How Happy Are You

How to identify and improve your happiness level.

I have been thinking about happiness for awhile now. Growing up I wasn't happy a lot of the time. Life was difficult and that made happiness hard to come by. Now for those of you that know me, that doesn't mean I was never happy. Grade school was rough and so was junior high. Of course, I don't think many people are happy when in junior high. I was pretty happy in high school.College and forward has been a roller coaster with my happiness levels.

When I think of happiness, I think of happiness in certain aspects of my life as well as an overall happiness. Overall, I would say I am a 6 maybe a 6.5 on an emotional scale of  0 to 10. I would like to be around an 8. I know that it isn't possible to be an 8 all of the time, but I think 8 is a reasonable goal for most of the time. Additionally,  I would like to be there in 3 months.

  • Think about what your overall happiness is and place it on the scale. Then pick a goal score for yourself.  I would recommend no more than a 2 point jump as your short term goal.

Why only a two point jump? Because improving your emotional state requires change. Some people handle change well. But for others, it can be stressful. And you can't move up the emotional scale if you are over stressed.

  • Now it is time to breakdown your happiness into subsections. Pick and choose which areas need the most improvement and what you can do for that improvement.  

Here are my happiness sectors that I have identified: marriage, school, job, friendships
Right now I am pretty happy with school, so I will focus more of my attention on other areas. Friendships right now is at like -10.... so that is an area that I want to focus on. Also, my marriage is important so that is another area that I want to focus on.

What can I do to improve my happiness in those areas? Perhaps be a bit more friendly with my classmates, go out when I am invited with old work friends, go to more Yelp Elite events and Meetup group events.... For my marriage this is a harder task as my husband and I have nothing in common besides our love for bacon. We can go out to dinner or bowling. In fact, I bought 4 Groupons so we have reasons to do things together besides watch Fringe on Netflix.

  • What makes you happy overall?

So now I am going back to me, overall. What makes me happy?  You could do it the other way but I just went with the way my brain processed the concept of happiness naturally.  Things that make me happy: green, polka dots, shopping, traveling, going out to eat, singing in the car, my cat Taco, doing crafts...

Obviously I need to do more of those things. Sometimes life makes that hard. Traveling is hard because of school and the cost associated with it. My husband doesn't get paid vacation time so an inexpensive trip's costs goes way up when you add what income we would be losing. Shopping I can do, when I have the money. Pinterest is like window shopping the entire Internet. Crafts, my cat Taco, and singing in the car can be done no matter my financial situation.

Hopefully, this happiness post can be of help to someone besides me. I will say that I am not a professional. I have no happiness degree. So all advice comes from my own experience.  I would love to hear if you enjoyed this post.  I plan on sharing my progress. Feel free to share yours!

Also, I really recommend reading this book. It was really good and super helpful at making me think about my happiness.

 Update 3/24/15 : It has been a long journey for me in my quest to increase my happiness. While there are some days that are better than others, I am pretty happy with life right now. Of course I must have to attribute my new found happiness to the birth of my son. I've never known such love and happiness until he was born. 

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