Week 4: Kindness for Oneself

Newspaper and web articlesrostyslav-savchyn-E2zvqyY5zUY-unsplash

Time Magazine (August/September 2016), The Science of Happiness: New discoveries for a more joyful life

National Geographic (November 2017), The Search for Happiness

Free hard copy or digital access for these might be available through your local library.


Richard Davidson: The Four Constituents of Well-Being (14min)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeBpsiFQiTI&t=11s

Richard is a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison as well as founder and chair of the Center for Healthy Minds.

Robert Waldinger:  What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness. TedTalk (13 mins)

Describing a 75-year-long Harvard study on adult happiness.

Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness TedTalk (21 mins).   https://www.ted.com/talks/matthieu_ricard_on_the_habits_of_happiness

A French Buddhist monk who used to be a molecular biologist.  In this talk he describes the inner and outer conditions for well-being.

Barbara Fredrickson: Positive Emotions Transform Us (7.36 mins).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKggZhYwoys.  Greater Good Website

Dan Gilbert: The Surprising Science of Happiness, TedTalk  (21 min)
Rick Hanson: Hardwiring Happiness TedTalk (13 mins).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpuDyGgIeh0

Fred Luskin: The Science of Happiness (49 mins).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvfauh-XZiQ

Brene Brown:  Vulnerability and courage (2.35 mins).  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkDaKKkFi6Y


Research Articles

Kristin Layous, S. Katherine Nelson, Jaime L. Kurtz & Sonja Lyubomirsky (2016)

What triggers prosocial effort? A positive feedback loop between positive activities, kindness, and well-being.  Journal of Positive Psychology

“Across two studies, we found evidence that a recursive cycle of happiness and kindness can be triggered experimentally by the administration of a simple, brief positive activity. Specifically, we found preliminary support for the contention that people in a positive state – namely, an elevated state – appear better equipped to put effort toward prosocial acts in the context of their daily lives and subsequently feel happier overall. Future research would do well to continue to explore the mechanisms in this positive feedback loop. In sum, to paraphrase the Scott Adams quote included in the epigraph, our findings are consistent with the notion that every act of kindness creates a ripple.”

Emily Lindsay and David Creswell (2014)

Helping the self help others: self-affirmation increases self-compassion and pro-social behaviors.  Frontiers in Psychology

“Our present findings suggest that self-affirmation may increase feelings of self-compassion and that self-compassion may be a promising new mechanism for a potentially broad range of self-affirmation effects. More research is needed, but the present research provides an initial suggestion that affirming an important personal value increases feelings of self-compassion for mobilizing a pro-social self.”

Sara Kim and Ann McGill (2017)

Helping Others by First Affirming the Self: When Self-Affirmation Reduces Ego-Defensive Downplaying of Others’ Misfortunes.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

“We show that self-affirmation increases helping behavior toward others in need. We argue that as awareness of others’ pain causes discomfort, individuals are often motivated to ignore information about such pain. However, ignoring others’ suffering implies that one is not a good and caring person, which presents a threat to self-integrity. To resolve this conflict, people might downplay others’ pain. Studies show that self-affirmation intervenes in this process, thereby increasing willingness to help”

Lyubomirsky et al. (2005)

Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change.  Review of General Psychology

“The pursuit of happiness is an important goal for many people. However, surprisingly little scientific research has focused on the question of how happiness can be increased and then sustained, probably because of pessimism engendered by the concepts of genetic determinism and hedonic adaptation. Nevertheless, emerging sources of optimism exist regarding the possibility of permanent increases in happiness. Drawing on the past well-being literature, the authors propose that a person’s chronic happiness level is governed by 3 major factors: a genetically determined set point for happiness, happiness-relevant circumstantial factors, and happiness-relevant activities and practices. The authors then consider adaptation and dynamic processes to show why the activity category offers the best opportunities for sustainably increasing happiness. Finally, existing research is discussed in support of the model, including 2 preliminary happiness-increasing interventions”



Sharon Salzburg (2002)  Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.  Shambhala Classics

Sonia Lyubomirsky (2007)  The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life you Want.  Penguin/Random House