final project 245

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Happiness offers a common ground on which most can agree: happiness is worth striving for. Noother concept provides a more compelling index of how society promotes or inhibits the enjoyment of life (Thin, 2014). However, happiness eludes many people, and their attempts to find it are often misguided (Binswanger, 2006). Complicating matters is a rapidly advancing world, driven by technological innovations, social media, and a global economy — all of which influence human values. Yet, at the core, humans are organisms driven by factors that enhanced survival and fecundity in the past. The organs that regulate our emotions were shaped not to benefit individuals or the species, but only to enhance the transmission of genes (Fisher, 1930). In the modern world, however, our instincts promote choices resulting in obesity, depression, distress, anxiety, fear, o morbidity (Buss, 2000; Nesse, 2004). For example, obesity has been linked to behaviors that enhanced fat storage during cycles of feast and famine in the post-agricultural era (Prentice, Hennig, & Fulford, 2008). Similarly, anxiety and fear stem from perceived threats of competition or predation (Breslau, 2001). Humans are very complex creatures in an increasingly complex world.


As you have learned, finding happiness can be a challenge in the face of biological and evolutionary cues. Now that you are empowered, we would like you to design some tools and develop some skills to promote your long term happiness. For your final project, you will complete the following

1. A five page double – spaced personal reflection focused on your own happiness and links with the modules of the course : a) biology, b) neurology, c) relationships, d) purpose and esteem, e) space and f) our own selves. Consider your well –

being on multiple levels- physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. Please include references to course readings, use citations and refer to activities you completed in the course.

2. A realistic and actionable personal development plan of well-researched strategies to enhance your personal happiness, while also enhancing societal happiness and long term sustainability. There are sometimes tradeoffs between the pursuit of short term happiness, long term happiness and socio-ecological sustainability. You are strongly encouraged to select strategies you will actually do- i.e. if you hate the water and live in Arizona don’t say you are going to pick up snorkeling as a hobby to relax. For this personal development plan, you can provide

(Have FUN with this!!)



A guiding checklist to keep your plan on track• Strategies organized in a visually appealing or artistic format

3. Summarize your paper and personal development plan in a 3 – minute pitch like this:

– showcase Film your pitch with your phone, computer, or camera and submit the file on Blackboard with your final paper.


Your development plan must be designed to overcome some of the biological and evolutionary cues that challenge your happiness (as described in the personal reflection). Be sure to identify, document, and explain connections between biological drivers and happiness for your specific plan.

Also, describe the role that cultural identity, context and social cohesion have in happiness.

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