Positive Psychology – A Review of Assessments and the Best One Out There

I’m always on the hunt for new models that will help along the ideas of Positive psychology. What is Positive Psych? Well, it is really one of the most exciting things happening in psychology today. Perhaps you noticed that the number of books based in this area has exploded. Part of the reason for that is researchers like Angela Duckworth and Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman have spearheaded what makes people happy and how that relates to grit. Positive Psychology is a real science and full of innovations.  Part of those innovations is assessments, which are numerous and often not terribly scientific.  So I found three of the more interesting sites and compared them below.

  1. The Wheel Of Well-Being (WoW) 

Site: https://www.wheelofwellbeing.org/

Upside: Design is fun. Gamification and community involvement is clever. 

Downside: Might be a zombie site, functionality isn’t working

Summary: Check out that wheel…nice, right? Now, before you visit the site, know that it looks a bit run down. It could be a zombie. I reached out to them and got some out of office stuff, and the sponsor link also goes to a dead page. This is, of course, a shame, since it had a great scheme.

Reading this from the earth icon clockwise, we have Planet, Body, Mind, Heart, People, Place. This site leverages its community to suggest things to do with this wheel. If you like one, put it on your wheel and then it’ll track each segment, or at least it used to.  So say someone suggested taking a walk. Well, you would agree to do that, and then track it on the wheel. The theory is obviously that if we do enough in each of area, we feel better.

Despite the lack of functionality on the site, I think it’s a good model and one that we could easily simply print out as a reminder.

 

 

 

2. Via Survey

site: http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths-Survey

Upside: Robust website. Active community and coaches that are trained.

Downside: To get the real reports you have to shell over 20-80 bucks USD, which is too bad, but considering the fate of WoW up there, perhaps a paywall isn’t such a bad idea.

Summary: 

This one is really in-depth, giving us 120 questions that range the gamut of “are you a curious person” to “are you a spiritual person”. I liked its output – when I finished it gave me a report of the 24 areas, or character strengths, that I have, in descending order. #1 for me? Creative. Interesting, but not particularly insightful. Much shorter tests have given me similar feedback. I did like how they stacked all 24 dimensions, and at the bottom (Regulation?) is not my weakness, per se, but a trait that I might have to work a bit harder to exhibit. I’d say read the site, and if you like it, then take the test.

3. University of Pennsylvania

sitehttps://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/testcenter

Upside: a plethora of tests that will keep you busy until the wee hours.  They’re all free, and they record the scores for you. There’s also a Facebook integration that is a little mysterious, but fully optional.

Downside: there are almost too many tests. I mean, which one should I take, the General Happiness one or the PERMA test, that tests “flourishing”?  There doesn’t appear to be any guidance about which one to take, so it can be overwheming.

Summary:

Yeah, I saved the best for last. You know when you start looking into a new topic, like swing dancing, and then find that there are entire worlds that are into it and have broken into tribes, and then there are those tribes that are running the show? Well, that’s what UoP is doing with happiness research, and their testing center will overwhelm all but the most determined.    The quality of the questions is high and entertaining. I really like this one:

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Couldn’t help myself – I think Charlie would probably score himself pretty high. High…get it? 

 

Anyway, the output of these assessments is a number and a chart, such as this:
Apparently, I’m authentically happy. yay!
I’m really stoked about this site and recommend everyone check it out. Pick an assessment and have fun with it. They’re all free, and you’ll get a good sense of what Positive Psychology is through their videos and research. They even have conferences if you want to dig in and meet this amazing tribe. I know I do!

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