The Happiness Pulse: a Bristol-based wellbeing tool to boost self-reflection


By Eve Coleman, Digital Wellbeing Editor

The Croft Magazine // Created by the local Centre for Thriving Places, The Happiness Pulse is designed to help you identify the areas of your wellbeing that are in need of attention.

In my humble ten years on the internet, I have clicked my way through dozens of Buzzfeed-style quizzes and gained a profound understanding of my inner self through soul-searching titles such as ‘What Your Meal Deal Preference Says About What Kind of Friend You Are’. While these can be a fun form of self-reflection, I wish to direct fellow quiz-lovers to a rather more useful and accurate resource.

The Happiness Pulse is a free online tool created by The Centre for Thriving Places: a Bristol-based organisation who, through workshops and campaigns, aims to “change the economic compass from pointing to consumption and growth toward well-being for people, place and planet.” The quiz was designed in partnership with several health organisations including the ONS, UK National Well-being Programme and Public Health England, as well as the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government.

Epigram / Eve Coleman

The five-minute quiz centres around three key areas: Be, Do and Connect, which are all equally important in maintaining a healthy life:

  • ‘Be’ focuses on internal factors of mental health, such as our sense of self-worth, peace of mind and autonomy.
  • ‘Do’, as the name would suggest, considers the active measures of self-care in the individual’s day-to-day life, including physical activity and independent learning.
  • ‘Connect’ examines one’s relationship to others: our social activity and sense of community.

There is also an additional section of questions related to life in the current Covid-19 pandemic, factoring in the role that lockdown measures may have on our wellbeing and quality of life, i.e. our financial security and living arrangements.

The Centre for Thriving Places

The compiled information produces a wellbeing evaluation with individual scores for each of the three pillars, as well as an overall mark out of ten. Results are then further broken down to identify potential problem areas and signpost relevant online resources, including articles from Mind and Do IT.

My results were very interesting. I scored highest in the ‘Do’ section, suggesting that the active measures I take to maintain my physical and mental health are effective in promoting my general wellbeing. The advice offered in the ‘Be’ and ‘Connect’ sections centred around alleviating anxiety about the future and developing a sense of connection to my local area.

While many of the wellbeing tips may seem obvious or cliché, their popularity is testament to their effectiveness: implementing these measures will truly help to create a clearer and brighter mental space.

While The Happiness Pulse is great for individual use, it is also an effective source of information for organisations and communities. The website states that it is designed to support teams, project managers, commissioners and local policymakers to ‘measure’ their strengths and weaknesses regarding general wellbeing, ‘understand’ the social impact and value of their projects, and ultimately to ‘improve’ through specific interventions and targeted investment. In its own more concise terms, The Happiness Pulse provides a means to “understand and create the conditions for people and communities to thrive”.

In this time of great uncertainty, it is particularly important to stay in touch with our emotions

The organisation’s demographics section is an important feature for this official function, enabling essential data comparison that will highlight any existing inequalities or discrimination in the environment. However, I would note that the quiz lacks an option to state one’s sexuality and therefore the data will fail to account for the experience of homophobia in a workplace or area.

I encourage you to try out The Happiness Pulse for yourself and reflect on your results. The evaluation may illuminate certain areas of wellbeing that could help you cultivate a happier and more fulfilled life. In this time of great uncertainty, it is particularly important to stay in touch with our emotions and engage in activities that are beneficial to our mental and physical health.

The Covid-19 pandemic may have highlighted the unpredictability of external events,  but we remain empowered to tend to our internal wellbeing: caring for body and mind and strengthening ourselves for whatever may come our way.

Featured image: Epigram / Eve Coleman

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