Assignments

The following homework assignments were due during the weeks noted below.

Students were also required to research, present and lead one type of meditation at the beginning of each class.

WEEK # TOPICS HOMEWORK
1

Introduction: Defining happiness

  • Do pre-class questionnaire
  • Do Who Am I exercise—discuss why you are taking this class
  • Look at different definitions of happiness

 There was no homework due this week.
2

Overview of positive psychology

  • What is it and how does it differ from traditional psychology?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of this approach?
  • How does it work in therapy?

Write a gratitude letter to someone and share it with them.

Take the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, MeaningandHappiness.com.

Write two questions about this week’s topic.

3

Happiness vs. pleasure

  • What is happiness?
  • How is it measured?
  • How does it differ from pleasure?

Do one pleasurable activity and one service-oriented activity and compare.

Write reaction paper #1: a two-page paper about material from weeks 1–3.

Write two questions about this week’s topic.

4

Cognitive styles

  • Optimism & pessimism—what is the difference?
  • How do they work in practice?
  • Is there such a thing as realistic optimism? Realistic pessimism?

Think optimistically for one day– think pessimistically for one day—write down what happens.

Take the optimism test in: Seligman, Martin E. P. Chapter 6 in Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment. Atria Books, 2004. ISBN: 9780743222983.

Write two questions about this week’s topic.

5

Strengths

  • What are our strengths?
  • How can we use them and in what capacities?
  • What are their limitations?

Guest speaker: Tamara Menghi, Associate Director, Employer Relations and Career Programs, MIT Global Education & Career Development

Complete the StrengthsQuest survey and bring the results into class.

Write two questions about this week’s topic.

6

Unhappiness, sadness and depression

  • What is depression and how does it differ from sadness or unhappiness—how does it relate to suffering?
  • Is there value in suffering?
  • How can we recognize and treat depression?

Write reaction paper #2: a two-page paper about material from weeks 4–6.

Write two questions about this week’s topic.

7

Happiness in relationships

Do friendship maps exercise

  • Discuss what makes for a good romantic relationship
  • Discuss healthy relationships with parents

Write two questions about this week’s topic.
8 Wellness and flow

Fill out the wellness questionnaire.

Write two questions about this week’s topic.

9

Happiness and diversity (cultural and religious)

  • Investigates how different cultures and generations define happiness

Make a two-minute clip of a videotaped / audio interview with one grandparent or someone from a different culture about their views on happiness.

Write two questions about this week’s topic.

10

Happiness and decision making

Guest speaker: Dorise Gruber, Assistant Director for Freshman Affairs, Boston University School of Management

Write a paragraph about a decision you made that you regretted after you made it. (What was the decision, why did you initially regret it, and how did you come to see its positive side?)

Write reaction paper #3: a two-page paper about material from weeks 7–10.

Write two questions about this week’s topic.

11 Finding meaning in our lives

Do the values inventory in: Ramsay, Graham Gordon, and Holly Barlow Sweet. Chapter 7 in A Creative Guide to Exploring Your Life: Self-Reflection Using Photography, Art and Writing. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008. ISBN: 9781843108924. [Preview with Google Books]

Write a mini-autobiography.

Student Examples

A mini-autobiography: male senior (PDF)

A mini-autobiography: female senior (PDF)

12 Open topic (to be decided by students), evaluations and wrap up  There was no homework due this week.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples
assignment Activity Assignments