What is a happiness factor?
The answer to this question is really simple. A happiness factor can be ANYTHING that has a significant influence on your happiness.
Allow me to explain:
If I go to work and I have a terrible day and it stresses me out, then my work is a happiness factor. My happiness was affected by my work, so I know that work is one of my happiness factors.
A happiness factor is something that happens to you that significantly influences your happiness on a given day. This could be an activity (like work, or running), an event (like a party or Christmas) or a feeling (like feeling inspired or restless).
This means there is a practically endless list of happiness factors that could influence you. And this list obviously differs for every person out there!
What are my biggest happiness factors?
I have been tracking my happiness for the last 5 years. Each day, I have briefly reflected on my day and determined which factors had the biggest influence on my happiness.
This covers about 90% of the very simple method I use for tracking my happiness.
In order to give you an idea of what kind of happiness factors have influenced my life over the past 5 years, I have created a word cloud of these happiness factors.
This word cloud shows all the factors that have had a significant influence on my happiness. You can clearly see which happiness factors have influenced my happiness the most often. This word cloud shows a lot of what my life looks like and what my hobbies and interests are.
For example, you can see from a quick glance that my life consists of a lot of the following things:
- My relationship
These are some of my biggest positive happiness factors.
They also tell a lot about what kind of person I am.
But you'll also notice some big red happiness factors, which are obviously the biggest negative happiness factors in my life.
I call these happiness factors my biggest happiness nemeses:
- Emotional instability
Wait... What is my relationship doing on this list?
It turns out that this positive happiness factor can also have a negative influence on my happiness!
This happened a lot when my girlfriend and I were struggling in a long-distance relationship.
Positive and negative happiness factors
It's important to know is that any happiness factor can be both positive and negative. My work can either stress me out on some days or make me feel productive and inspired on others. Work can have a positive and negative effect on my happiness.
And it is important to be aware of that.
Therefore, whenever I track my happiness and the happiness factors that influence it, I take the time to determine both the positive AND the negative happiness factors.
If you scroll back up to the word cloud, you will notice that I used different colors for each happiness factor. The color I used in this word cloud actually reflects how often that happiness factor has been positive or negative. If a happiness factor has been primarily positive, then the color is green. If the happiness factor has been mostly negative, then the color is red. Both positive and negative happiness factors are displayed in a shade of blue.
Why you should be aware of your happiness factors
It is important to be aware of what factors influence your life the most. By creating a single word cloud with color-coded happiness factors, you basically know exactly what your life is really about.
Well, if you take a look at my own word cloud, you'll notice the following things within a matter of seconds:
- My relationship, running and relaxing have a very positive influence on my happiness. These are my top performing happiness factors.
- I'm tired pretty often, which has quite a bad influence on my happiness. This is currently my worst happiness factor and I need to focus on improving this part of my life.
- Overall, the word cloud shows more green than red, which means that my happiness is significantly influenced by mostly positive factors.
Or should I say, I allow my happiness to be influenced by mostly positive happiness factors?
How happiness can become a choice when you are aware of your happiness factors
I believe happiness is not entirely dependent on the happiness factors itself, but also on the way you react to them.
And this is a big part of why I believe tracking your happiness is so important.
If you know what factors are most likely to have a negative influence on your happiness, then you are better equipped to fight those negative factors. You can do this by either avoiding these negative happiness factors, or you can try to change the way you react to those factors!
Tracking happiness allows you to become much more self-aware of the things that influence you on a day-to-day basis. You can control how certain factors influence your happiness.
If you are stuck in traffic every day because you need to get to work (join the club!), then that might have a negative influence on your happiness.
But what if I told you that you can actively change your mindset about this seemingly negative happiness factor?
As you can see, traffic is a re-occurring negative happiness factor for me. But let me tell you, I am stuck in traffic much more often than I let it affect my happiness.
I always try to focus on the good things when I am stuck in traffic. When I'm stuck in traffic, I'll either try to give my girlfriend a call, or I listen to a great music album. This is how I can focus on one of my positive happiness factors instead of a negative factor!
And that's just one example of how this self-awareness allows me to actively improve my happiness by making conscious decisions.
I hope I can inspire you to think about your own happiness like this as well.
Happiness factors are just a part of the equation that determines your happiness. It's your own mindset that makes up for the rest of this formula.
Combining your happiness factors with your own mindset is something that we should all be aware of. And knowing about what factors influence YOUR happiness the most is the first step in creating a better sense of self-awareness.
I hope you take action right now. Take control of your own life - and your happiness factors - and start tracking your happiness right away!
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Who runs Tracking Happiness?
My name is Hugo, and I'm from the Netherlands. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, a passion for data and statistical analysis and am an expert in happiness.
I've tracked my happiness every day for 5 years in a row. And I'm now using my knowledge to inspire you to prioritize your happiness. You see, I'm a strong believer in what gets measured gets managed. I want to show you what I - and many others - have learned while tracking your happiness.
My Happiness Essays have reached thousands of people around the world and have been shared in many places.
With my data, I have inspired hundreds of others to also track their happiness. And I'm hoping this number will only grow more!