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3 Objectives of Happiness 101

1. Correct the Error of Average
2. Shift Bias from negative to positive focus on growing tip of positive psychology
3. Bridge the Learning Gap between academy and man in the streets
5 H.E.A.R.T Beats to Be Happier
1. Happiness Tilt of positive emotions
- How to retrain our brains to capitalize on positivity and boost out level of
- Positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or
2. Engage with positivity and positive thinking
- How to reprogram and adjust our mindset to constant changes
- To experience the world and our ability to succeed within it
3. Adversity coping with possibility & Resilience
- Retrain our brains to spot patterns of possibility when our brains get stuck in a
pattern that focuses on stress, negativity, and failure as well as to search for the 3rd
mental path of upward spiral in the midst of defeat, stress and crisis
4. Relate for social support
- How to invest in their social support of friends, peers, and family members in
order to propel themselves forward in the midst of challenges and stress
5. Tenacity with Feeling in Control & Tasks Habits
-How to regain control from hijacked by emotions when challenges loom, by first
focusing with tenacity on small, manageable goals and to reroute the path of least
resistance and replace with good habits
-Tenacity is the quality displayed by someone who wont give up until they reached
their goal
(Beats and pumps flow of happiness with positivity, joy, optimism, hope , positive
emotions and contentment at regular interval and keeping the person happier

Lecture 2 - Change
The conventional thinking dictates that our potential is fixed and limited by our
genetic makeup biologically. It is believed that when brain reaches maturity, its
pointless to try to change it.
*Growing and Learning Brain of London Cab Drivers
Hippocampus grows when they are memorizing the routes
Fixed-state brain model
- Your brain does not change after adolescence
- (ARGUE)From birth, some peoples genes develop a larger hippocampus
because they know that they will one day grow up to become taxi cab drivers in
London, or concede
Neuroplasticity model
- Brain change is possible supported by rigorous cutting-edge research
- Hippocampus can increase in size as a result of hours of driving taxi cab in
maze-like surroundings
- Introduced by Davidson, 2000
- Brain is malleable and can change throughout our lives
- Neural pathways(channels): used for communication positivity/negativity
- Self-reinforcing: the more you do it, the deeper it becomes and more permanent
it becomes
- Habits as fortified pathways: doing things many many times
Transforming the brain(left prefrontal cortex): when you are happy, this part lights
What cannot be changed?
DNA, Values & Ethics
What can be changed?
Feelings(to a certain extent) positive/negative emotions, thinking - manipulation,
Self fulfilling Beliefs
- Is possible
- Is deep/neuroplastic brain
- Reverse of success formula Be happy
- Increase your luck ABC reframe(optimistic people are more lucky)

Pleasure is momentary vs Happiness/Well-being is long term, or last life long
Ancient Wisdom states that Happiness is
- State of mind
- Determined by how we perceive our life situation
- Not dependent on absolute conditions/external events
Happiness is a state of mind and our tendency to compare influence s our sense
of well-being
Modern Science(Martin Seligman on Authentic Happiness):
- Go beyond the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
- Learned Helplessness: Condition of a human person or animal in which it
learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to
help itself, by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it had
been subjected
- Learned Optimism:
Optimists who do not become helpless are
Consider set-backs as temporary
Have resilience to bounce back
Think setbacks are controllable and local
Optimism is only one of the two dozen strengths of greater well-being
- Road to happiness(3 dimensions of happiness)
Pleasant life: Positive emotions like pleasure, rapture, ecstasy, warmth,
Good life: Positive traits (strengths, virtues, abilities); deep engagement
or sense of flow that comes when you deploy your strengths and talents
on pursuits that are challenging enough
Meaningful Life: Pursuit of things that go beyond self-interest
Happiness is measured by life satisfaction which is influenced hugely by how
we are feeling at the very moment we are asked the question and which is
often confused with being in a cheerful mood


Elements of Well-being(PERMA)
Positive emotions/Pleasant life
Engagement/Flow moments
Positive relationship: Altruism, Opposite of being lonely, capacity to be
Meaning: Belonging to and serving something that you believe is bigger
than yourself, meaningful life
Accomplishment: Success or Achievement in momentary form and master
of achieving life in extended form. Something that we seek to master

Defining Positive Psychology
Orientation & Goals
1. Balance & Completeness
Restore balance to field of psychology...positives and negatives.
Just as important to know how most teens maintain health and happiness (majority)
as to now why some get depressed, use drugs, etc.
2. Positive life above zero
Psychology should be more than a bicycle repair shop for broken lives.
Absence of misery not same thing as health or happiness.
3. Health & Strengths
What is life like on the other side of zero? Positive mental health.
Focus on positive: emotional health, strength, virtue, happiness, joy, satisfaction, etc.
Develop classification of positive mental health, strengths & virtues equivalent to
Definition Agenda
Positive Psych. study of what makes life worth living:
1. The Pleasant Life: happiness more positive than negative emotions.
2. The Engaged Life: active involvement, absorption in work, play, community, family,
3. The Meaningful Life: purpose, direction, personal expressiveness, religion,
spirituality, nature, transcendent beliefs beyond self interest.
Positive Psychology can be measured by
Happiness: Life satisfaction, positive emotions
Health: Physical & emotional well-being & postive mental health
Meaningfulness: Purpose, transcedent, beyond self
Virtue: Good behavior wisdom, forgiveness, courage
Baumgardner/Crothers definition: no need memorise
Positive psychology is the scientific study of the individual traits, life goals,
circumstances, and social conditions that contribute to a happy, a meaningful, a
virtuous, and a healthy life, defined by flexible criteria that allow for individual and
cultural differences in the particular features and meanings of a life welllived.
- Western Cultural Bias
- Middle-class liberal psychologists bias
- Development bias

Lecture 4
Sonja Lyubomirsky
Research shows that happy individuals experience and react to events and
circumstances in relatively more positive and more adaptive ways.
8 Benefits of happiness:
- Are more productive at work and more creative
- Make more money and have superior jobs
- Are better leaders and negotiators
- Are more likely to marry and to have fulfilling marriages, and less likely to
- Have more friends and social support
- Have stronger immune systems, are physically healthier, and even live longer
- Are more helpful and philanthropic
- Cope better with stress and trauma
3 components that determine happiness:
1. Set point 50%
2. Intentional activity 40%
3. Circumstances 10%
Research shows that happy people: (Really grateful to help others. Some people
seek goals aims)
- Nurture and enjoy their social relationship
- Are comfortable expressing gratitude
- Are often the first to help others
- Practice optimism about the future
- Savor pleasures and live in the present moment
- Are often spiritual or religious
- Are deeply committed to meaningful goals
- Make physical activity a habit
Intervention: An experiment in which people are instructed to change themselves in
some way that has a positive outcome
Happiness interventions: Commit acts of kindness, count their blessings, write
gratitude letters, visualize their best possible future, savour and replay happy days
Happy Enhancing Strategies: (1 A 2 D 3 C Really like nailing Patricias Pet
- Avoid over thinking and social comparison
- Count your blessing
- Cultivate optimism
- Commit to your goals
- Do more activities that truly engage you
- Develop strategies for coping
- Replay and savor lifes joy
- Learn to forgive
- Nurture relationships
- Practice acts of kindness
- Practice religion and spirituality
- Take care of your body
2 views of happiness

Hedonic View: Happiness = Positive emotions + Satisfaction

Happiness to be discovered empirically
Why we are happy not answered by theory or definition
Quick and easy measures
Research-driven approach
Eudaimonic View: Personal Expressiveness, Optimal Functioning, Positive mental
health, and Meaningfulness
Definition specifies basis for well-being i.e. why/what makes us healthy
Complicated, lengthy & involved assessment
Theory-driven define why i.e. criteria for healthy, fully functioning

Both views are similar such that they are tapping on similar dimensions and have
moderate to strong correlations of r =.6
Hedonic View:
Subjective Well-bring (SWB):
1. Life Satisfaction: global judgment about ones life
2. Positive affect: experiencing many positive emotions and moods
3. Negative affect: experiencing low levels of negative affect(low negative emotion
& mood) 1
Emotional state of SWB:
- General Emotional state
- Specific Emotions (PANAS)
Global Self-report Measures vs Experience Sampling:
Measures susceptible to several sources of distortion. Asking to integrate experiences
over long time periods.
1. Current mood
2. Memory selectivity & weighting
a. Peak-end-rule(Judge experience based on peak and end)
b. State-dependent memory (memory retrieval most efficient when in same
state of consciousness)
Naturalistic Experience Sampling Methods On-line Assessment of Emotions
1. Online
2. Restrospective

1 Independent of positive and negative


Happiness (H) is a relationship between Individual (I) and Environment (E)
H = (I E)
Happiness is one of the most genetically inherited aspects of personality
Genetic Set point for Happiness
Cognititive lottery(brain pre-configured to see the good in the world) & have very
high set point for happiness
Depressed(sees only the dark side of life) & low set point
Haidt suggests that happiness set-point can be raised through
- Meditation (ancient wisdom)
- Cognitive Therapy (modern science)
Psychotherapy by Aaron Beck: seeks to help patient overcome difficulties by
identifying and changing dysfunctional thinking, behavior, and emotional
responses by developing skills for modifying beliefs, identifying distorted
thinking, relating to others in different ways and changing behaviors
- Prozac (modern medicine)
Environment (E = C+V)
C: Conditions of your Life
Facts about your life that can or cannot be changed. They are constant over at least
during certain period of life.
Eg. Race, sex, age, disability, wealth, marital status, where you live
Research shows that most Life conditions are subject to
- Adaption Principle
We become habituated to our new reality and that becomes are new baseline.
When this happens, we recalibrate and set new targets- new goals, new hopes,
new expectations and then again feel pleasure and pain in relation to new
We are bad at affective forecasting: predicting how we will feel in the
Eg. Lottery winners/ disabled return back to their happiness set-point
Human mind are sensitive to changes in condition but not so to absolute
- Hedonic Treadmill
Combining adaptation principle with the genetic set-point for happiness, it
seems in the long run it does not matter what happens, we will always default
back to our happiness set-point.
Can run as fast as you want and accumulate all the riches you can, yet
remain stuck at natural and usual state of happiness
Riches gain will simply raise expectations and leave you no better off than
Adversity usually an opportunity to get off the treadmill as it makes you
take a pause, reflect on your life, and decide if you want to hop back onto
the treadmill
Meditationn to train mind to stop wanting too much, instead start liking
what life has made available to you helps get off the treadmill also
Broaden and build theory(Barbara):
Positive emotions have a broadening effect on the momentary thought-action
repertoire, discarding automatic responses and looking for creative, flexible and
unpredictable new ways of thinking and acting. By broadening our perspectives and

actions, we tend to build important and lasting physical, intellectual, psychological

and social resources that, across history, may have contributed to our ancestors
Haidt suggests it is more practical to change certain life situations that we dont
get habituated to because changing them will increase our happiness. Eg. Noise/air
pollution, long commute to work, lack of control, shame, relationships
John Bowlbys Attachment Theory: Infants need to develop a relationship with at
least one primary caregiver (secure base) for social and emotional development to
occur normally.
- Secure Attachment: Children stop or reduce their play when their secure base
leaves the room
- Avoidant: Dont care whether secure base comes or goes, they try to distress
manage themselves
- Resistant: Becomes anxious, clingy or extremely upset when separated from
their secure base
Hazan and Shavers research extends it to adult romantic relationships: noticed
that interactions between adult romantic partners share similarities to interactions
between child and caregiver
- Romantic relationships serve as secure base that help partners face the
surprises, opportunities, and challenges life presents.
- Research by Pascal Vrticka shows that avoidantly attached adults are three
times more likely to be solitary @ 70
But Early attachment does not determine a life course as people with resilient
temperament can overcome early disadvantages
[While relationship that are mired with interpersonal conflicts are best changed,
modern science has found that meaningful2 social relationships can be very
effective in facing life conditions and increasing our happiness
Interpersonal relationships that are characterized by intimacy, growth, and resilience
can become a positive life condition (peRma)]
A meaningful relationship is one which helps us learn to be comfortable in our own
skin, saving us from anxious comparisons and instead encouraging us to focus on selfimprovement.
V: Voluntary or Intentional Activities
Things you choose to do eg. Work, meditation, exercise, learning a new skill or taking
a vacation
Work is perhaps the most important element of voluntary activities due to time spent
@ workplace
- A job when the primary drive is money
- A career when it is pursued for advancement, promotion and prestige
- A calling when it is intrinsically fulfilling
Maximise happiness if you pursue your calling in life
Find your strengths first then create goals that make use of these strengths
Work that deploy strengths and enhance wellbeing will experience:
1. Flow
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines flow as a state of total immersion in a task that
is challenging yet closely matched to ones abilities
2 The operative word that positively impact happiness

Get into a state of flow when

- Clear challenge that fully engages your attention
- Skills to meet the challenge
- Get immediate feedback on each step
2. Limerence: Moment when the inner and outer pattern mesh
3. Vital Engagement: A relationship to the world characterized both by experiences
of flow (enjoyed absorption) and by meaning (subjective significance)
People enjoy longer period of flow as their interest in the flow activity intensifies
and their relationship to people, practices and values in that domain deepens
4. Effectance Motivation: Organisms have a tendency to explore and influence the
environment and the master reinforce for humans is personal competence
(ability to interact effectively w environment)
Helps an organism improve itself
People like subject/game that plays to their strengths as it makes them feel
Daniel Pink: New operating system for the 21st Century(factors that influence
intrinsic motivation)
Autonomy: the urge to direct our own lives
Mastery: the desire to get better and better on something that matters
Purpose: A yearning to do something larger than our self-interest
Progress Principle: Remember that happiness comes from making progress
towards goals than from achieving them


People have one of two mindsets (beliefs about yourself) about intelligence and ability

mindset (Their abilities are innate)

Intelligence and talent are fixed traits
Talent alone, without effort, creates success
Intelligence if you have it you have it, if you dont you dont
You have to be flawless right away
Set-backs are traumatic destroy their self-belief of innately intelligent or
Do not admit or correct deficiencies
Growth mindset (intelligence and abilities can grow through hardwork)
- Intelligence and talent can be developed through dedication and hardwork
- Brains and talent are just starting points, love of learning and resilience matters
- Years of passionate practice and learning brings success
- Stretching yourself and sticking to it, even when things are not going well
- Much can be achieved through years of passion, toil and training
Take failure in their stride believe performance can be improved through
Challenge themselves & set stretch goals to increase their abilities despite
- Tenacious, dogged, perseverance to puruse a long-term, almost impossible goal
- Opposite of being a dilettant or dabbler
- Not abandoning a pursuit because something novel, or an obstacle comes up
- Sustained passion
- Stamina to learn
- Stay on the course despite boredom or disappointment
o Self-control or ability to resist temptation is good for standard achievement
Ability to delay gratification in exchange for long-term achievement is
imperative for life success
Ability to formulate strategies for self-control
Cultivating grit through Long-term Goals, 10,000 hours to mastery such as
Deliberate practice
Stretching goal results in pressure Lower your goal or move towards your goal
relieve this pressure
Negative inner conflicts(thoughts of being powerless, incapable and unworthy) holds
you back from goals
Inner conflicts of a learner:
Cynicism, Skepticism, Frustration, Failure, Fear of failure or ridicule, Inertia to act or
lack of energy & enthusiasm, Wrong beliefs, Lack of self-efficacy, Boredom & Anxiety,
Ambiguity or lack of clarity, Focus on Problems not solutions
Overcoming inner conflicts:
Pause immediately when you find yourself blaming something or somebody for
your problems
Consider if it is inner conflict
Mental structures we are unaware of hold us prisoners
Identify and name inner conflict to diminish their hold on us

Realize that we have a choice

Changing your perspective
- Impediment to change : dilemma between heart and mind
- Elephant: heart/emotional side
Provide energy and enthusiasm, responds well to positive emotions, love,
compassion, empathy, loyalty
Lazy & unpredictable, desires instant gratification, negative emotions (loss
of energy/focus)
- Rider: Mind or rationality
Visionary, good @ planning and direction, accepts delayed gratification
Over analyses(analysis-paralysis), self-supervision is exhausting
- Must appeal to both rider and elephant to change

Managing your attention

- Naturally attentive while playing
- Our mind is wired such that it seeks variety
- Stimulus is constantly changing when playing
- Study: People who were asked to notice details like the activity they are doing
more while those not given any instructions to notice differences dont. This is
due to the deliberateness of engaging in a task which leads to more interest and
Mindful attitude to learning(opp mindless route/autopilot learning)
Connect what you are learning with your life to make it more meaningful
Self-reference effect: information that is related to us is easier to learn
Mentally ask questions about the topy, look at information from various
perspectives and relate it to our personal life
By making information useful we remember it longer
Deliberately bringing in variety in what they are studying

Research: Sources of resilience, dangers of blaming the victim, sources of resilience
in children, resilience among disadvantaged youth, sources of resilience in adulthood
and late life, successful aging
Growth through trauma: Negative, positive, explanations for growth through
7 Learnable skills of resilience:
- Emotion Awareness/Regulation: Knowing your feelings and when required,
controlling them
- Impulse control: Ability to sit back, think carefully about actions & handle
- Optimism: Realistic optimism about the future
- Casual analysis: Taking a comprehensive view of a situation rather being locked
into a particular perspective
- Empathy: Connecting well with others, knowing that they can be support for
getting through. This reflects a relational dimension of resilience, contrary to the
view that it is solely about how an individual reacts from their own inner
- Self-efficacy: Understanding your strengths and weaknesses, with a confidence
to solve problems
- Reaching out: Willingness to experience demanding situations in order to grow
Asking specifying, visualizing and collaborating questions that challenge
people to shift in their thinking across
4 key resilience domains:
1. Control: Persons response to adversity is governed by the degree to which they
believe they have an element of control over it
2. Impact: Persons belief about their ability to exercise control is affected by their
assumptions about what caused the negative event
3. Breadth: Person is able to respond more effectively to an adverse event if they
focus on limiting damage rather than on the wider causes
4. Duration: Instead of believing that the event will go on for an unlimited period of
time, a person is empowered if they can see what future outcomes might
emerge at particular points in the future
Resilience = psychosocial equivalent to immune system
- Basic adaptation system main/enhance functioning facing major threats if in
good working order
- If system impaired & prolonged threat -> Problems
Post-Traumatic Growth
Negative Effects of Trauma: Shattered assumptions (sms)
- Crisis of safety: Belief in personal invulnerability
- Crisis of meaning: Perception of world as meaningful and comprehensible. Belief
in a just world.
- Crisis of self: View ourselves in positive light- Self image
Positive Effects of Trauma: Positive Growth ability to find benefits & make
sense out of traumatic experience
1. Making sense of Loss (PL-PLAG)
- Predictability
- Acceptance as natural part of life cycle


Gods plan
Lost loved one Accepted Death
Life Lessons
Finding positive Benefits (Please pray for some lesson)
Personal growth
Perspective on life
Family togetherness
Support from others
Learning and Benefitting others

Changes in Aftermath of Trauma & Loss

- Changes in perception of self
Increase feeling of personal strengths, confidence, and self-reliance
- Changes in relationships
Closer ties to family, greater emotional disclosure, more compassion and
willingness to give
- Changes in life priorities (CAPSES)
Greater appreciation of fragility of life
Increase clarity about what is most important in life
Deeper and often spiritual sense of meaning life / Inner peace
Commitment to take life easier
Less concern about material possession and social status
Stop sweating over little stuff
Near Death experiences = Spiritual catalyst in which values shift, and
personal growth
- Appreciate of life
- Concern for other
- Lack of concern for impressing others
- Lack of materialism
- Quest for meaning in life
- Acceptance and loss of fear of death & death integrated into view of life

Biological Foundation of Happiness ( What we inherit)
1. Positivity & Negative affectivity
2. Temperament (Reactive-shy introverts vs Non-reactive- party animals)
Arguments AGAINST inability to change genetic set point:
1. Even if set point is set pretty high- majority happy or very happy
2. May have multiple set points for different domains of life that offer
compensation & move in different direction
3. Can change set point up or down based on powerful events
Positive attitude (Self-esteem, self efficacy, optimism) HERPP
- More frequent positive emotional experiences
- More effective functioning
- Perseverance in the face of challenge
- Better health
- Better relationship
Trouble with self esteem are rare
Majority at leady mildly optimistic
Differences between upper and low quartile:
Happy people happy with what they get and have in life
Unhappy people focus on what they dont have, didnt get, and envy people who
have more
Comparisons between happy and unhappy people:
1. Social comparisons & happiness
Less sensitive to social comparisons with others. More selective and use
others mostly to protect self-esteem and well-being
Less affected if peers do better or worse
Always comparing to others
Deflated rather than delighted in success of peers and relieved when peers
2. Post-decision Rationalisation
Satisfied with all options if didnt get first choice & devalue rejections
What got was mediocre but other options even worse
3. Event Construal
Interpret & remember experiences and positive and negative daily events as
more positive than do unhappy
Interpret & remember in way that reinforces unhappiness finding whats
4. Self-reflection
Do not dwell or self-reflect on themselves as much as unhappy people
Dwell on negative & unambiguous events. Ruminate on what might have,
could have, should have
People generally have
- Tendency towards self-enhancement/self-esteem
- Positive view of future optimism
- Self-serving bias in attributions optimistic explanatory style
- Belief in self-control
Self esteem
How self judges self, related but not identical to how viewed by others

Measure: Feel worthy, positive attitude vs not proud of myself, wish had more
self-respect, overly sensitive to external feedback
Highly correlated with happiness across many cultures
Related to confidence, initiative, perserverance in face of challenges, &
resisting influence from others
Optimism Pessimism
Two major theories and test of optimism:
1. Dispositional optimism
believe future holds lots of good things and few bad, confident about abilities
and future whereas has doubts
Optimism is beneficial as it enhances self-regulation of actions towards personal
believes in themselves and overcome challenges while doubt themselves
and become passive and give up
2. Optimism as explanatory style
find excuses that deflect away from them as cause while take ownership,
feel less control, likely to happen again
Attributional Style Questions ASQ - provides baseline measure of optimism
If ASQ is towards pessismistic end of spectrum
ABCDE structure Cognitive therapy
Adversity: What is the actual situation that is happening to you?
Belief: What are you thinking about the experience?
Consequence: How are you reacting emotionally and physically?
Disputation: Reflect on how you might react differently to what is going
on. Provide counter- evidence for any negative belief you are holding in
your mind
Energisation: Celebrate the successful disputation of negative beliefs and
that you have been able to move forward
3 aspects of explanatory style:
- Unstable: Just had a bad day
- Specific: Just couldnt get this test or this teacher
- External: I was late for class and rushed through exam
3 aspects of explanatory style:
- Stable: Unlikely to change no good at math
- Global: Effect everything I am bad test-taker
- Internal: Personal trait its my fault
How optimism works: Increase experience of positive emotion & follow broaden &
build theory (more social support resilience, creative problem solving, ability to fight
Coping tendencies:
Information seeking, active coping & planning, Positive reframing, Seeking benefit,
Use of humor, Acceptance (Paisua)
Suppression of thought, give up, self-distraction, cognitive avoidance, focus on
distress, overt denial
(she gives some cake for owen)