Work Happiness Tip – Keep Track of Your Mood

mood-journalEvery week I like to bring you a work happiness tip that can help improve your mood, relationships, productivity, or reduce your stress. The idea is to put you back in the driver’s seat. This week’s tip: Keep track of your mood.

For a whole month I kept track of my mood and recorded it every morning, afternoon, and night. I added it as a chapter in my soon to be released book.

For a month I rated my mood three times a day to discover how I actually felt. My rating was on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being severely sad and 10 being so amazingly happy that I could barely contain my joy.

I was surprised by the results.

Here is an example of one day:

M

A

N

Avg

Notes

8/5/2009

4

7

7

6.00

Sleep is very important to my happiness.

I averaged a 6.73 over 30 days.

This somewhat low score didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was my conclusion after the month was over. I realized that happiness is nice, but consistent happiness is unattainable. A smarter method is just to be with my emotions.

On August 5th I woke up feeling awful. I wanted so desperately to go back to sleep. I couldn’t because I had to go to work. At this time my son had only been in the world for about a week. The adjustment was intense.

Upon looking back over the month, I realized that I felt a lot happier than the 6.73 indicated because all of my experiences were interesting. I may not have been dancing on table tops with a big grin on my face, but I was never bored.

I realized that I needed to reframe what being happy meant to me, especially at work.

Do you notice yourself wanting to feel happier at work?

Do you notice that if you take the time to look back on a situation and give it some space, that you were happier than you realized?

Let’s chat in the comments section.

* Need a boost to your work happiness? Then check out the Happy at Work Project and start one yourself.

* Naomi over at Ittybiz wrote a brilliant piece called The One Thing You Have To Know About Sales Pages. I don’t use brilliant very often, but this is a fantastic piece. If you write copy in any shape or form this is a great article to learn from.

If you enjoyed this post then you will probably like this one too:

- Creating A Project Ritual to Encourage Happiness

Image courtesy of coleypauline

Comments

  1. Hi Karl

    That is something! I love that you kept track like that of your emotions for 1 whole month! What better way to be conscious and put yourself in the moment to see where you really are. Too many people just brush off their feelings and emotions, only to have them re-surface much worse at usually an inopportune time.

    You know I heard from a few people now the idea that “constant happiness is unattainable” – I still am not sure how I feel about that, but the one thing I also heard that really resonated with me is, “constant happiness may not be attainable at all times, but constant peace is”

    So we may not be “thrilled” about a particular situation, but we can be at peace with it, and that really works for me and plays out in my life daily.

    Thank you for this valuable post!

  2. Hi Karl! What an interesting experiment. It could be that this is just semantics here but I focus on my vibrational level rather than the word “happiness”. When I start out my day in a high (positive) vibrational level (energy/attitude level) with a big infusion of gratitude, I strive to stay up there, and DO, about 99% of the day, regardless what happens around me. If I use the word happy/happiness in retrospecting my day, then yes, wow, I’m there!

    • Hi Suzen, I also like your idea of looking at life from a vibrational level standpoint. I think it’s easier to have good energy and attitude than “feeling happy.” Many times we think that happiness means feeling giddy. Not always so. We can feel at peace (like Evita said in her comment) and not necessarily feel happy. Just because we aren’t smiling it doesn’t mean we aren’t feeling good.

  3. I like your idea about “reframing” one’s definition of happiness. Without that ability it is probably difficult to enjoy whatever life is currently presenting you with.

  4. funny that this is your post today. I spent all day, for the first time in a long time, working home alone – writing, creating, catching up. And I just got off the phone with my husband who said, “How was your day”. My day wasn’t bad, I got a lot done, but what I realized is…I much prefer being around people. So in the future I can spend say 3 hours alone, writing, etc and then get out and network or connect with others in some way. Even though I love what I was doing all day, my mood “missed people” and I didn’t necessarily “feel happy’”. If that makes any sense! For me that means I was lonely. Some say attitude comes down to basic needs…food, water, shelter, clothes, connection to people.

    Good food for thought!

  5. Hi Karl,

    It appears that your experiment led you to similar a conclusion to a couple of texts and quotes that I’ve read about seeking/finding happiness. I seem to recall reading a quote to the effect that the quickest way to become unhappy (or lose happiness) is to be constantly pursuing it. I also seem to recall a paragraph or two in a book (The Mindful Way through Depression)co-authored by Jon Kabat-Zinn that if we are constantly comparing where we are (in life, with our mood, etc) compared to where we want to be, the focus on the gap between what is and what we want can create a fair amount of discontent if then get into judging where we’re at. By noticing our mood and then just being with it in a compassionate way, the “down” or “discontented” mood will often dissipate of its own accord and while one may not be ecstatically happy, one is more likely to gain a sense of peace and contentment–as your experiment showed you, and as several of your other readers have observed.

    I definitely do agree, though, that being aware of one’s own and others’ emotions and acknowledging them certainly helps one’s intra and interpersonal relationships in any setting. I know many old school managers hold the view that emotions and interpersonal dynamics have no place in an office but failing to acknowledge and deal compassionately with our all too human moments actually has a more disruptive impact on productivity and morale than being consciously aware of and responding to these factors.

  6. Hi Karl . Your experiment interests me . I would surely follow this soon and check my status . I still don’t work . But I’ve heard a friend of mine asking me tips on how to be happy at work when joining her first job . I brainstormed and got some simple ideas . you can check them here
    http://hubpages.com/hub/Stay-happy-at-work-The-realistic-way

    I’m not experienced yet . So I’d like to know if the ideas I put in the link above hold good or not .

    cheers !

  7. Hi, Karl,

    I know this is an old blog post, but the topic is as important this year as it was last year. I’m currently working on an application called MercuryApp (www.mercuryapp.com) which focuses on this idea.

    We found that tracking both your emotions and how you feeling about specific things can also help you make better decisions. As you found, keeping track and being able to view your feelings over time can help you really see what is important to you and help you remap what it means, as well.

    Since you are interested in these topics, I thought I’d tell you about our application. Thanks.

    -Corey Haines

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