The Happiness Test

Susan happyIt’s confirmed: I’m full of gratitude about mostly everything, just about all the time.

And I’m happier than most people too (which, to be honest, came as a bit of a surprise…).

I’m one of those odd ducks who loves taking tests, ticking boxes and filling out surveys and questionnaires (strange, but true). So when my friend Terry Netto sent me a link to the Authentic Happiness Testing Center, I was intrigued.

I was even more intrigued when Terry said his score on the appreciation test was “dismal.”

Terry, who together with his wife Marianne, runs People Potential, a highly successful Malaysia-based training company, AND who reaches out to the world on a regular basis, is one of the most positive people I know.

He’s a member of Initiatives of Change (a diverse international network committed to building relationships of trust across the world’s divides), and was the driving force behind the wonderful Tools for Change conference I recently attended in Kuala Lumpur.

But perhaps being positive doesn’t necessarily include being grateful…?

Anyway, Terry was inspired to send me the link to the testing center after he received one of my irregular gratitude list emails in which I thanked him and others for making my trip to Malaysia such a rich and rewarding one.

The test center is part of a website called Authentic Happiness, associated with Dr. Martin Seligman, who, according to Terry, is “no ordinary psychologist.”

Seligman and others “are attempting to change the focus in psychological research from “why people are dysfunctional” (negative psychology) to “why some people function so well” (positive psychology),” Terry wrote.

A visit to the Authentic Happiness site yielded a bit more detail:

Seligman is Chairman of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center and founder of Positive Psychology, a new branch of psychology, which focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions.

His research has demonstrated that it is possible to be happier — to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances. Positive psychology interventions can also lastingly decrease depression symptoms.

The site invites visitors to undertake any or all of a battery of tests (you must register first, and the site says the anonymous results will be used in Seligman’s research), and offers related links including one to The Happiness Formula (a six-part series produced by the BBC).

Interestingly, one of the BBC articles in the series refer to research indicating that Britons today (or at least in 2006) are less happy now than they were in the 1950s, despite being three times richer!

It says:

The proportion of [British] people saying they are “very happy” has fallen from 52% in 1957 to just 36% today. [And] the British experience mirrors data from America, where social scientists have seen levels of life satisfaction gradually decline over the last quarter of a century.

Polling data from Gallup throughout the 1950s shows happiness levels above what they are today, suggesting that our extra wealth has not brought extra well being.

It could even be making matters worse.

Worse?! OMG! To see a comic interpretation of these sad facts on YouTube, watch Everything’s Amazing, Nobody’s Happy. It’s too funny, and SO true.

I’m both happy and grateful to report my EXCELLENT appreciation and happiness scores: 42 out a possible 42 on the former (can’t be much more grateful than that lol), and eight out of 10 on the latter.

How does that compare with others (hundreds of thousands of them apparently), who have taken the tests?

Well, on the gratitude scale, I scored as high or higher than 100 per cent of other test takers (wow, there must be A LOT of ungrateful people out there!), and, sadly (at least for them), I’m happier than 90 per cent.

How lucky am I ?!?!

I think I’ll celebrate by having a day full of gratitude and happiness.

Wishing you the same 🙂