An Experiment in Happiness

Photo by Edward Dalmulder

Several years ago I did an experiment to see if meditation could make me any happier. To that point, my days were on average seven out of 10. Would meditation nudge it up to a nine or zen-like 10? I wanted to find out.

So every day for 30 days straight I meditated in the morning for an hour. In the evening I gave the day a score along with my reason for the number.

At the end of the 30 day (albeit not very scientific) experiment, I looked at the results. Almost every day was rated a seven, same as before the experiment. A few days were an eight. There were no nines or 10s.

However, there were two days that stood out. Both were a miserable two out of 10 and both were because of arguments I had with family members (the first time was with my Dad, the second with my daughter).

What I learned from the experiment was surprising and valuable. First, meditating didn’t make me happier. Calmer? Definitely. Happier? Not really.

Second and more important, I realized how important good family relations are to me, and how profoundly they affect my mood and outlook on life.

FYI: DailyDiary was perfect for the experiment. It’s a hidden gem of a website and great for Quantified Self projects.

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