Take the Happiness Survey – CBS News

Take the Happiness Survey – CBS News

From the authors of “The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness”:

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Simon and Schuster


Humans are social creatures; essentially, this simply means that each of us as individuals cannot provide all that we need for ourselves. The process of giving and receiving in mutually beneficial relationships is the foundation of a meaningful, happy life.

Here is an exercise that will help you make sense of your own “social universe”. The table below is organized around what the Harvard Study of Adult Development considers keystones of support.

Print the table below (pdf). The first column is to identify the relationships you think have the most impact on you. Place a plus sign (+) in the appropriate columns to the right if a relationship appears to increase that type of support in your life, and a minus sign (-) if a relationship lacks that type of support.

Remember: it’s okay if not all (or even most) relationships offer you everyone of this type of support.


Understand the keystones of support:

  • Safety and security: Who would you turn to in a moment of crisis?
  • Learning and growth: Who encourages you to try new things, take chances or pursue life goals?
  • Emotional closeness and trust: Who knows everything (or most) about you? Who can you turn to for support when you are stressed?
  • Identity verification and shared experience: Is there someone in your life who has shared many experiences with you and who helps to strengthen your sense of self?
  • Romantic Intimacy: Do you feel satisfied with the amount of romantic connection in your life?
  • Help: Who do you turn to if you need expertise or help to solve a practical problem?
  • Fun and relaxation: Who makes you laugh? Who makes you feel relaxed, connected and calm?

Sources of support in my life

My relationship with:

Safety and security

Learning and growth

Emotional closeness and trust

Identity verification and shared experience

Romantic intimacy

Help (both info and practical)

Fun and relaxation

After you have completed the diagram, there are some questions to consider and reflect on:

  1. If you feel some dissatisfaction in your life, do any of the holes on the chart match that feeling?
  2. Are there columns that have many pluses (or minuses)? What does this tell you?
  3. Do you notice any surprises in how you answered these questions?


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