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Measuring #Happiness – There’s an App for That.

January 14, 2012


TrackYourHappiness.org is a new scientific research project that investigates what makes life worth living.

Using the site, you’ll be able to track your happiness and find out what factors – for you personally – are associated with greater happiness. You’ll also contribute to our scientific understanding of happiness.

The “Track Your Happiness” app periodically pings you throughout the day, asking you to fill out a survey that only takes a minute. It asks how happy you are, what you’re doing at the moment, whether you exercised recently, whether you’re alone, and whether your mind is either wandering or in the moment.

That last question proved to be the key to the study, which concluded (so far) that a main cause of people’s unhappiness is how frequently their minds wander. According to the app, 46.9 percent of people’s time is spent thinking on something other than what they’re doing. And using a bit of statistical wizardry, study authors Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert were able to tease out that that mind-wandering was in fact the cause of much of the unhappiness. In fact, what activity a person was engaged in only accounted for about 5 percent of a person’s happiness, whereas whether that person’s mind was on- or off-task accounted for over 10 percent.

“A wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” the researchers conclude.

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