Calendar

WEEK # TOPICS
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

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?

3

Happiness vs. pleasure

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

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?

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

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?

7

Happiness in relationships

  • Do friendship maps exercise
  • Discuss what makes for a good romantic relationship
  • Discuss healthy relationships with parents

8

Wellness and flow

  • Class exercises to include yoga and meditation

9

Happiness and diversity (cultural and religious)

  • Investigates how different cultures and generations define happiness

Viewing

Video clips from interviews with people from a different culture

10

Happiness and decision making

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

11 Finding meaning in our lives
12 Open topic (to be decided by students), evaluations and wrap up

Course Info

Learning Resource Types

assignment_turned_in Written Assignments with Examples
assignment Activity Assignments