Happiness audits help us determine our current level of happiness, as well as confirm what makes us happy, unhappy or stressed. Performing a happiness audit is step two in our six-step plan to move you toward a happier life. As a reminder, those steps include:
Perform A Happiness Audit.
Ultimate Guide To Happiness Audits
Happy people pay attention to the things in everyday life that give them pleasure, and the things that are in line with their purpose. Now that we have our purpose statement ironed out, we can determine what makes us happy and try to build more of those items into our daily routine. This requires us to be more mindful of our activities, instead of being mind-numbed robots, moving unthinkingly from one task to the next.
An audit forces you to be more mindful, to pay attention to the things that make you happy, unhappy or stressed. By performing an audit, I discovered that I enjoy my day more if I get a workout in before starting my daily writing. I am more focused and energized, and ready to write after a workout. Plus, the exercise itself lifts your spirits by increasing your production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain directly connected to happiness and pleasure. Additionally, exercise helps you deal with stress in your daily life. When I write before working out, my prose can have an angry edge to it. After working out, sunny prose!
Admittedly, an audit can seem daunting. You may discover that a relationship or your job is the cause of your unhappiness. Leaving a partner, dropping a friend, or launching a new job search can cause great upheaval in your life. So, you will not want to rush into a lot of major life changes at one time.
Let’s get started with our audit. I recommend that you spend at least two weeks performing your audit. A month is even better. This gives you time at work and at home to quantify your happiness, unhappiness and stressors.
You can do this digitally or in analog mode – I prefer an old school legal pad. Make three columns, one entitled Positive, one Negative, one Time. Now, make three rows, one entitled People, one Activities, and one Things.
Under the People row, make a list of everyone you normally deal with during the week. As you deal with each person in the next week or so, make a note of how you feel before, during, and after the interaction. Was it Positive or Negative? Put a check under the appropriate column. Make a note about how much time you spent with them during each interaction. Here we are identifying how frequently are we having positive and negative encounters with people.
We’ll do the same for Activities and Things.
Anything you actively do at home, at work or at play is under Activities.
Things are items that please you, or aggravate and annoy you. A positive for me would be a card sitting on my desk, hand-drawn by my grandson. A negative would be the clutter in my garage. No, make that a big negative. Note to self: clean up the garage. Add up enough of these little annoyances and they can really suck the energy out of you.
You will quickly begin to get a picture of your happiness at home, at work and at play. You’ll identify the people you like to be around, and the ones you don’t. Same with activities and things. Now you can begin to address each proactively. Start with a positive. If you have a friend who always buoys you, try to set up a time to get together on a weekly basis and put it on your calendar. There. You have just scheduled a recurring positive experience.
Next, address a negative. That whiny co-worker of yours is really annoying on a regular basis. What can you do to fix it? Ask to move to another area away from the offending co-worker? See if you can work remotely a couple of days per week? Again, you are taking action to remove the negative and increase the positive in your life. Feels good to be on the road to happiness, right?
Ideally, we want to harmonize your public and private lives. Your happiness should be at a similar level whether you are at home, work or at play. Let us know about the positive changes you are making after conducting your happiness audits.