Am I happy? If you’ve ever asked this question, then you need to take these ten tests.
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Have you ever asked yourself, “Am I happy?” I have and I never really discovered the answer until I took these tests. Now, you can too.
Moment of truth now. Are you happy with life?
Why are some people happy most of the time and others miserable most of the time?
Aside from the fact that people who are happy most of the time subscribe to a particular mindset and know that they need to actually design happiness, there is one step that most people never really hear about: how to measure your baseline.
This post will tell you exactly what a baseline is and give you several options to help you figure out what your levels are.
What is a baseline and why do you need it?
According to the Business Dictionary, in general business terms, a baseline refers to the “clearly defined starting point (point of departure) from where implementation begins, improvement is judged, or comparison is made“.
This is why we say that we can’t actually go through with our life makeover quest without a baseline. How else would you know that the process is working for you? It’s like taking a before and after snapshot when you’re trying to lose weight. If you don’t, you’ll be working on estimates and we can guarantee you that the uncertainty this produces can be quite brutal and demoralising.
How the heck do we get those?
You could begin by asking yourself two very quick questions.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, how would you rate your level of satisfaction with your life?
Why did you give yourself that number?
Your answers should give you a glimpse of what’s going on beneath the surface. Ready for a more in-depth look?
Check out the list below.
The best happiness tests
Disclaimer: Please remember that this post is not intended to replace proper medical guidance or medication. If you suspect you have mental health issues, then please see your doctor to obtain a diagnosis. Alternatively, you can get matched to a licensed therapist online who is available 24/7.
If you’re a regular reader, then you know that we emphasise the need for a holistic approach to living life and that we focus on the mind, relationships, finance and home, which is why we tried to include tests that focus on your happiness in all four areas.
Unfortunately, we haven’t found a test yet that would fall under the home or finance aspect of it but all the other two are well-represented.
These tests measure, not just the more nebulous individual happiness but also how that looks in terms of such things as your relationship with yourself as well as with other people.
We’ve tried to include everything that will help answer the question for you because, as we all know, our relationships affect happiness.
Am I happy test #1: Authentic Happiness Inventory
Among the 100 most widely cited psychologists in the world, a former member of the Positive Psychology Steering Committee, a consulting editor to the Journal of Positive Psychology, Perspectives on Psychological Science, and Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Positive Psychology Book Series Editor for Oxford University Press, Dr Peterson has created an easy to answer questionnaire that will show you your levels of overall satisfaction with your life (“authentic happiness”).
Thanks to the University of Pennsylvania, you can take this quiz online for free.
All you need to do is create an account with them, answer the 24 questions and you’ll get your result immediately.
Just take a good note of the site’s disclaimer, “we can only tell you how your scores compared to those of others using the site and thank you for your kind contribution to this research.”
The score of the average quiz-taker is 3.24 out of a possible 5.
Am I happy test #2: Mood Self-Assessment Quiz
According to the website, the Mood Self-Assessment Quiz uses questions that your GP would use if s/he were assessing you for depression / anxiety so this would be a pretty accurate tool.
You can take this quiz online and if you’re under the age of 16, it will redirect you to a more appropriate page. There are only 18 questions and for greater accuracy, whilst answering, you need to look back at how you’ve been feeling for the past 14 days.
This page also has links to NHS Choices Moodzone, which “offers practical advice, interactive tools, videos and audio guides to help you feel mentally and emotionally better“.
Am I happy test #3: Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)
Another easy to use questionnaire that has been validated for use in primary care to monitor severity of depression and response to treatment, the PHQ-9 can also be used to make a tentative diagnosis of depression.
I answered this questionnaire 18 months after giving birth to our son and I was diagnosed with postnatal depression (PND) shortly after.
That said, please let us emphasise the need for a medical professional’s assistance in diagnosing a mental health issue. So if you suspect you have depression, please see your doctor or get in touch with a licenced therapist.
Am I happy test #4: The Couples Satisfaction Index (CSI)
The CSI was developed in 2007 because the popular measures of couples satisfaction at the time had poor levels of accuracy. It has 32 questions and has a “higher precision of measurement and correspondingly greater power for detecting differences in levels of satisfaction.“
Am I happy test #5: Relationship Assessment Scale
The major advantage of the Relationship Assessment Scale is that anyone in intimate relationships can use it.
Whilst most other tests focus on married couples, this one measures global relationship satisfaction.
It’s also very short, with only seven items to answer, so it is frequently used in clinical settings and online administration.
Am I happy test #6: Parent Adult-Child Relationship Questionnaire (PACQ)
As the name suggests, the PACQ measures the relationship between parent and adult child, from the child’s point of view.
It only has 26 questions that are divided into two categories: the child’s relationship with the father and with the mother.
This is especially important because it’s been found time and again that the way a child is raised – especially in the formative years – has a profound effect that lasts all the way to adulthood.
Am I happy test #7: The Parent-Child Relationship Schema Scale (PCRSS)
According to the social scientists who created this survey instrument, the PCRSS “was specifically created to determine the difference between expectations and experience within the parent-child relationship from the child’s perspective“.
A major advantage of this test is the fact that you can clearly see the difference between the parent’s responses and the child.
If you are experiencing a strained relationship with your children or your parents, this could help explain why. Could it be that your expectations of each other are way off?
Am I happy test #8: The Friendship Questionnaire
This 35-item self-report quiz was initially developed to test the theory that autism is an extreme form of the “male brain,” leading people to prioritise competition and social rank over emotional depth and intimacy.
According to the questionnaire, a “high score on the FQ is achieved by the respondent reporting that they enjoy close, empathic, supportive, caring friendships that are important to them; that they like and are interested in people; and that they enjoy interacting with others for its own sake“.
People who are neurotypical tend to score around 65 (of 135) while people who have Aspergers average between 45-50.
You’ll need to create an account before you can take the test online but it doesn’t take too long and you get to view the results immediately after.
More Tips and tricks
As you know, the state of both your home and your finances can have an immediate and lasting impact on your happiness, which is why it’s essential that you have both in hand.
Whilst we’ve yet to find tests that focus on finance and home, we do have the following tips that we hope can help.
Tip #1: You need money.
Gasp! Shock! Horror! I can’t believe you just said that! 😱
Yes, I know, I know. Money can’t buy happiness.
But with respect, I disagree. Most people who say that tend to be middle class who may not necessarily be rich but aren’t destitute either.
I can tell you from personal experience that when you’re so poor that you worry about where you’re going to get your next penny from or your heart pounds whenever you receive a letter in case it’s a bill or you have to say no to your child again and again because you just don’t have enough money for the smallest things, it’s sickening. It’s miserable. And it’s almost impossible to be happy.
So, whilst not really a test, the state of your finance is a good indicator of your capacity to be happy. When you’re not worried about money (and therefore, survival), then it’s easier to turn your mind to nobler pursuits.
But when you’re worried about how you’re going to get food on the table or a roof over your head? You’ll be on survival mode and it takes Herculean effort to focus on happiness.
So, our major tip is to make sure you have your finances in hand (see resources below).
Financial Planning Tips To Stop Living From Paycheck to Paycheck – The financial plan that will help you keep your money situation in hand.
Debt Snowball vs Debt Avalanche: How to Clear Debt Fast – Two incredibly fast ways to clear your debt.
Real Tips To Save Money, That You Desperately Need! – Finally save the money that you know you need.
How To Get Rich And Stay Rich – A classic, this post will teach you exactly how you can become rich and stay rich too.
Tip #2: You need a clean home.
The state of your home is also a good indicator of the state of your mind. If you find that you’re hoarding or you just can’t be bothered to clean or tidy up, then you might want to take a closer look at what goes on in your mind.
Also, when the stuff around you start to make you anxious or irritable because there are just too many of them around, then it’s another good indicator that something’s got to change.
According to Chrissy from Organise My House, “Decluttering is needed when the “stuff” around you starts to have a negative impact in your life. You may feel overwhelmed by it, annoyed by it, or just a little irritated – but it won’t do you any good to stay in that state – so decluttering is the answer.”
Caitlin, Born Again Minimalist: “If you’re stressed out when you think about buying something new because you’re not sure where you’ll put it, or you get stressed looking at your possessions or storage areas, this is a big sign you may need to minimise.
Even if all of your stuff fits in your home, it can still cause stress or anxiety if you have more than you mentally want to deal with. For me, this manifests in not wanting to do the household cleaning, because I just can’t imagine where to start or how to get everything cleaned in a timely manner (this is related to depression too, and it’s worse in the winter when Seasonal Affective Disorder is rampant).”
“If you’re shoving things into drawers or bins, or if you have a lot of junk drawers or even junk rooms (for me, that’s our home office, which I’m currently in the process of downsizing), you’ve probably outgrown the amount of space that can accommodate your possessions and it’s time to downsize.“
“If your interests and hobbies change, the possessions you keep in your home should change too…For example, I love to run and exercise so I have a drawer full of running gear and workout clothes, as well as a few pairs of athletic shoes. If I gave up running, I’d expect to give up a lot of that gear too.”
How To Keep Your House Clean And Organized Even When You Have Kids – Tips and tricks that will help you maintain the state of your home even with kids about.
I Hate Doing Chores! – Learn how to enjoy cleaning when you hate housework.
How To Declutter Fast – Five easy steps to a clutter-free home.
Final thoughts on measuring happiness
We’d like to reiterate that this is a process so don’t expect to get things done overnight and don’t be surprised if you find yourself resisting the process.
Take things slowly.
And remember that change isn’t always easy, even when it’s wanted.
You’ll get there as long as you keep moving forward.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for relevance and comprehensiveness.