Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I recently signed up with Track Your Happiness. That means I'm now an official participant in the Harvard Happiness Study. If you don't know about the study, check out this story from the Atlantic Magazine. Fascinating stuff, and so American, isn't it? Talk about the right to pursue happiness! Oh Thomas Jeff, are you smiling at us? Ha.
Three generations of Harvard researchers have worked relentlessly to understand the mysteries of happiness. I find this encouraging and kind of funny. The history of the project is interesting. In the 30s and 40s when the project began, they only studied the lives of successful white men - of course! Sometime during the 60s or 70s it occurred to the second generation of researchers to expand the focus, include a variety of people. Now the new generation of scholars is conducting study through an app for the iphone, thereby including virtually everyone, well, anyone who has an iphone. The study of happiness has adapted to the Age of Aquarius. I love it!
One unexpected benefit of joining the study is that the prompts and mini-surveys I receive every day make me actually stop to think about what I'm doing at that exact moment, whether that activity/thought form/behavior is satisfying. I'm asked to notice whether or not I'm happy to be engaged in my regular life. I usually attach happiness to either special events, like a vacation or special dinner date, or in general. Am i happy in general these days? Yes! But it's interesting to look at the mundane events - do the small moments of this or that make me happy?
I'm finding out a lot about what does and doesn't add to my happiness. Really cool! If you have an iphone, click on the first link above and join. If you don't have an iphone yet, I highly recommend you get one as soon as possible.
Life is short. Why not?