Below you’ll find the The Oxford Happiness Inventory developed by Michael Argyle (2001). I think there are other ways of measuring how well you feel about your life, but this gives a good quick snapshot. There are a number of other psychological tests measuring happiness. Some are as simple as asking are you happy. Others measure a number of other factors. I like this test best though of this type. For two reasons.
One, it’s reliability and validity. This is important from a scientific viewpoint to ensure the test is measuring what it says it is – and with some accuracy. The OHI has shown a test-retest reliability of .5-.6 with a six year interval. In other words, scientifically it provides at least as true a test of happiness as any other questionnaire.
Two, the way that it defines happiness as a stable and enduring trait, as opposed to a moment to moment sensation, which will vary depending on your current mood.
The test works on you using a scale of agreeing or disagreeing with the statement given. Use the number that best suits how you feel about the statement. The options are;
1 = strongly disagree
2 = moderately disagree
3 = slightly disagree
4 = slightly agree
5 = moderately agree
6 = strongly agree
Be careful in the scoring and reading of the test, because some are phrased positively and others negatively. The red questions are scored the reverse way, so strongly agree scores a 1 instead of a 6.
Just answer with your gut feel about the question as it affects your life most generally. No need for any in depth analysis or soul searching. The first answer that comes into your head is probably the closest.
1. I don’t feel particularly pleased with the way I am. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
2. I am intensely interested in other people. _____
3. I feel that life is very rewarding. _____
4. I have very warm feelings towards almost everyone. _____
5. I rarely wake up feeling rested. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
6. I am not particularly optimistic about the future. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
7. I find most things amusing. _____
8. I am always committed and involved. _____
9. Life is good. _____
10. I do not think that the world is a good place. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
11. I laugh a lot. _____
12. I am well satisfied about everything in my life. _____
13. I don’t think I look attractive. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
14. There is a gap between what I would like to do and what I have done. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
15. I am very happy. _____
16. I find beauty in some things. _____
17. I always have a cheerful effect on others. _____
18. I can fit in (find time for) everything I want to. _____
19. I feel that I am not especially in control of my life. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
20. I feel able to take anything on. _____
21. I feel fully mentally alert. _____
22. I often experience joy and elation. _____
23. I don’t find it easy to make decisions. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
24. I don’t have a particular sense of meaning and purpose in my life. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
25. I feel I have a great deal of energy. _____
26. I usually have a good influence on events. _____
27. I don’t have fun with other people. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
28. I don’t feel particularly healthy. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
29. I don’t have particularly happy memories of the past. (R) _____ (Remember Strongly Agree here scores 1 not 6)
Getting your score
Add the numbers for all 29 questions. (Making sure that the red questions are scored in reverse.)
Then divide by 29. So your happiness score = the total divided by 29.
On it’s own it is just a snapshot, but does give a measurement which you can keep track of in an excel doc or note 6 months or a year ahead in a diary to compare as you re-take the test.
A Note On Your Score
As I’ve said, all this test provides is a snapshot of where you are at the moment. The average score is slightly over 4, but average means nothing really does it?
All that matters is how you feel. If your score was low or high, you’ll still want it to be better, won’t you? I believe there is always higher you can go. Always something you can work on to reach the next level in your evolution.
Hills, P., & Argyle, M. (2002). The Oxford Happiness Questionnaire: a compact scale for the measurement of psychological well-being. Personality and Individual Differences, 33, 1073–1082.