Friday, February 21, 2014

The Happiness App

What a wintery winter we have had this year.   It actually has properly served me, though.  By that I mean that it fits comfortably with my desire, no, make that my need to hibernate.  If it is bitterly cold and there is precipitation, particularly if it is of the freezing type, well who would want to leave the house?

Oh, there have been a few warm days.  That’s because we’ve had munchkin visits.  It’s hard to maintain a somber mood when there are magical little people giggling and running around.

Last week one day, the sun came out, and so did we, go out that is.  While we were in the car we were listening to NPR's Guy Raz from the Ted Radio Hour. He was speaking with social scientist Matt Killingsworth, who has developed the Happy App. (To find the app, go to Track Your

The gist of the story was that Mr. Killingsworth’s app, which can be downloaded on your smartphone, asks subscribers to answer a series of questions that are sent to the user three times a day.

The purpose of the research is to try to find out…

"to what extent are richer people happier, are people with children happier, are unemployed people less happy, etcetera. But it's hard to know for sure what's causing what and it's ever harder to know what can people actually change and have an impact in their lives.

Basically, I was quite sure that I was not “happy” most of the time.  I am not even sure that there is such a thing.  What is “being happy”, anyway?  I have moments when I feel content, peaceful and satisfied.  Is that happiness?

I was intrigued and interested in the study.  So I signed up.  

So far I have answered 14 samples.  I am 28% closer to finding out how my happiness varies depending on what I was doing, who I was with, where I was, what time of day it is, and a variety of other factors.

I am curious to find out the results of what is or isn’t affecting my “happiness”.

The first question that is always asked is “How do you feel right now?” 
There is a marker range which you can slide from “not at all happy” at one end to “extremely happy” at the other end.

It’s been a personal revelation that I have, in fact, never answered “not at all happy.”  And actually there have been one or two times that I slid that marker a little past the mid point towards the extremely happy end.

One thing that raises my spirits tremendously is that at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9, 2014, our clocks will move an hour ahead (or spring forward) to begin daylight savings time.   More daylight means more vitamin D, which means less S.A.D. 

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