Keeping records of something is an interesting thing. Have you ever attempted to keep a log or a journal to track something? Maybe a food journal, or a weight tracker, or, hell, even a baby book is really a tracking journal of sorts. On a day-to-day level, I find it a pain in the ass. So, I tend to lapse in such endeavors. But when I do keep track I’m always grateful to have the data in the end. Did you make a baby book for your child? Do you enjoy looking at it now? (And if you had more than one child, how much work did their baby book get? I’m a second-born child, and I used to get my nose so out of joint that there were so many more pictures of my older sister than there were of me. Then I had my second child. NO TIME!)
Food journals are always fascinating. You can learn things like “Wow, I seem to reach for sweets every day at 3pm!” or “Hmmm, it looks as though every time I get that rash I ate dairy 12 hours before.” Again, a chore to keep as you’re doing it, but very cool to have the data once you’re done.
I’m currently engaged in my second go-round with a really cool project. It’s called Track Your Happiness and it’s a service to which you can subscribe via iPhone. (Yes, it’s only for the iPhone. Sorry!) There’s an explanation of how it works on the page, but here’s the gist: it regularly sends you text messages which link to a brief survey asking you what you’re doing in that moment and how you feel. It does this for several days, then at the end you get a report showing you which activities and settings seem to make you feel happier.
The first time I did my report, I learned that I tend to be happiest when:
- I’m outdoors
- I’m with two people
- I’m being productive.
I honestly didn’t know this about myself, but I also had never thought about it.
There’s a thing we do in massage therapy that applies to this conversation: we ask clients to rate their pain on a scale from 1 to 1o (with 1 being “barely noticeable” and 10 being “the worst pain I have ever experienced”). Why do we do this? Well, for a number of reasons but one of them is to give the client a record of progress. You see, if they come to me with an injury they’re going to tell me how much it hurts. Let’s say they tell me it hurts at a 7 the first time they come. They come see me for several weeks to help manage this injury. It’s quite common … human nature almost … to say after several weeks “This still hurts. It’s still bothering me. I’m not getting better.” But often what we can do is this: We show them the progression. “You say it still hurts and that you don’t feel like you’re getting better but when we started this series you reported your pain at a 7 and now you’re consistently reporting it at a 3″. You see, it can be easy for the client to lose that perspective. It either “hurts” or it “doesn’t hurt”. But there are gradations. It helps to be able to see that.
That’s why I think this “Track Your Happiness” service is so cool. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can work myself into enough of a snit where I think “I’m never happy! I am always angry and everything sucks!” (Boy, does that look immature and stupid when I type it but I’d be lying if I denied having those dramatic moments.) It’s really helpful to have an impartial service check in and say “Answer a few quick questions about how you’re doing”. Not only does it then record the fact that yes (of course) I have plenty of happy moments, but it also shows me where and when I’m happiest. This allows me to set myself up for happiness, right? I consistently rate my happiness higher when I’m outdoors? Then I will go outdoors more often.
So, what do you think? Are you a recordkeeper/tracker kind of person? Do you think this would be useful for you? What do you guess it would say about when/where you’re happiest? I’d love to read your comments, so enter ‘em below!
Also, today is my birthday. I’m off to eat pizza and cupcakes. YAY!!!!