Happiness is rating your unhappiness from 0 to 10

Happiness is rating your unhappiness from 0 to 10

Let me be clear from the outset. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s no ONE secret to happiness and there’s usually no EASY way to happiness.

But there are paths to happiness that will work for most of us most of the time. 

And one of those is dealing effectively with … unhappiness. That’s right, managing unhappiness effectively allows for more opportunity for real happiness. And here’s one (relatively simple) way you can do it …

… let’s work through a real life stressor or stressful situation. 

  • Begin, by thinking back on that stress or distress, anxiety or sadness or whatever unpleasant emotion you were feeling.
  • Next, rate the intensity of your distress from 0 (zero) to 10, where 0 is “no stress at all” and 10 is “the worst thing you can possibly imagine”
  • Just for some contexts, 10’s would be life changing negative life events, like the death of a loved one or maybe a catastrophic injury. Higher scores, like 7’s or 8’s or 9’s might be losing a job, or losing a significant sum of money; maybe even the loss of a significant relationship
  • Obviously, different events will be differentially distressing for different people, but anything above a 6 or a 7 should be a significant and/or traumatic event
  • And one final suggestion, when making your rating, try not to just think about how you feel NOW but for how long you might feel this upset. That is, if something seems like, say, an 8 now, but you’re able to recognise that tomorrow or next week or maybe next month, it would probably rate only as a 5 or 4, then keep that in mind and possibly rate down a bit

Anyway, the point is, that more often than not, what seems like a 9 or 8 in the heat of the moment might often really be, with some perspective and with some objectivity, a much lower score. It might still not be a 0 or even a 2 or 3 but there’s no doubt that even if, through this process, you can tell yourself that your upset at the level of 6 rather than 9, or 4 instead of 7, that can make a big difference. 

And the difference it makes is … less unhappiness. Which also means you’ve now created the opportunity for yourself to possibly bounce back more quickly and enjoy more happiness!