5 Instant Mood Boosters

Discover five ways to instantly boost your mood and uplift your spirits.

By Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC, LSATP

Need a boost? Here are five quick (evidence-based) fixes for when you’re feeling down.


Listen to music

Turn on the radio or search for your favorite song on YouTube. Music can evoke a powerful emotional response. Listen to something upbeat with a positive message. Music activates areas in the brain that are responsible for processing emotions.

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” 

Confucius

Be mindful while listening to a happy tune; pay attention to your emotions and challenge yourself to feel happier. In one study, participants who listened to upbeat music experienced improved mood as well as increased happiness over the next two weeks. A 2017 study indicated that listening to your favorite songs impacts the brain circuit involved in internally focused thought, empathy, and self-awareness. Interestingly, it doesn’t matter what type of music you choose; the effect is consistent across genres. Music may play a role in restoring neuroplasticity or as a therapeutic intervention. In 2013, researchers found that listening to uplifting concertos from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was linked to enhanced cognitive functioning. An additional benefit to listening to music is improved mental alertness; memory and attention in particular may be enhanced.

Find a green space

Go hiking, find a sunny spot to sit outside, or simply open the window and listen to the sound of the rain falling. According the U.S. Forest Service, spending time in nature can reduce stress, improve mood, reduce anger/aggressiveness, and increase overall happiness. If you’re upset or frustrated, you’ll recover more quickly in a natural setting, such as a forest. Alternatively, consider a stroll in the park for a boost. Researchers found that individuals with depression who took an hour-long nature walk experienced significant increases in attention and working memory when compared to individuals who walked in urban areas. Interestingly, both groups of participants experienced similar boosts in mood; walking in an urban area can be just as effective!

More recently, researchers found that people who regularly commute through natural environments (i.e. passing by trees, bodies of water, parks, etc.) reported better mental health compared to those who don’t. This association was even stronger among active commuters (walking or biking to work). If you commute through congested or urban areas, consider an alternate route, especially when you’re feeling down.

Spending time outside does more than just improve your mood. A 2018 report established a link between nature and overall wellness. Living close to nature and spending time outside reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. Exposure to green space may also benefit the immune system, reduce inflammation, and increase sleep duration.

Read/view something inspiring or humorous

Do you have a favorite inspirational book or collection of poems? Do you like viewing motivational TED Talks? Do you enjoy comedy shows? Maybe you like watching videos of baby goats or flash mobs on Facebook. (I do!) One study found that viewing cat videos boosted energy and positive emotions while decreasing negative feelings (such as anxiety, annoyance, and sadness). Internet cats = Instant mood boost. However, if Internet cats are not your thing, search around to find something enjoyable to read or watch for your happiness quick-fix.

Plan your next adventure

I’m happiest when I’m traveling the world. Unfortunately, I have limited vacation days (as well as limited funds), which means I don’t get to travel as often as I’d like. Happily, planning a trip may produce the same mood-boosting effects as going on a trip. In 2010, researchers found that before taking a trip, vacationers were happier compared to those not planning a trip. A 2002 study indicated that people anticipating a vacation were happier with life in general and experienced more positive/pleasant feelings compared to people who weren’t. In both studies, researchers attributed happiness levels to anticipation. (The brain releases dopamine during certain activities, causing us to feel pleasure. Dopamine is also released in anticipation of a pleasurable activity.) To increase happiness, start planning!

Cuddle a pet

Spending time with your fur baby will instantly boost your mood. According to research, pets are good for your mental health. Teens undergoing treatment for drug and alcohol abuse experienced improved mood, positive affect, attentiveness, and serenity after brushing, feeding, and playing with dogs. A 2018 study indicated that dog therapy sessions reduced stress and increased happiness and energy in college students. Earlier this year, researchers found that just 10 minutes of interaction with a pet reduced stress by significantly decreasing cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. Other studies suggest that animal-assisted therapy reduces anxiety and loneliness and combats homesickness.

Research indicates that pets help seniors and older adults cope with physical and mental health concerns. Dog ownership is also linked to better cardiovascular health and a longer life.

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”

Charles M. Shultz

The next time you’re having a bad day, listen to your favorite song, go hiking in the woods, watch a TED Talks, start planning your next vacation, or spend some quality time with a furry friend… you’ll feel better!

List Of Hobbies

Discover your next greatest hobby with this diverse list of assorted leisure activities, which range from beekeeping to Kombucha brewing to knife throwing to ghost hunting.

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC, LSATP

I developed this list (with the help of Wikipedia, and Google, of course) as part of a project I was working on and thought it would be worth sharing. (Click below for a PDF version of this list.)

Hobby Categories

Animals & Nature | Arts & Crafts | Collections | Cooking & Baking | Entertainment | Home Improvement & DIY | Literature, Music, & Dance | Outdoor & Adventure | Self-Improvement & Social | Sports | Travel | Miscellaneous

Read and be inspired!

Animals & Nature

  • Attend pet shows (or horse shows)
  • Beekeeping
  • Berry or apple picking
  • Bird watching
  • Butterfly garden (Visit one or create your own!)
  • Butterfly watching
  • Be a plant parent; nurture and care for indoor plants
  • Composting
  • Dog training
  • Dog walking
  • Fossil hunting
  • Grow and tend to a fruit tree
  • Grow an indoor herb garden
  • Grow plants from seedlings (and plant outside when in-season)
  • Hang humming bird feeders and then sit back and enjoy the company!
  • Horseback riding
  • Become an expert at identifying various plants
  • Mushroom hunting
  • Nature walks
  • Adopt a pet
  • Pet fostering
  • Pet sitting
  • Plant a flower bed
  • Go on a swamp tour
  • Tend to a vegetable garden
  • Topiary
  • Visit a farm
  • Visit an aquarium
  • Go to zoos and/or nature centers
  • Watch wildlife on Animal Planet
  • Go whale watching

Arts & Crafts

  • Drawing
  • Candle making
  • Collages – Use whatever materials you desire!
  • Coloring
  • Crocheting
  • Design your own greeting cards or stationary
  • Flower arranging
  • Glassblowing
  • Jewelry making
  • Knitting
  • Lettering/calligraphy
  • Mixed media art
  • Mosaic making
  • Origami
  • Painting (watercolor, oils, acrylics, etc.)
  • Paper crafts (including paper mache)
  • Photography
  • Pressed flower craft
  • Pottery
  • Quilting
  • Scrapbooking
  • Sculpting
  • Sewing
  • Sketching
  • Soap making
  • Weaving
  • Wood carving

Collections

  • Action figures
  • Antiques
  • Autographs
  • Barbies
  • Books (classics, signed copies, etc.)
  • Christmas tree ornaments
  • Comics
  • Fun socks
  • Hot sauce from around the world
  • Movie or music memorabilia
  • Obsolete tech (i.e. outdated cell phones, tape players, etc.)
  • Original artwork
  • Plates
  • Purses, shoes, and other accessories
  • Recipes
  • Records
  • Retro video games
  • Rocks and/or crystals
  • Shells
  • Souvenirs
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Stickers
  • Ticket stubs
  • Toys
  • Vases
  • Vintage items

Cooking & Baking

  • Braising
  • Bread making
  • Cake decorating
  • Canning
  • Cheese making
  • Coffee roasting
  • Cookie decorating
  • Grilling and BBQ
  • Hosting dinner parties
  • Kombucha brewing
  • Learn ethnic and regional recipes
  • Learn recipes from cooking shows
  • Make “fun foods” for kids
  • Make homemade ice cream
  • Make jam or jelly
  • Make your own beef (or vegan!) jerky
  • Participate in competitive food festivals (or just go and enjoy the food!)
  • Pasta making
  • Pastry and confection making
  • Pickling
  • Pie making
  • Raw diet meals
  • Recreate menu items from your favorite restaurants
  • Reduced fat cooking
  • Sautéing
  • Slow cooker meals
  • Smoothie making
  • Soup, sauce, and stock making
  • Sushi making
  • Take a cooking class
  • Tea brewing
  • Try new recipes on a regular basis
  • Use an air fryer
  • Use a dehydrator
  • Use Pinterest for inspiration
  • Vegan cooking
  • Watch Food Network for inspiration

Entertainment

  • Attend movies, operas, plays, and musicals
  • Bingo
  • Board games and/or party games
  • Card games
  • Chess
  • Strategy games
  • Dine out at new restaurants
  • Escape rooms
  • Gaming
  • Go to museums
  • Go to poetry slams or open mic nights
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Karaoke
  • Murder mystery shows
  • Read entertainment/celebrity magazines
  • See your favorite bands/artists perform live
  • Standup comedy
  • Theme parks
  • Watch your favorite Netflix series, but make sure you become overly invested (borderline obsessed) with the story line and characters in order for this to qualify as a legit hobby

Home Improvement & DIY

  • Add a backsplash to your kitchen
  • Bathroom remodel
  • Build a shed
  • Build furniture
  • Design a meditation room, home office, “man cave,” or “she shed”
  • DIY headboard
  • Fireplace makeover
  • Hanging shelves
  • Home organization
  • Install smart home technology
  • Kitchen remodel
  • Paint an accent wall or update your entire home
  • Paint old cabinets
  • Redecorate a room
  • Stencil or wallpaper
  • Update a closet
  • Update furniture
  • Update lighting
  • Use chalk paint or metallic spray paint

Literature, Music, & Dance

  • Acting
  • Attend art galleries
  • Attend literary fests
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Belly dancing
  • Blogging/guest blogging
  • Break dancing
  • Editing
  • Go to book signings
  • Go to the library
  • Join a book club (either in-person or online, i.e. Goodreads)
  • Listen to music
  • Play/learn an instrument
  • Puppeteering
  • Rapping
  • Reading
  • Sell your art on etsy.com
  • Singing
  • Song-writing
  • Submit articles/opinion pieces/essays to magazines and newspapers
  • Swing dancing
  • Take a dance class (swing, hip hop, ballroom, etc.)
  • Take a drama or improv class
  • Take voice lessons
  • Wikipedia editing
  • Write a book
  • Write poetry
  • Write short stories

Outdoor & Adventure

  • Backpacking
  • Boating
  • Bungee jumping
  • Camping
  • Canoeing
  • Caving
  • Fishing
  • Geocaching
  • Go-Karting
  • Hiking
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kayaking
  • Laser tag
  • Mountain biking
  • Mountain climbing
  • Paintball
  • Parasailing
  • Rocking climbing
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Snowboarding
  • Snorkeling
  • Waterskiing
  • White water rafting
  • Wilderness survival

Self-Improvement & Social

  • Advocate
  • Attend support groups/meetings
  • Attend workshops
  • Bullet journaling
  • Daily positive affirmations and/or self-reflection
  • Join a club
  • Join a gym
  • Join a Meetup group
  • Join a political campaign
  • Journaling
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Make a vision board and update it regularly
  • Meditation
  • Read research
  • Read self-improvement books
  • Social media
  • Stretching
  • Take a class (i.e. self-defense, a foreign language, etc.)
  • Use a habit tracker app
  • Volunteer
  • Watch documentaries
  • Watch inspirational Ted Talks
  • Wear a fitness tracker
  • Yoga

Sports

  • Archery
  • Badminton 
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Biking
  • Body building
  • Bowling
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Darts
  • Disc golf/frisbee
  • Fencing
  • Football/flag football
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Hockey
  • Ice skating
  • Jogging/running
  • Knife throwing
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial arts
  • Poker
  • Racquetball
  • Racing
  • Riding a unicycle
  • Roller derby
  • Rugby
  • Skateboarding
  • Soccer
  • Surfing/body boarding
  • Swimming
  • Table football
  • Table tennis
  • Tennis
  • Thai Chi
  • Volleyball
  • Weight training
  • Wrestling

Travel

  • Alaskan cruise
  • All-inclusive resorts
  • Beach vacations
  • Caribbean cruise
  • Cross country train trip
  • Explore your home town and other nearby place as though you’re a tourist
  • Guided group tours
  • Mediterranean cruise
  • Road trip
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Travel to all the continents in the world
  • Travel to all the states in America
  • Trip to Las Vegas
  • Visit the Grand Canyon
  • Visit the New Seven Wonders of the World
  • Visit the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World
  • Go on city walking tours

Miscellaneous Hobbies

  • Astrology/astronomy
  • Billiards
  • Couponing
  • Creating DIY home products
  • Fantasy sports
  • Genealogy
  • Ghost hunting
  • Hair styling/braiding
  • Hula hooping
  • Juggling
  • Keeping up with the latest fashions
  • Kite flying
  • Learning magic tricks
  • Makeup application
  • Metal detecting
  • Model building
  • People watching
  • Storage unit auctions
  • Sunbathing
  • Yard sale shopping/thrifting

Note: The Wikipedia webpage, “List of Hobbies” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hobbies), was utilized as a reference for this list.

Free Online Assessment & Screening Tools for Mental Health

(Updated 5/4/20) A list of sites with a variety of assessment tools for mental health and related issues, including mood disorders, relationship attachment styles, suicide risk, communication skills, and domestic violence. This list includes both self-assessments and screening tools for clinicians to administer and score.

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, M.Ed., LPC, LSATP

The following list will link you to a variety of mental health assessments and screenings for clinicians or for self-assessment. While an assessment cannot take the place of a clinical diagnosis, it can give you a better idea if what you’re experiencing is “normal.” (For additional screening tools to use with couples, see Marriage & Relationship Assessment Tools.)

Free Online Assessment & Screening Tools for Mental Health

The 5 Love Languages | A PDF assessment

20 Questions: Are You a Compulsive Gambler? | A short interactive self-assessment  

20 Question Self-Assessment for Healthy Boundaries | Downloadable PDF assessment created by Dr. Jane Bolton, scoring instructions not included

ACE Questionnaire | Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with a variety of health (both physical and mental) conditions in adults. To find your ACE score, take an interactive quiz. Learn more about ACEs on the CDC’s violence prevention webpage. You can also download the international version (PDF) from the World Health Organization’s Violence and Injury Prevention webpage.

ADAA Screening Tools | The Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides links to both printable and interactive tests for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, panic disorder, PTSD, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. This site does not provide test results. (It’s recommended that you print your results to discuss with a mental health practitioner.) This is an excellent resource for clinicians to print and administer to clients.  

The Addiction Severity Index (ASI) – 5th Edition | PDF version, scoring instructions not included

Adult ADHD Assessment Tools | Links to a PDF toolkit for clinicians. Includes Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V.1.1. (ASRS-V1.1) Symptom Checklist,  Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V1.1. (ASRS-V1.1) Screener (English), Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale-V1.1. (ASRS-V1.1) Screener (Spanish),  Barkley’s Quick-Check for Adult ADHD Diagnosis (Sample),  Brief Semi-Structured Interview for ADHD in Adults,  Weiss Functional Impairment Rating Scale Self-Report (WFIRS-S), ADHD Medication Side Effects Checklist, Medication Response Form, Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS), and CAGE Questionnaire Adapted to Include Drugs

AlcoholScreening.org | An interactive test that gives personalized results based on age, gender, and drinking patterns

Assessment Instruments Developed at the Center for Trauma and the Community | Access the Trauma History Questionnaire and the Stressful Life Events Screening Questionnaire

The Attachment Style Assessment | Interactive assessment; you must submit your email to see your results

Attachment Styles and Close Relationships | Interactive surveys to determine attachment style

Behavioral Activation for Depression Scale | PDF assessment with scoring instructions

Berkeley Personality Lab Measures

Borderline Symptom List and Scoring Instructions | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) Citations: Bohus M., Limberger, M. F., Frank, U., Chapman, A. L., Kuhler, T., Stieglitz, R. D. (2007). Psychometric Properties of the Borderline Symptom List (BSL). Psychopahology, 40, 126-132.

The Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (BFNE) | A one-page PDF that can be completed online or printed, scoring instructions not included

Buss Lab Research Instruments | Assessments on friendship, sex, jealousy, etc.

Career Assessments | Self-assessments to assess interests, skills, and work values

Child and Adolescent Instruments (Bipolar Spectrum Services: University of Pittsburgh) | Assessments for mania, depression, and mood

The Clinical Anger Scale (CAS) | A PDF scale to measure anger; scoring instructions are not included

Clutter Image Rating | A PDF interactive test to assess for hoarding disorder

Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale | A PDF version of the scale

Communication Research Measures | A collection of assessments

Communications Style Questionnaire | Determine if you’re an activist, a pragmatist, a theorist, or a reflector (PDF with scoring instructions)

The COPE Inventory | A PDF scale to assess the different ways people respond to stress

The Couples Satisfaction Index (CSI) | A PDF assessment to measure relationship satisfaction

CSDS DP Infant-Toddler Checklist | A PDF printable checklist for identifying early warning signs of autism

The Decision Making Individual Differences Inventory

Demographic Data Scale | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) A self-report questionnaire used to gather extensive demographic information from the client. Citations: Linehan, M. M. (1982). Demographic Data Schedule (DDS). University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work.

Depression Self-Assessment | A simple self-assessment tool from Kaiser. Results are provided on a spectrum, ranging from “None” to “Severe” depression.

Diane Poole Heller’s Attachment Styles Test | Interactive assessment; you must submit your email to see your score

Diary Cards NIMH S-DBT Diary Card NIDA Diary Card CARES Diary Card | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology)

Domestic Violence Screening Quiz (from PsychCentral) | Interactive test to determine if you’re involved in a dangerous abusive relationship

DrugScreening.org | An interactive test that provides feedback about the likely risks of your drug use and where to find more information, evaluation, and help

Danger Assessment Screening Tool | Clinicians can download this PDF version of the assessment, which helps predict the level of danger in an abusive relationship; this screening tool was developed to predict violence and homicide.

DBSA Mental Health Screening Center | The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offers screening tools for both children and adults (including versions for parents to answers questions about their child’s symptoms). Take an online assessment for depression, mania, and/or anxiety.

DBT-WCCL Scale and Scoring | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) Citations: Neacsiu, A. D., Rizvi, S. L., Vitaliano, P. P., Lynch, T. R., & Linehan, M. M. (2010). The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Ways of Coping Checklist (DBT-WCCL).: Development and Psychometric Properties. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 66(61), 1-20.

Deliberate Self-Harm Inventory | Measurement of deliberate self-harm (PDF)

The Drinker’s Checkup | Interactive screening tool

Drinking Patterns Questionnaire | A 28-page PDF assessment, can be completed online or printed. No scoring instructions, find more information here

Drug Abuse Screening Test DAST-10 | For clinician use, a PDF version of the DAST-10 – does not give results or scoring instructions

EAP Lifestyle Management Self-Assessments | A small collection of screening tools

Emotional Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ) | A short PDF scale to assess emotional regulation

Family Accommodation Scale – Anxiety | Family Accommodation Scale – Anxiety (Child Report) | PDF scales, scoring instructions not included

Financial Well-Being Questionnaire | Take this 10-question interactive test and receive a score (along with helpful financial tips)

The Gottman Relationship Checkup Sign up for a free account to access the online interactive assessment

Grief and Loss Quiz (from PsychCentral) | Take this test to learn if you may be suffering from complicated grief

Grit Scale | Several versions available

Happiness Test (from Psychology Today) | A 20-minute interactive test – free snapshot report with the option to buy the full report for $4.95

Helpful Questionnaires from James W. Pennebaker | Topics are varied

The HEXACO Personality Inventory – Revised | Download either the 60-item or 100-item version to assess for six personality dimensions.

Hoarding Rating Scale | A PDF scale to assess for hoarding symptoms

Imminent Risk and Action Plan | Assessment/plan from the University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology

Interactive Behavioral Couple Therapy Questionnaires | 5 downloadable PDF assessments for couples

Initial Trauma Review – Revised (ITR-R) | A behaviorally-anchored, semi-structured interview that allows the clinician to evaluate most major forms of trauma exposure

Instruments from Foley Center for the Study of Lives

Integrated Biopsychosocial Assessment Form | A 16-page PDF assessment form

Interpersonal Communication Skills Inventory | A PDF self-assessment designed to provide insight into communication strengths and areas for development. Includes scoring instructions.

Introversion Scale | PDF questionnaire for introversion

Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (Self-Report) (IDS-SR) | Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (Clinician-Rated) (QIDS-CR) Two versions of the this assessment, both PDF, scoring instructions not included

Keirsey | Take this interactive assessment to learn your temperament. (There are four temperaments: Artisan, Guardian, Idealist, and Rational.) My results were consistent with my Myers-Brigg personality type. (Note: You must create an account and enter a password to view your results.)

Lamar Soutter Library: Behavioral Tests | A collection of psychiatric assessments

Learn Your Love Language | Choose your version: Couples, Children’s Quiz, Teens, or Singles. An online assessment to determine your primary love language. (You are required to enter your information to get quiz results.)

Library of Scales (from Outcome Tracker) | 25 psychiatric scales (PDF documents) to be used by mental health practitioners in clinical practice. Includes Frequency, Intensity, and Burden of Side Effects Ratings; Fagerstrom Test for Nicotine Dependence; Fear Questionnaire; Massachusetts General Hospital Hair Pulling Scale; and more. (Note: Some of the assessments have copyright restrictions for use.)

Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale | Take an interactive self-assessment (from the National Social Anxiety Center) to assess for social anxiety (PDF version)

Lifetime – Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Count (L-SASI) Instructions Scoring | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) The L-SASI is an interview to obtain a detailed lifetime history of non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal behavior. Citations: Linehan, M. M. &, Comtois, K. (1996). Lifetime Parasuicide History. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work.

Lineham Risk Assessment and Management Protocol | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) Linehan, M. M. (2009). University of Washington Risk Assessment Action Protocol: UWRAMP, University of WA, Unpublished Work.

Love Attitudes Scale | Link to a Word version of this scale that measures different love styles

Marital Satisfaction Scale | A PDF assessment to evaluate marital satisfaction; click on link listed in “Interactive Section for Couples”

Measurement Instrument Database for the Social Sciences | A searchable database

Measure of Attachment Qualities | Measures adult attachment styles (PDF)

Measures and Scales by University of Utah Psychology Faculty

Measures from Self and Social Motivation Lab | Assessments for self-worth and compassion

Mental Health Screening Tools | Online screenings for depression, anxiety, bipolar, psychosis, eating disorders, PTSD, and addiction. You can also take a parent test (for a parent to assess their child’s symptoms), a youth test (for a youth to report his/her symptoms), or a workplace health test. The site includes resources and self-help tools.

Mid-Ohio Psychological Services, Inc. Assessment Tools | A modest collection of assessments and screening tools on aggression, family violence, sobriety, etc.

Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised, with Follow-Up | Free download and scoring instructions

The Mood Disorder Questionnaire | A PDF screening tool for clinicians to assess symptoms of bipolar disorder

The National Sleep Foundation Sleepiness Test | An interactive test to assess if you are more or less sleepy than the general population

Need to Belong Scale | Link to a PDF version of this short assessment for measuring the need to belong

NORC Diagnostic Screen for Gambling Disorders Self-Administered (from the National Council on Problem Gambling) | An interactive 10-question test to assess gambling behaviors

Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Assessment Tool Brief Version | Full Version | Assessment tool created by Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery

Open Source Psychometrics Project | This site provides a collection of interactive personality and other tests, including the Open Extended Jungian Type Scales, the Evaluations of Attractiveness Scales, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. On the whole, I’m doubtful of the scientific accuracy of the assessments. (For example, I took the site’s DISC assessment; my score did not match the score I received when I took the certified test through my employer.) Furthermore, the site’s “About” section maintains, “[The site] exists to educate the public… and also to collect research data.” (Collect research data? For who/what?) I would recommend using the site mainly for entertainment purposes (or not at all if you’re concerned about how your personal data is handled).

Parental Affect Test | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) The Linehan Parental Affect Test is a self-report questionnaire that assesses parent responses to typical child behaviors. Citations: Linehan, M. M., Paul, E., & Egan, K. J. (1983). The Parent Affect Test – Development, Validity and Reliability. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 12, 161-166.

Patient Health Questionnaire Screeners | This is a great diagnostic tool for clinicians. Use the drop down arrow to choose a PHQ or GAD screener (which assesses mood, anxiety, eating, sleep, and somatic concerns). The site generates a PDF printable; you can also access the instruction manual. No permission is required to reproduce, translate, display or distribute the screeners.

Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) | Links to Word version of this assessment and scoring information

Personal Anger Assessment | An online interactive assessment to determine your anger style. (You must enter your personal information to view the results.)

Personality Scales | 2 Word-document assessments

Personality Tests | A collection of assessments

Project Implicit | A variety of interactive assessments that measures your hidden biases

Psychological Tests from Delroy L. Paulhus | A modest collection of tools

Psychology Scales from Stephen Reysen | Topics are varied

Psychology Tools | Online self-assessments for addiction, ADHD, aggression, anxiety, autism spectrum, bipolar, depression, eating disorders, OCD, and personality.

Reasons for Living Scale Scoring Instructions | RFL Scale (long form – 72 items) | RFL Scale (short form – 48 items) | RFL Scale (Portuguese) | RFL Scale (Romanian) | RFL Scale (Simplified Chinese) | RFL Scale (Traditional Chinese) | RFL Scale (Thai) | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) The RFL is a self-report questionnaire that measures clients’ expectancies about the consequences of living versus killing oneself and assesses the importance of various reasons for living. The measure has six subscales: Survival and Coping Beliefs, Responsibility to Family, Child-Related Concerns, Fear of Suicide, Fear of Social Disapproval, and Moral Objections. Citations: Linehan M. M., Goodstein J. L., Nielsen S. L., & Chiles J. A. (1983). Reasons for Staying Alive When You Are Thinking of Killing Yourself: The Reasons for Living Inventory. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51, 276-286.

Recovery Assessment Scales | A variety of assessments for individuals recovering from psychiatric illnesses

Relationship Assessment Scale | PDF assessment with scoring instructions; pages 11-13 of the PDF

Revised Gratitude Resentment and Appreciation Test | Access Word versions of the revised or short GRAT to measure dispositional gratitude

Risk-Taking Test (from PsychTests) | Self-test to assess your risk-taking behaviors – Receive a snapshot report with an option to buy the full report

Romantic Attachment Quiz (from PsychCentral) | A 41-item quiz to help you determine your romantic attachment style in relationships

Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale | PDF scale with scoring instructions; interactive version here

SAMHSA Screening Tools | Valid and reliable screening tools for clinicians. This sites links you to PDF versions of assessments/screenings for depression, drug/alcohol use, bipolar disorder, suicide risk, anxiety disorders, and trauma.

The SAPA Project | SAPA stands for “Synthetic Aperture Personality Assessment.” This online personality assessment scores you on 27 “narrow traits,” such as order, impulsivity, and creativity in addition to the “Big Five” (Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Openness). You’re also scored on cognitive ability. This test takes 20-30 minutes to complete and you will receive a full report when finished.

Saving Inventory – Revised | A PDF interactive inventory to assess for hoarding

Scales from the Motivated Cognition Lab

SCOFF (A Quick Assessment for Eating Concerns Based on the SCOFF) | A screening tool for eating problems

Screening and Brief Interventions Tools | Several PDF screening tools for substance use

Self-Compassion Scale | Links to a PDF version of the SCS (which assesses self-kindness, self-judgment, mindfulness, and more)

Self-Injury Questionnaire | To assess self-harm (PDF, assessment in appendix)

Severity Assessment | A PDF assessment tool from the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery to assess the severity of non-suicidal self-injury

Sexual Addiction Screening (from PsychCentral) | A brief screening measure to help you determine if you are struggling with sexual addiction

Shyness Scale | Measures shyness (PDF)

Shyness Surveys | Several assessments

Similar Minds | A fun site for personality tests (for entertainment purposes only!)

Sleep Assessments from Sleep and Chronobiology Center (University of Pittsburgh) | Download PDF versions of instruments to assess sleep quality, including the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Insomnia Symptom Questionnaire

Sleep Disorders Screening Survey | A short, interactive test to screen for sleep disorders

Social Anxiety Questionnaire for Adults | A PDF questionnaire to assess for social anxiety

Social History Interview (SHI) | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) The SHI is an interview to gather information about a client’s significant life events over a desired period of time. The SHI was developed by adapting and modifying the psychosocial functioning portion of both the Social Adjustment Scale-Self Report (SAS-SR) and the Longitudinal Interview Follow-up Evaluation Base Schedule (LIFE) to assess a variety of events (e.g., jobs, moves, relationship endings, jail) during the target timeframe. Using the LIFE, functioning is rated in each of 10 areas (e.g., work, household, social interpersonal relations, global social adjustment) for the worst week in each of the preceding four months and for the best week overall. Self-report ratings using the SAS-SR are used to corroborate interview ratings. Citations: Weissman, M. M., & Bothwell, S. (1976). Assessment of social adjustment by patient self-report. Archives of General Psychiatry, 33, 1111-1115. Keller, M. B., Lavori, P. W., Friedman, B., Nielsen, E. C., Endicott, J., McDonald-Scott, P., & Andreasen, N. C. (1987).  The longitudinal interval follow-up evaluation: A comprehensive method for assessing outcome in prospective longitudinal studies. Archives of General Psychiatry, 44, 540-548.

Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS) | A one-page PDF assessment, scoring instructions not included

Social-Personality Psychology Questionnaire Instrument Compendium (QIC) | A collection of assessments and screening tools

Social Phobia Scale (SPS) | A one-page PDF assessment, scoring instructions not included

SOCRATES | A PDF version of the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale for clinicians to assess readiness to change in alcohol users

Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire | A PDF assessment, scoring information here

Sorenes Self-Esteem Test | A PDF assessment with scoring instructions

The Spann-Fischer Codependency Scale | A 16-item scale (PDF) to measure codependency

Stanford Medicine WellMD | Self-tests for altruism, anxiety, burnout, depression, emotional intelligence, empathy, happiness, mindfulness, physical fitness, PTSD, relationship trust, self-compassion, sleepiness, stress, substance use, and work-life balance

The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire | Links to several downloadable versions of the SDQ, which is designed to measure behavioral issues in children ages 4-17

Stress Self-Assessments (from The American Institute of Stress) | A variety of self-assessments to measure stress

Stress Test (from PsychCentral) | A 5-minute interactive test to measure your stress level

Substance Abuse History Interview | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) The SAHI is an interview to assess periods of drug use (by drug), alcohol use, and abstinence in a client’s life over a desired period of time. The SAHI combines the drug and alcohol use items from the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and the Time Line Follow-back Assessment Method to collect information about the quantity, frequency, and quantity X frequency of alcohol and drug consumption. Citations: McLellan, A. T., Luborsky, L., Woody, G. E., & O’Brien, C. P. (1980). An improved diagnostic evaluation instrument for substance abuse patients: The Addiction Severity Index. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 168, 26-33.

Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire | SBQ with Variable Labels | SBQ Scoring Syntax | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) The SBQ is a self-report questionnaire designed to assess suicidal ideation, suicide expectancies, suicide threats and communications, and suicidal behavior. Citations: Addis, M. & Linehan, M. M. (1989). Predicting suicidal behavior: Psychometric properties of the Suicidal Behaviors Questionnaire. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Advancement Behavior Therapy, Washington, D.C.

Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview (SASII) SASII Instructions For Published SASII | SASII Standard Short Form with Supplemental Questions | SASII Short Form with Variable Labels | SASII Scoring Syntax | Detailed Explanation of SPSS Scoring Syntax | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) The SASII (formerly the PHI) is an interview to collect details of the topography, intent, medical severity, social context, precipitating and concurrent events, and outcomes of non-suicidal self-injury and suicidal behavior during a target time period. Major SASII outcome variables are the frequency of self-injurious and suicidal behaviors, the medical risk of such behaviors, suicide intent, a risk/rescue score, instrumental intent, and impulsiveness. Citations: Linehan, M. M., Comtois, K. A., Brown, M. Z., Heard, H. L., Wagner, A. (2006). Suicide Attempt Self-Injury Interview (SASII): Development, Reliability, and Validity of a Scale to Assess Suicide Attempts and Intentional Self-Injury. Psychological Assessment, 18(3), 303-312.

Suicide Risk Screening Tool | One-page PDF screening tool for clinicians (from the National Institute of Mental Health)

Supervisory Relationship Questionnaire (SRQ) | PDF scale with scoring instructions

Survey Instruments and Scales | (Source: CAPS) To assess risky sexual behaviors

Talkaholic Scale | Measures compulsive communication (PDF)

Therapist Interview | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) The TI is an interview to gather information from a therapist about their treatment for a specific client. Citations: Linehan, M. M. (1987). Therapist Interview. University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work.

The Toronto Empathy Questionnaire | Click the link to access a Word version of this assessment

Treatment History Interview | Appendices | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) The THI is an interview to gather detailed information about a client’s psychiatric and medical treatment over a desired period of time. Section 1 assesses the client’s utilization of professional psychotherapy, comprehensive treatment programs (e.g., substance abuse programs, day treatment), case management, self-help groups, and other non-professional forms of treatment. Section 2 assesses the client’s utilization of inpatient units (psychiatric and medical), emergency treatment (e.g., emergency room visits, paramedics visits, police wellness checks), and medical treatment (e.g., physician and clinic visits). Section 3 assesses the use of psychotropic and non-psychotropic medications. Citations: Linehan, M. M. &, Heard, H. L. (1987). Treatment history interview (THI). University of Washington, Seattle, WA, Unpublished work. Therapy and Risk Notes – do not use without citation. For clarity of how to implement these items, please see Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Book, Chapter 15.

TTM Measures from the HABITS Lab | To assess for self-efficacy, decision-making, process of change, etc.

University of WA Suicide Risk/Distress Assessment Protocol | (Source: University of Washington Center for Behavioral Technology) Reynolds, S. K., Lindenboim, N., Comtois, K. A., Murray, A., & Linehan, M. M. (2006). Risky Assessments: Participant Suicidality and Distress Associated with Research Assessments in a Treatment Study of Suicidal Behavior. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (36)1, 19-33. Linehan, M. M., Comtois, K. A., &, Ward-Ciesielski, E. F. (2012). Assessing and managing risk with suicidal individuals. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 19(2), 218-232.

Wellness Self-Assessment | A PDF-version of Princeton University’s tool to measure your wellness in seven dimensions (emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, and spiritual) – Calculate your results and then create an action plan.

Work-Life Balance Scale | An online interactive tool to assess your work-life balance

The World Sleep Study | Take this short test to learn your sleep score and then answer additional questions to create a sleep profile

Yale Food Addiction Scale | PDF scale and scoring instructions


If you know of a free online assessment for mental health that’s not listed in this post, please share in a comment! Contact me if a link is not working.