To appreciate how skilled you are at making yourself feel miserable, take this quiz. After completing the quiz, add up your score. Anything more than 15 means you could be a lot happier.

1 = Not typically me 2 = On occasion this is me 3 = Yup, that’s definitely me!

Do you:

  1. Think a lot about what you want but can’t have?
  2. Feel stuck with where you are in life?
  3. Keep ruminating about the worst case scenario?
  4. Can’t decide what you will do or won’t do?
  5. Refuse to accept your limitations?
  6. Keep telling yourself what “should” have been or what you “should” have done?
  7. Distress yourself with useless worrying?
  8. Seek to make someone else over in your own image?
  9. Keep doubting yourself no matter what you do?
  10. Keep looking for water in a dry well?
  11. Hold a grudge for any length of time?
  12. Expect more from others than they can give?

Well, how did you do? Are you miserable just thinking about how miserable you are? If so, revisit the questions in which you scored 1. Then give yourself a pat on the back. At least, you’re doing something right!

Then revisit the questions in which you scored 2 or 3. Now, create a goal for yourself to reverse the tendency to do what you usually do. Let’s take question #1 as an example. If you responded, “Yes, I frequently want what I can’t have,” change that to “I’ll make it a point to be grateful for what I do have.”

Can it be as simple as all that? Of course not. But it’s a beginning. Though adopting new ways will feel uncomfortable at first, when you view change as an opportunity to grow (not an unwanted burden) amazing things can happen.

We all grow older. But we don’t all grow happier or wiser. So, let this pop quiz be the catalyst for helping you grow a happier self. Here’s the inside scoop as to how others have done just that:

  • Happier people don’t view themselves as “victims.” Even if something really bad has occurred, they turn it into a challenge, remembering to be grateful for what hasn’t happened.
  • Happier people acknowledge both their strengths and weaknesses, without feeling embarrassed about what they don’t know or can’t do. They realize that nobody can know everything.
  • Happier people are resilient. They bounce back after setbacks. Sometimes it takes longer, sometimes it’s shorter. Either way, they eventually return to believing in themselves.
  • Happier people don’t let rejection, failure or blunders deter them from their goals. They learn from their mistakes. And don’t waste time torturing themselves over what “could have been.”
  • Happier people are sure of themselves. This doesn’t mean that they have the unquestioned conviction that they’re right and you’re wrong. They have no need to ramrod their ideas or beliefs down other people’s throats. They recognize that others have their own ways of living life.
  • Happier people are caring and respectful of others. They are not cocky, know-it-all folks who blow others off because they’re sure they are better than everyone else.
  • Happier people have their doubts. And make mistakes. And are far from perfect. But they put their inadequacies in perspective. And maintain a sense of humor about what they don’t know or what they haven’t done.
  • Happier people are well — happier. They don’t constantly compare themselves with others, only to conclude that they aren’t good enough.

I hope these insights have been helpful to you. If so, perhaps one day you’ll be able to say what actress Phyllis Rashad said — simply but eloquently — “I am just myself and who I am is a lot.”