5 Actions That Made Me Happier

Happiness is not universally quantifiable but money is. At some point in my life I raced towards money because I could measure it. When I noticed it wasn’t making me happier I set out to make happiness my main goal. Here is a list of actions I took.

1. Reduced Commute Time

Commuting is a side effect of many jobs and sadly the higher the salary the more commute time we’re willing to do. Finding ways to shave off commute time has a proven benefit as measured by this study (PDF).

When changing jobs wasn’t a possibility I used public transportation and got an internet capable cellphone so I could deal with paperwork related annoyances during the commute. Instead of trying to find time at home I’d deal with them while in traffic. I also borrowed and bought a few books.

Today my job allows me to work from home and my commute takes about 38 seconds. I still need to commute a few days a week but I can choose to take the car and avoid rush hour traffic.

2. Removed Small Frustrations

I start every day by making some tea. I had this cheap kettle that would randomly turn off on me. One day after pouring cold water over tea leaves I decided to drive to the store. Now every morning I look at the testament of a foregone frustration with a smile from ear to ear.

Removing frustrations can be as simple as moving the furniture or spending a few bucks.

3. Played Sports

A Harvard University study started in 1937 that spanned 72 years determined that healthy play can relieve daily frustrations making us happier overall.

A few years ago I joined a volleyball team and now I play a minimum of once a week.

4. Attended Regular Meetups

Would doubling your income make you happier? Well it turns out that seeing a group of people that meets just once a month provided the same benefit as doubling your salary.

Once I started digging I found out that Montreal was vibrant and full of user groups and programming language enthusiasts that meet regularly. I’ve met some really interesting people through these groups and some of the contacts even helped me professionally.

5. Drank Socially With Co-Workers

When work sucks your life sucks. A good team feels comfortable cracking a joke to the CEO. Imagine how many valid concerns are not expressed if a team has to worry about everything they say.

Good communication is perhaps the reason why those who occasionally have a single drink after work with colleagues make significantly more money on average than those who do not drink at all. Team members who do drink are probably made aware of problems and can resolve situation before they occur. It’s a different setting and we all know that a little alcohol can make shyness go away.

So it’s perhaps a stretch to make this point but seriously having a drink has some beneficial effect on the time you spend at work and that can’t all be bad since you’re there a good portion of your day.


Did anything make you happier lately and want to share?