Pursuit of Happiness Mid-challenge- Relationships + Gratitude Journals (#52)

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Our mid-challenge update on the January '22 Pursuite of Happiness work.

Check out the cool chart and some semi-vulnerable journaling from the two of us at the Challenge 1 Google Sheet.

If you're interested in hearing about how the happiness challenge has been going, what we've discovered, what we have had trouble with, and a fair bit about relationships, gratitude, and everything in between, this is a good follow-up! We definitely recommend checking out the episode before this if you haven't already, as this is definitely a sequel episode.

Show Notes:


Andrew is focused on out door walks, dopamine detoxes (which he's totally failed at), and cold exposure. Daniel will be improving his bible reading skills, also hitting outdoor walks, and looking into the Art of Hygge for some winter coziness. Both of us are beat up this time of year by Seasonal Affective Disorder, and hope this challenge will increase our quality of life through the next 30 days.

P.S. Apologies for the limited show notes- we didn't cover much breaking ground this episode beyond what we talked about in the initial challenge.

Breath by James Nestor


"No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly."

The World Happiness Report


"The World Happiness Report 2021 focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared. Our aim was two-fold, first to focus on the effects of COVID-19 on the structure and quality of people’s lives, and second to describe and evaluate how governments all over the world have dealt with the pandemic. In particular, we try to explain why some countries have done so much better than others."


Follow Along With Our Challenge Journal

Challenge One: Journal

You'll find Daniel and Andrew's journal and charts for how this challenge is going. Feel free to make a copy and do it with us, or just follow along and see if it's worth your time to try.

It's been an up and down kind of thing.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:19] Andrew: Hello to our beautiful listeners orviewers. I'm not really sure which way you fall on the scale, but a welcomeback to dead by tomorrow with Daniel and Andrew, we have our first update foryou for challenge number one, the. pursuing happiness, I guess, is what we'recalling it. A living like the fence doesn't really quite fit exactly what we'redoing, but, uh, yeah.

[00:00:41] Andrew: Welcome back guys. Daniel. I hope It'sbeen a good couple of weeks for you. How's the challenge been treating you?

[00:00:47] Daniel: It's been pretty good. There havecertainly been some ups and downs, some highs and some lows.

[00:00:58] Daniel: So, yeah, I mean, it's beeninteresting to go through each day and sort of actually consider what thehappiness looked like, what the stress looks like for the day at some of thedifferent sort of journal entries. Um, so yeah, it's, I feel like there are a,a handful of trends that I'm starting. To see. Um, but yeah, I'll be interestedto see kind of for the, for the rest of the month, if any of that holds true.

[00:01:38] Daniel: So I'm curious, or do you feel like,as you're keeping track of things, um, do you feel like you're seeing anytrends? Do you feel like you're, you know, trying to fake being a little bitmore happy since you have to put a number to it? Or how has.

[00:01:54] Andrew: that is something always in the backof my head. I honestly, anytime that I am attributing, you know, to a numberscale, it, part of me is always really conscious of. Where, where do youactually fall on this number scale? Are you inflating deflating? Like howhonest can you be whenever it's this limited, whatever, like it's really is itbugs me honestly, but I don't know a better way to do it.

[00:02:20] Andrew: Um, and before I answer your question,for everybody listening in case you, you know, you just listened to the lastepisode, we'll give you a quick update on what Daniel are talking about onthis. Um, On the challenge episode, we talked about making a journal and so weended up making the journal, uh, actually after the episode.

[00:02:41] Andrew: So that was why we had lessinformation about it going forward, but it's kind of cool. Uh, you can findDaniel and I in there with kind of a little bit of a separate journal each. Um,I'm doing the 30 minutes outdoors, the cold shower, bath read, or listened to abook. Um, we're both doing the gratitude journal.

[00:02:59] Andrew: [00:03:00]And then we'll also have the, did you smile Or smile or laugh a lot today? Didyou learn something interesting today? If so, what was it? And then on a scaleof one to 13, because, you know, I thought one to 10 was silly. how happy areyou? And then a scale of one to 13, how stressful is today? And then I did somegoofy math, uh, which I should not be trusted, do to create a happiness indexon mine.

[00:03:21] Andrew: Um, I'm pretty proud of the chart,honestly. Uh, Daniel's challenge. He's doing the 30 minutes outdoors as well.scripture prayer, um, where he is, you know, trying to work on his, what wouldyou call it? Bible study for that simplicity of that? It's obviously a littledeeper than that. Um, did you smaller laugh?

[00:03:38] Andrew: And then I looked up this word and I'mpretty sure we pronounce it wrong last time. But what I found was it's calledHeuga Heuga practice. Um, I could be totally mispronouncing it, but that's whatsome books said. So Daniel is working on his hookah practice. He also has agratitude journal on there as well, and the same happiness and stress indexwith the, did you learn something interesting?

[00:04:02] Andrew: And then one of the things I think isreally cool he's doing is he actually has.

[00:04:05] Andrew: Hilary commentary on how he felt. Andthen Daniel has his own chart, separate from mine that is showing a trend for howhappy it was versus how stressful he was. And. Interestingly enough today wasthe first day, those lines kissed.

[00:04:21] Andrew: So am I getting into that? So anyways,to answer your question, uh, I haven't noticed necessarily a trend one way oranother. Uh, what I have noticed is there's two different things that havereally popped up for me while we were doing this. Uh, first, the gratitudejournal really is helpful. Um, I was already doing a gratitude journal, butwhen I'm doing it and then rating my happiness almost every time.

[00:04:46] Andrew: I feel better about my day after I dothe gratitude journal. So, uh, I've tried to actually kind of scale my numbersback to how I felt before the gratitude journal. Uh, but the gratitude journalis definitely by itself, inflating how I felt about the day whenever I'd do it.So that's really interesting cause I've done gratitude journals a lot in thepast and.

[00:05:06] Andrew: I'd never really correlated how I feltafter doing it. It was just something kind of, I did, but having that numberright afterwards, really kind of drives home what I was feeling. So that's beeninteresting. And then what's also been kind of fun is looking at Daniel'schallenge or your challenge and for whatever reason, like seeing stuff thatyou're doing and seeing your gratitude and.

[00:05:26] Andrew: Uh, kind of your scales and thedifferent stuff that's going on in your world. I also really kind of warms myheart and makes my day better. So that's been a something I totally didn'texpect was, uh, being, I guess, more personally involved in your day to daylife, uh, kind of brings me like I get to steal some of the joy that you'rehaving at the seems like.

[00:05:49] Daniel: Yeah, I definitely have enjoyed beingable to see the. The gratitude journal on your side and yeah, some of thethings that you're learning. So it's, [00:06:00]it's one of those things that I don't know. I don't know that it comes up asmuch in conversation and maybe that's something that we should try to be betterabout, but I don't feel like I have to often tell you, Hey, this is somethingthat I'm grateful for today.

[00:06:18] Daniel: Maybe it comes up a little bit. If, ifit's something really good. Somebody asks how's your day. And I don't know,you, you just hit a PR in the gym or you just want a bunch of money or, youknow, your kid took their first steps or something like, those are things thatit's like, well, yeah, there's this big, crazy thing that happened, but thelittle things you probably don't necessarily share as much.

[00:06:43] Daniel: Um, so I agree that that's, that'sbeen pretty, pretty cool to see. Yeah, one thing you mentioned was trying to,or I guess a chart that I made was looking at the stress compared to happiness.And honestly, what I think that chart showed me is that, um, that there,there's not a great correlation between the two of them.

[00:07:11] Daniel: And I think part of that is stress istoo broad of a term. In reality. Um, so I'll give a couple of examples ofthings that stood out to me, things that I feel like I maybe already knew aboutmyself a little bit, but I can see my own self-reported data that kind of backsit up. Um, so if I look through the weeks, there are some days where, when mystress level is really high.

[00:07:48] Daniel: My happiness is really low. So a goodexample of that was, um, last, I think it was last Tuesday. It was like January25th or something like that. I had a very stressful work situation where Iinadvertently sent a message to the exact wrong person that I wanted toreceive. That message. It was. Very potentially embarrassing kind of stressful,no bueno situation.

[00:08:23] Daniel: Uh, and I had to try to recall thismessage and there was all of this uncertainty on, did it work? Did it not haveto talk to various people and basically own up to this mistaken? And it's oneof those things that it just, your, your stomach drops when you find out, whenyou realize, uh, wait, who did I just send that to?

[00:08:43] Daniel: And, and so that was the day that my,my stress was, I didn't quite put it at 13 because you know, it, it was asingular instance as opposed to just being a constant thing throughout the day,but it was pretty [00:09:00] dang stressful.And my happiness on that day was really low. I was not feeling at a great spot,um, on that day, but then.

[00:09:12] Daniel: Later on and that same week, um, Ithink it was on a Thursday. I think that was actually one of my happier days ofthe week. I think I put it at a 10 and my stress level was at like a nine. Likeit was, it was a pretty stressful day. And again, I remember that day as well.I needed to give a compensation presentation to a group of our supervisors.

[00:09:40] Daniel: And needed to, you know, make surethat I had coordinated all of these different parts in the presentation,working on this kind of Excel tool. And it was a lot of, a lot of timepressure, um, kind of public speaking sort of thing. And it, it was certainly astressful day, but I felt more energized and sort of invigorated by thatstress.

[00:10:03] Daniel: And so something that I feel like Isee is that. Instead of just saying stress, it may be better to try to thinkabout distress versus use stress. So distress is typically what we think of isthat negative, that stressful sort of situation that, um, I think it releasescortisol and it's, it's not a good thing.

[00:10:30] Daniel: It's essentially us kind of worryingover a situation. We don't have a lot of action that we can be taking. There'snot a lot that we can be doing. So that email example I had already done theemail recall. There was nothing I could further do to help or hurt thesituation, but I just felt this pressure, the stress versus a huge stress isit's pushing you towards positive action.

[00:10:58] Daniel: It's it's, you know, you're, you arefeeling that pressure because there's something that does need to be done. Butyou can actually do something productive about it. So me needing to give thispresentation and work on this tool, and there were things that I could be doingand working on to make that happen.

[00:11:13] Daniel: And there were good things coming fromit. Um, so that's an interesting thing. And the last thing I'll say kind ofabout this stress correlation is some of my lower happiness days also were onsome of my lower stress days. So that was. Weekends, particularly on, there area couple of Sundays where you know, that happiness number is on the lower end,kind of below seven in the stress level for that day is like a one there.

[00:11:45] Daniel: There's not really, there's not reallyanything happening on that day. So I think something I've learned about myselfis I do need some of that. That push out there and maybe I've just been [00:12:00] conditioned to be that way, but a daywhere I just

[00:12:02] Andrew: Need a little spice to make your day.Good.

[00:12:05] Daniel: yeah. Like days where I just trulyhave nothing happening are not as rewarding of days.

[00:12:12] Daniel: Just for me.

[00:12:15] Andrew: No, I, I like that. Did you come upwith the, you stress yourself? I've not heard that before.

[00:12:20] Daniel: Um, no, that's, it's a, it's a term.Um, I did not, did not create use stress. Um, I'm not sure exactly who, whocoined it, but it's a, it's a psychology.

[00:12:34] Andrew: Wow. I've never heard it. I like it. Iwas about to give you all kinds of laurels and praise, but, uh, you know what?You still get a little bit,

[00:12:44] Daniel: Yeah, apparently it was coined by anendocrinologist hons. Saylee

[00:12:50] Andrew: oh, okay. Homes probably finish. Dangit. Actually, I think comms is like straight up German.

[00:12:56] Daniel: yeah. I was going to say that now. AndI was like, that's fair.

[00:13:00] Andrew: Now that last night was a little weirdthough. Anyways, we'll leave. Home's a genetic makeup out of this. So somethingthat was interesting as Well, And I want to go into also what you think we needto improve, or you need to improve. I need to improve going forward for that,the last half of this. But another thing that I thought was an interestingcorrelation is a lot of both yours and mine.

[00:13:25] Andrew: Gratitude journals arerelationship-based and this was not something that I necessarily expected, butI should have, because that was one of the big factors in some of the articlesthat led into this challenge was, uh, these Scandinavian countries have areally strong, uh, relationship basis. That's where a lot of their happinesscomes from.

[00:13:46] Andrew: And, you know, I was focused on the,they read lots of books, they spend time outside and they have cold exposure. Iwas like, yeah, that sounds fun. I'm going to kind of pass it over the, youknow, not chasing wealth and the strong relationship focused, but both you andI, it seems like a lot of our, our higher days kind of pair up with days thatwe had gratitude towards being.

[00:14:07] Andrew: And, uh, you know, a part of arelationship, you know, biking with Brett, uh, you know, me seeing Jonah at thecoffee shop. There's, there's all these different things that we are gratefulfor that mostly had other people involved with them. And that seems to be themajority of the stuff that we have talked about in our journals.

[00:14:23] Andrew: So is that something you noticed, isthat something you knew about beforehand or was that kind of interesting to youas well?

[00:14:31] Daniel: Well, relationships are certainly apart of a big part of the Hooga mindset. So like, yeah, they're like youmentioned some of the, the cold and the comfort in the outside and the bookreading and like all those types of things. Components, but I do think therelationship piece and specifically close-knit deep relationships are [00:15:00] really the bigger factor in, and Idefinitely know for me personally, that's, that's huge.

[00:15:06] Daniel: And again, probably not a surprise assomebody who is an extrovert, but the whole extrovert introvert thing.Relationships are still very important to both. It's not this sort of thingwhere, oh yeah. Extroverts are the only ones that like people in introvertsare, you know, they're like cats and they just tolerate other people becausethat's needed for society.

[00:15:31] Daniel: But otherwise, you know, they, theycould not care less. Like that's, that's not true. It's just about the, some ofthe different dynamics, scenarios, energy recharges, some of the. Types ofthings. And so, yeah, I mean, I'm, I'm not surprised at all to seerelationships as a, a big factor that kind of influences the happiness level of.

[00:16:00] Andrew: Yeah on for any of.

[00:16:02] Andrew: you guys out there who weren'tthinking about, you know, That being a part of your happiness, that is that'sdefinitely there introvert or extrovert. So what would you improve? Uh, youknow, we've, we've hit basically day 14, I think. Is today, uh, what is it thatyou want to change or what are you needing to work on more that you think willprovide better benefits on this pursuit of happiness?

[00:16:28] Andrew: Or, you know, are you staying thecourse? Um, jumping off. What's the next 14, 15 days look like for you.

[00:16:38] Daniel: I uh, to bring a little bit of a punin here, but I'm actually pretty happy with. With Allah things have gone sofar. I,

[00:16:49] Andrew: so disappointed. This is going in myjournal.

[00:16:53] Daniel: I honestly though, I, outside of aone-off super stressful work situation outside of a couple slower days thatmaybe energy was just lower and maybe that's part of why the day was slower. I'vebeen pretty satisfied with what I've seen. And, um, again, I, I don't know allthe, I don't know if we can trust all the math that goes into the happinessindex that you've made.

[00:17:23] Daniel: We'll, we'll give you, we'll give youbenefit of the doubt. But when I look at that, the main thing that I see isthere is kind of this up and down pattern, um, at least on, on mine where it's,there's kind of a peak. And then right at that peak, it seems. There's a bit ofa dip and it's just kind of this constant, um, fluctuation between what I wouldsay is really happy days.

[00:17:49] Daniel: And what I would say is less happydays. And that to me is sort of where I want to be an expect to be. Because [00:18:00] if I'm saying like, yeah, it's a 13 everyday, like I'm super happy all the time. I don't know. I, I questioned

[00:18:07] Andrew: you're taking

[00:18:08] Daniel: I. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It, and th theremay be periods of time where it's like, you're on a vacation and it saysawesome vacation.

[00:18:17] Daniel: And it may be several straight days ofjust, you know, you're super pumped and super happy, but there's always thatdown that comes afterwards. And what's important for me to see is that even onthose down days, you know, the next day is, is a better one. And just kind ofhaving that expectation that I'm not going to be at a 13.

[00:18:39] Daniel: Every single day, but also when I havethat really rough day, um, there's that bounce back that happens.

[00:18:48] Andrew: No that's, that is great because Ithink a lot of us get caught up in that mindset of. Man, why am I not happy? Ishould always be happy. And what did it really is, is if you can you get alonger view of it, you do see that, that ebb and flow that up and down. Uh,just how everything else is. And that's just, that's kind of how we're built.

[00:19:09] Andrew: you can't be happy with. Having thosetroughs and you know, that scale, you can't, you don't have perspective. And soit's, it's just natural. And for me seeing like your chart as well, itreinforces that because sometimes we feel kind of like an island, you know,you're sitting there, you're like, man, I'm having a, I'm having a rough daytoday.

[00:19:35] Andrew: Uh, you know, like today was, I thinkprobably one of my lowest scoring days on the scale. Um, If it wasn't forhaving, you know, external, uh, views that I could look at and say like, oh,Daniel's also having ups and downs and seeing, seeing the way you're. Flows aswell. It really helps solidify, like, Hey, you're not a weirdo, Andrew, this isnormal.

[00:19:56] Andrew: It's okay to have a down day. It'sokay to then bounce back up and then come back down and up and down. And Ididn't really expect that. I kind of, when I envision this, I kind of saw thisupward trending kind of line, but this does make a lot more sense in hindsight,so far.

[00:20:13] Daniel: Yeah. If it's an upward trending, likema maybe you move your baseline up, right? Like

[00:20:19] Andrew: Yeah.

[00:20:20] Daniel: maybe

[00:20:20] Andrew: And that's kind of go fix thatbaseline a little

[00:20:22] Daniel: right. Yeah. It, and that's, that'sperfectly acceptable is try to, you know, maybe minimize some of those lows.that's fine. Or, or just have more days that are closer to, to the medium. AndI think that's part of what.

[00:20:42] Daniel: What I want is be able to see is RAone, like yeah. On the really rough days, are there things that I could tweakor adjust to maybe get that a little bit closer to kind of the mean and theaverage? Sure. Um, but what's probably more important to [00:21:00] me is on those really rough days. Youknow, how quickly is it coming back up?

[00:21:08] Daniel: Um, cause there have been times in mylife where. I probably consistently would be putting that happiness factor atlike a two or a three. and that's, that's more concerning when it's, when thatis kind of the regular trend. Um, I mean, that's, that's what depression lookslike. So yeah.

[00:21:31] Andrew: That's good. Uh, just on my end foraccountability sake. Uh, I have sucked at the 30 plus minutes of outdoor time,and I am embarrassed about it because it's something that's pretty easy to do,especially with a dog that needs to be walked out doors on a regular basis. Uh,it's windy here though, man, and it's cold in the day.

[00:21:53] Andrew: I just, I have made up every excuse Ican. I think if I'm looking at it, I think I've made. Um, five out of the 15days outside. So one-third, uh, success rate. I'm pretty sure You fail for thatnow, at least when we were in school. So I really sucked at being outdoors. I'mgoing to really make an effort to get that stepped up.

[00:22:17] Andrew: Um, I've done pretty good. On the coldshowers. I was planning on doing like weekly ice baths and that was kind of themain part of it. And the showers were just going to be like a daily. And again,we are, uh, I've had three weekends of opportunities basically, and I've yet totake an ice bath because I'm a chicken and those hurt.

[00:22:38] Andrew: And again was very easy to talkyourself out of going to Sonic and getting the ice and dumping in the bathtub,filling it up with cold water and getting in. There's a lot of, there's a lotof time in that journey to come up with a reason not to do it. So I'm going tohopefully step up and get a couple of guys pass in before this is over.

[00:22:55] Daniel: You know, I, I know I'm supposed to behelping you with accountability and by all means go walk Jasper. He deservesthat the weather. Yeah. It's going to be bad, but. You know, you got to get outthere and do it. And, and that's, I get it like my, my outdoor time struggled alittle bit earlier on when it was colder and it's been so nice here and I'veconsistently been outside.

[00:23:20] Daniel: It's about to get cold again. So Ijust got to be willing to still get out there and give Jake his walks, but onthe ice pass ice bath piece, I, I dunno, man. I still think they're evil.

[00:23:35] Andrew: So I didn't send this article to youthe other day, but I was attempting to convince myself to take the ice bath. Ilooked up, I was like, is this even good for me? Like, obviously this sucks.Maybe it's all just BS. Like there's no reason. So I pulled it up and. Theytalked about ice pass recovery, and they're like, look, I, you know, a coldshower is great.

[00:23:55] Andrew: Um, it's good for you, but wheneveryou really jump into an ice bath, because it's so much colder, [00:24:00] it does something to your vascular system.And it basically flushes this metabolic waste that you get whenever youexercise and do these kinds of things. And apparently it's really good for youto flush that stuff out.

[00:24:15] Andrew: Um, so that by itself is like, man,that sounds really handy. Um, and then there's of course all the other stuff. Ithink you have, you started reading breathe yet by, uh, James nest or I think

[00:24:27] Daniel: Yeah, I'm a few chapters then I thinkI'm three chapters.

[00:24:30] Andrew: so. I think somewhere in the book, hetalks about it. And so hopefully, maybe at that point you can come back aroundand be like, okay, I give up, you need to go get in your ice bath. Andrew, stopbeing a little wimp. with ice baths helps with your breathing patterns andthat's apparently just crazy good for you.

[00:24:49] Andrew: So I just need to do it man apart.Everything else aside, I said I was going to do it. I need to do it. That'sthat's just the end of the story. So I'm going to step up this weekend. Youmight hear me screaming all the way across Amarillo and by screaming. It'sactually me gasping and wishing I was dead and there's not going to be thatmuch noise, but you'll feel it there'll be a disturbance in the force.

[00:25:12] Daniel: Good luck to you, sir. You know, you,you then you've been a good friend and I'll miss you when you that.

[00:25:21] Andrew: Thank you. At least someone will.Well, all right. Anything else going forward that.

[00:25:29] Andrew: you want to get off your chest beforewe close out our updated.

[00:25:33] Daniel: no, I mean, I, I think the, the thingsthat I've been really trying to focus on have been incredible. Beneficial. Andso, um, I know you sort of highlighted them early on, but I definitelyrecommend to anybody who's trying to get into that more. I think sinus rhythm,um, maybe that's not the right word. We should fact check that, but the, theuppy Downy rhythm of, of, uh, Uh, happiness curve.

[00:26:10] Daniel: I really think spending that timeoutdoors, AKA moving, spending that time in prayer reflection, um, quiet time,and then just spending time with loved ones and people that you care about. Um,if you can find little ways to do that on a regular basis that. That's huge.And even those will still be days where you do that stuff and it's kind of arough day.

[00:26:43] Daniel: It helps to balance that out a littlebit and help to take some of that edge off. Um, and then you, I really feellike you just bounce back a little bit more quickly from those tough times andespecially. Finding ways again, with [00:27:00]those, those people that you're close to on those tough days, being vulnerableand talking about it and sharing with it on that day that I had my really roughWorkday.

[00:27:10] Daniel: Um, I talked to two differentcoworkers that were able to give me some really good advice and we're reallygrateful. Um, obviously talked to Hillary about it and talked to Beth about itand just, you know, was able to air sort of those feelings out. And then thingsended up working out. And I got to tell a funny story to my team at happy hour,a couple of days later, and was already able to kind of move past it and laughabout what could have otherwise been a really just shameful type of situation.

[00:27:46] Andrew: Okay. That's awesome, man. And it'sgood. You came up together and that could have gone poorly. Well, I agree witheverything you said. I hope, I hope you guys listening. Kind of take this toheart and give some of this attract. Cause I really have been enjoying thischallenge. It's a good start to the year, despite January being a rough month.

[00:28:05] Andrew: So I'm happy to be trying, I'm tryingto keep up with the ponds, vegetate them. So, but yeah, uh, I guess we willcheck with you guys, uh, in about two more weeks and we'll have a update forhow this challenge ends and we will have. The next month challenge. Whatchallenge lined up for you? And hopefully it goes well in both directions.

[00:28:29] Andrew: And until then we look forward toconnecting with you guys soon.