Science of Living Well

  1. What is the concept of eudaimonia? Explain how the integration of Buddhist principles in one’s life couldn’t potentially help someone reach a state of eudaimonia. How do Buddhist principles relate to embracing one’s dark side or daiamonic.
    • Eudaimonia - actions that lead to state of doing/living well
    • Daimonic - dark side, lead to creativity or destruction depending on how its integrated. Aka system of motives 
    • Buddhism as integrating daimonia to get to eudaimonia 
    • Buddhism principles of accepting suffering and change as part of the human condition, and letting go of efforts to only have positive experience.
  2. To what extent, if at all, can bottom up predictors of subjective well-being be influence by the individual? Discuss and explore.
    • Extent of intersectionality of: 
    • Money, income, and wealth – up til 70 k tipping point. Prospect Theory reference point and happiness on y axis. Spending money on experiential purchase, personal growth, not having to worry about monetary issues
    • Age – older people more satisfied. Funniest joke until you’re 30. Smaller discrepancy between life goals and accomplishment. Better relationshps, greater sense of meaning
    • Culture– cultural conception of self, bevahiour, value (individualism vs collectivism) differ thus path to well being is different. Emotional complexity of Asian societies
    • Education – increased odds of happiness by 73% in part due to creating doors to realtionships, wealth, perspective 
    • Climate – SAD, happier in warmer climates
  3. What is well being  
    Briefly describe a mindfulness/meditation exercise that you tried out, and what you learned about yourself from the practice.
    Langer - actively participating in the ongoing experiences of life with attention and openness

    Opening to anxiety meditation - anxiety positive and negative. anxiety vs pain. being comfortable in the feeling rather than pushing it away. anxiety doesn't go away, its how you deal with it. Procrastination. improve working memory
  4. List and explain 5 empirically supported the benefits of mindfulness practice.
    Pain: Reduce chronic pain improvement in both hardiness and coherence. 8-week MSBR course on “stress hardiness” (commitment, control, challenge) and “sense of coherence” (the ability to find the world meaningful and manageable in hospital patients) even after 3 years

    Cognitive Flexibility: In a study conducted in China, participants were involved in an 8-week course involving mindfulness. Participants who engaged in the training were better able to resist automatic responses on the Stroop task.

    Empathy: In a randomized controlled study on medical students, results increased levels of empathy and decreased levels of anxiety and depression in the meditation group as compared to the wait-list control group.

    Working Memory: van Vugt & Jha (2011) undertook research that involved taking a group of participants to an intensive month-long mindfulness retreat.eaction times were much faster for the group that had received mindfulness training. These results suggested that MT leads to attentional improvements, particularly in relation to quality of information and decisional processes, which are directly linked to working memory.

    Better Relationships:  the ability to respond well to relationship stress and the skill in communicating one's emotions to a partner.mindfulness protects against the emotionally stressful effects of relationship conflict (Barnes et al., 2007), is positively associated with the ability to express oneself in various social situations (Dekeyser el al., 2008) and predicts relationship satisfaction (Barnes et al., 2007; Wachs & Cordova, 2007).
  5. How might possessing traditionally marginalised identities influence the experience of subjective well being?
    subjective well- being, such as optimism, positive emotionality, energization, and sense of vitality

    • Impacts how you define well being, how you react to situations, accessibility to means of improving well being/how we address well being. Affect reference point of what is positive and what is negative in terms of subjective well being
    • survival methods as a means to cope with added stress 
    • intersectionaity of being poor, uneducated, lgbt, religious (or not), geography
  6. Compare and contrast happiness and meaning, referring to work by Roy Baumeister and colleagues. How might a happy but meaningless life differ from a meaningful but unhappy life? What are some empirically backed ways of increasing meaning in one’s life.
    • Happiness – needs and wants satisfied
    • Meaning – Coherence, Purpose, significance, mattering. Expressing oneself and thinking integratively about the past, present, and future
    • Happiness may look same but how we quest for meaning is what makes us human
    • Happiness moment by moment, meaning zoom out

    Happy but meaningless – just satisfying needs and wants.  Concerns with personal identity and expressing the self 

    Meaninglful but not happy – revolutionaries. Think political prisoners or freedom fighters
  7. What are some empirically backed ways of increasing meaning in one’s life?
    • Engaging in activities that develope a personal identity, expressing the self, and consciously integrating one’s past, present, and future experiences 
    • spending more time with people one loves or finding activity you like to do long term goal setting
  8. Humans are more inclined to think negatively than to think positively. How might these mechanisms have benefitted us in the past and how might they serve us now.
    • Meant life or death. In group vs out group
    • In danger zones, anxiety prevails over positivity.
    • In situations when danger is a possibility but the cues might be obscure, complicated, or uncertain, anxiety prevails over positivity.
    • Anxious people quickly discover solutions, and when there is a team around them, they share the problem and the solutions.
    • Now: propel us towards action but also makes people hyper reactant  if there’s a lack of balance  overall with positivity
  9. Describe research that suggests that humans are more inclined to think negatively than to think positively.
    Cacioppo: Showed people pictures known to arouse positive feelings (Ferrari, pizza), those certain to stir up negative feelings (a mutilated face or dead cat) and those known to produce neutral feelings (a plate, a hair dryer). Meanwhile, he recorded electrical activity in the brain's cerebral cortex 

    The brain, Cacioppo demonstrated, reacts more strongly to stimuli it deems negative
  10. Briefly describe your top 3 character strengths. For each strength:
    briefly describe on way this strength appears in your life
    briefly share an example of how you recently exhibited this strength.
    • Judgment: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly. Snap judgements vs rational thinking
    • Playing lawyer for myself. Judging too much to compensate for lack of judgement.

    • Appreciation of Beauty: Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience
    • Prudence: Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted
    • “I avoid activities that are physically dangerous”
  11. Define Corey Keyes’ distinction between languishing and flourishing. Do you think this is a fair definition of these terms? Explain why or why not
    • Corey Keyes: mental health is a combination of high emotional well-being (high satisfaction), high psychological well-being (autonomous, purposeful, good relationships), and high social well-being (attitudes towards others, belonging in community), along with low mental illness
    • framework for thinking about mental health—its presence and its absence

    Emotional, psychological, social well being part of the mental health continuum (L to R) 

    • Mental Illness - DSM diagnosis and low functioning
    • Languish – low affective well being and low functioning but not mentally ill 
    • Moderately Mentally Healthy - neutral, not languish or flourish 
    • Flourish – high levels of well being and high functioning

    important to look at difference between flourishing with vs flourishing without on the same spectrum
  12. Do you think this is a fair definition of these terms (languish vs flourish)? Explain why or why not
    • yes, in the context of the broader spectrum
    • not a split between mental illness and mental health but a continuum/axiom 
    • focault talks about the issues of labelling, mental health as a 

    through around the word depressed because we live in a society where although it isn't objectively true, we need a justification or a label
  13. List one of the well-being models we have discussed in class or that you were introduced to in the readings.
    Positive Emotion is one of the cornerstones to well-being. Kindness, gratitude, hope, contentment are all positive emotions that contribute to the “pleasant life.”

    Engagement, much like positive emotion, is a subjective element to well-being. Engagement is about being totally absorbed (in the flow) by a present task where time and self- consciousness seem to cease. 

    Relationships are an important part of well-being. People who maintain strong positive relationships are generally happier in life. We are “social beings” who need to connect with one another.

    Meaning in life comes from serving something that is bigger than self. To have a sense of well-being, finding a purpose in life is essential. Altruism and philanthropy are good methods to establishing a meaningful life.

    Achievement is a sense of accomplishment. Having goals and meeting those goals, improves your well-being and allows you to flourish.
  14. PERMA:Talk about each of its components and discuss its benefits as well as what it might be lacking.
    • no existing measures of PERMA for adolescent
    • An imbalance on positive emotion rather than emotional flexibility. the issue is not that those things aren't there, but dealing with the negative 
    • too individualistic
    • specific associations between the PERMA elements and the character strengths
  15. What are the 4 “happy” chemicals? Describe their roles, and one criticism of the way any of these neurotransmitters have been represented in popular media.
    • Dopamine - helps regulate movement, attention, learning, and emotional responses. It also enables us not only to see rewards, but to take action to move toward them.  
    • Seratonin -  Helps regulate mood, appetite, and sleep. Low serotonin levels can cause one to increase worry, anxiety, and fight or flight response.  
    • Endorphins - appear to increase pleasure and decrease the experience of pain

    Oxytocin- Cuddle hormone”, associated with social bonding, trust, and emotional support within couples, and is released during breastfeeding. 

    • effects of oxytocin on social behaviors are highly dependent on context. No bias when in and outgroup similar views and values. 
    • Oxytocin increases in-group favouritism, costly contributions to group welfare (including lying), and conformity, trust, and cooperation for the in-group
    • Oxytocin’s effect on trust is reduced when the other person is perceived as untrustworthy, is unknown, or is a member of an out- group that has conflicting views and values than the in-group
Card Set
Science of Living Well
Science of Living Well