Category Archives: psyche
If you have not noticed yet, the “modus operandi” for this blog and my self-tracking efforts is a bit different this year. The month of January was spent collecting data, testing apps and services, and blogging about various QS issues, and month of February was dedicated to analyzing collected data, reviewing tools, and sharing insights and recommendations. So I thought it would be helpful if I summarized briefly what I learned during the last two month, in one post.
As promised, posting the full Power Point slides of my “Hacking Happiness” presentation from NY Quantified Self meetup. In this self-tracking experiment, I looked at how different aspects of well-being, personal values and everyday activities predict my happiness.
In December and January, I have been tracking some aspects of my everyday life in order to test a couple of psychological and behavioral theories of happiness. The preliminary results of this experiment will be presented tomorrow at the Quantified Self NYC meetup, and of course, I will be posting the PowerPoint slides of my presentation later this week. Unfortunately, 10 minutes are not enough to cover everything in depth, so I thought I would dedicate a separate post that would discuss the most interesting findings of this experiment in more detail. My personal favorite was quantification of how not being able to live according to my personal values affects my happiness.
In last post, I showed how I mapped 24 emotional states against two dimensions of mood (valence, a.k.a. pleasure, and arousal) using my self-tracking data from January. The resulting “map of emotions” proved that tracking mood using two-dimensional approach is more effective than using a single question (e.g., “how do you feel”). It also showed that I can drop the individual emotions from my log and use only mood dimensions to capture my emotional states. In this post, I will share results of additional analyses. Specifically, I looked if pleasure and arousal dimensions of mood can replace stress and happiness measures.
In January, I started experimenting with two-dimensional approach to measuring mood. This approach was mentioned in one of the posts on Quantified Self website, but basically, in addition to using the “valence” scale (I feel bad/good), you rate your mood also on dimension of “arousal” (how “hyped” you feel). This weekend, with over 30 days of data, I had a chance to look at how well does this two-dimensional mood metric reflects my state of psyche, and ended up with an awesome visual map of my emotional states which confirmed that I can potentially drop the individual emotions from my self-tracking log.
I am very excited to start this year with some new awesome self-tracking projects and experiments! For now, the major emphasis remains on areas like sleep, fitness, diet, cognition, and psyche, but I will be covering a bit productivity and finance, too. Here is a quick preview of what I am tracking (and working on) this month.
Ok, some of you may find this post a bit unorthodox. I was always curious to see if the moon has any effect on my behavior and psychological states. While a traditional researcher inside me still has doubts about this kind of “analytics”, I still went ahead and crunched some numbers, just for fun. Using my September and October data, I analyzed the cyclical patterns and differences in my sleep quality, mood, and stress across four moon phases (new moon, first quarter, full moon, last quarter). Interestingly, there were some notable differences in mood and sleep during full moon and new moon phases.
Have you ever had those days when you have been feeling fine and then all of sudden you feel crappy? Or, on the opposite, you wake up in a bad mood, but as the day progresses, you are getting better? If you track your mood (or any other psychological state, to that matter) several times a day, there is a way to quantify severity of these “swings”. In this post, I will show how to calculate the “mood swing scores”, and how you can use these scores to learn more about changes in your mood and what causes them.
In this post, I would like to raise a question that in some degree reflects my personal concerns about current trends in Quantified Self movement. Since this opinion is based primarily on my personal observations, I would really appreciate any feedback or comments from QS community. Please correct me if I am wrong, but why do we have so many tools and projects that focus on diet, sleep, exercise, but when it comes to tracking psyche, in particular, psychological states and traits, the inventory and range of QS projects is rather limited?