Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Happiness Experiment - Week 2 Report

Michael Salsbury
For Week 2 of the experiment (January 10-16), I was on vacation in Curacao.

I continued the experiment there, with in-person expressions of gratitude to the staff at the resort where we stayed, when they did something unexpectedly kind or helpful.  The server who brought my dessert on my birthday asked the trumpet player to play for me and had the chef write "Happy Birthday" in Magic Shell chocolate on the plate... as one example.  I tipped her, of course, but also thanked her and let her know I appreciated her efforts and those of the others.

My pain level during the middle of that week dropped to a 3 out of 10, the lowest recorded level during the experiment to date.  This tells me that stress and being cooped up in the office seem to contribute to pain levels.  My pain levels during and after the return trip have been consistently high.

My happiness level, unfortunately, wasn't measured during the vacation.  I can tell you that I was very relaxed and comfortable there.  I suspect if I had taken the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire during the trip, it might have registered a little higher than normal.  The average level since the start of the experiment is 2.3 out of a possible 6, which is labeled "somewhat unhappy" by the test creators.

As I write this on January 21, the last few days' pain levels have been trending up.  The latest Happiness Questionnaire number is 2.21, lower than the to-date average of 2.3.  The expressions of gratitude don't seem to be doing anything for my happiness, though there is a possible correlation to pain levels.  Pain levels also appear to correlate to stress.  We'll see if this continues in the days and weeks to come.

About the Author

Michael Salsbury / Author & Editor

In his day job, Michael Salsbury helps administer over 1,800 Windows desktop computers for a Central Ohio non-profit. When he's not working, he's writing, blogging, podcasting, home brewing, or playing "warm furniture" to his two Bengal cats.


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