I am/was the happiest.  

Am I happiest when preparing for trips or adventures, like shown in this photo:

Or am I happiest relaxing on an exotic island with my husband, like shown here:

Maybe I was happiest here, when someone proclaimed their undying love for me and we decided on forever:

Or maybe it was this moment, with all the people we love behind us, witnessing our marriage:

The truth is I'm probably happiest in the first photo. Relaxing and laughing at home with my husband.

When are you the happiest?

1 comment:

  1. I love your blog! :)

    I am most happiest when I have peace and quiet and can actually think! :) Its quite difficult with two young children under the age 5.