Blog Post #3

The Science of Happiness has taught me so much about the importance of positive psychology and techniques to improve one’s overall happiness level. The Corey Keyes reading explained that individuals who scored high on the mental health Flourishing Scale experienced fewer physical ailments, fewer missed workdays, higher psychosocial functioning, and higher levels of intimacy. The Danielle Dick reading and power point discussed the effects of genetics and the environment on happiness. I learned that although happiness is determined 50% by genetics, 40% is based on one’s intentional activity. It is, therefore, possible to significantly influence your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors in a way that will improve your overall sense of well-being. Research has shown that practicing positive psychology interventions can specifically decrease depression, anxiety, and stress while increasing positive emotions and well-being. The positive psychology interventions power point taught me examples such as acts of kindness, counting your blessings (3 good things), and meditating on positive feelings.

Through positive psychology, I learned additional techniques and strategies that can help me improve my overall quality of life. The Automatic Thoughts Exercise taught me how to analyze my automatic negative thoughts and reactions to situations in order to change my pattern of behavior. This has helped me to shut down certain automatic thoughts and replace them with positive responses in my daily interactions. I now understand that practicing positive thoughts and emotions is critical to improving psychological and emotional well-being. According to Barbara Frederickson’s Broaden and Build Theory (PERMA), “positive emotions broaden the scope of attention, cognition and action and they build physical, intellectual, and social resources.” I learned that emotional intelligence was critical to good relationships and the ability to self-regulate one’s emotions. The active listening exercise was helpful in developing better social awareness and listening skill. As a result of these insights, I now find myself making an effort to focus on what other people are saying and to not be distracted by my own thoughts during conversations. Practicing mindfulness can help improve all of these emotional and social skills.

The benefits of mindfulness and meditation was probably the most meaningful topic to me that we covered. I learned how important it is to focus on the present moment and be aware of my thoughts and emotions. Self-awareness is a key component of emotional intelligence, positive identity, and strong relationships. Being mindful can help you manage and redirect negative thoughts and feelings so that you can reduce the stress and anxiety they cause. I learned about the form of mindfulness known as meditation through the 7 Days of Calm Exercise. Despite having heard of the many benefits of meditation over the years, I never thought to try it myself. I was surprised at how tuning everything out and meditating for just 10 minutes helped me release a lot of the stress and anxiety of the day. I try to apply the techniques I learned by finding 10-15 minutes each day to be silent and just focus on my breathing. I was also surprised by the significant effects that diet, exercise, and sleep have on emotions. The lecture and journal exercises we did taught me that they can dramatically impact my mood, energy level, and stress level. In the future, I will try to eat a more balanced diet, exercise more, and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night. I will also continue to share all the positive psychology information and insights I have gained over the course of this semester with friends and family. I will continue to have conversations and use social media posts to spread awareness on techniques and strategies that each of us can use in our everyday life to improve our overall sense of happiness and wellbeing.

Pegg, M. (2016). Positive Philosophies [Online image]. Retrieved April 29, 2017 from


SOH Blog #2

Over the course of weeks 5 – 10 in Science of Happiness, we have covered a number of interrelated topics: romantic relationships, positive identity and relationships, mindfulness, yoga, diet/exercise/sleep, and personality traits. We learned the importance of establishing romantic relationship competence as it directly relates to how we rate our overall life satisfaction level. While the types of relationships we form may vary from romantic to friendship, they all require skills like intimacy and emotional intelligence. In week 6, we learned that forming a positive identity was also dependent upon emotional intelligence, which entails the ability to monitor, appraise, and regulate feelings. Positive identity and relationships are further connected by their common need for skills such as social awareness and active listening. Learning about this topic made me realize how to be a better listener by staying focused and really hearing what the other person is trying to say, instead of being distracted by my own thoughts and responses.

In the last few weeks, we learned about the mind-body connection through the topics of mindfulness, yoga, and eat/move/sleep. I was surprised by the extent to which these topics can influence each other as well as our relationships and self- image. The 7 Days of Calm exercise convinced me of the benefits of meditation and its ability to improve one’s mood and stress level. I will definitely try to incorporate it into my normal routine in the future. We learned that yoga was another technique for relieving anxiety and managing stress. The topic Eat, Move, Sleep taught us that eating right, exercising, and sleeping enough are additional behaviors that can result in positive physical, mental, and emotional benefits. The lectures and journal exercises on our sleep, food, and exercise patterns made me realize how significantly they impact mood, emotions, energy level, and stress level. Since covering these topics, I have made a conscious effort to get more sleep and eat healthier foods because I had experienced the benefits first-hand. I believe the common theme or take-away from the past six weeks is the need to take good care of the mind and body because they are interconnected and significantly affect one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.


Green, E. (2016). Mindfulness [Online image]. Retrieved March 30, 2017 from

SOH Blog #1

During the first four weeks of class, we have examined the meaning of happiness, as well as the factors that influence our ability to achieve it. While happiness is difficult to measure, we learned that the Keyes Flourishing Scale can gauge an individual’s level of hedonic well-being and positive functioning. A study by Corey Keyes found that only 20% of adults scored in the flourishing category suggesting a need for more mental health awareness and programs. Some easy techniques we have learned to increase our happiness include mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and exercise. It is important for people to understand that their happiness is not set in stone by genetics or environment. Studies on happiness have found that 50% is determined by genetics, but 40% is based on intentional activity which is within our control.

In addition to understanding the behaviors and activities that can benefit our mental health, it’s important to be aware of how genetics and the environment interact. Our genetic make-up can make us predisposed to certain conditions, such as depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, and substance addiction. Studies have shown, however, that environmental factors can lessen the influence of genetics. For example, a higher level of parental monitoring seems to lessen the influence of a genetic disposition toward substance abuse and addiction. While we can’t change our genetics, we can try to create an environment that promotes positive mental health.

Another aspect of happiness that we can influence is our own thought patterns and reactions to events. The field of positive psychology is about improving your quality of life by replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones. The exercise we did to identify and record our automatic thoughts to negative events made me realize how negative thoughts can control our reactions without our awareness. Being able to identify the factors that negatively affect of our mood and attitude is the first step toward achieving happiness.


Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). Where Happiness Comes From [Online image]. Retrieved February 11, 2017 from