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  1. Reflect what you think happiness is, as a concept, and jot down some notes. Here are some questions to help you think about it:
    • Is happiness more like joy or contentment? Is it more related to enjoyment or to life purpose?
    • What do you or do others need to feel happy?
    • Does happiness increase with wealth?
    • Does it last?
    • Is happiness is inborn, created by us, or some combination?
    • Is happiness important?
  2. Reflect on your experience of happiness. Again, take a few notes.
    • What does happiness feel like?
    • Where in your body do you feel it?
    • When do you feel happy? Under what circumstances?
  3. Listen to the Happiness Labpodcast you’ll find by scrolling down .
    • As you listen, note the key points made in the podcast, the names of the speakers (or who developed ideas, as applicable), and their time locations in the podcast.
  4. Write a 750-word reflection that accomplishes the following in a clear and logical way.
    1. Explains your initial thoughts about what happiness is and how you or we experience it.
    2. Identifies three key points made in the podcast and explains them, giving credit to those who developed the ideas you’re addressing, as applicable.
    3. Relates the key points from the podcast to your initial thoughts by addressing questions like the following:
      • How do your initial thoughts about happiness agree with what you heard on the podcast if they do?
      • How do your initial thoughts disagree with what you heard on the podcast if they do?
      • What new ideas could you add to your thinking about what happiness is based on what you learned from the podcast?
      • What ideas should the thinkers from the podcast add to their understanding?

A couple of notes on the episode:

    • The title of the episode is, “You Can Change.” The title is countering the idea that our happiness is fixed and we can’t change it. The title is not meant to suggest that you, individually, should change. You’re enough and perfect like you are. If you want to investigate things you can do to be happier, that’s icing on the cake.
    • In the episode, two points related to income bothered me, and I want you to know that.
      • First, there’s a description of an ongoing Harvard study that began in 1929. The study sought two populations: the successful and healthy American Harvard students and poor people known to have some dysfunction. In seeking their study populations, the Harvard researchers may have held the bias that rich = healthy and poor = dysfunction, but we, of course, know this is not true. I encourage you to recognize and resist such biases.
      • Second, the episode reveals a finding that wealth doesn’t increase happiness once basic needs are met and people feel comfortable. Host and professor Laurie Santos is attempting to counter the notion that money makes us happy. She wants us to look beyond wealth for happiness, so she addresses her audience as podcast listenerswho tend to be middle class and comfortable. The assumption seems to be that since we’re listening to a podcast, we’re most likely comfortably middle class, and not likely to be happier with more money. She doesn’t give much of a nod to those of us who may not have our basic needs met and may not be comfortable. Many of us are going to/went to college in order toachieve a stable and comfortable life. In addition to working toward this, we may want to do other things to increase our happiness. We can do both. Just know that Santos just won’t focus on wealth as a means to happiness.

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