Lagging Behind – Monthly Happiness Report – August, 2017

Lagging Behind – Monthly Happiness Report – August, 2017

Good day, dear internet friend! Let me welcome you to another one of my monthly happiness reports. This post is going to cover exactly what my happiness looked like in August 2017. This was quite a strange month because I felt like I was constantly playing catch up. I was lagging behind the facts and felt like life was living me, instead of the other way around.

I have tracked my happiness during this entire month, and want to show you what I did right and what I did wrong.

Let’s first have a look at the monthly averages.

This chart shows me that my average happiness rating in August 2017 was a 7,77.

After a busy month of working abroad in July, I managed to increase my happiness slightly. August was a little bit better than the previous month, but still slightly below the average of the past 6 months.

I was back in the Netherlands and tried my hardest to enjoy my routinary life. An average happiness rating of 7,77 is certainly not bad in that regard! I’ve experienced much worse times.

But I still believe I could have been happier in August. I want to show you why.

Let’s have a look at how my daily happiness ratings moved throughout the month. 🙂

Monthly happiness

The chart below visualises exactly what my happiness ratings looked like throughout August 2017. I have sprinkled some comments here and there to add context to this data.

You can see that my happiness during this month was actually pretty consistent. As a matter of fact, I didn’t really experience a single bad day. The worst days of the month were on the 16th and 31st of August and I rated them with a 6,50. I still don’t consider those to be bad days!

The beginning of August was quite uneventful. I continued working in the office after having spent some time on the projects. It was nice to return to a regular 40-hour workweek, but it was still pretty busy. I came home feeling tired quite often during these few days. I already felt like I was running behind on the things I needed to do. My mind was swarming with thoughts, deliverables, deadlines, and things-to-do.

That changed when my girlfriend and I went to Brussels for a weekend. It was a gift my girlfriend had given me for my birthday, and it was really nice to get away from the busy life as a working man. We drove to Brussels after work on Friday the 4th and spent the entire weekend relaxing. Both my girlfriend and I had quite a bit of sleep deprivation, so we were glad to just take it easy. No more tiredness for us!

We also spent a bit of sightseeing in the city. The weather was luckily still pretty good, so we were able to take our time and enjoy the sun. This was pretty important because the few tourist attractions in the city were quite underwhelming. We visited the “highlight” of Brussels: a statue called Manneken Pis, and were completely shocked at how silly it really was. We both didn’t understand how this could possibly rank the highest on Tripadvisor…

The totally underwhelming Manneken Pis in Brussels
The totally underwhelming Manneken Pis in Brussels

Anyway, the trip to Brussels was much less of a sightseeing trip than it was just a weekend getaway. We considered it to be a weekend of relaxation, and it was exactly what we needed! This weekend resulted in the happiest days for me.

Before continuing about the rest of the month, I want to show you every single factor that influenced my happiness in August 2017.

Happiness factors

The table below shows all the happiness factors that influenced my happiness during this month.

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This table shows you what’s been going on in my life during August 2017. You see, in addition to just tracking my happiness ratings, I’ve also tracked every single factor that has influenced the rating. I call these the happiness factors.

So for each day of the month, this table shows you what factors have had an influence on my happiness rating.

The two worst days of the month, for instance, were rated with a 6,5. The first one of these was negatively impacted by stress and boredom. Not only was my day really a bit dull and uneventful, I also messed up an appointment I had made with one of my friends. I forgot one of the things I had to do, which resulted in a  disappointed friend. The stress I got from my mistake negatively influenced my happiness on that day.

The last day of the month was also particularly bad, but for a completely different reason. It was the day after my wisdom teeth removal surgery, so I was still a little irritated because of the wounds. But that was not the true cause of this lower happiness rating. It was actually my work that sucked out most of my energy. It was a pretty negative day in the office, and a relatively small problem took me a LONG time to figure out. This resulted in quite a bit of frustration.

And to add insult to my injury, there was a big traffic jam on my way back home… The result? I got home feeling tired and irritated from my work and the traffic. That explains the happiness rating of a 6,5.

A peek inside my happiness tracking journal

Before I continue, I want to show you another excerpt of my happiness tracking journal! This entry shows you another great example of how I was lagging behind. I wrote the following on Thursday, 10th of August, and I rated that day with a 7,5.

It was a special day. As I’m writing this, I’m super exhausted and tired. Anyway, let’s start from the beginning:

Went to work this morning after having stayed with my girlfriend. I expected to have a really calm and relaxing day, which it was. Spent some time working on small tasks, and just hung around a bit.

At 14:00, I received a message from my brother, asking which train we should be taking for the concert. Concert? What concert? FUCK. That’s when I found out that concert we were going to together was TODAY and not next week. And I even had the event properly scheduled in my calendar, I just forgot to check it! IDIOT!

So I had to cancel my plans with my girlfriend for the night. We were going to visit my grandmother, since she just had a knee surgery. I immediately called her, and she luckily hadn’t received my voicemail yet, so it wasn’t happening anyway. My girlfriend was obviously dissapointed. I left work at 15:00 to visit her for half an hour, and went to my brother straight afterwards (I still arrived late though…)

I was already pretty stressed and exhausted.

When I arrived at my brother, we had to leave immediately to hit the road. 30 minutes bicycle ride to the station, and then 2 HOURS with public transport. I was a LONG time, although it was nice to spend it with my brother.

The concert itself was FANTASTIC. It was sooo much better than I expected. Asgeir Trausti is a beautiful musician, and I definitely want to see him live again. It was actually worth the travel, which says a lot, because the way back was freaking terrible.

We wanted to catch the second to last train back home, so started running back to the trainstation from the concert venue (I drank 6 beers already). Despite our final sprint, we missed the train by just 30 seconds… So we had to wait 30 minutes for the next one. We then missed our proper transfer, so made a pretty big detour. When we finally got back to Rotterdam, we still had to bike our way back. At that moment, it also started to POUR. We were soaking wet when we finally made it back. Had a quick shower, and eventually got to bed at 01:40… God damnit.

I’m writing this the day after, and I feel like shit. I’m sooo tired, I can’t wait to get in bed tonight. God help me.

I think this excerpt shows you a lot of what my life was at the time! This is how I’ve been tracking my happiness for the past 4 years!

August was a pretty strange month because things like these happened on multiple occasions. I managed to forget the simplest things, from appointments to things I should have done. And it caused quite a bit of stress on me.

Luckily for me, the concert on the 10th of August was absolutely great and it made a lot of my stresses disappear. I had been listening to Asgeir Trausti ever since I traveled to New Zealand, and it was wonderful to finally hear this beautiful music live!

A beautiful concert by Asgeir Trausti at a beautiful outdoor venue in the middle of nowhere
A beautiful concert by Asgeir Trausti at a beautiful outdoor venue in the middle of nowhere

I also got to visit my grandmother the day after the concert, which was great. After messing up my appointments YET AGAIN, I felt quite bad for a while. I was failing miserably in keeping my tasks and schedule under control. And I think a lot of it had to do with a big sleep deprivation (more on that later). 😉

Let’s see what happiness factors had a positive effect on my happiness in August.

Positive happiness factors

The chart below shows all the positive happiness factors of August 2017.

After having spent quite some time abroad in July, it was nice to enjoy some quality time with my girlfriend again. We tried our best to do a lot of fun stuff, including our weekend to the capital of Belgium. My girlfriend was a positive influence on my happiness on 13 days!

My girlfriend and I have been very happy together. It’s something I analysed using 3,5 years of happiness tracking data. August was another great month for us together, but it hadn’t always been this good. In fact, we have experienced quite some challenging times together, mainly in the form of long-distance relationship periods. These challenges were really hard and even had the potential to end our relationship.

Luckily, we survived all these periods so we could enjoy the nice and quiet times together.

Trying to relax

I also tried my best to slow down as much as possible in August. My life was really busy at the time, which was part of the reason why I felt like I was lagging behind. I wanted the chaos to leave my head, so made it a point to relax as much as possible. I really enjoyed spending my time after work by doing nothing important. Think about reading a book, watching Youtube videos or playing some music. Sometimes, I did all these things simultaneously.

The point is, I enjoyed these relaxing moments a lot in August. My happiness was positively influenced on 11 days because of this relaxing!

As usual, I tried to run as much as possible as well. Running almost always brings me happiness, and I wanted to cover as many miles as I could. I felt like I had to because I would not be able to run in September at all.

Why? Because I would be road tripping across Scandinavia with my girlfriend for almost the entire month! We had booked this trip earlier in May 2017 and were extremely excited to hit the roads on the 9th of September. September was going to be a spectacular month for us!

But I’ll cover that in the next monthly update. I first want to show you the factors that had a negative effect on my happiness!

Negative happiness factors

The chart below shows all the negative happiness factors of August 2017.

This chart is quite similar to the usual list of negative happiness factors in this monthly series.

I was tired on 8 days in August. This had a negative influence on my happiness. I’ve analysed exactly what kind of influence sleep deprivation has on my happiness. This analysis shows me that I spent the entirety of August with a cumulative sleep deprivation of about 30 hours!

It’s no surprise to me that I was tired so often.

This might have been a big reason why I constantly felt like I was lagging behind. My mind was pretty chaotic and restless at the time, and I think my sleep deprivation was a big cause of it. As a result, I also felt quite stressed on 3 days in August. These things obviously had a bad impact on my happiness.

I think I could have been happier in August if I had focused more on getting good sleep.

I also got my last two wisdom teeth removed at the end of August, which obviously sucked. Still, the operation did not have that much of an impact on my happiness. However, the wounds from this operation would come back to hunt me BIG time. But more on that later!

Closing words

And with that said, I want to end this monthly happiness report! August was a pretty interesting month for me, as I struggled quite a lot with tiredness and a restless feeling inside my head. I still managed to enjoy myself by spending quality time with my girlfriend and relaxing as much as possible.

But more importantly, I was REALLY looking forward to our big road trip across Scandinavia. I’ll cover this entire road trip and what it did to my happiness in the next post!

If you have any questions about anything, please let me know in the comments below, and I’ll be happy to answer you!


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