Monday, July 12, 2010

Happiness Inventory, part 1

Are you happy? The Pursuit of Happiness in today's hyperactive, super-stimulated, and over-medicated society seems to be subtitled with the phrase "Immediate Gratification" or "If it feels good do it."

However, if we take a look around Wall Street or Main Street we can see where that mantra (motto) has gotten us. Under a looming dark cloud of a possible double dip recession (we're not out of the storm, yet), Americans have been pulling back - living on cash rather than credit, and downsizing not super-sizing.

Blogs like Zen Habits top Time's Best Blogs of the year list (a great blog, by the way) - and we are shooting off down the rabbit path toward minimalism and simplicity? But are we really? And where is it getting us?

Regardless of whether you like the edgy lines of modern minimalism or the classical comfort of cottage living - the bottom line is - we all actively pursue happiness in our lives. So do I.

The Happiness Inventory, or I prefer to call it "Contentment Quotient," is something I started about 10 years ago. I used to fill it out every New Year but now I revisit it all year long. It keeps my priorities in check, gives me clarity in decision making, and helps me find (and keep) contentment.

If an opportunity crops up in my life - and it does not mesh with my Happiness Inventory - I say no to it. This is not easy to do. Sometimes I have to turn down a perfectly good opportunity (job, project, etc.) because I know it is not a part of my ultimate Happiness Plan.

The Happiness Inventory includes a 10 Question Inventory and information on how to narrow your focus for a more effective, contented, satisfied life.

May You Live All the Days Of Your Life. ~Jonathan Swift

In part 2 of the Happiness Inventory, I'll be addressing women and effective weight management - and how it ties into your Happiness Plan.


  1. Hi, Ginger,
    I love your Contentment Inventory--it fits very well with what positive psychology experts like Michael Frisch (Quality of Life Therapy) are saying. There are probably as many ways of measuring wellbeing as there are of achieving it. For me, the essence is being connected to myself (my strengths, values), to others (my family, friends, the world), and to the world (nature, the cosmos) in a healthy, growth-producing way. I think women can lead the way in this. (These ideas are shared by me and my positive psychology coaching colleagues in our recent book, Women's Paths to Happiness, by the way.) I look forward to your next post on this!

  2. Thank you Ginger for asking such a profound question at the start of your post. As women we don't ask ourselves that question often enough, counsumed in providing others' happiness. I always set goals and outlooks for myself but will now put more effort into using them as a guide and a means for measuring every decision I make so that I can keep focus on the bigger picture. Any person's path to happiness must truly start within. I will follow your blog for more inspiring reads. Please feel free to follow mine as well: Guiding Evolution: A Sisterhood of Love, Support & Growth. I hope it will inspire you as well!

    Phylicia Thomas

  3. Thanks for your comments Phylicia and Gayle. They are appreciated, especially as an affirmation of the community of support we are to each other as strong and courageous women.