When we think about this class, the whole goal of this class is that we can all become a little bit happier. But we might want to ask the question like, what does that even mean? What does it even actually mean to be happy? If you Google happiness, you get an answer that's a little bit strange. This is what happens when you do a Google image search for happy, you get images that look like this, which if you scroll down and sum up, they can be summed up in three ways. They're smiling emojis, there are people jumping in, and their minions or really dominions, but they're in there. You all know what minions are, you're like, okay, good. I think this is funny and it's particularly funny that if you all remember this song that came out by Pharrell when you all were kids? You watch the video. The video also has smiling emojis and people jumping in minions. I think there's some like central theme of these three things, but that is not what scientists mean when they talk about happiness. Scientists mean something else. My favorite definition of what scientists mean it's comes from the fantastic positive psychologists, Sonja Lyubomirsky, who you'll hear some quotes from her throughout this class. She talks about how science has these two components. The first has to do with the experience of positive emotion. Happy people tend to experience more frequent positive emotions than not so happy people. But that's not really enough she says. She says a happy person also has to have a sense that their life is good. You need both of these to be happy. She talks about thinking about it as being happy in your life and being happy with your life. That's the lay definition of happiness we're going to be using throughout this class. We want to use strategies that promote being happy in your life, so you experience lots of positive emotions, but also being happy with your life, you're satisfied with how your life is going. You think it has purposed, you think it has all the right ingredients to live a good life. This is what we're going to try to promote, and this is how scientists think about it. But scientists are nerds and they often use bigger terms than just happiness. The term that you'll often hear scientists use when they talk about it as what's called subjective well-being, and we'll define it here as a person's cognitive evaluation of their life. That's what you're satisfied with your life. You think your life is good. That's cognitive part and their affective evaluation of their life. What does it really feel like? What's your affect your emotions in the moment? That's how we're going to define it. That's critical because it means that this idea of subjective well-being, we need to think about it as having two parts. One of those parts is the thinking part. You're satisfied with your life, your life as a whole you think is going good. It's how you think your life is going, but there's also this affective part which we could split up into two bits. There's the positive effect, like all the good emotions, the positive emotions, things like joy and laughter and so on. Then there's of course the affective part that could be the negative emotions, the bad emotions, feeling sad, feeling anxious, and so on. This is where we have to go through a particular misconception that comes up all the time when I frame subjective well-being or happiness this way. People see the effect of part of subjective well-being, and they think, aha, all I have to do is feel all the happy positive emotions all the time. I need to experience joy, laughter and all the good stuff, and I have to get rid of the negative stuff completely, like subjective well-being, having a higher subjective well-being, being happy means only positive emotions , no negative emotions. This is a mistake. This is something that I worry about a lot because I don't want this class to imply that you should never feel sad or you should never feel anxious or you should never feel angry. It's sometimes normative. In other words, you're supposed to feel sad when sad things happen and you're supposed to feel angry when injustices happen. You're supposed to be anxious when they're scary things out there. There's a normative or correct amount of this stuff you're supposed to experience. We're having a full life and a life that satisfying is going to have some negative emotions, unfortunately or not. I think that the misnomer comes from how we think about happiness. Again, if we go back to this Google image search, it's there's no negative emotions on there. It's just smiling emojis and extreme forms. But that's not really what the science shows. What the science shows is what the psychologist Susan David quotes in her book, Emotional Agility, that discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life. A meaningful life is going to have some sadness, is going to have some anger, anxiety, is going to have all the negative stuff, but that's what's going to make it meaningful. You need that to have a satisfying life. Get rid of this idea that subjective well-being, only positive motions, no negative stuff. There's going to be negative stuff that's not our goal. The opposite of this. This toxic positivity, and we're really trying to fight to get to the opposite of this. One misconception out of the way, which is great, but you might be asking, how can we really know what a person's subjective well-being is like? How can we measure somebody's happiness? And the answer, again, for better or for worse, it's just that we literally just ask them. This is a process that we've literally see somebody taking off their happiness in a box. It's what science is called self-report. This is just a method of testing people's happiness that involves simply asking people about their happiness levels, but also their feelings, their attitudes, their beliefs, and so on. Now, you might think this sounds pretty unscientific and I'm with you. At first it sounds like one of those cheesy quizzes that you do on the Internet about, I don't know which Pokemon are you or something silly, that's what it sounds like. But it turns out that you can make self-report really scientific. One way that you can make it scientific is that you gear the questions towards these different aspects of people's subjective well-being. Here's what one looks like when we're looking at the cognitive part, how you think your life is going and you can play along in your head how you would answer this. Here's the question. All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole? From one, not at all satisfied to seven, I'm pretty satisfied. I'm not going to ask you, but that's basically the question that we use to get at people's cognitive well-being. In terms of people's emotional well-being, you do a similar survey. In this case, you're going to have people think about what they've been doing and experiencing over the past month or so, and then report how often you feel these words that I'm going to show you in a second from one, very rarely to never, just five, I experienced this a lot , and they'll be words like this. How often do you experience positive emotions, negative emotions, good and bad emotions, pleasant and unpleasant emotions, and then we get to some specific words. How often do you feel happier, afraid, and so on? The ones that are in yellow on this slide are ones where we want to boost those up. The more you have those that's good for positive emotion and your effect of subjective well-being, the more you have the white ones, those are the negative ones that decreases it down. Literally, these are the scientific instruments that people are using. Again, you might be like, does this actually like, how is this scientific, just to ask people, and the answer is it oddly enough, this does seem to work. We know this from studies that really look at how psychometrically we're measuring these things over time. Like what are the things when you say you're satisfied with your life on a scale from1-5. What does that correlate with? Does it correlate with stuff that really seems to matter? From a study like Sandvik and colleagues study that they did back in the '90s, this seems to work. If you look at people, self-report measures, the very ones that I just showed you, those seem to correlate really nicely with if you did personal long interviews with people, and you really interviewed people about their life. Just your simple answer to that question, like am I satisfied with my life that would correlate with it? It also seems to correlate with, if I give you this really lengthy emotional memory tests, where have you talk about your memories from the past year, so what those emotions were like correlates with that. It also correlates with more detailed methods, like if I give you a little app that pings you at random times is how are you feeling, how are you feeling, how are you feeling? It gets tons of data. That one question seems to correlate with that pretty well. It also correlates with what other people say is going on. If I did this same detailed personal interviews, but not with you, with all your friends and family members, it seems to correlate with that and it correlates with more behavioral measures. Like if I followed you in a creepy way and videotaped you the whole time and measured how much you smile the cross the week it would end those self-report measures would end up correlating with that. The upshot is, as best we can tell, these are pretty good measures for your subjective well-being. Both the thinking cognitive part, and the emotional part. Which is exciting, because it means we can have a science of this stuff. We can scientifically measure if people are feeling happy or not so happy, and we can look at whether if we change people's behavior, we can change those things around. We can define happiness and we can measure it, which is pretty cool.