Discussion 1- From The reading, “Pursuing Happiness…, please discuss what was most important to you and why in 200 words. Please include the appropriate ci

Discussion 1- From The reading, “Pursuing Happiness…, please discuss what was most important to you and why in 200 words. Please include the appropriate ci

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Discussion 1- From The reading, “Pursuing Happiness…, please discuss what was most important to you and why in 200 words. Please include the appropriate citation for the source used in your answer. 

2- From the outline, discuss what has been the “muddiest” point so far in this week? That is, what topic remains the least clear to you? 100 words •1



Happiness is “the overall experience of pleasure and meaning.” (Ben-Shahar,
“Happier”, 2007) (In “Authentic Happiness”, Martin Seligman identifies three
components of happiness: meaning, pleasure, and engagement). A happy person
enjoys positive feelings and emotions while perceiving her life as having a purpose.
This definition of happiness pertains to a generalized aggregate of a person’s
experiences rather than to a single moment. So, a person can endure emotional pain
at times while still being happy overall. Pleasure comes from the experience of
positive emotions in the now and the meaning comes from having a sense of
purpose, from future benefit (all from Ben-Shahar, “Happier,” 2007).

When thinking about living a most meaningful life, we need to consider our
potential and how we can make full use of our capacities. Our inborn potential as
humans require that we do more, that we utilize our full capacities. Bertrand
Russell, the philosopher, wrote that “The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is
accompanied by the full exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the
world in which we live.” (all from Ben-Shahar, “Happier”, 2007).


“Here we define happiness as it is most often defined in the literature, that is, in
terms of frequent positive affect, high life satisfaction, and infrequent negative
affect. (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005: 115)

“….the term ‘happiness’ is not consistently defined and is associated with many
varied meanings, including: hedonic level, joy, positive affect, satisfaction with life,
and pleasantness” (Proctor, Linley, and Matlby, 2009: 583-584).

Wikipedia information for “hedonist”: “a hedonist strives to maximize net pleasure
(pleasure minus pain).”


Please answer the following question for yourself: Why do you want to be happier?


We pursue happiness because it is in our nature to pursue happiness (Ben-Shahar,
happier, 2007, p. 32). Why do you want to have a better paying job? Why do you
want to have better relationships with your family? Why do you want a fancy car?
At the end, the answer boils down to: because it will make us happy. “Happiness is
the highest on the hierarchy of goals, the end toward which all other ends lead. “
(Ben-Shahar, happier, 2007, p. 32)

When you keep asking the “why?” question over and over again, it boils down to

Then, the question of “how I can be happier” is the question of questions (Ben-
Shahar, 2007).



Please write down the reasons why you would like to be happier at work.

Eat, drink, and be merry, and enjoy the fruits of your labor….

For example, in the book of Ecclesiastes, it is said that Solomon is reputed to have

“Then I commended mirth, because a man has no better thing under the sun, than to
eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labor the days
of his life, which God gives him under the sun.” [Ecclesiastes 8:15 : Source of this
information: Internet — The Book of Ecclesiastes is reputed to have been written by
Solomon about 1,000 years before Christ. It is in the Old Testament (The Book of
Ecclesiastes by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1977; Transcribed and Edited by David
Sielaff, September 2006)]


In 1942, Viktor Frankl, a prominent Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist in Vienna,
was arrested along with his wife and parents to a Nazi concentration camp. Three
years later when the camp was liberated, most of his family, including his pregnant
wife, has died. He was the one who lived. From his experiences in the camp, he
concluded that the difference between those who lived and those who died came
down to: meaning. He lived to help his parents, wife, and others in the camp to
survive (He also worked as a therapist in the concentration camps). Having
something to live for, life expecting something of you, something in the future being
expected of you, such as surviving for your young child or a series of books that you
need to finish is what allows you to through almost any difficulty. The uniqueness
and singleness of you (You are the only person exactly like you with the exact
talents and skills you have. No other person will be able to do your mission in the
way you’d do), the impossibility of not being able to be replaced, gives you the
responsibility you have to exist and appear in all of your magnitude. Becoming
conscious of the responsibility you have, for example, toward a human being who
affectionately waits for you or to unfinished work that you need to finish will
prevent you from being able to throw your life away. Now that you know the “why”
you exist (in this world), you will be able to bear almost any of the “how”s (Source:
The Atlantic article by E. E. Smith, 2013, “There’s more to life than being happy.”)




“Recently the burgeoning field of positive psychology has re-illuminated the need
for psychology to address areas associated with optimal functioning and happiness.
From the time of Aristotle (1925), the pursuit of happiness and the achievement of
the ‘good life’ has been a major concern among philosophers and theologians, and
was included as a foundational mission of psychology (Seligman 2002b; Seligman
and Csikszentmihalyi 2000). Within the field of psychology the study of ‘happiness’
generally falls under investigations of subjective well-being (SWB) (see Diener
1984; Diener 1994; Diener et al. 1999, for reviews). The SWB construct is a
tripartite category of phenomena, which includes: emotional responses (i.e. positive
affect (e.g. joy, optimism) and negative affect (e.g. sadness, anger)), domain
satisfactions (e.g. work satisfaction, relationship satisfaction), and global
judgements of life satisfaction (LS) (Diener et al. 1999). In the research literature
the components of SWB are often used interchangeably with each other and
considered synonymous with term ‘happiness’ (Diener 1994; Seligman 2002a);
despite that the term ‘happiness’ is not consistently defined and is associated with
many varied meanings, including: hedonic level, joy, positive affect, satisfaction
with life, and pleasantness. Considered to be the key indicator of SWB, LS is a
subjective evaluation of overall quality of life (Diener and Diener 1995).
Throughout the research literature, scores on measures of LS are often used to
indicate happiness or unhappiness. In general, positive evaluations of LS are linked
with happiness and the achievement of the ‘good life’, whereas negative evaluations
of LS are associated with depression and unhappiness. Moreover, healthy
psychological states, such as happiness and LS, are often assumed to be the by-

products of social and economic resources and success, despite research indicating a
bidirectional relationship (Lyubomirsky et al. 2005). Indeed, cross-sectional, longitudinal, and
experimental data have all shown that well-being and happiness can precede diverse positive
personal, behavioural, psychological, and social outcomes (see Lyubomirsky et al. 2005), just
as low LS and unhappiness can predict the onset of depression and psychological disorder up
to two years prior to diagnosis (see Lewinsohn et al. 1991)” (All from: Proctor, Linley, and
Matlby, 2009: 583-584).



“The potential of happiness-enhancing interventions is further reflected in emerging
research in the positive psychology tradition demonstrating that practicing certain
virtues, such as gratitude (Emmons & McCullough, 2003), forgiveness
(McCullough, Pargament, & Thoresen, 2000), and thoughtful selfreflection (King,
2001; Lyubomirsky, Sousa, & Dickerhoof, 2004), can bring about enhanced well-
being (from Lyubomirsky et al., 2005:114).

Positive psychology is concerned with optimal functioning and happiness.

“Positive psychology focuses on topics such as wellbeing, happiness, love, and
flourishing. But is there justification for this positive focus in a world where levels
of depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges are on the rise. We
explore the need for a positive psychology, and illustrate how a positive focus—be
it on strengths, wellbeing, flourishing, and so on—contributes to happiness, while at
the same time providing resources for dealing effectively with life’s difficulties and
challenges. We also address the significance of the questions that we ask in forming
our worldview and, consequently, our experience of the world”. (From Tal Ben-


Along with gratitude, forgiveness, and thoughtful self-reflection, forming rituals can
also be considered as a happiness-enhancing intervention!!

Forming rituals (Loehr & Schwartz, “The power of full engagement” – rituals as a
means towards change!) around happiness (Ben-Shahar, 2007) can be a way in
which we can increase our current level of happiness.

“What are some neglected areas? A sampling of the research topics covered by the
60 scholars who have taken part in the Positive Psychology Summer Institute in the
past 3 years provides a nice illustration of some of them. Many of the scholars are
studying areas that were not truly neglected, such as attachment, optimism, love,
emotional intelligence, and intrinsic motivation. But others are studying areas of
human experience about which there was very little published research before the
year 2000, such as gratitude, forgiveness, awe, inspiration, hope, curiosity, and
laughter (there are commonalities between tickle-induced vocalization in rat pups
and youthful laughter in humans, highlighting the likely possibility of common
underlying neurobiological systems; Burgdorf, 2001). Some are studying well-being
or flourishing in unusual or understudied populations, including Latinos in the
United States, South Asians in arranged marriages, elderly people with cognitive
impairments, cancer patients, and people with schizophrenia (whose daily lives turn
out to include about the same balance of positive and negative moments as those of
nonschizophrenics; Gard, 2001). Others are studying the psychobiological
underpinnings of happiness and morality. Some are studying techniques to improve
well-being, such as mindfulness meditation, journal writing, well-being therapy,
savoring, and exposure to green spaces. If these research programs seem worthwhile
and interesting and you agree that our field is better off with an understanding of
flourishing to complement our understanding of despair, then you too may be a
positive psychologist.’” (all from Gable & Haidt, 2005: 104).



Let’s look at some of the research on happiness, behavior, and job performance:
“….happy people tend to frequently experience positive affect (Diener, Suh, Lucas,
& Smith, 1999), and a growing body of research shows that people in positive mood
think better (Isen, 2000), make better decisions (Estrada, Isen, & Young, 1997, Staw
& Barsade, 1993), are more creative (Isen, Daubman, & Nowiciki, 1987), are more
motivated (Erez & Isen, 2002), and in general perform better on a variety of tasks
(Isen, 1999). Individuals in a positive mood also tend to be more cooperative
(Carnevale & Isen, 1986) and helpful (Isen & Levin, 1972). These behaviors–
decision making, creativity, motivation, cooperation, prosocial behaviors– should
generate higher levels of performance in most jobs and occupations” (Judge and
Erez, 2007: 580).


”The pursuit of happiness is an important goal for many people. However,
surprisingly little scientific research has focused on the question of how happiness
can be increased and then sustained, probably because of pessimism engendered by
the concepts of genetic determinism and hedonic adaptation. Nevertheless,
emerging sources of optimism exist regarding the possibility of permanent increases
in happiness. Drawing on the past well-being literature, the authors propose that a
person’s chronic happiness level is governed by 3 major factors: a genetically
determined set point for happiness, happiness-relevant circumstantial factors, and
happiness-relevant activities and practices. The authors then consider adaptation and
dynamic processes to show why the activity category offers the best opportunities
for sustainably increasing happiness. Finally, existing research is discussed in
support of the model, including 2 preliminary happiness-increasing interventions.”
(Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005: 111 – from abstract)


Notes for the professor:

The figure on this slide “provides an illustration of the approximate percentage of
the variance that each of the three factors accounts for in cross-sectional well-being,
as suggested by past research. As can be seen in the pie chart, existing evidence
suggests that genetics account for approximately 50% of the population variation
(Braungart et al., 1992; Lykken & Tellegen, 1996; Tellegen et al., 1988), and
circumstances account for approximately 10% (Argyle, 1999; Diener et al., 1999).
This leaves as much as 40% of the variance for intentional activity, supporting our
proposal that volitional efforts offer a promising possible route to longitudinal
increases in happiness. In other words, changing one’s intentional activities may
provide a happiness-boosting potential that is at least as large as, and probably much
larger than, changing one’s circumstances”. (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade,
2005: 116).


One of our goals in this class is to learn some of the ways in which we can increase
our existing level of happiness. However, another aspect of this class is about
understanding (at a deep level) the idea of being “happy for no reason.” If we
depend our happiness on circumstances or the things that are happening (or not
happening) in our lives, then we set ourselves for potential failure; that is, if things
go our way, we will be happy; and if they don’t, we will not be happy. A more
effective approach may be that we truly, at a deep level, learn what it means and
feels like to be happy for no particular reason – that our happiness comes from
within and also from knowing that ultimately making the decision of being happy
for no reason (and/or prioritizing being happy for no reason) is what can help us
increase our current level of happiness and function at a heightened level of
happiness over time as much as we can.



When you are doing Academic Journaling, please observe the following fun rules:
• Answer the questions asked!

• Please answer the questions asked. Read the question (and the
instructions) carefully. You may want to answer some other questions,
too, and that’s ok. Once you answer the questions asked, if you have time
left, you can answer other questions that you may want to answer as well.

• Take time and contemplate on the questions.
• Write down your answers truthfully.
• Feel what you’re writing about to the fullest
• Use colorful pens and markers as much as possible. Color is fun.
• Write with your most beautiful handwriting (if you’re not using a computer, etc.).

• Adapt the Academic Journaling experience and exercises to your own needs and
what works for you.

• Put your best intention, effort, and feeling into the process. As you, for example,
answer the questions asked as part of the exercises, write down your answers
with feeling and intention that the exercises are going to help contribute to your
life (work life and otherwise) positively. Feel the learning in every cell of your
being as much as you can. Let the exercise take you to deeper levels of learning
about yourself, about life, and where you’re going in your life both in the work
context and elsewhere.


Please list on your Academic Journal what happiness means to you and how it feels
to you? You’ll see some examples on the powerpoint slide. The purpose of this
exercise is to increase your self-knowledge and awareness as to how you currently
think and feel about happiness. Please take 10 -15 minutes (or more if needed) for
this exercise.

Please write on your Academic journal both the question(s) asked here as well as
your answers.


Please list your own reasons for why you want to be happier in your life and happier
at work.

For example: I want to be happier in my life because….

For example: I want to be happier in my position, work, job, career, and/or in my
own business because….


• Please think about a moment in your life where you felt the happiest (regardless
of what may or may not have happened in your life at that particular time).

• What were you exactly thinking like at that particular moment?
• Examples: My life is great. I love my job. I love spending time

with this person. Everything is going so well for me.
• What were you exactly feeling like at that particular moment?

• I feel excited. I feel like I’m in a flow and everything flows so
naturally. I feel relaxed and at peace. I feel immense joy.

• Write down on your Academic Journal what you were “thinking” and “feeling”
in that particular moment when you were at your happiest.

• When you’re doing this exercise, you do not need to write down what exactly
was or was not happening in your life that may or may not have lead to you
feeling at your happiest (although if you choose to, you can). Simply write down
what you were thinking and feeling at the time (regardless of what may be
happening in your life at that particular moment). This is to help you know what
the types of things you think and feel when you’re really, really happy and
feeling immense joy.

• Please note that this exercise may work better if you write down what you
thought and felt at that time in your life in general terms (so that these thoughts
and feelings would be applicable to your life at any point in time regardless of
what may or may not be going on in your life). In general terms, what were your
thoughts like? In general terms, what were your feelings like?

Please read the PowerPoint slide and follow the instructions. This exercise is very
important because it allows you to learn what it feels like to you to feel these
wonderful feelings. You want to remember how you feel when you are at your
happiest. This is because if you keep on repeating this exercise (every day or
whenever you feel like doing it), you will increasingly learn and memorize how you
feel when you are at your happiest. In this way, you are training your brain to learn
how to feel, how to feel great, and increasing your chances of approximating to
these feelings in your every day-to-day life. Also, please remember that you want so
stretch that level of happiness as much as possible. So, when you think and feel
about that past happiest day/time, try to stretch your level of happiness to higher
levels so that you’re training your mind, physical body (that experiences your
emotions), and emotions to experience higher and higher levels of happiness.




Please list the simple things you can do, be, or have in you life that would increase
your current level of happiness. You’ll see some examples on the slide. Please take
15 minutes (or more if you need) and write down what are those simple things that
you can do, be, or have that would make you happier. how you believe you can be

Important Note: As you may note, on the powerpoint slide, there are a number of
examples that are very specific also in terms of their timing. For example, spending
good time friends every week, or visiting my favorite coffee shop every other day,
or going to my favorite bookstore every Sunday, or meditating for 5 minutes every
morning. Forming rituals (Loehr & Schwartz, “The power of full engagement” –
rituals as a means towards change!) around happiness (Ben-Shahar, 2007) can be a
way in which we can increase our current level of happiness.

Personal experience: Many years ago, I came up with one single thing that I can
easily do in my life that I though would make me feel happier. I decided that on
certain days and times of the week, I was going to do one of my favorite things. At
the time, that favorite thing was to get my favorite drink (something like a coffee
mocha – without the fat and the sugar as much as possible. I would typically prepare
it myself at home and make it as healthy as I can) and read my favorite thing to read
(something like a magazine on interior design or another topic that was of interest to

me at the time). I kept on doing this for several weeks. As a result, at the time, I felt like I was
going through one of the happiest times of my life (I felt much happier in my life in general –
not just when I was sipping coffee and doing some reading!). I believe that what made me
really happy at the time was the following: (1) I was doing something so very simple (it was
something easily achievable so I would achieve it all the time!), (2) I was doing it for myself
(it was a small treat for me in my week), and (3) I would do it religiously and predictably at
specific dates and times every week (where I knew I would have some time to spare for this
activity). Because the times were so certain and exact, I was always living in joyful
anticipation of the activity before the activity took place and that felt really good! The
activity itself felt really good as well! And then I knew that I would repeat the activity very
soon and that felt really good, too! From this experience, I learned the power of a) knowing
what simple (and healthy and positive) things really give me immense pleasure (it’s a
personal thing and everyone is different), b) practicing these things in my life, c) practicing
them at specific dates and times so that I can anticipate them in advance and feel great, and
then feel great while I’m doing the activity, and then continue to feel great because I know
that the next time was around the corner, and feeling great about doing the activity often.
And, if you do not want to do the same exact activity often, like everyday, what you can do is
to come up with a few different things that give you joy and switch them around during your
week. For example, I may drink my coffee and skim through a magazine I like every
Saturday and Sunday morning. And, then, I may meet up with my favorite co-worker at work,
with whom I laugh a lot and get along really well, for lunch every Wednesday and Friday at
noon during lunch break. And, then every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, at a certain time, I
may do some other thing that is simple for me to do but that would give me pure joy and

Personal Recommendation: So, if you’d like, you can come up with very simple and
pleasurable (to you) things you can do and put them in your schedule every week (for when
you know you’ll have a little bit of time and space in your schedule). As a result, you may end
up with one or more simple activities that you’re anticipating and looking forward to every
single day!



I hope that you truly enjoyed the content I shared with you here. It was an immense
pleasure for me to prepare it for you.

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