Welcome to the Monthly Happiness Report of November, 2014! During this month, I continued working on the project on the other side of the Netherlands, and learned something about the hedonic treadmill. The first month of working on the project was really exciting. This month, however, things got a little less exciting. I was adapting to my work, and the daily life that came with it. It didn’t have a positive effect on my happiness.
Below table shows the average happiness ratings for this period.
Notice that my happiness dropped quite significantly when compared to the previous 6 months. It may not seem like a big drop, but this is actually the lowest monthly average happiness rating so far!
The chart below shows my happiness ratings during November, 2014:
My happiness was again quite constant throughout the month. I adjusted to my life on the project, and found a rhythm in my life. It mainly consisted of work, work, work, running, playing guitar, sleep, rinse and repeat. I used the weekends to see my girlfriend. It was all quite uneventful, actually.
The table below shows all the happiness ratings for November, including the factors that influenced it.
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Let’s introduce another measurement metric here: the overall happiness ratio. This ratio is calculated by counting the number of positive factors and dividing that by the number of negative factors.
I count 32 positive factors.
I count 21 negative factors.
Therefore, the happiness ratio for this month is 1.52.
Not too bad, but this is normally much higher! I will discuss this ratio more in-depth in the yearly round-up of all the Happiness Reports.
The chart below shows all the factors that had a positive influence on my happiness during November, 2014.
The biggest contributors to my happiness in November, 2014 were my relationship and work. Just like last month, I liked my work in general, and it positively influenced my happiness. However, the positive effects of working on a project were slowly fading: I was adapting to my work.
Working for the man
I was working as an engineer on a marine project in the Netherlands. I worked approximately 50 hours a week. It was definitely more than the 40 hours I was paid for, but it’s actually not that much considering I was working on a project. I can personally confirm that project are usually quite demanding. It’s a place of stress, deadlines, milestones, clients and unpredictable circumstances.
But this project was actually very nicely organised and managed. There was no stress whatsoever. This meant that I was able to learn a lot, without really facing any kind of stress. It was a very nice experience in general.
I got the opportunity to see a lot of new, exciting stuff. Working on a marine project obviously meant going offshore as well! Pretty exciting stuff for me, considering I was only a 21 year old guy, fresh out of college.
“It felt like I was climbing a building”
I remember climbing aboard a big vessel for the first time. I had to climb a rope ladder of about 7 meters. It felt like I was climbing a building. Man, these things are huge. It was all I could think of. In the meantime, there’s a raging ocean underneath you, and slipping or falling could have fatal consequences. People die during these vessel transfers.
In previous Monthly Happiness Reports, I have discussed how adrenaline made me happy. Well, I wasn’t expecting it, but my work was now giving me some adrenaline as well!
Being on board of these huge vessels was interesting every single time. It was definitely a great change of pace from the office activities. As a bonus, I saw some very nice sunsets during my time spent on board. 🙂
It was the one thing that kept my work interesting, because the project activities in the office were becoming less interesting by the day. In fact, it got a little boring eventually. Every day was basically the same. Hours in the office felt like an eternity, and I was mentally exhausted at the end of a lot of days. Simply from the lack of action and challenge.
So even though my work positively influenced my happiness on eight days during November, 2014, the negative effects were sometimes bigger. Not only did it have a direct negative impact on my happiness on three days, it also caused me the be bored and tired on multiple days as well. Therefore, the total influence of my work during November might not have been as positive as it looked from the surface.
Relationship during the weekend
Working on the project meant that I was only able to see my girlfriend, family and friends during the weekend.
My girlfriend and I experiences a little more confrontations than usual during November. My girlfriend was still in college, and was facing some pretty stressful exams. We also had to communicate via texts during the biggest part of the weeks, which did not improve the situation. When it comes to communicating during arguments, text messages are the root of all evil. Needless to say, this all led to a situation that made me less happy.
To add insult to injury, we had a relatively big argument right at the end of the month.
We celebrated the birthday of one of our mutual friends on the final weekend. It was all very nice, right until the moment that everybody decided it was time to hit the club.
“I absolutely dread clubs”
If you are new to this series, you must know that I absolutely dread clubs. I will do just about anything to not have to go to a club. Call me a little cry-baby, but that’s how I feel about it.
Well, that’s how I felt about it indeed, and I decided to not go with everybody else, and headed home. My girlfriend was not amused – to say the least – and I really couldn’t blame her.
Unfortunately, our relationship suffered because of my decision. My girlfriend was disappointed, and I was left feeling a little strange. Was it really worth this much, you know, to not go to a club? Sure, I would probably hate every moment of it, but was it worth the big argument that my decision caused?
I doubted it.
I tried to remember that next time, I would just go with it, and not create any drama by refusing to join everybody else. I’d rather sacrifice an evening by spending it at a club, than to argue with my girlfriend for a number of days because of my decision. It was just not worth it.
Anyway, I’m not saying my relationship had a negative influence on my happiness in general, I’m only saying that my relationship experienced a small dip in November. I still believe these kind of dips are part of the relationship experience. Every couple faces ups and downs.
I will elaborate on my relationship in a detailed post very soon, where I’ll discuss the specific effects of love on my happiness!
Negative happiness factors
There were obviously some negative factors decreasing my happiness during November, 2014. The chart below shows these factors.
Being bored had the worst effect on my happiness during November. As I mentioned, my work in the office was getting less challenging and exciting by the day.
“It was the largest negative influence on my happiness”
Some might say this doesn’t have to be a negative thing, but I would disagree. Not being challenged in daily life had a pretty big impact on my happiness. Of course, I absolutely love relaxing just as much as anybody else. But it has to be some kind of balance.
Too much relaxing will eventually turn into boredom. At least, that’s how it works for me, It was the largest negative influence on my happiness during November, 2014.
Also, despite me fiercely fighting the possibility of going to a club, I still went to one on the first day of the month. It obviously had a negative influence on my happiness again. It probably also influenced my decision-making near the end of the month, when I decided to not join my friends and girlfriend for once.
I also remember that the winter weather was impacting my daily life. I wasn’t able to run as much as I normally would have. Considering that I wasn’t able to meet up with my friends or girlfriends during the weekdays, I was left to my own hobbies most of the time. Not being able to carry out the single biggest one of them left quite a dent in my happiness as well.
Luckily, the weather still allowed me to run 5 times.
I took this picture at the end of another day at work. I still remember running in this weather. It doesn’t get any better than this kind of weather. Any runner will agree, I’m sure. 🙂
That’s it for this month. If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer them!
Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 7 years.