The Power and Vestigiality of Positive Emotion – What’s Your Happiness Ratio?

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A marriage with 5x more positivity than negativity is significantly less likely to result in divorce.1

A business team with 5x more positivity than negativity is significantly more likely to make money.2

College students with 3x more positivity than negativity are significantly more likely to have flourishing mental health.3

In general – when a human system contains 3 to 5x as much positivity as negativity, it is significantly more likely to thrive.

This means that it’s sometimes possible to reduce the complexity of human emotion into useful prediction: flourish or flounder.

This complexity can be assessed with a quick, 20-question quiz.

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Looking back over the past 24 hours, indicate the greatest amount that you have experienced of each of the following feelings

Amused, fun-loving, or silly? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Scared, fearful, or afraid? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Awe, wonder, or amazement? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Stressed, nervous, or overwhelmed? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Grateful, appreciative, or thankful? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Hopeful, optimistic, or encouraged? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Sad, downhearted, or unhappy? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Hate, distrust, or suspicion? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Inspired, uplifted, or elevated? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Interested, alert, or curious? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Guilty, repentant, or blameworthy? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Joyful, glad, or happy? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Love, closeness, or trust? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Embarrassed or self-conscious? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Proud, confident, or self-assured? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Serene, content, or peaceful? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Angry, irritated, or annoyed? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Ashamed, humiliated, or disgraced? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Contemptuous, scornful, or disdainful? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely
Disgust, distaste, or revulsion? Not at all A little bit Moderately Quite a Bit Extremely

You have a positivity ratio of .25.
You have a positivity ratio of .75.
You have a positivity ratio of 1.25.
You have a positivity ratio of 1.75.
You have a positivity ratio of 2.25.
You have a positivity ratio of 2.75.
You have a positivity ratio of 3.25.
You have a positivity ratio of 3.75.
You have a positivity ratio of 4.25.
You have a positivity ratio of 4.75.
You have a positivity ratio greater than 5.

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What does that number mean?

If your ratio is below 1.0, you may be caught in a downward spiral of stress and negativity. You may even be depressed.

If your ratio is between 1.5 and 2.5 – that’s normal. You life has more positivity than negativity, but not by a margin large enough to trigger an upward spiral.

If your ratio is between 3 and 5, you’ve hit the sweet spot.

If your ratio is above 9, you’re approaching a danger zone – one with too much positivity and not enough reality.

But don’t read too much into your score. There are grey zones between the classifications, the results of a single day can be unrepresentative, and different ratios are optimal for different people at different times.

But the positivity ratio is my measure of choice for mental health – much like how some people measure blood pressure or cholesterol to keep track of their heart health, I have repeatedly measured my positivity ratio in order to keep track of my mental health.

I know I’ve made progress over the past 18 months because my average score has tripled from 1.5 to 4.5.

The many benefits of positivity.

During a four year study of married couples, those who started out with a positivity ratio below 1.0 were three times more likely to consider divorce, twice as likely to get separated, and two-and-a-half times as likely to get divorced as couples with a ratio above 5.0.1

During a study of business teams, those with a positivity ratio above 5.0 were found to more readily alternate between advocating their own beliefs, asking questions about the beliefs of others, talking about themselves, and talking about others. Those with a ratio below 1.0 predominantly talked about themselves and their own ideas. The result: lower profitability for their business team, lower customer satisfaction, and lower assessments by superiors, peers, and subordinates.2

More generally, the results of over 200 scientific studies of nearly 275,000 people have found that happiness leads to success in nearly every domain of our lives, including marriage, but also health, friendship, community involvement, creativity, and our jobs, careers, and business.4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21

A positivity ratio above 3.0 can’t cure cancer, but it can offer a tremendous life advantage.

Why? Because happiness triggers the broaden-and-build response – the psychological response which flips our subconscious switch and starts generating positive emotion in abundance.

And yet because the modern world is so foreign to our ten-thousand year old DNA, the broaden-and-build response isn’t triggering.

The Emotion Mismatch

Whether it was by God or by evolution, our bodies were designed for an environment that has now disappeared.

We crave carbohydrates. Thousands of years ago that craving kept us alive. A diet of just protein or fat was insufficient to keep us alive. Because carbohydrates were rare but necessary, we craved them.

But now even though carbohydrates are plentiful, we still crave them. As a result, we’ve got an obesity epidemic. As I write this, I’m drinking a Coke. It tastes great, but nonetheless is harming my health.

Happiness is similar. The ancestral conditions which designed our happiness switch have disappeared.

At one time, the best thing you could do if you wanted happiness was to follow your emotions and instincts. That time no longer exists.

The modern world has broken our emotions. Emotionality that once helped us thrive now causes us to flounder and fail.

It’s for that reason that we have to take responsibility for our happiness in ways that we’ve never had to before, and it’s for that reason that happiness offers such a large life advantage.

You can think of happiness like a gatekeeper. Those who have it are given access to a portion of their mental resources denied to everyone else. Creativity, compassion, and confidence, three emotions once widely experienced and to great enjoyment and benefit, have now been locked away, available only rarely and in small amounts.

Broken Emotions

Let’s consider two broken emotions – fear and anger.

At one point in time, the emotion of fear kept us alive.

Our conscious minds don’t think fast enough. They evolved to help us build and execute long-term plans, not to escape deadly tigers running at 25 miles an hour.

Without fear, our ancestors wouldn’t have been able to react fast enough – they would have died, and we would never have been born.

Now, fear is broken.

We fear things that we shouldn’t, and we don’t fear things that we should.

Because we fear rejection, we don’t make the introductions and invitations that would create a rich social life. At one point, a person’s tribe would have a few dozen people – one or two hundred maximum. A rejection meant a permanent loss. Now, we have tens of thousands of potential friends, associates, and romantic partners to pick from. One rejection, even a hundred rejections, means nothing. Yet we still fear.

Because we don’t fear unrestrained alcohol consumption on an emotional level, 2.5 million people die every year from excess drinking. Those deaths are all preventable, but because easy access to alcohol is a modern phenomenon, the thought of excess drinking doesn’t cause fear. We have more fear of spiders despite the fact that in the U.S., they kill only a few people each year.

Like fear, every other emotion was designed for a specific purpose.

Consider anger. It served to protect what was ours – our safety, our loved ones, our food, and our property.

Imagine that you’re living in a prehistoric, ancestral environment – tribes, tents, and spears.

You’ve caught your neighbor trying to steal your food supplies. Without the food, you’ll starve during the upcoming winter.

You could let him off without punishment. After all, you caught him before he was able to eat your food. It’s all still there, available to keep you alive.

In fact, without the emotion of anger, it’s likely that you would let him off. You might tell him not to do it again, but you wouldn’t punish him. And then you’d die.

Because you let him off so easily, he’s likely to try stealing your food again. The one time that he succeeds, you and your family will die of starvation.

Can you imagine dispassionately assaulting the criminal, hurting him enough that he learns his lesson? I can’t. That’s what the anger was for.

Remember, we’re talking about thousands of years ago – they didn’t have police and jails back then. Back then, anger served a purpose. In the face of crime, it was the judge, jury, and executioner.

Now, anger is more trouble than it’s worth.

Because we have police, diplomacy, and can have reasoned discussion, anger is rarely the best response.

If others aren’t respecting our preferences, we ought to either compromise or get them to stop. But people don’t respond well to anger. Usually, compassion and patience will get better results. Indeed, replace every instance of anger with compassion and patience, and our divorce rate would be cut in half.

I’ve seen family members scream at each other. But that’s done little to change behavior and more to cause hurt and pain.

Anger is a tool of brute force – a hammer where a screwdriver would work better. Some anger is good – it motivates us to take action. But so much anger that it leads to yelling? Stupid. If at the end of the tears and pain there was change, the anger might be worth it. But the usual response is defensiveness and disinvestment.

The cues and triggers which once kept us alive now keep us from reaching our potential.

Evolution is Slow

If evolution had kept up with modern times, we’d be experiencing significantly more positive emotion than we actually do.

We’d feel more curiosity.

We would study lovemaking and be able to make our romantic partner oh so very happy. We would learn better ways of communication. We would analyze our work, polish our skills, and get continuing education. We would learn new languages and expose ourselves to different cultures and communities. We would do personal experimentation, and learn enough science and economics to make more informed voting decisions.

But we don’t. Maybe one or two of those things, but those are the exceptions. Why? Because our subconscious brain isn’t producing enough of the emotion called curiosity.

We’d feel more optimism.

Having confidence in our ability to persevere, we would embark on the toughest of challenges – starting a business, writing a book, switching careers, learning a new sport or language, revitalizing our marriage. Inner city kids who don’t study because they expect they’ll end up doing minimum wage work or worse, would instead believe in the possibilities of their future. Believing in the possibilities of the future, we would save money rather than spend it.

But because our subconscious isn’t producing enough of the emotion called optimism, we don’t.

We’d feel more love.

We’d spend more time with family. We would seek to understand others, rather than kill them by the tens of thousands. We would have patience, devoting the energy necessary to rehabilitate criminals. When upset, we would forgive rather than escalate.

But we don’t, because our subconscious isn’t producing enough of the emotion called love.

Emotion drives action. If our brain is sending us the wrong emotions, then we’ll be engaged in the wrong actions.

Why do we so often fail to complete what we know are our worthy long-term goals? Because our body is sending us the wrong emotions.

Why are we being sent the wrong emotions? Why aren’t we receiving more curiosity, optimism, and love?

Because the modern world has warped our minds. Because the broaden-and-build psychological response that ought to be activating isn’t.

Now or Later, Make Your Choice

Let’s jump back to our ancestral environment one more time. One with scarce resources and lots of danger.

You’ve got two options. You can either go hunting and stock up on food, or you can socialize with your fellow tribesmen.

Socializing now will ensure that you get help during tough times, but if you don’t have enough food stocked up, if you don’t hunt and gather, you’re going to starve.

You’ve got two options. You can either build a hut to keep from freezing during the upcoming snow, or you can practice throwing your spear.

It will take months until you get good enough with your spear to hit something, so unless you’ve got a place to stay warm, building or stealing a hut should be your priority.

You’ve got two options. Anticipating that a neighboring tribe is going to attack and steal your food, you can launch a preemptive attack of your own, or you can try to learn their customs and improve communication.

Learning their customs could help you diffuse tensions and pave the way for trade and cooperation, but that’s not something that can be done overnight. You would be better off killing them.

For each of those choices, there were two options – a short-term option and a long-term option. The long-term options would have been ideal – having more friends, being better with your spear, and having a source of trade would be great.

But the long-term actions were risky. They required a base of safety and stability. Making friends when you’re about to starve makes no sense.

So how would our ancestors have made their choice? Through conscious thought and rational planning? No – the parts of our brain responsible for long-term planning have only recently evolved. Trusting it with life or death decisions in an environment of constant danger would have been a recipe for disaster.

How did our ancestors make their choice?

Their subconscious made their choice for them, and then communicated that choice through emotion.

Each of the short-term options would have been fueled by a negative emotion. Hunting food was driven by a fear of starvation. Building a hut over worry over the weather. Killing neighbors by anxiety over their intentions.

On the other hand, each of the long-term options was fueled by a positive emotion.

Socializing was fueled by zest and curiosity. Spear practice by confidence and optimism. Learning new customs by hope and compassion.

If your subconscious mind would want you to pick the long-term option, it would trigger positive emotion. If it would want you to pick the short-term option, it would trigger negative emotion.

Thousands of years ago, our subconscious mind did an excellent job of picking which emotions to trigger and when. Our survival against tigers, cold weather, hunger, and disease is a testament to that skill.

When would your subconscious choose to focus on the future? When would it feel comfortable investing in the future instead of worrying about immediate survival?

Your subconscious would choose to focus on the future, trigger the broaden-and-build response and generate positive emotion when it felt safe.

When it had success – food, shelter, health and reliable friendships.

And having made many long-term investments, you would after a few weeks or months have even more success. The rich get richer has been true long before money existed.

And as you were even more successful, you would be even happier and even more willing to make long-term investments. Life was a positive spiral.

Success led to happiness, which triggered the broaden-and-build psychological response, which in turn triggered emotions like optimism, curiosity, and confidence, which in turn led to long-term investment and more success, which in turn led to more happiness, and so on.

So why do we need so much positivity to activate the broaden-and-build response?

For most of us, there are no tigers or food shortages lurking around the corner.

Despite our wealth and safety, triggering the signals which indicate success and launch the broaden-and-build response has become more difficult.

  • We’re less healthy. Yes, when cavemen got seriously sick they died. But otherwise, they were tall and muscular.
  • We’re less social. Yes, we have facebook. But our ancestors spent most of their time… with other humans.
  • We’re more stressed. Yes, we have food, shelter, and abundant water. But we’ve also got bills, taxes, demanding bosses, crazy children and 1,000 more things to worry about.
  • We’re less satisfied. Yes, we’re tens of thousands of times richer. But success was once well defined. You either had food and friends or didn’t. Now success has become a rat-race. There’s always something more to be had.

Each of us could benefit from more happiness and long-term investment, but because of this environmental mismatch, we’re not getting it.

If you want to feel more positive emotion, you must take responsibility for your own happiness.

The modern world has broken your emotions. Fight back.

References

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Kaylee

Wow, mine was pretty terrible! But I think that’s because the last 24 hours have been unusually stressful. So 3x that, only positive, will fix it? Anybody got a million bucks? ;)

I think it’s a good idea though, to measure the positivity ratio daily…Then you could get a bigger picture of what’s going on. I think I’ll do that. Expect at least one daily visit from me. =)

p.s. I hope all is well, been a while!

Reply

Amit Amin

I feel ya Kaylee. My score today was a 1.25. But on average, all is well.

If you plan on trying this out and want a place to keep track of your score, I recommend http://www.positivityratio.com/single.php . The quiz is the same (this is the website of the wonderful lady who did most of the research I referenced in the post), but her website keeps track of your score.

Good to see you’re still alive :)

Reply

Coach Comeback

I scored a 4.25!!!!

Coolest survey I have taken in a long time!

Shared!

Reply

Amit Amin

Wow Coach, that’s pretty awesome!

I’ve never scored that high. I guess you’re a HappierHuman than me ;)

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Jane Robinson - Art Epicurean

Hey – I’m in the sweet spot! And I do recognize all my blessings by feeling safe, loved and contented. It doesn’t mean I don’t strive to fulfill dreams, work down debt or have any problems. This was a GREAT post! I really enjoyed the quiz and your thoughts on the subject. I am seizing my happiness every day. Thanks.

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Amit Amin

That’s great Jane!

Yes, exactly – that’s how I feel; happiness should be pursued in tangent to the rest of life, not be dependent on it or be it’s only purpose.

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Bobbi Emel

Amit, that is the weirdest conclusion I’ve ever seen. I think. You list all of these great benefits to positive emotions and then end by saying it’s lost its primary biological function?

You’re a funny little nut.

But that makes me smile. And THAT creates positive emotions!

Reply

Amit Amin

Funny little nut? I wasn’t really going for that effect… :)

Perhaps my word choice is bad? I mean to say, I think it would be best if we were able to always (or at least more frequently) have activated the broaden-and-build tendency. Right now, positive emotion serves as the bottleneck –> no positive emotion, no broaden-and-build. In my ideal world that doesn’t exist, the broaden-and-build would get activated on command, rather than needing to go through the intermediary of positive emotion.

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Bobbi Emel

I know, I probably shouldn’t be so patronizing as to call you “little.” How about just nut? ;-)

I see what you’re trying to say now; thanks for clarifying!

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Kim Thirion │ Un-CopiedLife

Wow, what a post!

The fact that the divorce rate is so high is very telling about how happy most of us are.

I’m happy to say that my number was 5, but I know that number would have been much lower 2 years ago – not having to go to a horrible J.O.B. has a lot to do with it!

I’m going to bookmark this and come back once in a while to check my number :)

Reply

Amit Amin

A 5? That’s fantastic! Also fantastic that you no longer have a horrible job!

Yup – I believe if we can be more happy, divorce will become less likely. Coming from a background where arranged marriages are common (my parents and grandparents, not me!!), I think compatibility is definitely nice, but not the most important factor in relationship success.

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Joel Zaslofsky

**Gulp**
Bad news Amit. I’m too positive. Like, borderline “there’s something wrong with me” positive. And I like your veiled attempt to talk about how Joel is so paleo (i.e. caveman) that you came up with the caveman Joe(l) idea. It’s probably all just in my head, like this comment is the blog version of listening to the song “You’re So Vein” by Carly Simon.
The good news is I got a higher score than Coach Comeback on something. That may be a first!

Reply

Amit Amin

LOL

Yeah… it’s all in your head…

I didn’t know that you were into paleo. But perhaps I subconsciously knew that and subconsciously chose Joe(l)? o.O

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Priska

I might come back and do the test in a couple of days as the 24 hours prior to now have had a stressful event.
I am about to go off into the wilderness for a couple of days, I am sure when I come back I will get a different result than doing it now.
Your posts are so creative.

Reply

Amit Amin

Thanks Priska! Enjoy your wilderness!

Reply

dave

Hi Amit,

My score was borderline. I’ll have to take that test on a better day :)

I had a great time reading this.

My sense is that the biological response serves as a guide to the individual, especially in determining how we interact in groups, and that this has been distorted through a first world bubble, to the point that our lives are very abstracted in many senses.

I suppose when our unsustainable modern lifestyle falls apart that biological factor will become relevant again very quickly.

Reply

Amit Amin

A first world bubble? That’s a great way of putting it. Our lives are very abstracted, but also very free – within limits, we have the opportunity to do so many different things.

“I suppose when our unsustainable modern lifestyle falls apart”

Do you think that’s going to happen? I sort of just subconsciously hoped that continued technological progress would fix our growing sustainability problems. But perhaps that’s too naive…

Reply

Gary Korisko

Amit:

This was a fascinating read. And I loved the test. I especially love that it called me “normal!”

:)

Well done!

Reply

Amit Amin

Well of course! Did you ever have any suspicion that you were anything but ‘normal’? ;)

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Gary Korisko

Ha.

That all depends on who you ask!

Reply

farouk

you are right
when we become more positive the world smiles back to us in return
thanks for the post

Reply

Amit Amin

Yes, I think it’s great that we live in a world that rewards positivity, rather than negativity.

Thanks for dropping by farouk!

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Ani

mine was 1,75…which is normal… and that partly upset me (so the score decreased I guess as result :)) because I do not like anything normal :)

Nice and as always interesting post!

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Amit Amin

Thanks Ani!

My score was normal too, but not for long!

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Lori Lynn Smith

As usual a lot of great information! My score was not too bad, I was kind of expecting higher though. I even had a super duper day today!

I love being happy, I love what I do, I wish I could spend more time doing it!

Reply

Amit Amin

I know how you feel – my average score is in the upper normal range and has been on a slow trend upwards, but you’d expect someone who blogs about happiness to have a score 2 to 3x higher.

The quiz penalizes people for negativity more strongly than it gives points for positivity, to reflect reality, so at least for me, who has a natural disposition for negativity, my scores on super duper days are barely higher than the scores of normal people on normal days.

But you seem like a super positive person. So score be damned!

Reply

Sarah | Holistic Hot Sauce

Fun quiz. I thought I’d score higher because I consider myself a generally positive person, but I was honest about the “a little bits” on several of the more negative emotions. After all they do pop up from time to time. So I scored just in the ‘normal’ range. Gotta up that – go for those ‘extreme’s in the joy department!

I’d always considered it to be beneficial to just be a little more positive than negative. Interesting statistics you cite about the huge improvements those big ratio differences bring. 3 to 5X more positive is what I’m shooting for now! Doesn’t matter to me whether it’s lost its primary function – I believe a positive emotional state is worth striving for because, well – it just makes life so much more fun!

Reply

Amit Amin

Yes! Extremes in the joy department are the best!

“Doesn’t matter to me whether it’s lost its primary function – I believe a positive emotional state is worth striving for because, well – it just makes life so much more fun!”

I think I may not have communicated it well, but that was my main point! Our intuitions about happiness are drawn from our culture, which in turn are drawn from a combination of factors… one of which is our biology (e.g. our intuition that incest is bad comes from the biological reality that children born from relatives are less likely to survive).

So our intuitions that happiness must be earned, come at the end of the journey, etc… are partly drawn from our biology, which I believe is no longer relevant. In other words, I’m trying to challenge those intuitions.

Reply

John S.

WOOHOO! 4.25 for me! Right in the sweet spot. The good news is that my last 24 hours is like most of my other days.

The bad news and how it affects you makes a lot of sense. I think since you expect to do well, as a positive person, when someone tells you negative news, it’s kind of like being blind-sided. Whereas, when someone tells you good news, it’s unexpected to receive but as a positive person, you expected good things anyways.

But for you Amit, I say keep researching and writing these beautiful articles. As a business person like myself and blog writer myself, I have been told many, many times that it’s more important to impress and give great content to the one’s who do care about your stuff than trying to please the one’s that don’t. In other words, it’s better to have 5 loyal readers who love to talk about your stuff than 50 people who just glance over your articles every now and then.

So, stay positive but NOT too positive. :)

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Amit Amin

WOOHOO indeed! That’s a great score John :)

The temptation to take shortcuts is quiet large for me sometimes… so thank you for that advice!

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Priska

Hello Amit,
I have just returned from my commune with nature and no internet connection for three days.
I did the test and came out ‘normal’. Though it is nice to be normal I was hoping that I’d found my sweet spot.

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Lori Carpenos

This is brilliant! Where did you get it from? I knew I’d be in the flourish zone (5) – and only b/c of what I learned about the 3 Principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness… before learning that I spent most of my time in the danger zone without realizing that my own thinking had anything to do with it!

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Lee J Tyler

Wow, what an informative article. So well researched. And is, like all of the psychological research papers, going to be referenced by me on at least one positive article. You are learning knew skills everyday and so am I thanks to you, and we will benefit from it. As to the survey, I am grateful that I came out normal. I always knew that about myself but things with my health have been rocky and as a result, frustrating to tell you the truth. On the flip side, I has a birthday yesterday which thanks to a crowd of the best friends anyone could dream of, was a very happy day for me. I took the test to see, with these, extremes, how I would flesh out. Perfectly normal thank you very much. But it shows me that I need to take it on a regular basis. The two possibly weighing each other out to came back to a normal score. But, as you mentioned, just like blood pressure, need to check it often. Thank you.

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Amit Amin

I’m grateful it came out normal for you as well, and happy belated birthday!

I’m glad your health hasn’t brought down your mood (too much) with it. When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia 6 years ago, it took a while for my mood to rebound. It still suffers every now and again because of it, but resilience for the win!

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Ankita Sharma

Oh I got a score of 1.25, but I expected somewhere around 3. I doubt measurement because I am happier than what I got from the test… ;)

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Amit Amin

Ankita – I won’t argue with you there. Tests can be wrong. In this case, this test is most accurate for white college students. For everyone else… you can only hope. My guess is that your interpretation of the questions is different from most people – as an Indian America, I’ve sometimes had similar problems. Thanks for giving it a try though :)

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Megan

Interesting Survey. I am just shy of normal today 1.25. That will improve I’m sure.

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Amit Amin

It will! As long as you’re doing something to improve the number – working on your relationships, getting healthier, learning happiness skills, etc… there will be improvement :)

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K.Sendhil Naathan

Useful and interesting. I may repeat this after a few days and see.

K.Sendhil Naathan

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cheryl wertheimr

I love the information – I was a 2.5 but thought I would be higher – I guess I took my self to seriously today.

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Amit Amin

Thanks for sharing Cheryl! 2.5 is on the high end of normal, nothing to be worried about :)

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Alyson

I am going to do this every day for the next week! Thank you for this article, I think we all need a reality check to keep our emotions and reactions at an arm’s length. My question though, when it asks “indicate the greatest amount that you have experienced of each of the following feelings,” does this mean in comparison to the 24 hours (like 2/24 hours happy) or the intensity of those feelings at a point in time?

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Amit Amin

Awesome!

That’s a great question Alyson. For this survey, the intention is to:
1. Look back over the past 24 hours, and think about each time we felt happy or angry, and
2. Select the most intense of those experiences, and then
3. Rate that intensity on a scale of 1 to 5

The intensity of your emotions over the past 24 hours is not a perfect reflection of the state of your feelings, but it’s accurate & fast enough to be useful :)

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Sean

Thanks for the quiz, Amit. It makes me question my own well-being. I ask myself “am I doing enough to live a fuller and happier life?”. I scored between .75 – 1.25 on the happiness quiz (I taken it two times). I feel so guilty I want to admit Robbins is right. I am experiencing dissonance because I socialize frequently. I juice vegetables and fruits frequently; even teach friends too. When I worked out by lifting weights Ipi felt alive. After over training in early summer I started feeling ‘depressed’. I’m an action taker, I believe I take steps to become a better person, and have little respect for the envious. I’ve been journaling my thoughts and feelings since late summer. My chief complaint is ‘I haven’t found a full purpose to truely live’. It’s weird I tell myself things like this when I have been making a purpose to improve myself. After I do something to make myself feel good my emotional pillar crumbles. Isn’t dealing with hedonic adaptation a pain? :0/ -unsatisifed action taker

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Amit Amin

Oh yes – dealing with hedonic adaptation is a pain in the ass. There have definitely been periods of my life where I’ve scored similar to you. But why feel guilty? For ignoring your underlying emotions? You’ve confronted them now, so you’ve taken the first step.

If you’re comfortable sharing your thoughts and goals with another, I’d be happy to discuss your desire to find a purpose in private, over e-mail or skype.

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Sean

That’s sounds so wonderful! I have been meaning to get this ‘purpose’ thing sorted out. My boss warns “no thinking allowed, Sean”. He doesn’t know I’m conspiring to leave the restaurant business. You’re right about accepting emotions, welcoming them in, instead of changing perspective. Also, I’d like to talk to you about this habit and what it means in positive psychology. You can add me on Skype by adding Celticbodhi to you’re contacts list. Just say “it’s time to begin your Jedi training”. I will contact you immediately :0) PS – I am sorry I taken a while to respond to your reply. You’re doing so well with replying to all these people :0)

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Amit Amin

It does take some effort ;) On average, I get about 5 e-mails every day which ask a question. I like to give thorough responses, so I end up spending almost an hour every day just responding to e-mail and comments. But I like to help people (well, I think in general people like to help people, when they can), so that’s okay.

I’m head deep working on version 2 of The Gratitude Hack, so my schedule is jam packed right now. I’m definitely free in February, but should have a few spare hours next week. I’ll ping you then.

I wish I could teach you how to be a Jedi :) For that matter – I wish there was someone out there that could teach me how to be a Jedi. I hope you can make do with learning a bit on how you can become happier.

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Sean

Hi Amit! If you’re feeling childish, ask the Disney world people about their Jedi training and age limit. You can duel with Darth Vader, which I heard from a mom today. How futuristic is our technology becoming? We can video call each other Skype, like the vid screen from the bridge on Star Trek. Good luck with finishing Gratitude 2.0 (when is it ready?). May the force be with you.

Linda

At least my score was in the normal range but not by much.

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Mike

Interesting.

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Linda

My score was pretty bad today. I did this once and scored higher. I guess it didn’t save the first time.

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Bea

Hey Amit! Great post. I scored 5+ and I am generally a happy person. I’ve seen highs and lows in my life and I guess I’ve learned that happiness is not from anything external.

Thanks for being there.

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