References & Notes

Better Wanting: Part 1

Things we said that don’t make us happy, can make us happy — with a different approach

Signature strengths (in a job rather than Money)

Seligman (2004). Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Chapters 8-10 of this book outline character strengths and the benefits of applying them in your everyday life

Seligman et al. (2005). Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5):410-421

This paper explores several happiness interventions and tells us using top signature strengths in a new and different way everyday for one week had an enduring impact on happiness

Seligman et al. (2005)..pdf

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Lavy & Littman-Ovadia (2017). My better self: Using strengths at work and work productivity, organizational citizenship behavior, and satisfaction. Journal of Career Development, 44(2) 95-109

This paper tells us that those who use signature strengths at work are more productive and more satisfied with their job

Harzer & Ruch (2012). When the job is a calling: The role of applying one’s signature strengths at work. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 7,362-371.

This paper tells us that people enjoy work more and think of work as a calling when they use ~4 signature strengths at work

Flow (in a job rather than Money)

Csikszentmihalyi (2008). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: HarperCollins.

This books tells us that achieving a state of flow makes an experience genuinely satisfying as people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life

Csikszentmihalyi (1992). Optimal Experience: Psychological Studies of Flow in Consciousness.Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

This book offers a comprehensive survey of research on the ‘flow’ experience — a desirable or optimal state of consciousness that enhances a person’s psychic state — in various context/cultures and how it affects work satisfaction, academic success, and the overall quality of life

Csikszentmihalyi (1999). If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy. American Psychologist, 54, 821-827.

NOTE — this paper is NOT mentioned in lecture, but if you do not have access to the books above, you can read this article to get a sense of Csikszentmihalyi’s perspective on how flow relates to happiness

Csikszentmihalyi (1999)..pdf

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Growth Mindset (rather than Good Grades)

Deci (1971). Effects of externally mediated rewards on intrinsic motivation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 18(1), 105-115.

This paper tells us that positive feedback aids intrinsic motivation, but monetary rewards detract from intrinsic motivation

Dweck (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.

This book outlines how people with a fixed mindset (those who believe that abilities are fixed) are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset (those who believe that abilities can be developed)

Grant & Dweck, (2003). Clarifying Achievement Goals and Their Impact. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(3), 541–553.

This paper tells us having a growth mindset predicts active coping, sustained motivation, and higher achievement in the face of challenge (as seen in pre-med grades)

Blackwell et al. (2007). Implicit theories of intelligence predict achievement across an adolescent transition: A longitudinal study and an intervention. Child Development, 78(1), 246-263.

This paper explores how the growth mindset relates to achievement — if we think we have the ability to improve, we will!

Mangels et al. (2006). Why do beliefs about intelligence influence learning success? A social cognitive neuroscience model. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 1(2), 75-86.

This paper tells us those with growth mindsets tend to focus on learning-related goals and bounce back better from failure increasing the likelihood of learning success

Better Wanting: Part 2 & 3

Things that actually make us happy


Otake et al. (2006). Happy people become happier through kindness: A counting kindnesses intervention. Journal of happiness studies, 7(3), 361-375.

As the title suggest, this paper tells us that counting your kindness leads to happiness

Lyubomirsky (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of general psychology, 9(2), 111.

This paper tells us that doing random acts of kindness is one of many ways you can take intentional effort to make yourself happier

Dunn (2014). Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

This book tells us money CAN buy happiness if you spend it on the right things such spending money on others rather than yourself

Dunn et al. (2008). Spending money on others promotes happiness. Science,319 (5870), 1687-1688.

This paper tells us spending money on others makes you feel good

Aknin et al. (2013). Prosocial spending and well-being: Cross-cultural evidence for a psychological universal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104 (4), 635-652.

This paper tells us the happiness that comes from giving to others may be a worldwide, universal human response

Social connection

Myers (2000). The funds, friends, and faith of happy people. American psychologist, 55(1), 56.

This paper tells us that having strong social ties makes you healthier

Diener & Seligman (2002). Very happy people. Psychological science, 13(1), 81-84.

This paper tells us that being social/having strong social ties makes you happier

Epley (2014). Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want. New York, NY: Vintage.

This book explores more of our mispredictions and introduces us to more research on the surprising mistakes humans so routinely make

Epley & Schroeder (2014). Mistakenly seeking solitude. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(5), 1980.

This paper tells us that talking to strangers makes us happy. Even if you are reluctant to talk to a stranger, you and the stranger get a happiness boost after talking to each other

Boothby et al. (2014). Shared experiences are amplified. Psychological Science, 25(12), 2209-2216.

This paper tells us sharing experiences with another person makes them better

Time Affluence

Whillans et al. (2016). Valuing time over money is associated with greater happiness. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 7(3), 213-222

This paper tells us that prioritizing time over money — as a stable preference — makes you happier

Whillans et al. (2016)..pdf

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Hershfield et al. (2016). People who choose time over money are happier. Social Psychological and Personality Science,7(7), 697-706.

As the title suggests, this paper tells us those that choose time over money are happier — the paper also reveals that the majority of people choose money over time

Moligner (2010). The pursuit of happiness: Time, money, and social connection. Psychological Science, Psychological Science 21(9) 1348–1354)]

This paper tells us that thinking about time makes you happier than thinking about money — thinking about time boosts the motivation to socialize which is associated with greater happiness

Mind Control (via Meditation)

Killingsworth & Gilbert (2010). A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Science, 330(6006), 932–932.

As the title suggests, this paper tells us that mind-wandering makes us feel bad. This paper also concludes that we mind wander 46.9% of the time!

Mason et al. (2007). Wandering minds: The default network and stimulus-independent thought. Science,315(5810), 393–395.

This paper tells us our brains are wired to wander — mind-wandering is associated with activity in the brain’s default network which is the cortical region active when the brain is at rest

Brewer et al. (2011). Meditation experience is associated with differences in default mode network activity and connectivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(50), 20254-20259.

This paper tells us meditation stops mind-wandering

Fredrickson et al. (2008). Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources. Journal of personality and social psychology, 95(5), 1045-1062.

This paper tells us that meditation makes you happier

Hölzel et al. (2011). Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 191(1), 36-43.

This paper tells us meditation increases gray matter

Mrazek et al. (2013). Mindfulness training improves working memory capacity and GRE performance while reducing mind wandering. Psychological science, 24(5), 776-781.

This paper tells us that mindfulness helps working memory and has been shown to increase GRE performance

Hutcherson et al. (2008). Loving-kindness meditation increases social connectedness. Emotion, 8(5), 720.

This paper tells us certain types of meditations can make you feel more socially connected

Healthy Practices — Exercise

Babyak et al. (2000). Exercise treatment for major depression: maintenance of therapeutic benefit at 10 months. Psychosomatic medicine, 62(5), 633-638.

This paper tells us working out three times a week works just as well as Zoloft for depression recovery

Babyak et al. (2000)..pdf

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Hillman et al. (2008). Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nature reviews neuroscience, 9(1), 58-65.

This paper tells the positive effects of exercise on cognition and brain function

Healthy Practices — Sleep

Dinges et al. (1997). Cumulative sleepiness, mood disturbance and psychomotor vigilance performance decrements during a week of sleep restricted to 4-5 hours per night. Sleep: Journal of Sleep Research & Sleep Medicine, 20(4), 267-77.

This paper tells us sleeping only ~5 hours/night (aka sleep debt) leads to mood disturbances

Walker et al. (2002). Practice with sleep makes perfect: sleep-dependent motor skill learning. Neuron, 35(1), 205-211.

This paper tells us sleeping more helps us learn motor skills

Wagner et al. (2004). Sleep inspires insight. Nature, 427(6972), 352-355.

This paper tells us sleeping boosts cognitive performance

Huffington Post. Lose Sleep, Lose Your Mind and Health

This graphic shows the negative implications of poor sleep after one night and prolonged over time

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