Course Description

Science Research Program – Grades 9, 10, 11, 12

Full Year – Level H: Incoming freshman and sophomore students must apply for admission to this program in January of the prior academic year. Acceptance into the program will be based on a science teacher recommendation, a written essay, and excellent academic grades.

This is an ongoing program that is taken in conjunction with the student’s regular science course. There are several tiers to the program. During Year 1 students learn the components of scientific research including the scientific method and apply these concepts in various settings including designing and conducting an authentic science research project and communicating results by participation in at least one local science fair. Students also explore various applications of science topics through field trips, guest speakers and class projects. Advanced students (Years 2-4) select their science research topic, locate an out-of-school mentor (either in industry or at a local university) and compete in a variety of science fairs including the CT State Science Fair, Southern CT Invitational Science and Engineering Fair (SCSEF) and the CT Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (CT JSHS). Advanced students pursue their selected research in depth, perform statistical analysis and compete at a number of local and/or national science fairs and competitions. In Years 2, 3, and 4 students are grouped together in a non-traditional classroom setting and are required to meet individually outside of class with their Science Research Instructor biweekly to review individual goals and assess progress. All students participate in the culminating annual activity, Amity’s Science Symposium.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Happiness 101 with Tal Ben-Shahar

Perhaps more than ever before, Americans are looking to increase the happiness they experience in their daily lives. Now, author and lecturer Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar brings one of Harvard University's most popular classes to PBS! Grounded in the positive psychology movement, the Dr. Ben-Shahar combines scientific studies, scholarly research, self-help advice, and spiritual enlightenment to teach people how to become happier.

Please take notes during the program and Blog a 250+ word summary. Include comments regarding the featured voices of Dr. John Ratey on the power of exercise; Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn on mindfulness meditation; Dr. Richard Kadison on happiness and depression and Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky on the importance of gratitude.

The Blog assignment is due by the end of the day Sunday May 2, 2010.


  1. I found this program to be very interesting. I like the fact that recently we have been focusing on the study of psychology. Generally in Science I don’t believe that enough credit is given to psychological studies, but the recent interest that we have taken on psychology is extremely interesting. I thought that Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar was very insightful. His presentation was impressive; what I liked most about him was the way that he spoke. He spoke with so much conviction. It was a treat to listen to him. He said that everything he addressed in his presentation is based on common sense. This commons sense, however, is not quite common. I never thought about how little things like relaxing and being grateful for what you have could affect your well being. Dr. Ben-Shahar also mentioned that we need to give ourselves the permission to be human. We, as human beings in the 21st century, are constantly running around to build up this over the top “resume” that we believe will be important to our future success. But what we fail to recognize is that the stress that we undergo to build up that “resume” not only affects the quality of our work but also our overall well being. What he says is quite logical but we fail to recognize this. That’s what I liked most about his presentation. He told us about the things that were right in front of our eyes, but we failed to recognize. He pointed out the obvious, which was shocking because it was right in front of our eyes but we failed to notice it.

  2. I thought Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar’s lecture in the Happiness 101 video was very entertaining and informative. He spoke in a way that really engaged his listeners; I especially liked when he talked about his own routines and experiences to demonstrate the viability of his recommendations to his audience. For example, I found it impressive that he has been able to keep the habit of writing down at least 5 things he was grateful for every night since something like 1998. I also liked his point on allowing oneself to be “human.” I thought he was extremely accurate in saying that it is perfectly acceptable to feel sad or depressed; in fact, it would be inhuman not to. It is not the feelings themselves but a person’s actions in response to those feelings that matter, and Dr. Ben-Shahar advocates not suppressing those feelings. The more a person tries to suppress something, the more apparent it is. He successfully demonstrated this notion by commanding the audience not to think of a big pink elephant, but of course that image popped up into everyone’s head immediately.
    I did not feel that Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s clip on the importance of gratitude was that enlightening because she mostly spoke about very common techniques of expressing gratitude, such as writing letters of gratitude to friends of loved ones. But Dr. Ben-Shahar made a good point when he urged his audience to make common sense “more common.” Some things such as letter writing, deep breathing, and meditating seem like obvious ways to relax and unwind, but people often take them for granted and fail to really experience the benefits of exercises like yoga. So maybe happiness is not some complicated, hard to attain state. People don’t have to go to great lengths or experience intense highs to be happy; it is usually the simpler things, like spending time with family or friends, that truly make a person happy.


  3. The only thing people truly want is to be happy. But, how are we able to do that? The video Happiness 101 really shows how to make happiness possible and how to do it in a healthy manner. Overall, I learned a lot about emotions and how to deal with them. It is better not to think about certain emotions because suppressing those thoughts or emotions will make you think about them more than if you cleared your mind. I also enjoyed listening to Doctor Jon Kabat-Zinn about the effects of meditation. As it turns out, doing any form of meditation during the week will result in a higher output of work. Also, people who have been meditating for many years in the Himalayas, show no startle reaction because they train their mind to be constantly at peace. But, I also learned that other activities can make us happier, but not even the happier that most of us think about; a happiness that involves anti-depression. One of the ways that we can achieve that kind of happiness is singularly by exercise. According to Tal Ben-Shahar, in the modern world, we barely do any physical exercise, and we need to start to exercise to help make ourselves healthier and can even help us fight depression. Finally, in this film I learned about stress, what to do with it, and what causes it. Stress itself is not bad, the only thing that is bad is how we deal with stress. When many people feel stressed, they amp up the amount of work they are doing because they feel that they have to get it done. But, when we feel stressed, we should focus on breathing and calming down. Also, stress is another way for our brain to tell us that we have to make adjustments in loosening out our schedule and our daily lives. Overall, the film was a very good and informative one.

  4. Hapiness Video WeBlog

    I thought the video was a great way to spend class time without computers! It definitely captivated our attentions. The videos were interesting and very informative. One thing I have to point out is that one piece of information is incorrect: The Harvard professor talks about how married people tend to be happier. I recently read a brief news feature that shows that married people are not any happier than people who are not married. But of course, the scientific study of happiness is quite “cutting edge” and I’m sure that more papers will be published to clarify this question.
    I was amused by the inner “ding”. I mean, the 80 year old lady who sold self-help books certainly did look pretty happy herself. But maybe that was because she was filthy rich from selling the books. So does this mean that money=happiness? In her case maybe. But the phrase money=happiness cannot be used as a general statement, as it really depends on the situation.
    I thought Dr. Ben-Shahar was a very good speaker. To be a scientific speaker, you have to have humor, and he has just that. His jokes were actually somewhat funny, unlike the jokes of some of the other speakers I’ve heard XP. He talks about what he calls “positive psychology” and how it uses both scientific evidence and self-help tools to encourage people to maintain good mental health. I think that this research is directly relevant to lots of people in the world. For example, just thinking positive helps a person to do better in life. Also, it is important to be “human” and to express emotions such as sadness and anger, because these emotions will only get worse if one tries to suppress them. As he says, a lot of this is just common sense to apply.

  5. Peoples goals in life are to be happy, Tal Ben-Shahar said, but how can we accomplish this? Happiness 101 really shows how to attain happiness in a smart and healthy way. I learned a lot about my feelings and how to deal with them. I learned that it is better not to try and stop negative emotions from happening because they are natural and become greater if you try to suppress them. I also enjoyed listening to Doctor Jon Kabat-Zinn about the effects of meditation on the mind and soul. He shows that doing any form of meditation during the week will result in a more efficient life and work style. I learned that one of the ways that we can achieve happiness is by exercise. According to Tal Ben-Shahar, in the world we live in today we rarely do any physical exercise, and we need to exercise to help make ourselves healthier physically and emotionally. Lastly, in this film I learned about stress and how to counteract it. Stress alone is not bad; the only thing that is bad is how we are taught to deal with stress. When many people feel stressed, they work harder because they know they must finish the task. But, Ben-Shahar says that when are stressed, we should concentrate on relaxing. Also, stress is another way for our brain to tell us naturally that we should make changes to ease out our schedule and our day to day lifestyle. In the end I found the film very informative and interesting.

  6. Dr. Ben-Shahar delivered an extremely interesting and informative presentation. I thought that it was particularly interesting how he stated that we must give ourselves the permission to be human. Whenever negative thoughts drift into my head, I tend to suppress them, but Dr. Ben-Shahar warned that supressing negative emotions will only strengthen them. Also, I thought that Dr. John Ratey's statements were spot-on concerning the positive benefits of exercise. In a study of students in elementary school districts, it was found that schools offering 30 to 45 minutes of physical activity each day witnessed lower obesity rates, improved academic performance, and more happiness amongst their students. I've always been a firm believer in exercise's postive benefits. In my own life, I know that without sports, I would not be nearly as happy as I am today.

    Also, I thought that Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn's statements concerning the positive effects of meditation were extremely true. One of friends from high school was once a massive "stoner." However, now in college, he meditates two to three hours each day. I've never seen him happier, and he has been drug-free for 11 months now.

    I also thought the importance of gratitude was interesting because we often tend to overlook the simple pleasures in our lives. Simply writing down five things we enjoy each night is definitely a great way to overcome this.

    And as a side note, I've actually started using the deep-breathing technique over the past few days. I think it's working!

  7. I thought Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar’s presentation in the Happiness 101 video was very interesting and relatable to our own lives. He talked about simple things that we can do on a daily basis to increase our happiness. One of these things that help us to be happy according to Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar is to be grateful for things instead of simply taking them for granted. I thought it was surprising that just writing five things we are grateful for every night increases our happiness. I was also surprised and impressed that Dr. Ben-Shahar was able to do this every night for many years. I thought it was very true when he said that in order to be happy we must let ourselves be human, meaning it is okay for us to fell sad or depressed. If we do not let ourselves feel these emotions then they just keep adding up. I thought the comparison of not thinking about a pink elephant after he had just told the audience not to was very useful in understanding this concept. I think Dr. Ben-Shahar had a good point when he stated that people in general are so stressed as a result of doing so many and not having enough time to do them in. I also thought he was very accurate when he said that the best way to reduce this stress is to exercise rather than rushing to get work done. Another way to reduce stress is to meditate and I thought Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s statements about this topic and its positive effects were very interesting. Overall, I enjoyed the video and I thought it was very insightful and entertaining.

  8. When Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar was in college he had everything going for him, except he wasn’t happy. Tal switched his major from computer science to psychology and went on to teach the largest class at Harvard. I thought Tal’s speech on “positive psychology” was very interesting and I liked that he spoke eloquently but the same time at a level that everyone can understand. He says the key to unlocking happiness is giving one’s self the “permission to be human.” Painful emotions are just part of the human experience and if we try to suppress these feelings, they become more intense. Tal says not accepting human emotions is as silly as saying “I refuse to accept the law of gravity.” Dr. Ben-Shahar says another roadblock on the path to happiness is how people deal with stress. It has become a global epidemic. For example, 45% of college students are depressed and 80% say they are overwhelmed. Stress causes physical ailments as well as suppresses the immune system. Tal says that we need to simplify or daily lives and cherish each moment. He suggests mini recovery breaks, even a few minutes each day. Another way to increase happiness is through exercise and meditation. John Ratey says that when physical activity was introduced in schools for 30 to 45 minutes a day, obesity decreased and academic performance improved. Moreover, Jon Kabat Zinn endorses the practice of meditation because it can be done in regular life and the brain changes for the better. Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar urges us to focus on the positive and not to take anything for granted. Do simple actions like writing 5 good things about the day or as Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky suggests, send a letter of gratitude to a friend. I found it very refreshing that Tal’s advice was simple, accessible, and free. Dr. Ben Shahar really “practices what he preaches”, he has been writing down 5 good things for years. In the end if everyone makes common sense a little “more common” we will all be happier.

    -- Melissa Viezel

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar’s presentation surrounding happiness. I found the video presentation quite entertaining and insightful. Dr. Shahar gave us a list of simple things we can do to live a happier life. He pointed out that we must take time to reflect on what we are thankful for. He suggested that we take a few minutes each evening before we go to bed to make a list of things we are thankful for. Furthermore, Dr. Shahar explained that in order to be truly happy we must allow ourselves exposure to a full spectrum of emotion, whether we feel happiness or gloom. When I thought about this, it began to make complete sense; whenever I’m upset, I try to suppress my emotions and not let my anger or sadness show through, yet this never makes me feel any better, rather I noticeably feel worse because I have to dedicate effort to covering up my emotions and enduring it on my own. I also found it quite fitting that Dr. Shahar pointed out that people are often stressed because they have a full plate, yet they feel as though they have an insufficient amount of time in which to get it done, because this is quite honestly how I feel with AP tests this upcoming week. He suggested that people can reduce this stress by exercising or meditating. He described various breathing techniques to help calm out minds. All in all, I felt that this video was incredibly useful and applicable to each one of our lives. It was especially enjoyable for me because it was grounded in positive psychology – the area of my past research.

  10. This lecture was very interesting and the speaker, Tal, seemed very knowledgeable. Tal teaches a course at Harvard known as Positive Psychology, which is the most popular course there. One of Tal's key ideas was allowing yourself and others to be human. In society, most people do not show or express their emotions, this causes, according to Tal, negative emotions to become more potent. The solution to this is to be human and express the range of emotions that one feels, for examples if you are sad, cry and if you are happy smile or laugh. Tal also mentioned ways to combat depression. The obvious method is to take medications and anti-depressants. However, a far more potent method was discovered through a study and it showed that people who exercise can kick depression and those you continue to exercise are less likely to relapse and become depressed again. Another key method to remaining positive, happy and calm is meditation. A kind of sub-type of meditation that is simpler and can be fit into any busy lifestyle is the habit of taking three deep breaths whenever possible. Sonja, who had many credentials, didn’t come off as very knowledgeable. While she made sensible suggestions, such as being gracious, nothing she said was “news” to me. The overall video was very well made. Tal was actually quite humorous unlike most lecturers. Also, many funny clips were used in his presentation to lighten the mood. However, these clips also strengthened the point being made. All in all this movie is an 8 out of 10.
    Tanay Lathia

  11. Overall I found Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar's lecture on happiness not only entertaining but very informative as well. Throughout the program he made several valid points that nearly everyone could relate to. One thing that I found very interesting was that taking time to recover actually allows you to accomplish more than if you didn't take that break at all. for example if you took a month worth of breaks over the course of a year, you most likely will be able to accomplish more than if you worked for 12 months straight. Not only that but I also found it interesting that exercise helps prevent depression. He said that many people believe that exercise is like an antidepressant when in reality not exercising is like taking a depressant. I thought that this was a good way to look at it. One of his points that found most intriguing was when he said that focusing on the positive actually increases health. In an experiment that had been conducted one group wrote five things they were grateful for every night, a second group wrote five things they were frustrated about, a third group wrote five things that they were better than others at, and as a control, a fourth group wrote five things about anything. The results showed that the group writing five things they were grateful for turned out to be the healthiest. To me, these results seem like they can be applied to nearly everyone's lives. The population is becoming very pessimistic and if they do something as simple as thinking of positive things in their lives they will not only be more happy but healthier as well.

    -David Powers

  12. Zhang Liu said...

    Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar provides high level insight into the foundations of happiness through his Happiness 101 lecture on positive psychology. Not only does he bring the credible academia substance in his lecture, but also the accessibility and do-it-yourself mindset of the self-help industry. More importantly, he outlines the nature of human resiliency and opens the listener’s eyes and shows us that we are the masters of our fates and the captains of our souls. One important idea he highlights is unconditional acceptance or the permission to be human. Everybody knows that nobody is perfect, yet many people constantly lose confidence in themselves at the sight of a mistake or disappointment. It is not what we do to prevent mistakes, but how we take an active mentality and work towards improving and overcoming our shortcomings that matters. So instead of trying to avoid unhappy emotions to reach happiness, we instead would reach an inner peace, and eventually happiness by accepting what is wrong and appreciating what is right. Another point Dr. Ben-Shahar makes is to simplify and multitask less. True happiness involves a state of acceptance and appreciation, which means taking more time to enjoy our everyday activities, especially the little things. Now, more and more people are rushing through life, trying to do more in less time. Quantity affects quality. So many people look over some of the simple joys of life, too preoccupied to appreciate them. I think what is truly special about Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar’s lecture is how simple and applicable to everyday life he makes his lessons. The crux of the self-help industry is what we ourselves as the consumers take out of the products, not what the products provide. In addition to providing legitimate facts and proven methods, his free and open attitude allows the listeners to better take to heart what his words mean to themselves.

  13. I thought that the presentation and the presenter were both very interesting. I thought that Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar was a very good speaker, and was able to connect to his audience well, because he knew when to joke and sounded confident throughout the presentation. When he described how to make yourself happier, his methods seemed to be common sense but most people don’t even think of the tiny things that you can do to improve your happiness. When Dr. Ben-Shahar said that we must allow ourselves to be human, I wasn’t sure what he meant until he explained it more fully. It makes complete sense that we need to express our negative emotions so that we can experience the positive ones more fully. His example of how you must experience all of your emotions and let yourself be human made me understand fully what he meant. When his son was first born, he felt jealous of the attention his son was getting from his wife, but then he enjoyed intense love for his son. He was just experiencing a plethora of emotions because of this new experience. He would have never been able to experience that intense love for his son if he hadn’t allowed himself to be human.
    I also was not surprised at all when Dr. John Ratey said that exercise can lead to happiness. It was shown that if children exercised for a short period of time, they would be less obese and their grades would go up. Dr. Ben-Shahar also mentioned that people feel better after they exercise, which could increase happiness. Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn made me want to learn more about meditation and maybe try it because it sounds extremely interesting. The whole movie/presentation was really well done and very interesting.

  14. Ming said:

    As soon as I walked in, I thought to myself, "Oh, we're watching that movie again," in a completely nonchalant way. I thought Dr. Tal Ben Shahar would just be like any other speaker, spitting out facts and trying to make them interesting. However, his speech possessed a type of effortless charisma that immediately drew your interest in. I liked how he used various analogies to better explain the human emotional system and how he created jokes along the way. My favorite was, "so next time you fall, try to come down on your right brain and not your left..." This was after he announced that recent research showed how people with proportionally larger left-brains happier. In addition to jokes, I liked how he used many anecdotes to make everything clear. Through hearing his personal stories, whether true or not, viewers could better connect with the concepts described, seeing that they apply in every day life. Although I already knew that exercise could make you smarter (that’s why I’m on track, haha. No, jk. I’m actually on track because I’m addicted on endorphins and just love to run nonstop), I didn’t know that exercise could also be the body’s natural way to treat depression. In addition, I will admit that I do not agree with him on some points, such as to stop multitasking and simply enjoy in-the-moment, I can fully understand his point of view. I also found it interesting that by simply recording five things you appreciate every night before going to sleep, you can improve your own outlook on life. Overall, this movie provided lots of inspiration insight described in understandable speech. Great movie!

  15. Dan Grober

    Happiness 101 is a lecture taught by Tal Ben-Shahar. Tal was on his way to a major in Computer Science in college when he realized he wasn’t happy with his life. At that point he decided to switch his major to Physiology, a field on almost the exact opposite of Computer Science. He is now a professor at Harvard and teaches one of the most popular classes there, Positive Physiology. This course focuses on Happiness. A key point of this course is the idea of allowing ourselves to be “human.”. Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar states that in order to experience happiness and joy we need to experience sadness and despair as well. This means that by suppressing feelings its really only allowing us to never get over them and feel happy feelings. Another key point of this movie was how physical activity is key to happiness. According to the movie it can improve your ability to focus and your general mood. This makes sense because exercise releases endorphins which can help make you happier. I know that if I haven’t been active all day it is hard to sit down and do homework or study after school. Overall, I think this movie was very useful. I think it taught me some valuable lessons about how people deal with stress and emotions and also a lot about people themselves. This video also fit in very well with some of the other videos we have watched in class. For instance, we got another aspect on the physiology of happiness in This Emotional Life. I would give this move a 9 out of 10 overall.

  16. This was a very informative and interesting program. Personally, I have had an interest in the study of happiness for some time now. In fact, this years project grew out of ideas for projects regarding happiness. This video was not necessarily knew information for me, but it was presented well and from a new and unique perspective. One example of this is "the permission to be human". This idea successfully combines several logical behaviors under a convenient umbrella. I also found the segment on meditation particularly interesting. I did not know about some of the research conducted in this area, and I am seriously considering taking some of the professor's advice myself on daily meditation, activity, and recollection of highlights. Overall, I think this movie was very useful. I think it taught me some valuable lessons about how people deal with stress and emotions and also a lot about people themselves. This video also fit in very well with some of the other videos we have watched in class. For instance, we got another aspect on the physiology of happiness in This Emotional Life. I would give this move a 9 out of 10 overall.The overall video was very well made. Tal was actually quite humorous unlike most lecturers. Also, many funny clips were used in his presentation to lighten the mood. However, these clips also strengthened the point being made

  17. Dr. Ben-Shahar presentation was full of interesting content, and it definently opened me up to the intricacies of the psychology of happiness. His talks really showed me a different way to look at how I approach life, happiness, and personal matters. For example, Dr. Ben-Shahar brought up an interesting point early in his video about allowing ourselves to be human. He discussed his own feelings of hypocracy with his new born child; at one second he would feel fatherly love, at another, child-like jealously. But unlike doing what most of us, including myself, would do by supressing these conflicting and negative emotions, Dr. Ben-Shahar would accept them and attribute them to being human. He compared the situation to the Law of Gravity. If you go around ignoring gravity, it's going to give you a much harder time than if you accept gravity and build your life around it.
    Another interesting issue raised by the doctor and Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn was the use of meditation. Personally, I didn't think too highly of meditation. It seemed very pointless, with the abstract goal of "finding one's inner self" or some sort of fantasy like dream state. The only real use I saw for it was to calm oneself down--and in reality, I thought the best way to calm down would be doing something one likes to do a lot. Still, the video partially changed my mind about the issue of meditation. They provided ample scientific data that showed that people who meditated were overall happier in similar situations to those who did not meditate. Who knows, I might try it one day...
    The only fault I found with the program was the speaker's presentation--his voice was not too engaging, and I found myself drawn to the presentation of the communications professor that visited us in late April more than the Doctor in the presentation. Still, the subject matter made the video interesting and truly worthwhile.

    - Arian Jadbabaie

  18. Gregory LoscalzoMay 2, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    I found this to be a highly interesting and also entertaining video. Although my own personal exploits into the various fields of science through this program have not had to do with psychology, I still find the subject to be exceedingly interesting, and for that reason, these videos on the basis of happiness in our lives were interesting to me. What really sold the video to me, however, what not only the content, but also the delivery – the guy talking about giving oneself permission to be human was a very engaging and compelling speaker (just like that public speaking guy whose name I can’t quite recall described). His use of wit and compelling diction draws the attention to what he is saying quite effectively. On the subject of the actual content of the video, I not only found the material being discussed to be very intriguing, but also very convincing. Specifically, the mentions of giving oneself permission to be human, mentioned above, were especially pertinent to my intrigues, as it relates to the innate emotional qualities that reside within all human beings that not only make us human, but also bind us instinctually with all other animals – we’re not so above it all. Although I do have to admit that not all of what was said in this videos was pertinent to my interests, nor was it all exactly to my liking, and in the case of the subject of meditation that was covered in some detail in this video neither pertinent to my interests nor exactly to my liking, I still found this video to be enjoyable and informative on the whole. Furthermore, this video was also a very effective complement to the series that we had already viewed on a very similar matter, the This Emotional Life series of videos.

  19. Being truly happy; can such a feat even be accomplished? In the video that we watched, Happiness 101, Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar talks a lot about happiness; how to be happy, why we feel such emotions, and many other things about what we call happiness. From the start, I was immediately hooked on his lecture. He was engaging, and surprisingly funny, which I did not expect from a Harvard professor giving a lecture; throwing in jokes here and there to keep the audience engaged. He talked about many experiments, and what he did to stay calm, and in a happy mindset. For example, he took three deep breaths at every moment he was able to; at red lights, before he went to bed, when he woke, and whenever he felt stressed out. He said that humans needed to learn how to breathe properly, and that when we were stressed out, our breathing became faster, and more irregular, and that taking a nice slow deep breathe would help us get back on track. I have actually started to take three breaths at every red light, or before a test or a quiz, and I have found that it calms me down, it makes me forget about what I was stressed out about in the first place.
    Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar also talked about how meditation increases the amount of work we do, and how it’s good for the human body. The monks who have been meditating for years and years also show no startle or flinch reaction because all of the meditation has made their minds to always be in peace. In my opinion, all humans should meditate, with all the stresses of life. Dr. Ben-Shahar talked about how we as humans have to give ourselves the permission to be happy. With all of our busy schedules, it’s hard to find time to be happy. In fact, 80% of college students feel overwhelmed while 44% of college students. We have to learn how to manage stress better, because stress itself is not a bad thing, how we deal with it is. I thought this was a good video and I hope to watch more like this one.

    Andrew Chen

  20. The videos were very informative and a great way to use class time instead of having computers. The study that Ben Shahar and other scientists are conducting that have to do with happiness is some of the newest ideas. I’m sure that more papers will be created and more scientists will be
    I thought Dr. Ben-Shahar was a very good at his job and at expressing his ideas in lectures. His jokes were funny and most people in the class were laughing during the entire course of the movie. He calls his study “positive psychology” and how it uses positive ideas and scientific help to maintain good mental and physical health. This research is related to many of people having problems today. Thinking positive and being optimistic in all occasions can actually help to improve your mental health. It is important to be yourself and always express all of your feelings, like anger. Dr. Shahar explains that when one tries to suppress these emotions they become intensified. Most of his concepts are common sense, but not many people apply them.

    His lecture started as interesting from the beginning. He talked about many experiments, and what he does to stay positive and optimistic at all times. Three deep breaths are key to keep oneself calm and under control. Dr. Shahar explains that he takes three deep breaths at any occassion to help him keep timid. If I try to implement this in my day, it would most likely work. It helps to keep timid and to keep less stressed. Overall, Happiness 101 was a great movie and lecture.

  21. Dr. Tal talked about happiness and how it is connected with everyday life. He started off talking about how everyday people lose there happiness which is mostly caused by stress. Then he went into his method for how to deal with stress and make people happier. The first method was half an hour of him talking about deep breathing. He said "The deeper you breath the more happier you become and that leads into a cycle of continuous deep breathing because each time you breath in deep it makes you want to breath in deeper which makes you happier." His second suggestion was to meditate for 30-40 minutes a day and clear your mind of all thoughts. This was supposed to take the stress from the right side of your brain and turn it to happiness on the left side of the brain. The more activity in the left side of the brain, the more happiness you had and vise-versa with the right side of the brain. He backed up this method with data from the readings of the monks from India. There results showed that the monks had almost all of the left side of the brain activated and the smallest amount of activity on the right side. I have the worst memory and cannot remember the rest, BUT I did pay attention and remember that we finished the whole show and that I found it very interesting.

  22. Dr. Tal talked about happiness and how it is connected with everyday life. He started off talking about how everyday people lose there happiness which is mostly caused by stress. Then he went into his method for how to deal with stress and make people happier. The first method was half an hour of him talking about deep breathing. He said "The deeper you breath the more happier you become and that leads into a cycle of continuous deep breathing because each time you breath in deep it makes you want to breath in deeper which makes you happier." His second suggestion was to meditate for 30-40 minutes a day and clear your mind of all thoughts. This was supposed to take the stress from the right side of your brain and turn it to happiness on the left side of the brain. The more activity in the left side of the brain, the more happiness you had and vise-versa with the right side of the brain. He backed up this method with data from the readings of the monks from India. There results showed that the monks had almost all of the left side of the brain activated and the smallest amount of activity on the right side. I have the worst memory and cannot remember the rest, BUT I did pay attention and remember that we finished the whole show and that I found it very interesting.

  23. in the movie on happieness we watched, there were basic guidelines to fallow. first you must give others and yourself permission to be human, meaning forgivingthem for making mistakes and feeling emotion. second step is to focus on the mind-body conection, exercise and meditation increase the bodies resistance to bad emotions. third was to breath, three deep breaths can give a person perspective. The fourth is to savor life,this means apritiate all good things in your life. making lists of things you are thankful for is very helpful. in conclusion the vidio did not produce a precice formula for happieness but basic rules to fallow to avoid sadness.

  24. After watching the video on happines and meditation i felt happier ironicly. I 2was relieved to know that i already practice the activities realted to ahealthy lifestyle. this includes exercise, familly time etc.. I thought it was interesting when they talked about if marrige or kids made people happy... i thought it was particularly suprising that the study found marrige to be a larger factor in happiness than kids were. Mostly you hear people talk about being unhappily married along with taking great joy from thier kids. However the study showed other wise.

    The guy from harvard talked a lot but what he said was increasingly interesting. I liked how included his own life into his lecture. He talked a lot about familly time. This sounded very important to him. I thought the part about him writing down what he was thankfull for each day was an interesting way to increase his happiness. Also having observed my parents and other married couples i thought it was definitely a healthy practice for he and his wife to tell each other what they appreciated that day. I bet if more couples took the time to talk to each other and be interested in each other's day there would be a lot more happy marriges.

  25. All people desire happiness in their lives. Tal Ben-Shahar explains a lot about how to deal with emotion in this video. From this video, I realized that negative emotions are a normal part of human life and everyone who is “not a psychopath or dead” experiences them. Tal explains how it is not good to go against negative emotions and it is best to just to go along with them because they are a part of life. Tal also explain how exercising can not only make you physically healthier, but emotionally healthier as well. My favorite part of the film was the part about stress. Stress is an everyday part of life that no one enjoys. It is not bad; however, many humans deal with stress the wrong way. It is best to stay relaxed when dealing with stress. Not doing so could result in very severe thoughts or suicidal actions. Meditation, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, explained that meditation can lead to an efficient life and work style as well as a better way to relax when dealing with stress. This film was interesting, very informational, and taught viewers about good and bad emotions.

  26. Like many others have mentioned, I found the video to very informative and eye opening. The human brain is probably one of the most amazing, complex and yet beautiful structures in existence. Though we use it every day and it sits right between our ears, we as humans will probably never be able to truly understand the brain, let alone master it. Yet our brains and emotions make up one of the few entirely universal components of daily life around the world. That is why physiological work such as the kind presented Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar is so important to everyone on earth, simply because it applies to and benefits everyone on earth. Happiness is a near universal goal shared by us all but few can claim to understand it. His work is especially helpful to most simply because the work he has conducted yields suggestions that anyone could apply easily within their daily lives. For example one of the more interesting things he suggests we do is take a few deep breathes throughout the day. This is a simple little trick that anyone could easily follow, but still provides excellent benefits through lowering the stress in our rushed lives. Anther fascinating study featured was how exercise could help people who are depressed. This interested me because I had recently started following an intense exercise program in preparation for the Jamboree. One of the things I have noticed recently is that I just feel happier and more optimistic about my day in general. After viewing this video there is no doubt in my mind these two are directly related. I could also go on about the startle reflex and the benefits of meditation or the importance of being grateful or simply allowing yourself but the point is it’s the little things in life that make a difference. Even the smallest action such as taking a few deep breathes at a red light can turn you entire day around.

    Thomas Meehan

  27. I found this video very intriguing. One of the reason’s I liked this video was the tone of the whole presentation was very light and very nonchalant. The presenter, rather than a speaker, sounded like any average guy. Sometimes, he would throw in a joke to keep the crowd entertained and interested. He sounded very confident in this presentation, and he definitely knew that what he was preaching was effective. One of the most interesting parts of the presentation was about allowing yourself to be human. It intrigued me how if you suppressed negative feelings, they become worse. This also explains the saying “always watch out for the quiet ones”. The quiet ones are the ones who suppress their emotion, which is why you watch out for them, because the suppression just makes those negative emotions grow. In this society, showing negative emotions is usually frowned upon. But if we suppress them for too long, they become even worse. Another interesting aspect was the part about meditation. According to my father, I am a descendent of Buddhist monks. Buddhist monks practiced meditation daily, which would explain their happy lifestyle. It seemed interesting to me that clearing your mind could actually change your mind and make it happier. The power of exercise was another topic covered in the speech. Although I already knew the power of exercise was great for relieving stress, but I failed to realize that exercise was an effective method to cure clinical depression and prevent relapse of the disease. It was astounding that not only could a common everyday routine cure a disease, but keep it from coming back. There is no doubt that Dr. Ben-Shahar’s class is effective. My interest in psychological studies was great, but now Ben-Shahar has increased my interest.