Alex Tarling on Tracking and Changing Happiness

June 25, 2014

Alex Tarling starting using the Mappiness app to track his happiness along with other contextual data. Over time the ritual of having to ask himself, “How happy am I?” three times a day started to get him thinking about how he thought about his own happiness and what that meant to him. In this talk, presented at the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference, Alex talks about his experience, some of the data he gathered, and how a slight change in attitude has increased his self-rating of happiness over time.

You can also view the slides here.

What did you do?
I tracked my own experience of happiness several times per day, along with location, what I was doing and who I was with.

How did you do it?
I used the Mappiness app to track my rating of happiness and other contextual data such as what I was doing and who I was with. –

What did you learn?
I can’t measure my own happiness without affecting it, one way or another. Happiness is a conscious cognitive assessment of feelings, beliefs and behaviours that tends to be a habitual pattern of thinking.
Given that it’s a mental habit, it is possible to make an intentional choice to change it. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Related Posts

Family Trajectories: An Interview with Stephen Cartwright

Gary Wolf

April 5, 2019

Stephen Cartwright has been tracking his location by the minute for more than twenty years, using the detailed records as material for artworks that embody biographical time with a materiality through which invisible forces can be seen.