How Objective Measurability of Subjective Well-being Establishes the Opportunity of Improvement in Happiness

Happiness is described by the psychological term of subjective well-being. This concept defines Happiness as a highly individual construct making it difficult to measure. Since subjective well-being is profoundly influenced by emotions, the assessment simply by asking for a current “Happiness-state” is impractical and not constructive. Therefore, an objective measure is essential not only for estimating a status quo but also for achieving an improvement in personal perceived Happiness.


There are several ways to describe that pleasant feeling of well-being. From a linguistic perspective, there are constructs like “fortune” to mention. “Fortune” describes said well-being in combination with a destiny. The English language has one targeted and purposeful word for the aforesaid condition of well-being. It is Happiness. Happiness describes a state of well-being that combines positive emotions and life satisfaction. The psychological term for Happiness is “subjective well-being”. The “subjective” implies an individual estimation. In fact, subjective well-being is defined as a person’s cognitive and affective evaluation of his or her life as a whole.[1]

Diverse scientific disciplines engage in the measurability of Happiness but the fact that Happiness is a highly subjective state of mind impedes these efforts. People asked about their current Happiness would answer to this influenced by their mood. Such gut decisions can differ a lot from the real score. Therefore, constructing an objective measure as it is commonly applied to assess negative psychological constructs like depressiveness, is plausible.

Economics as a research discipline in the field of Happiness tries to determine, isolate and measure variables that influence people’s Happiness. Such variables are satisfactory work and income, leisure time, social contacts, family, meaning and health. [2] Measuring the perceived subjective well-being in these areas of life untangles the fuzzy concept of Happiness. Making Happiness measurable separated by influencing aspects of life provides one enormous advantage: The potential for improvement.

The success of every possible desired outcome (goal) is significantly determined by the way of approach. When approaching a goal such as the greatest achievable Happiness, there is one thing that needs to be done first. A target/actual comparison. Aiming for high subjective well-being provides a desirable target. The “actual” part is what brings the measurability of Happiness back into consideration. The Happiness Management Institut developed a free Happiness Scan which allows exactly this ascertainment. To achieve a high Happiness value, there are three things to accomplish.


Determine the Status Quo

At first, one needs to determine the starting point which represents the basis for future development. The free Happiness Scan provided by the Happiness Management Institut is one great step to start with. There are seven statements, each of which is assessed regarding personal beliefs. Afterwards, the current Happiness value is determined.


Identify Gaps and Personal Happiness Leaks

With the knowledge of the current status quo regarding Happiness, it is important to find out where there is a need for improvement and where the happiness leaks are hidden. Ultimately, this step is the comparison of the current with the desired state. It serves to disclose the potential for improvement.


Draft a Strategy

Finally, a strategy to eliminate the gaps is drawn up. The areas of life in which happiness is least represented are identified and activities aimed at increasing happiness are undertaken. Once a plan is made, it is easier to pursue a goal.


The Happiness Management Institut offers professional support and science-backed information on all of these steps starting with the free Happiness Scan. Estimating a status quo does not only facilitate achieving the desired outcome – it only makes it achievable.





[1] Diener, E., Lucas, R. E., & Oishi, S. (2002). Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and life satisfaction. Handbook of positive psychology2, 63-73.

[2] Straesser, A. (2017). The Happiness Strategy. Norderstedt, Germany: BoD – Books on Demand.