Katie Archibald column: You’re happier than you think!

'For over two months now I’ve been collecting my mood data, and I honestly didn’t realise how happy I am'

If you had to give a score to how happy you felt every day, and then you took an average of that score for the year, would that tell you how happy you were that year?

If you gave a score for how happy you felt every day, and watched how the score changed over time, could you trust that your perception of seven out of 10 happiness had stayed the same? What would be a more important average:
the mean, the median, the mode?

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I wonder this often. Especially on someone’s birthday. I wonder which year in their life has been the happiest so far and whether they’ll ever experience a year happier than that. I used to ask people what they believed their average out-of-10 happiness was. Something I must have always known deep down was rude and intrusive, but something I’ve only recently stopped.

As it turns out, there’s an app for it (called Daylio, though others likely exist). I’ve
been talking in the hypothetical all these years but soon I’ll have the real answers. Three times a day I get a pop-up on my phone with six smiley faces to pick from. I tap one, and that’s that. For over two months now I’ve been collecting my mood data, and I honestly didn’t realise how happy I am.

I downloaded it after the track Worlds (where I got concussion, left feeling miserable at performing so poorly in the omnium and being unable to contest the Madison, and stupidly ignored the success of a silver medal in the team pursuit) when I was sure I was miserable. I certainly cried enough. But even then, taking a second to ask myself how I really felt proved that things really weren’t that bad.

Looking at the data and realising that made me even happier. If you’re a regular reader, you may remember that I was banging on about being obscenely happy last month, so my apologies for bragging about it again.

But now I say it with a recommendation to try it yourself. Track your mood, please, and just check if you’re really as miserable as you tell yourself you are.