If you decide that you’re going to
* get more organized in order to have more peace of mind
* spend more time with your family and friends in order to be more relaxed
* stress less
* increase your happiness…
how will you know once you’re succeeding in these resolves?

There’s a simple idea in Positive Psychology that you should be able to measure how you are progressing in terms of increasing your happiness, well-being, life satisfaction. One large way that these items are measured is through self-reporting.

This means that if you were to start working with a Positive Psychology coach to improve your enjoyment of life, work-life balance, or productivity at work, that pretty early on the coach would ask you, “Would you like to get some baseline measurements at the start?” And it makes sense to. I recommend it. This way, you have a sense of how you acted and reacted before you started actively increasing your life happiness or life satisfaction. In a way, it’s like measuring your weight before going on an exercise-and-moderated-eating plan. (BTW, you’ll notice that these assessments are not usually called quizzes or tests because that would imply that there is a ‘best way’ to be or a ‘best score’ to get.)

My favorite thing about these particular assessments is that they describe you. After taking them, I’ve often been able to crystalize into words some things that I may never have thought of before about myself, and I hear this comment frequently from other people that have taken assessments too.

And, finally, if you still need a boost as to why you should go to this page and take them … THEY’RE FUN! :)

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing up more about what they mean and what info from the assessments you can really use productively. Here is the great site where you can find assessments for yourself and your friends: the Authentic Happiness site.

Here are the assessments I most recommend (you’ll need to create a login at that site):
* VIA Signature Strengths Survey – this shows you your main character strengths – VERY INTERESTING; assessment by Peterson and Seligman (takes 20 minutes to complete).
* Optimism Scale – This shows you how you interpret good and bad events, reference: Learned Optimism; assessment by Seligman (32 questions, takes a few minutes).
* Satisfaction with Life Scale – Simple assessment of subjective well-being. Here is an article that highlights Ed Diener, the lead author of this assessment scale (5 questions).
* General Happiness Questionnaire – This is actually my favorite one of all of them, Lyubomirsky’s and Lepper’s assessment (4 questions). I’d love to know what you guys get on this little survey!

Enjoy! And I’ll write more about these later.


6 Comments

  1. Dave
    Posted Monday July 10, 2006 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Just a heads up: I saw the segment on “Good Morning America” that had Chris Petersen on it talking about Happiness, and the GMA site linked to the Authentic Happiness site! Which is very cool, but it also means that the server is completely overloaded and won’t give any answers until traffic dies down.

  2. Nick
    Posted Tuesday July 11, 2006 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Well, I took the test. I’m a 5…. out of 7. Not bad. The one that brought my score down was the last one… basically saying “I believe I could be happier than I am.” Yep, I could be. I’m always a work in progress, and I like where I am today. I can’t wait for a better tomorrow though. Happy test-taking.

  3. Nick
    Posted Tuesday July 11, 2006 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    To edit my last post… I took the General Happiness Scale. Lyubomirsky’s test. :)

  4. Lila
    Posted Thursday July 13, 2006 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I’m a 5, too. Interestingly, the last question was the *only* one I ranked myself as a 6 on, so higher than my other answers!

  5. Posted Thursday July 13, 2006 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Hi you guys, I remember this test as how many out of 28, so it’s strange for me to see it as how many out of 7? I kind of wish they went back to the 28 format. There was a TV show in England called Making Slough Happy, and I’m pretty sure they used the 28-scoring format. In any case, sounds like you guys are happily healthily happy! Yay and knock-on-wood! :)

  6. Lila
    Posted Thursday July 13, 2006 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    OK, I took the other two short ones. I’m a 26 on the satisfaction-with-life scale.

    I thought the optimism test was weird, and also gave me really interesting and hard-to-interpret results. WHat I thought was weird about it was that a lot of the questions (but not all) seemed to me actually to be about self-confidence, not about optimism. Interesting. Would love to ask you about this sometime, Sen.

    Then it gave me a huge number of results — I am moderately optimistic in all categories except pervasiveness good events, where I’m moderately pessimistic. The overall “hopefulness” one said that I got a 5, which is “average.”

    Well, it *said* it was average, but then it also said that 75% of all people scored lower than me. IT kind of reminded me of Lake Wobegon, where all of the children are above average.

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