What Truly Brings Happiness For Me?

For many years now I have meticulously tracked in a spreadsheet all the important things to me that I did that day. It looks like this (and extends out with many more columns and rows):

Today, I decided to correlate one column – Happiness – with each of the other columns. I have rated Happiness on a scale of 1-10 for years each day. I have also rated a number of other things on a scale of 1-10 each day for years.¬† I used Google Sheet’s =correl function to see how Happiness varied in conjunction with other things like sex, workouts, work hours, naps, bed time, caffeine and alcohol use, learning, etc. I applied it for every day of September 27, 2018 through today May 17, 2019… a period of about 8 months.

One important note is that correlation is not causation. I do find it helpful to see what behaviors and daily activities most strongly correlate with happiness though. I also correlated happiness the next day with activities to see which activities cause happiness the day after doing them.

Here are my results:

  1. The activity with the highest correlation to happiness both the day of (0.52) and the day after (0.24) surprised me… it is how well I got along with my wife Laurel. Apparently the saying “Happy wife, happy life” has some real roots!
  2. Going to bed at an early time and getting a good night’s sleep had a correlation of 0.27 same day and 0.23 day after happiness.
  3. The next activity was my workout – the harder workout I did, the happier I was. Same day correlation was 0.24 and day after correlation was 0.09.
  4. The next activity that truly surprised me was Positive Feedback – giving encouragement and appreciation to people around me was strongly correlated with same day (0.23) and next day (0.20) happiness.
  5. Personal Reflection, which is a somewhat blurry activity consisting of how thoughtful I was had a correlation of 0.20 same day and 0.12 next day happiness.
  6. Social interactions were next with a same day correlation of 0.15 and a next day correlation of 0.0.
  7. Learning new things had a correlation of 0.13 same day and 0.16 next day happiness.
  8. Caffeine usage had a light positive correlation to happiness at 0.13 same day and 0.0 next day.

Alcohol usage had a strong NEGATIVE correlation to happiness with same day happiness of -0.13 and next day happiness of -0.26. Apparently I should never drink since I am less happy when I do and much less happy the next day.

Activities with very low or no correlation to happiness included Work Hours, Income Growth, Sex, and Blog Posts.

Published by

Joel Gross

Joel Gross is the CEO of Coalition Technologies.

2 thoughts on “What Truly Brings Happiness For Me?”

  1. Based on your data I think you should also abandon sex, as it is not improving your well being and is therefore a sub-optimal use of time.

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