Hey there. I welcome you to yet another Monthly Happiness Report. April, 2015 saw me enjoying a lot of the regular things I loved. I finally recovered from the general dip in my happiness that was caused by a miserable period abroad at a project. I felt like I was really enjoying my normal life again. That is, my happy uneventful life.
I have summarised the happiness data in the table below.
I was really enjoying my basic life in April, 2015. After a lengthy period of below average happiness ratings, I was finally on the up again. The previous month was already very nice, and this month was really just a continuation of that.
I have tracked my happiness throughout the entire month, which resulted in the graph below.
As you can see, my happiness was quite constant throughout the month. I didn’t experience a single bad day, which is always a good thing!
I started the month with a great couple of days. During these days I got to spend most of my time with my girlfriend, friends and family. I highly valued this time, and it resulted in a great start of the month.
The next table shows all my happiness ratings and factors for the month.
Another uneventful month? Great!
Just like the month before, I really just enjoyed an uneventful month. I enjoyed spending time on my passions, which resulted in great happiness ratings. I was happy. It was all very simple.
As a result, there’s not a lot to cover in this Monthly Happiness Report. I don’t even have a single picture to show you. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Why the hell was I still tracking my happiness, then? Well, even if there was not a lot of interesting stuff going on in my life, I found it quite amazing to see that my happiness only increased as a result. I loved my quiet, uneventful life.
“I loved my quiet, uneventful life”
Also, tracking happiness only becomes truly valuable when done consistently. The third step of my happiness tracking method is to just continue doing it day after day. The value of the collected data increases with the sample size.
New adventure looming?
My life wasn’t going to stay like this, however. I heard in April that I was going to be working on another project from the end of May. That project was located in another far away destination: Costa Rica. Yikes! Yay? What was I supposed to think of that?
Didn’t I just survive a miserable period at another project? Was I ready to jump right back into another one? How was I going to prevent my happiness from dropping as much as it did in Kuwait? These questions were on the top of my mind in April.
It was also a big motivator to just enjoy the living heck out of my boring, normal life, for as long as it lasted. It might have been an uneventful life, but I was certainly enjoying it! I tried to spend as much time as possible on my passions and with my girlfriend, and it had a great effect on my happiness.
Positive happiness factors
I have shown my positive factors in the chart below.
This chart really shows the great month I had. It features every single one of my passions!
Just like so many other months, my relationship had a very positive effect on my happiness in April, 2015. We saw each other about 3 or 4 times a week, and it always made me a happier person. 🙂
Alright, sorry, not always. There were actually 3 occasions at which a minor argument negatively influenced my happiness. I think this is rather normal in a relationship.
We may have had a minor argument on 3 days, but we simultaneously enjoyed each others company on a whopping 14 days. That’s a monthly happiness ratio of 4,7. This absolutely confirms that my girlfriend was a positive influence to my happiness in April, 2015.
I also highly enjoyed running outside again. My miserable experience in Kuwait had taught me that my happiness is heavily affected when I’m not able to run outside. Therefore, I really prioritized my running again. And I loved it every single time.
At the end of 2014, I had stated that I wanted to finish a marathon before the end of 2015. That meant that I really had to up my running game. If I was ever going to finish a marathon in 2015, I needed to run a lot more than I had up to that point in the year.
It didn’t feel like a chore to me. I freaking loved it.
I also got to spend some decent time in my home recording studio again. This passion of mine has not been featured a lot in these happiness reports so far. It’s because the nature of this passion is a lot more different than my other sources of happiness.
You see, recording music is something that has tremendous potential when it comes to creating happiness in my life. I love to record song ideas, write simple chord progressions and to create a song from scratch. It can be an absolutely amazing process.
However, the nature of recording music as a happiness factor is very different from my other passions: I need a great amount of inspiration and creativity in order to be happy during the recording of music. However, I can not force these conditions. There’s no way I can sporadically force myself to be creative or inspired. I have tried, unfortunately without success.
“I can not sporadically force myself to be creative or inspired”
So that’s why you’ll never see my music as a huge source of happiness for me. It’s simply because I cannot influence this process. I must let it happen to me.
With that said, April was actually a fantastic month for my music. I had some great musical sessions and was able to record a lot of demos. I still had my personal goal of finishing an album before the end of 2015 (even though I never reached that goal until the end of 2016…). Some of these recording sessions made me feel extremely happy and fulfilled.
Bottom line: the effect of music on my happiness is potentially huge, but unfortunately I can not control if, when and how this occurs. I was still very excited to be able to record some music again!
Negative happiness factors
My uneventful, happy life unfortunately came with a number of negative happiness factors. I have listed these in the graph below.
These negative happiness factors are all relatively normal again. I do want to highlight one of them, however. I already discussed the effects of soccer on my happiness and how it negatively influenced my happiness on some occasions. Well, this month was especially bad.
During the Monthly Happiness report of the previous month, I discussed soccer and its decreasing positive influence on my happiness. The effect of soccer on my happiness was decreasing in April as well, only at a much faster rate.
I actually disliked playing soccer during 3 days of the month. In return, I only got to enjoy it on 3 other days. This is not a great happiness ratio! Why was I spending my valuable time doing something (voluntarily!) that didn’t even make me happier as a result? I remember openly asking myself this question, yet I couldn’t find a half decent answer.
I didn’t want to give up on the hobby that I had practised for such a big part of my life. As a result, I argued that this dip in happiness might only be temporary, just like so many other dips in life.
“I actually got injured during a soccer match”
But playing soccer was different, because I had found a much better substitute in running. Running made me a much happier person, without any dips at all. To further add insult to injury, things worse in April, I actually got injured during a soccer match. This further prevented me from being happy and also disrupted my running ambitions… Why was I still playing soccer? I honestly didn’t know.
I eventually stopped playing, but only after 10 more months. Yes, you read that right. 10 months! As I’m writing this post, I cannot believe I waited so long to stop playing soccer… I hope I can inspire others to really base decisions on your happiness. Why continue with a hobby when you have an infinitely better substitute? This should have really been a no-brainer for me.
This is where I finish this Monthly Happiness Report. I was very glad to see my happiness increase again, especially knowing that the next month was going to be very interesting again. A new and exciting country was waiting around the corner for me!
I must apologise (again!) for the lack of photos during this post. If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer you!
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.