Tracking happiness across 2020

Insights from a year of tracking happiness, supporting Asian women, money, and emotional intelligence

Hi friend,

As part of my daily journaling, I started to track my happiness each day. While I can’t seem to remember where I was inspired by, I recall the author had done this activity to identify joyous moments and actions where they should be investing more time.

There are countless trackers out there that log a wide array of data points. I found that the more complex it was, the more difficult it was to implement each day. So instead, I tracked a single metric each day — happiness on a scale from -2 to +2, with -2 being terrible days and +2 being incredibly awesome days.

Overall, my year was pretty happy. Even amidst a pandemic, I found each day to be extremely rewarding being able to spend time working on a variety of projects that meant a lot to me. Although there are a lot of greens, my barometer for a +1 or +2 ranking was based on a question, “would I be happy if this day repeated again?” If I was apathetic towards the day, it would receive a 0.

I attribute a lot of my “base” happiness to mindfulness and meditation. The deeper I’ve gone into the practice, the happier I was each day. For example, taking a look at my 2019 chart:

My overall happiness increased throughout the year, possibly directly correlated to the meditation retreats that I went on. The days when I had a solid meditation session of my own generally ended in a good day.

But back to 2020…

Some insights coming out of my 2020 chart:

  • Overall happiness increased compared to 2019

  • My extremely happy days were centered around career accomplishments, connecting with friends and family I love, and resting and vegging out.

  • Resting is something I deprioritize due to work all the time but realize now how meaningful it is to me.

  • My spending habits had no impact on my personal happiness score. I was happier spending money on others, but they did not make the most joyous days.

  • My extremely unhappy days were all centered around how others treated me, both at work and in life.

  • My unhappy days generally ended a day later, but the only time it continued was when I could not escape from an abusive work situation. (Time does heal all wounds)

If you would like to try this out for 2021 and beyond, I’ve made a replica of this on Google Sheets. I have this integrated as a part of my daily journaling prompts and pull the data about once a week. You can also track your daily happiness in the calendar of your choice as day-long events and pull the data into the sheet on a weekly or monthly basis. I like to add notes on the days that scored either +2 or -2. It helps a lot when looking back. If you do try this out - let me know how it goes!

When are we the most joyous?

And how do we begin to structure our lives to lean more into these moments?


What I’m up to

For Asians: Asian American support group on Sunday, 12/27

For queer POC: QTBIPOC Design is hosting an Among Us play party on Saturday, 12/26 at 5:00p PT, 8:00p ET (email me if interested to join)

For queer POC: Figma Masterclass Part 2 on Tuesday 1/12

For queer Asians: Gaysian support group on Sunday, 1/24


Supporting Asian Women

For any last-minute gifts, the Cosmos published their holiday guide celebrating Asian women.

The soul of money

Recommended by one of my friends, The Soul of Money follows one of the leaders of The Hunger Project (a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating world hunger) and the lessons they’ve learned through charity work and fundraising.

Really loved the author’s take on the purpose of money and humanizing it. Surprising insights: (1) there are enough resources in the world to provide food and shelter to everyone in the world - we just can’t have it in excess individually and (2) if we can align the purpose of money with the giver and recipient, it can have a great impact to both individuals.

(We’ve had the resources to feed 10+ billion people in this world for many years now, but we still lose about 25,000 people to hunger each day)

Emotional intelligence

As always, thanks for reading!

P.S. If you enjoyed this, share or sign up here: mindfulmoments.substack.com

Anything else? You can always hit "reply" to email me directly. 💌

Have a beautiful day!

Metta (loving-kindness),
Steven

Yellow Glitter Podcast | IG | YT | FB | TW | StevenWakabayashi.com