Can You Measure Happiness? Really.

Are you 90% happy today?
Does it make you feel better than being 60% happy?
In a world where data and analytics are king, we are all confronted with articles, blogs and daily examples of the "quantified self": the knowledge of ourselves through quantified numbers.
How do we quantify happiness? Is there an ultimate "Happiness Score" which can accurately reflect our state of mind about how happy we feel:
- Would this score reflect our "instant happiness" at this precise point of time or over a specified period of time?
- Which dimensions of happiness should it measure? Our happiness to enjoy life and experience positive emotions, our feeling of satisfaction when we create something in a state of flow while applying our best strengths and expertise, our relentless passion to give our time to a truly meaningful cause, ...
Many questions which deserve multiple answers and take us back to our original question: is the attempt of establishing a common measure of happiness truly meaningful? Well, maybe it can be, let's explore the how and what: the true answer is not only in the actual value of the happiness score: 90%, 60% or 10 out of 15, ... Let's see why:
1. Our happiness score becomes an indicator worth watching when we benchmark it against our friends, family, peers or role-models. Behind sheer jealousy, differences in score should be challenging and energizing us to understand what others are doing better, what we could improve. Check you score today, get your free Life Satisfaction report.
2. Like for data, new information are revealed when we analyzing trends and compare data points: how do we score on Friday versus Sunday evening? Does our score change in autumn versus spring? How is it impacted by our activities and relationships?
3. The real value, though, is the details, hidden behind one number: which questions and facettes of our life fills our life with authentic happiness, which ones make us sad, disappointed and fill us with negative emotions? Understanding this is the first step, or descriptive analysis.
The next step is the diagnosis: what are the root-causes for our low and high happiness moments? What are the cause-effect mechanisms? How can we identify daily stressors, which, for instance, do not allow to reach a state of flow and focus on our work?
The third and final step is to prescriptively target the areas of our life where we need to adjust our lifestyle and weekly habits, such as:
- expressing daily gratitude to our co-workers and family
- standing up early on Saturday and enjoy a walk in the nature while the sun is rising
- dedicating part of our time, every week, to a Good Cause like a charity organization
"OK, nice theory, good thoughts and 3 logical steps: where do we start?"
Step 1: Start with a survey such as the Authentic-Happiness score (www.authentic-happiness.com)
Step 2: behind the score, you will also get personalized feedback and recommendations on the specific areas you need to focus on.
Step 3: educate yourself, find out about your weak areas, analyze them, identify best practices, proven tools and processes (www.authentic-happiness.com has over 30 free learining modules).
Step 4: adjust your habits and lifestyle, design your Ideal Week ( see www-authentic-happiness.com free template).
Can You Measure Happiness? Really.
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In the end, implement your newly defined weekly activities and habits, check your weekly progress and re-evaluate your Happiness Score. Did it increase???

The Ideal Week, Your Personal Plan For 7 Days Full Of Authentic Happiness

"There are seven days in the week and someday isn’t one of them."

A nice quote from www marcandangel com to start this blog.
We all came accross the same recommendations from time management gurus, book and theories from famous authors: they are telling us to plan your day, list your activities, prioritize them, reserve time slots to complete them and successfully track your progress.... And there is a myriad of apps and other tools to keep us on track.
Unfortunately, the majority of us experience a different reality: indeed, 41% of us do not believe that we complete our daily todo list very well (source: authentic-happiness.com, free online happiness score, question 14). What does this tell us?
While the approach of listing, prioritizing and scheduling our tasks is fundamentally a good discipline (more on GTD and Eisenhower method in the "Manage Your Time" learning module from authentic-happiness.com), trying to complete our daily t=often turns into a new source of stress, the exact opposite of the original intent. For 59% of us, not completing our tasks means more frustration and a weaker self esteem. Add to this, procrastinating what we could not complete adds up to the pressure of the following day, and so on...
So, the lack of planning is not good, but daily action plans does not really for most of us, a true Greek tragedy! Well, maybe not, let's challenge some assumptions and try again: let's plan for the entire week ahead of us and let's do this on Friday afternoon before the week starts:
  • Apply proven GTD or Eisenhower approaches or any other effective task management methodology you prefer. list all your activities for the following week, prioritize them into 4 boxes:
       * top left, the most important work projects/tasks that you want to accomplish at work
       * below left, other professional tasks,
       * on the top right, your most important personal goals, to include exercising, taking care of yourself and your family, eating healthy food, meeting  with friends, pursuing your passion, anything not business related, ...
       * below right, other personal activities
  • Schedule the most important activities but do not exceed 70% for each. Plan for a lunch break, schedule time for a walk or fitness, etc...
  • During the week, as you think about new ideas and activities to be completed, ask yourself first the question: "Is it critically important to complete those this week?"
       * If yes, schedule them in the remaining 30% time
       * If not, write them down starting with a N for Next week: you will take care of them during your next planning session on Friday.
  • At the bottom of the page, I found it very useful to add the 5 authentic happiness dimensions:
       1. H&S: Health and Sport
       2. PE&G: Positive Emotions and Gratitude
       3. P&F: Productivity and Flow
       4.  S&A: Social and Adventure
       5. M&L: Meaning & Leadership
    I use these as a self-check that my activities and schedule ahead are well balanced.
Want to try??? Visit Authentic-Happiness.com, download the free "The Ideal Week" template and get started.
Please let us know what you think, your successes, your challenges, what worked for you, etc.
Have a productive, meaningful week,
Clara for the Authentic-Happiness.com team


Do Happier People Live Longer?

The response is Yes if we believe the study compiled by worldlifeexpectancy.com about the happiness level versus the life expectancy in 193 countries around the world.
Let’s look at the graph below, there is a clear statistical trend from:
* less happy countries with a score of 160 and life expectancy of 50-60 years
* to very happy countries with an average life expectancy around 80 years
What is our take-away? Live happier, live longer.
Do you know your own Authentic Happiness score? Find out on Authentic-Happiness.com and get free customized recommendation to shape your life and improve your personal happiness score.
Cheers to a long life !!!
www.Authentic-Happiness.com

The Best Tricks To Keep Our Annual Resolutions ?

Ah the good resolutions, great ideas, even better plans, too often lost in a sea of good intentions! How often can you keep them longer than a month? 2 months maybe? 4 at best? If you are able to stick to them for the whole 12 months ahead of us, this article is probably not for you. You likely have your own secret, and you know how to make it work.
If not, read the next 3 paragraphs.
1. Looking for more happiness in your life, start with a short questionnaire to evaluate your Authentic Happiness score. With 15 questions, it will give you a first indication of how well you lead your life, shape your habits and design a lifestyle to maximize happiness. For each of your sub-optimal areas, you will get customized recommendations to find out more about these specific areas and if required, take a more thorough test.
2. What comes next is to define what makes a good annual resolution:
  • Distinguish between what is important -and less important-, versus urgent -and less urgent. This is the essence of the Eisenhower method (see the “Manage you time” learning module in www.Authentic-Happiness.com)
  • Use words to visualize your objectives: the Vision Board is a very effective tool to sort out your thoughts (find out more with the "Develop Your Life Vision" or "Get Active" learning modules).
  • Make sure that your resolutions are meaningful connected to your personal vision and objectives. Check out the “Life Meaningfully” learning module.
3. Finally, now that you are done with developing your annual resolutions, how do you make sure that you will stay on track?
A sure way to stay involved is to use mobile technology. Some examples:
  • Mobile application such as fitbit counts your daily steps to keep you in check. Competing with yourself month after month will help you stay fit & healthy.
  • Another example is the “Way of Life” app: by investing less than a minute daily to track, identify and change your habits with Way of Life's unique red/green colour system, you will get daily help to reshape your “good” habits and forget the “bad” ones.
  • Other applications like Lift makes you feel as if you have a personal coach in your phone: 24x7 and for 365 days. This will give you free guidance, motivation, and tracking for 100,000 different goals.
  • Do you want to discover more apps to track your resolustions, visit www.Authentic-Happiness.com, “Track Your Progress” page.
In summary: To give long life to your resolutions, make sure that they will fully contribute to shaping a better life and that they are meaningfully connected to your goals and vision. Finally, search for the right apps, test them and select the ones that will help you stay on track for “the whole nine yards”.

What Is Your Authentic-Happiness Score?


Is Your score? 15 15

Congratulations, you must be a very happy person !

If not, you will receive customized recommendations to shape your life. Apply them, develop new habits and behaviors and take the test again.

The Authentic Happiness score reflects how well you shape your lifestyle, habits and behaviors to maximize happiness.

Try it, it is free on www.Authentic-Happiness.com


Wishing you a healthy, productive and meaningful New Year in 2014,