Homework 1- From The reading, please discuss what was most important to you and why in 200 words. Please include the appropriate citation for the source us

Homework 1- From The reading, 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 By CLAUDIA WALLIS

HAPPINESS
The New Science of

S
ugary white sand gleams under the bright yucatán sun, aquamarine water teems with
tropical fish and lazy sea turtles, cold Mexican beer beckons beneath the shady thatch of pala-
pas—it’s hard to imagine a sweeter spot than Akumal, Mexico, to contemplate the joys of be-
ing alive. And that was precisely the agenda when three leading psychologists gathered in this
Mexican paradise to plot a new direction for psychology.

For most of its history, psychology had concerned itself with all that ails the human mind: anxiety,
depression, neurosis, obsessions, paranoia, delusions. The goal of practitioners was to bring patients
from a negative, ailing state to a neutral normal, or, as University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin
Seligman puts it, “from a minus five to a zero.” It was Seligman who had summoned the others to Akumal
that New Year’s Day in 1998—his first day as president of the American Psychological Association
(A.P.A.)—to share a vision of a new goal for psychology. “I realized that my profession was half-baked. It
wasn’t enough for us to nullify disabling conditions and get to zero. We needed to ask, What are the en-
abling conditions that make human beings flourish? How do we get from zero to plus five?”

Every incoming A.P.A. president is asked to choose a theme for his or her yearlong term
in office. Seligman was thinking big. He wanted to persuade substantial numbers in the
profession to explore the region north of zero, to look at what actively made people
feel fulfilled, engaged and meaningfully happy. Mental health, he reasoned, should be more than the absence
of mental illness. It should be something akin to a vibrant and muscular fitness of the human mind and spirit.

Over the decades, a few psychological researchers had ventured out of the dark realm of mental illness into
the sunny land of the mentally hale and hearty. Some of Seligman’s own research, for instance, had focused on
optimism, a trait shown to be associated with good physical health, less depression and mental illness, longer life
and, yes, greater happiness. Perhaps the most eager explorer of this terrain was University of Illinois psycholo-
gist Edward Diener, a.k.a. Dr. Happiness. For more than two decades, basically ever since he got tenure and
could risk entering an unfashionable field, Diener had been examining what does and does not make people feel
satisfied with life. Seligman’s goal was to shine a light on such work and encourage much, much more of it.

To help him realize his vision, Seligman invited Ray Fowler, then the long-reigning and influential ceo of the
A.P.A., to join him in Akumal. He also invited Hungarian-born psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced
cheeks sent me high), best known for exploring a happy state of mind called flow, the feeling of complete engage-
ment in a creative or playful activity familiar to athletes, musicians, video-game enthusiasts—almost anyone who
loses himself in a favorite pursuit. By the end of their week at the beach, the three had plans for the first-ever con-
ference on positive psychology, to be held in Akumal a year later—it was to become an annual event—and a strate-
gy for recruiting young talent to the nascent field. Within a few months, Seligman, who has a talent for popularizing
and promoting his areas of interest, was approached by the Templeton Foundation in England, which proceeded
to create lucrative awards for research in positive psych. The result: an explosion of research on happiness, opti-
mism, positive emotions and healthy character traits. Seldom has an academic field been brought so quickly and
deliberately to life.

WHAT MAKES US HAPPY
So, what has science learned about what makes the human heart sing? More than one might imagine—along with
some surprising things about what doesn’t ring our inner chimes. Take wealth, for instance, and all the delightful
things that money can buy. Research by Diener, among others, has shown that once your basic needs are met, ad-
ditional income does little to raise your sense of satisfaction with life (see story on page A32). A good education?
Sorry, Mom and Dad, neither education nor, for that matter, a high IQ paves the road to happiness. Youth? No,
again. In fact, older people are more consistently satisfied with their lives than the young. And they’re less prone
to dark moods: a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people ages 20 to 24
are sad for an average of 3.4 days a month, as opposed to just 2.3 days for people ages 65 to 74. Marriage? A com-
plicated picture: married people are generally happier than singles, but that may be because they were happier to
begin with (see page A37). Sunny days? Nope, although a 1998 study showed that Midwesterners think folks liv-
ing in balmy California are happier and that Californians incorrectly believe this about themselves too.

On the positive side, religious faith seems to genuinely lift the spirit, though it’s tough to tell whether it’s
the God part or the community aspect that does the heavy lifting. Friends? A giant yes. A 2002 study conduct-

What makes the human heart sing? Researchers are
taking a close look. What they’ve found may surprise you

mind & body happiness

Reprinted through the courtesy of the Editors of Time Magazine © 2004 Time Inc.

ed at the University of Illinois by Diener
and Seligman found that the most salient
characteristics shared by the 10% of stu-
dents with the highest levels of happiness
and the fewest signs of depression were
their strong ties to friends and family and
commitment to spending time with
them. “Word needs to be spread,” con-
cludes Diener. “It is important to work on
social skills, close interpersonal ties and
social support in order to be happy.”

MEASURING OUR MOODS
Of course, happiness is not a static state.
Even the happiest of people—the cheeriest
10%—feel blue at times. And even the bluest
have their moments of joy. That has present-
ed a challenge to social scientists trying to
measure happiness. That, along with the
simple fact that happiness is inherently sub-
jective. To get around those challenges, re-
searchers have devised several methods of
assessment. Diener has created one of the
most basic and widely used tools, the Satis-
faction with Life Scale. Though some schol-

TIME, JANUARY 17, 2005

ars have questioned the validity of this sim-
ple, five-question survey, Diener has found
that it squares well with other measures of
happiness, such as impressions from friends
and family, expression of positive emotion
and low incidence of depression.

Researchers have devised other tools to
look at more transient moods. Csikszentmi-
halyi pioneered a method of using beepers
and, later, handheld computers to contact
subjects at random intervals. A pop-up
screen presents an array of questions:
What are you doing? How much are you
enjoying it? Are you alone or interacting
with someone else? The method, called ex-
perience sampling, is costly, intrusive and
time consuming, but it provides an excel-
lent picture of satisfaction and engagement
at a specific time during a specific activity.

Just last month, a team led by Nobel-
prizewinning psychologist Daniel Kahne-
man of Princeton University unveiled a
new tool for sizing up happiness: the day-
reconstruction method. Participants fill out
a long diary and questionnaire detailing

everything they did on the previous day
and whom they were with at the time and
rating a range of feelings during each epi-
sode (happy, impatient, depressed, worried,
tired, etc.) on a seven-point scale. The meth-
od was tested on a group of 900 women in
Texas with some surprising results. It
turned out that the five most positive activ-
ities for these women were (in descending
order) sex, socializing, relaxing, praying
or meditating, and eating. Exercising and
watching TV were not far behind. But way
down the list was “taking care of my chil-
dren,” which ranked below cooking and
only slightly above housework.

That may seem surprising, given that
people frequently cite their children as their
biggest source of delight—which was a find-
ing of a Time poll on happiness conducted
last month. When asked, “What one thing in
life has brought you the greatest happiness?”,
35% said it was their children or grandchil-
dren or both. (Spouse was far behind at just
9%, and religion a runner-up at 17%.) The
discrepancy with the study of Texas women

Just How Happy Are We? …
T I M E P O L L F E E L I N G G O O D I N T H E U . S .

Do you consider yourself
an optimist?

Based on their own assessment, Americans are overwhelmingly happy and optimistic people, regardless of income

Over $100,000 a year
$50,000 to $99,999

$35,000 to $49,999

Under $35,000 a year 68% 24%
14%
13%

11%

7%
5%

2%
1%

81%

37%
13%

33%
15%

2%

85%
88%

78% 16% 5%U.S. total

… not very often?… some of the time … most or all of the timeWould you say you are happy …

Would you say that so far you have lived the best possible life that you could have,
a very good life, a good life, a fair life or a poor life?

Best possible
Very good

Good
Fair

Poor

Do you generally
wake up happy?

Yes
79%

No
15%

Depends/
don’t know: 6%

Yes
80%

No
14%

Depends/
don’t know: 6%

This TIME poll was conducted by telephone Dec. 13-14, 2004, among 1,009 adult Americans by SRBI Public Affairs. Margin of error is ±3 percentage points. “Not sure” omitted for some questions

All of the timeMost of the time

… And What Makes Us That Way?
Most people find happiness in family connections and friendships

63%

55%

51%

45%

47%

38%

24%

29%

24%

20%
21%

25%

27%

30%

30%

35%

39%

38%

52%

51%

18%
25%

Talk to friends/family

Pray/meditate

Have sex

Take a drive in a car

Eat

Go out with friends

Exercise/work out

Play with a pet

Take a bath or shower

Help others in need

Listen to music

Do you often do any of the following to improve your mood?

Your relationship with your children
Your friends and friendships
Contributing to the lives of others
Your relationship with spouse/partner or your love life
Your degree of control over your life and destiny
The things you do in your leisure time
Your relationship with your parents
Your religious or spiritual life and worship
Holiday periods, such as Christmas and New Year’s

What are your major sources of happiness?

35%
17%

11%
9%

Children/grandchildren
Family

God/faith/religion
Spouse

What one thing in your life has brought you the greatest happiness?

Top four answers

Top eight answers

Women

Men

77%
76%
75%
73%
66%
64%
63%
62%
50%

mind & body happiness

TIME, JANUARY 17, 2005

piece”), engagement (the depth of involve-
ment with one’s family, work, romance and
hobbies) and meaning (using personal
strengths to serve some larger end). Of
those three roads to a happy, satisfied life,
pleasure is the least consequential, he in-
sists: “This is newsworthy because so many
Americans build their lives around pursu-
ing pleasure. It turns out that engagement
and meaning are much more important.”

CAN WE GET HAPPIER?
One of the biggest issues in happiness re-
search is the question of how much our
happiness is under our control. In 1996
University of Minnesota researcher David
Lykken published a paper looking at the
role of genes in determining one’s sense
of satisfaction in life. Lykken, now 76, gath-
ered information on 4,000 sets of twins born
in Minnesota from 1936 through 1955. After
comparing happiness data on identical vs.
fraternal twins, he came to the conclusion
that about 50% of one’s satisfaction with life
comes from genetic programming. (Genes
influence such traits as having a sunny, easy-
going personality; dealing well with stress;
and feeling low levels of anxiety and depres-
sion.) Lykken found that circumstantial fac-
tors like income, marital status, religion and
education contribute only about 8% to one’s
overall well-being. He attributes the remain-
ing percentage to “life’s slings and arrows.”

Because of the large influence of our
genes, Lykken proposed the idea that each of
us has a happiness set point much like our set
point for body weight. No matter what hap-
pens in our life—good, bad, spectacular,
horrific—we tend to return in short order to
our set range. Some post-tsunami images last
week of smiling Asian children returning to
school underscored this amazing capacity to
right ourselves. And a substantial body of re-
search documents our tendency to return to
the norm. A study of lottery winners done in
1978 found, for instance, that they did not
wind up significantly happier than a control
group. Even people who lose the use of
their limbs to a devastating accident tend to
bounce back, though perhaps not all the way
to their base line. One study found that
a week after the accident, the injured were
severely angry and anxious, but after eight
weeks “happiness was their strongest emo-
tion,” says Diener. Psychologists call this
adjustment to new circumstances adap-
tation. “Everyone is surprised by how happy
paraplegics can be,” says Kahneman. “The
reason is that they are not paraplegic full
time. They do other things. They enjoy their
meals, their friends. They read the news. It
has to do with the allocation of attention.”

In his extensive work on adaptation,
Edward Diener has found two life events
that seem to knock people lastingly below
their happiness set point: loss of a spouse
and loss of a job. It takes five to eight years
for a widow to regain her previous sense of
well-being. Similarly, the effects of a job
loss linger long after the individual has
returned to the work force.

When he proposed his set-point theory

eight years ago, Lykken came to a drastic
conclusion. “It may be that trying to be hap-
pier is as futile as trying to be taller,” he
wrote. He has since come to regret that sen-
tence. “I made a dumb statement in the
original article,” he tells Time. “It’s clear
that we can change our happiness levels
widely—up or down.’’

Lykken’s revisionist thinking coincides
with the view of the positive-psychology
movement, which has put a premium on
research showing you can raise your level
of happiness. For Seligman and like-
minded researchers, that involves working
on the three components of happiness—
getting more pleasure out of life (which
can be done by savoring sensory experi-
ences, although, he warns, “you’re never
going to make a curmudgeon into a giggly
person”), becoming more engaged in what
you do and finding ways of making your
life feel more meaningful.

There are numerous ways to do that,
they argue. At the University of California
at Riverside, psychologist Sonja Lyubomir-
sky is using grant money from the National
Institutes of Health to study different kinds
of happiness boosters. One is the gratitude
journal—a diary in which subjects write
down things for which they are thankful.
She has found that taking the time to con-
scientiously count their blessings once a
week significantly increased subjects’ over-
all satisfaction with life over a period of six
weeks, whereas a control group that did
not keep journals had no such gain.

Gratitude exercises can do more than
lift one’s mood. At the University of Cali-
fornia at Davis, psychologist Robert Em-
mons found they improve physical health,
raise energy levels and, for patients with
neuromuscular disease, relieve pain and
fatigue. “The ones who benefited most
tended to elaborate more and have a wider
span of things they’re grateful for,” he notes.

Another happiness booster, say positive
psychologists, is performing acts of altruism
or kindness—visiting a nursing home, help-
ing a friend’s child with homework, mowing
a neighbor’s lawn, writing a letter to a
grandparent. Doing five kind acts a week,
especially all in a single day, gave a measur-
able boost to Lyubomirsky’s subjects.

Seligman has tested similar interven-
tions in controlled trials at Penn and in huge
experiments conducted over the Internet.
The single most effective way to turbocharge
your joy, he says, is to make a “gratitude vis-
it.” That means writing a testimonial thank-
ing a teacher, pastor or grandparent—anyone
to whom you owe a debt of gratitude—and
then visiting that person to read him or her
the letter of appreciation. “The remarkable
thing,” says Seligman, “is that people who
do this just once are measurably happier and
less depressed a month later. But
it’s gone by three months.” Less powerful
but more lasting, he says, is an exercise he
calls three blessings—taking time each day to
write down a trio of things that went well and
why. “People are less depressed and happier
three months later and six months later.”

points up one of the key debates in happi-
ness research: Which kind of information is
more meaningful—global reports of well-be-
ing (“My life is happy, and my children are
my greatest joy”) or more specific data on en-
joyment of day-to-day experiences (“What a
night! The kids were such a pain!”)? The two
are very different, and studies show they do
not correlate well. Our overall happiness is
not merely the sum of our happy moments
minus the sum of our angry or sad ones.

This is true whether you are looking at
how satisfied you are with your life in gen-
eral or with something more specific, such
as your kids, your car, your job or your vaca-
tion. Kahneman likes to distinguish between
the experiencing self and the remembering
self. His studies show that what you re-
member of an experience is particularly in-
fluenced by the emotional high and low
points and by how it ends. So, if you were
to randomly beep someone on vacation in
Italy, you might catch that person waiting
furiously for a slow-moving waiter to take
an order or grousing about the high cost of
the pottery. But if you ask when it’s over,
“How was the vacation in Italy?”, the aver-
age person remembers the peak moments
and how he or she felt at the end of the trip.

The power of endings has been demon-
strated in some remarkable experiments
by Kahneman. One such study involved
people undergoing a colonoscopy, an un-
comfortable procedure in which a flexible
scope is moved through the colon. While a
control group had the standard procedure,
half the subjects endured an extra 60 sec-
onds during which the scope was held sta-
tionary; movement of the scope is typically
the source of the discomfort. It turned out
that members of the group that had the
somewhat longer procedure with a benign
ending found it less unpleasant than the
control group, and they were more willing
to have a repeat colonoscopy.

Asking people how happy they are,
Kahneman contends, “is very much like
asking them about the colonoscopy after
it’s over. There’s a lot that escapes them.”
Kahneman therefore believes that social
scientists studying happiness should pay
careful attention to people’s actual experi-
ences rather than just survey their reflec-
tions. That, he feels, is especially relevant if
research is to inform quality-of-life policies
like how much money our society should
devote to parks and recreation or how
much should be invested in improving
workers’ commutes. “You cannot ignore
how people spend their time,” he says,
“when thinking about well-being.”

Seligman, in contrast, puts the empha-
sis on the remembering self. “I think we are
our memories more than we are the sum to-
tal of our experiences,” he says. For him,
studying moment-to-moment experiences
puts too much emphasis on transient pleas-
ures and displeasures. Happiness goes
deeper than that, he argues in his 2002
book Authentic Happiness. As a result of his
research, he finds three components of
happiness: pleasure (“the smiley-face

mind & body happiness

that’s a strategy that’s likely to work very
well for you,” says Julie Norem, a psycholo-
gy professor at Wellesley College and the
author of The Positive Power of Negative
Thinking. “In fact, you may be messed
up if you try to substitute a positive atti-
tude.” She is worried that the messages
of positive psychology reinforce “a lot of
American biases” about how individual ini-
tiative and a positive attitude can solve
complex problems.

Who’s right? This is an experiment we
can all do for ourselves. There’s little risk in
trying some extra gratitude and kindness,
and the results—should they materialize—
are their own reward. —With reporting by
Elizabeth Coady/Champaign-Urbana, Dan Cray/

San Francisco, Alice Park/New York and Jeffrey

Ressner/Los Angeles

itude journals work their magic over the
long haul? And how many of us could
keep filling them with fresh thankful
thoughts year after year? Sonja Lyubo-
mirsky believes it’s all possible: “I’ll quote
Oprah here, which I don’t normally do.
She was asked how she runs five miles a
day, and she said, ‘I recommit to it every
day of my life.’ I think happiness is like
that. Every day you have to renew your
commitment. Hopefully, some of the
strategies will become habitual over time
and not a huge effort.”

But other psychologists are more skep-
tical. Some simply doubt that personality is
that flexible or that individuals can or
should change their habitual coping styles.
“If you’re a pessimist who really thinks
through in detail what might go wrong,

TIME, JANUARY 17, 2005

Seligman’s biggest recommendation
for lasting happiness is to figure out (cour-
tesy of his website, reflective-
happiness.com) your strengths and find
new ways to deploy them. Increasingly, his
work, done in collaboration with Chris-
topher Peterson at the University of
Michigan, has focused on defining such
human strengths and virtues as generosity,
humor, gratitude and zest and studying
how they relate to happiness. “As a profes-
sor, I don’t like this,” Seligman says, “but
the cerebral virtues—curiosity, love of
learning—are less strongly tied to happi-
ness than interpersonal virtues like kind-
ness, gratitude and capacity for love.”

Why do exercising gratitude, kindness
and other virtues provide a lift? “Giving
makes you feel good about yourself,” says
Peterson. “When you’re volunteering, you’re
distracting yourself from your own exis-
tence, and that’s beneficial. More fuzzily,
giving puts meaning into your life. You
have a sense of purpose because you mat-
ter to someone else.” Virtually all the hap-
piness exercises being tested by positive
psychologists, he says, make people feel
more connected to others.

That seems to be the most fundamental
finding from the science of happiness.
“Almost every person feels happier when
they’re with other people,” observes Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi. “It’s paradoxical because
many of us think we can hardly wait to get
home and be alone with nothing to do, but
that’s a worst-case scenario. If you’re alone
with nothing to do, the quality of your ex-
perience really plummets.”

But can a loner really become more
gregarious through acts-of-kindness exer-
cises? Can a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist
learn to see the glass as half full? Can grat-

1. Count your blessings.
One way to do this is with a
“gratitude journal” in which
you write down three to five
things for which you are
currently thankful—from the
mundane (your peonies are in
bloom) to the magnificent (a
child’s first steps). Do this
once a week, say, on Sunday
night. Keep it fresh by varying
your entries as much as
possible.

2. Practice acts of
kindness. These should be
both random (let that harried
mom go ahead of you in the
checkout line) and systematic
(bring Sunday supper to an

elderly neighbor). Being kind to
others, whether friends or
strangers, triggers a cascade
of positive effects—it makes
you feel generous and capable,
gives you a greater sense of
connection with others and
wins you smiles, approval and
reciprocated kindness—all
happiness boosters.

3. Savor life’s joys. Pay close
attention to momentary
pleasures and wonders. Focus
on the sweetness of a ripe
strawberry or the warmth of
the sun when you step out
from the shade. Some
psychologists suggest taking
“mental photographs” of

pleasurable moments to
review in less happy times.

4. Thank a mentor. If there’s
someone whom you owe a
debt of gratitude for guiding
you at one of life’s crossroads,
don’t wait to express your
appreciation—in detail and, if
possible, in person.

5. Learn to forgive. Let go
of anger and resentment by
writing a letter of forgiveness
to a person who has hurt or
wronged you. Inability to
forgive is associated with per-
sistent rumination or dwelling
on revenge, while forgiving
allows you to move on.

6. Invest time and energy in
friends and family. Where you
live, how much money you
make, your job title and even
your health have surprisingly
small effects on your satisfac-
tion with life. The biggest
factor appears to be strong
personal relationships.

7. Take care of your body.
Getting plenty of sleep,
exercising, stretching, smiling
and laughing can all enhance
your mood in the short term.
Practiced regularly, they can
help make your daily life more
satisfying.

8. Develop strategies for
coping with stress and hard-
ships. There is no avoiding
hard times. Religious faith
has been shown to help
people cope, but so do the
secular beliefs enshrined in
axioms like “This too shall
pass” and “That which
doesn’t kill me makes me
stronger.” The trick is that you
have to believe them.

Eight Steps Toward a
More Satisfying Life
Want to lift your level of happiness? Here are some practical suggestions from
University of California psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, based on research findings
by her and others. Satisfaction (at least a temporary boost) guaranteed

Measure Your Happiness
How happy are you? Sure, you may think you know, but this little test will help you keep
score. The Satisfaction with Life Scale was devised in 1980 by University of Illinois
psychologist Edward Diener, a founding father of happiness research. Since then the
scale has been used by researchers around the world.

Read the following five statements. Then use a 1-to-7 scale to rate your level of
agreement.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Not at all true Moderately true Absolutely true

In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
The conditions of my life are excellent.
I am satisfied with my life.
So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

Total score _____________

Scoring:•31 to 35: you are extremely satisfied with your life•26 to 30: very
satisfied•21 to 25: slightly satisfied•20 is the neutral point•15 to 19: slightly
dissatisfied•10 to 14: dissatisfied•5 to 9: extremely dissatisfied

2
3
4
5

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mind & body happiness

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