Measure your own happiness

I use the terms happiness, wellbeing and life satisfaction synonymously here.  This is the Lupopia method for measuring wellbeing which is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs.  You can read here about the validity of measuring wellbeing and linking to environmental protection.

The methodology adds up the degree of satisfaction for each of your human needs as described by Maslow.  The final three questions really are your own self assessment.  However, the first two questions are already answered.  Here’s why:

Basic needs – assumed 50 marks out of 50 for UK citizens.  We rarely have people starving or thirsty.

Security needs – assumed 22 marks out of 25. This is based on an average of crime statistics and environmental protection rates which secure supply of food, water, flood protection and air quality.  I did this for a study of my old home in London back in 2015.  Things may have changed since then and I intend to update this.

Maslow level question Answer
Basic needs met, out of 50 50
Security needs met, out of 25 22
Social – marks out of 10, how satisfied are you with your social life?  (UK average = 7)
Esteem – marks out of 10, how worthwhile are the things you do? (UK average = 3)
Self-actualisation – marks out of 5, how satisfied are you with your amount of leisure time? (UK average = 3)
Add all your answers to give marks out of 100%

On reflection, you may think that your score is “not bad”.  But why can’t it be 100%?  We are human after all.  Your own scores will give some pointers on what you may wish to improve.  For example, if you only scored yourself 5 out of 10 for esteem, you may consider doing things that raise your esteem like gaining a qualification in something you’re good at, or entering a competition.  Much lower than that and it may start to affect your mental health and the Mind website has some good advice on how to go about raising self-esteem.

In all cases though, we need to improve the UK environmental protection, because it is affecting security of supply of our basic needs right now.

Please keep an eye out for my other blogs and read the “contact” section of this site.

2 thoughts on “Measure your own happiness

  1. Just a thought, but this measurement of wellbeing, as a proxy for happiness, is very skewed towards basic needs, then security needs. I understand this, but am wondering how this squares with my observation that many people who don’t actually have all their basic and security needs satisfied appear often to be happier than those of us who have. Treating life as a privilege rather than a right, seems to set a different expectation in the first place, and since happiness appears to be a relative emotion, is not the expectation also needing to be measured somehow? Chris Reynolds.


    1. Thanks Chris. The measuring framework is based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Even Maslow recognised that there were anomalies in individual happiness e.g. artists who starve so they can concentrate on their art. However, a published study of 61,000 people around the world showed that, in general, people whose physical and mental needs were most satisfied, also reported higher levels of subjective well being. Look up “Needs and Subjective Well-Being Around the World” by Diner and Tay. Thanks again.


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