Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Happiness is subjective

How happy are you? Dr. Oz wants to know. You know who he is, right? The doctor dude that shows up on Oprah occasionally and talks about poop and ingrown toenails and other inappropriate topics. The one who doesn't wear a t-shirt under his scrubs. Sorry, that's a personal preference but it really annoys me when a guy is walking around in a v-neck scrub top without a t-shirt under it.

OK so back to happiness. How happy are you? Dr. Oz has a couple of handy little tools to help you assess your happiness, in case the thought that you might be low on the happiness scale is keeping you up at night. Here's a sample question. You are supposed to select the number on the scale that represents your level of happiness on the "Subjective Happiness Scale"...

1. In general, I consider myself (circle one):

Not a very happy person -- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 -- A very happy person

Hmmm. I need my happiness scale to be a little more defined. Something like...

1. In general, I consider myself (circle one):

ecstatic jubilant joyful convivial cheerful perky chipper pleasant upbeat optimistic realistic disagreeable fretter bellyacher malcontent pessimistic surly curmudgeonly miserable morose

There - now you have so many more options that are far more descriptive. Dr. Oz suggests starting out his 28 day plan for happiness by spending the first week journaling about the occurrences, people or situations that make you happiest and then, well, do more of those things.

Personally I prefer to be like the Danes. Denmark is the happiest place on earth, according to an annual survey by Leicester University in England. The USA ranks a pessimistic 23rd. But why are the Danish so happy? It's cold there and it's really tiny! Survey says...the good folks from Denmark are happier because they have low expectations. Yep, they figure things will turn out badly and when things turn out well, they are delighted by the positive turn of events.

Sounds like a good plan to me. But as a backup plan, I guess I'll go make a list of things that make me happy and try to put more of those things into my day. Couldn't hurt.


Stephen said...

Your happiness scale rocks! OK, I have to point out that your series of adjectives swung suddenly to nouns (fretter, bellyacher, malcontent) then back to adjectives, but it's easier, and one would think more accurate, to associate one's mood with a word than a number. These days I'm usually able to stay between upbeat and surly, avoiding moroseness and the dreaded perky. Have I ever been perky? Ever?

Cari said...

Yes, I realized when I published the list it switched to nouns, but thanks for pointing that out. Did I include nit-picker in the list?

And no, neither one of us could every have been described as perky. And for good reason! Perky is annoying. Perky needs to be slapped. The best we can do is be mildly pleasant with a hint of cheerful. But just a hint.