Mapping my happiness with Mappiness
Self Quantification, also known as Personal Informatics, also known as Self Hacking (my preference) is going to shake up how we as individuals live our lives. Quite a profound statement, yes, but one I believe in. Technology has broken down another barrier and democratized what was once only attainable by the likes of top athletes with lots of cash to spend on high-end tech and equipment.
Smartphones, tablets and their accompanying apps are the new tools to allow us to not only track but to measure and quantify anything about ourselves. Be it our mood, stress levels, how much sleep we get each night, how far we walk each day, our blood pressure or how much time we spend writing emails each day.
Anything we want to track we can quite easily and we can also make correlations between multiple measures. For example, if you’re measuring both your mood and your carbohydrate intake, perhaps the reason you’re feeling a little low on Tuesday is because you had a low carb day the day before and your body is having to replenish the missing nutrients.
The example above is basic but the crux of self tracking from a health and well-being point-of-view is to record how our bodies are performing which gives us the information we need to make adjustments because the narrative is in the data.
For the last 50 days I’ve been testing an iPhone app developed by the London School of Economics called Mappiness. You can download the Mappiness app here or on your iPhone. Twice a day I’m prompted by the app to let it know how stressed, awake and happy I’m feeling at that moment. It then asks me where I am, who I’m with and what I’m doing. The app’s been designed to prompt you at random times of the day for (needed) inconsistency.
Over time the app builds a picture of your general mood through the week. I’ve responded to the app 100 times which I think is adequate enough to look at the data.
Which days am I happiest?
No surprise that I’m happiest on a Saturday. Interestingly I’m just as happy on a Wednesday than I am on a Friday. I’ve never particularly liked Sundays. Or Mondays for that matter.
What time am I happiest?
It seems 3 o’clock in the afternoon is my happiness sweet spot. I’m usually a night owl so the peaks around 9 and 10 o’clock explain that. And, yeah, I’m not a happy bunny at 6am.
I like that this chart is fairly even. It illustrates that I’m consistently happy wherever I am. There are no peaks and troughs based on my location. The signs of a level head (I hope).
With whom am I happiest?
Again, a fairly level graph in terms of with whom I’m with when I’m happiest. I’m a bit surprised that I’m slightly happier alone than I am with friends or colleagues. Thinking about it, however, I spent three and a half years working pretty much on my own so perhaps it’s not that surprising I like my own company.
Mappiness is tracking thousands of people from around the UK who, like myself, have opted in to provide their data. There’s a map of the UK that you can use as a barometer of the country’s happiness levels. Granted there are limitations because it’s only available on the iPhone so you only receive a certain demographic’s data. However, using it personally is a good indication of your own happiness.
And I’m quite ‘happy’ with the result.