Music and Friends – Monthly Happiness Report – November, 2017

Aaaaaand we're entering November! Time for another monthly happiness report. This month was pretty interesting, as my girlfriend went on a 3 week holiday, leaving me in the Netherlands. Therefore, I had to find my happiness in other factors! It turns out I managed pretty well, as November was really just another relaxing month for me. I found a LOT of happiness in my music and friends.

Let's first have a look at my rough happiness figures. The table below shows my average happiness ratings during this period.

November was a pretty happy month for me, with an average happiness rating of 7,86! This is right on the trailing 6-month average happiness rating of 7,85.

2017 had been a great year for me, and I was looking forward to ending the year with nothing but happiness. I want to discuss exactly how I managed to stay this happy in November in this post.

Let's have a look at what my daily happiness ratings looked like!

Monthly happiness

The chart below visualises exactly what my happiness ratings looked like throughout November 2017. I have added a tiny bit of comments here and there to add some context to this data.

Just like the previous couple of months, November showed a really consistent level of happiness ratings. My happiness ratings never dipped below a 7.0, which is one of the reasons why November was another great month for me.

It's interesting, though, since I spent almost the entire month without the company of my girlfriend. She went on a 3-week trip to South America, which also resulted in quite a big time difference between us.

I wouldn't exactly call this a long distance relationship period, as it only lasted 3 weeks. But it's interesting to see that it didn't seem to affect my happiness all that much. At least not from the surface. Some of our previous long distance periods have had a much worse effect on my happiness.

Without the company of my girlfriend, I suddenly had heaps of free time in my schedule. I would normally see my girlfriend about 3-4 times a week, which had a great effect on my happiness.

Now, I had to find something else to do during these times.

Before getting ahead of myself, I'll say that I managed to fill a lot of this time with my friends! I tried to spend a lot of time visiting friends and doing some cool activities together.

For example, I spent a great day with one of my best friends mountainbiking in one of the Dutch National Parks.

Autumn day utrechtse heuvelrug 2017
A beautiful autumn day of mountain-biking in one of the National Parks of the Netherlands

Days like these really had a positive influence on my happiness! I tried to have as much of these days as possible in November!

Anyway, I want to give you a better picture of what more influenced my happiness. I have tracked my happiness on every single day of this month. And part of my happiness tracking method includes the happiness factors.

Happiness factors

The table below shows all the happiness factors that influenced my happiness in November 2017.

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This table shows you a lot of what happened in November. It shows every single day with the happiness ratings and the factors that influenced these ratings. You can see here just how often I tried to hang out with my friends. It was a great way for me to fill the "gap" that my girlfriend left me with! Without my friends, I'm sure I would have been much less happy in November!

A peek inside my happiness tracking journal

Before I explain what the rest of November looked like for me, I want to show you two different excerpts of my happiness tracking journal!

This first entry shows you how I felt during one of the better days of the month, and what exactly made me happy. I wrote the following on Monday, 13th of November, and I rated that day with an 8,10. This was the time where I felt like work was way too busy, and I want to show you how it affected my state of happiness.

Had another nice day. The traffic was terrible this morning, due to a huge crash on the highway. Someone actually died in the crash. What normally takes me 40 minutes took me 1 hour and 50 minutes this morning. Work was alright. I can work at my own pace now, which I really like. I also spent a lot of time just talking to my colleagues. Apparently, I can be social too sometimes.

Drove to Utrecht after work and parked 3 kilometers from the central station. I rode my skateboard the rest of the way, which I freaking love. Had a nice burger with my good friend, before going to the concert venue Tivoli. It was a beautiful night of music. The sound was amazing, and Father John Misty gave an epic show again. I can really appreciate these kind of shows.

Rode my skateboard backt o my car after the show, which was great again. It feels cool to cross a dark and empty city like this. Im still able to land about 25% of my kickflips lol. Makes me feel young!

I'm doing the exact same thing again the day after tomorrow, as the Fleet Foxes will be playing the same venue then. Only this time I'm going with one of my friends from New Zealand. I'm really looking forward to meeting up again. 

Called my girlfriend when I was back home. She's now somewhere in Colombia and it was good to talk to her again. I feel like our relationship is really good at the moment. I love it. 

So there you have it. I found a great deal of happiness in doing fun stuff with my friends, and this concert was a great example.

However, going to this concert caused me to stay up pretty late, even though I had to work early again the next morning.

As a result, I had quite a bit of sleep deprivation the next morning. The effect of sleep deprivation can have a pretty big effect on my happiness. It's something I've analysed using 3 years of my personal sleep data.

It's only logical that I now show you the happiness tracking data of the day after. I wrote the following on Tuesday, 14th of November, and I rated that day with a 7,00. It was the day after the Father John Misty concert. As you might expect, my happiness was negatively influenced by my sleep deprivation. This is what I had to say about it:

I am going to keep it short today: Woke up feeling tired. Work was alright. Pretty busy, but alright. After work, I was just really - really - easily agitated. It started as soon as I got home, and I don't even know why.

I knew I wanted to go out for a run, but that my injury would only come out to haunt me. Stubborn as I am, I went anyway and now regret it. I only ran 3 kilometers in the pouring rain before calling it quits. My upcoming marathon is in danger, and I know it. This injury is fucking frustrating. What to do? I don't know...

After my attempted run, I was just in a bad mood. Even though the rest of my evening was alright. Had dinner with mom and dad, played some music, worked on my website and played some games. I'm probably just tired from yesterday. Going to bed now...

So I went from an 8.10 to a happiness rating of a mere 7.0. My sleep deprivation kept me from being happy, and I actually felt pretty agitated and stressed. Running with an injury obviously didn't help...

I still enjoyed gaming with my friends online, but I could have enjoyed it more had I not felt so tired.

Anyway, I think these excerpts show you quite nicely how I was living my life at the time.

Let's see how this life influenced the positive happiness factors!

Positive happiness factors

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

Before diving into this chart, I want to first mention something interesting: my relationship is nowhere near the top performing happiness factors.

My relationship had been the biggest happiness factors for the previous couple of months, but that was now different since my girlfriend was on a trip abroad. Luckily, I had plenty of other positive happiness factors that filled the missing space, so to say. 🙂

Friends

My friends positively influenced my happiness on 9 days. I made a lot of effort to meet as much of my friends as possible, and it paid of. November was filled with fun activities together: going to concerts, mountain biking, enjoying a drink and playing some games online. Simple stuff, actually.

You know, we didn't always have to plan something exciting. It wasn't required. I had plenty of fun with my friends without even doing something special. And it was great.

If felt great to have these friends, especially since I now had some extra time on my hand.

Father John Misty Tivoli Utrecht November 2017
Visiting another concert of the great Father John Misty

Music

Another huge contributor to my happiness was music.

Now, music has always been one of my biggest passions. I can lose myself for hours when I'm alone with just my acoustic guitar. I'm not even THAT good, I just get lost in playing Radiohead, Supertramp, Fleet Foxes or old rock songs. I had quite a few nights like these in November, and it was great.

In addition, I also spent a GREAT night with one of my best friends playing music together. This happened on the 2nd of the month, and it was one of my happiest days. On this Thursday, I ran straight after work which was nice (I wasn't feeling my injury yet). After completing my run and showering at the office, I went to my friend and we played music the entire night in his home studio. It was fantastic.

If you now add the two concerts that I visited (with friends!), than it might be easy to see why music was one of the biggest positive happiness factors during November.

Anyway, time to continue to the negative happiness factors!

Negative happiness factors

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

Ahhh, like so many other months, my biggest culprit in November was my lack of sleep. My sleep deprivation kept me from being happier on 6 days.

I have discussed my issues with sleep in a lot of detail in my in-depth sleep deprivation analysis. This analysis is easily able to explain what happened to me on the 14th of the month.

Something else happened in November, which also had a pretty big impact: I got injured.

I was struggling with a nasty shin splint in November, and it got really worse after I did a 10K race on the 12th. Even though the race itself was great (I ran it with a good friend again), the injury really worsened after the finish. When I tried running again on the 14th, I had to cut my run short because of the pain.

I was supposed to run my fifth marathon in December! How in the hell was I ever going to be prepared for this monster run when I was suffering from an injury?!!? This injury negatively affected my happiness, and it would continue to do so for quite some time after... More on that later. 🙁

Closing words

That's it for November, guys. Despite the fact that I was missing my single biggest happiness factor, I managed to do quite well in November. And for that, I had to thank my music and friends. I found a lot of happiness in spending time with my good friends and enjoying great music.

December was going to be really interesting, though. I had my fifth marathon planned, and I was suffering from a crappy injury. I wasn't sure whether or not I'd be able to even start, and it was really bothering me.

Luckily, my girlfriend returned from her trip to South America before the end of the month, so at least I was back together with my biggest source of happiness before entering December. I sure was going to need it....

I hope these posts give you a general idea of what tracking happiness means to me. Because I'm tracking my happiness ratings and factors every single day, I am fully aware of what I need to do in order to become as happy as I can be. With that said, I hope I can somehow inspire you to also start tracking your happiness. 🙂

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

Cheers!

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