“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
This quote by Steve Jobs is actually what inspired this last weeks #HealthyHabits2017 challenge of keeping a happiness diary (you can watch the talk below if you want - it's very inspiring). Mental health issues are the leading cause of people taking time off sick from work. And it’s so very important to make sure your head is healthy so your body can be healthy, and vice versa.
Your wellbeing is effected by many things, your relationships being the main impacting factor, but things like where you live, commuting, money and your health can all have major implications on how happy you are as a whole and that will in turn ripple out into anything you do. There’s a whole realm of psychology dedicated to the science of happiness and it’s called Positive Psychology. I actually read quite a lot of material on it while I was writing my dissertation at university, which was on how design can impact your wellbeing/happiness. I would actually highly recommend anyone who wants to know anything further about it to read the Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt.
The idea is a simple one. We generally know what makes us happy or sad but this way means you get to keep a more accurate record of what your experiences were. At the end of each day keep a small log of how the day went and how your felt throughout it. You could do this on your phone or on an actual calendar. This way you can keep track of how you’re feeling and if you’re feeling sad or stressed for too many days in a row, you can identify what is making you feel like that and then you can take steps towards changing that thing that is having a negative impact on you.
HOW DID IT GO - WERE THERE ANY PROBLEMS?
I actually really loved this challenge though it can be difficult if you’ve had a shoddy day and would rather forget about it. If I hadn’t have kept the diary my week would have actually been a bit of a blur because I spent most of it glued to my computer drawing and that’s basically all I remember. I don’t even remember that much of the drawing even. I recorded most of it on my phone in my notes section and I also kept a record of the overall feeling in my calendar with a little emoji at the end of the day.
I had a pretty boring week because of the drawing but I managed to watch a few good things while drawing which made me feel inspired and as if I had taken something in. I felt frustrated because these drawings seemed to be never ending. I also felt a bit stressed at points but in the good way, where you know you need to get something done so you draw on the ‘get shit done gods’ and just do it, entering the flow state which is quite satisfying. I had a couple of giggles, mostly at my dog for carrying giant sticks. I also felt proud of myself for getting off my butt and exercising for more than half the week and going for hour long walks with the dog. I’ve also had a couple of off days where I felt sad and I noted that it was because of a particular reason and I’ve taken the steps toward dealing with it.
Remembering to do it at the end of each day is a little tough, so sometimes there’s been a catch up the following morning. But like a few of these challenges I might just set myself a little alarm to do it just before I go to bed. You can even buy emotion tracking calendars if that’s your thing.
Next week is no dairy!! I think/hope it’ll be easier than no sugar. See you next week!
Typography by Sagmeister & Walsh