Skip to Main Content

IDS 115 - Lasek & Mueller - Happiness - Spring 2022

Use this course guide to find and evaluate information and resources related to happiness and positive psychology. This guide supports IDS 115: the Science, History and Value of Happiness.


puzzle piece with smiley face

Use this course guide to find and evaluate information and resources related to happiness and positive psychology.

Six Tenets of Happiness -- Classified in Character Strengths

Wisdom and Knowledge

Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge

  • Creativity [originality, ingenuity]: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things; includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it
  • Curiosity [interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience]: Taking an interest in ongoing experience for its own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering
  • Judgment and Open-Mindedness [critical thinking]: 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 evidence fairly
  • Love of Learning: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systemically to what one knows
  • Perspective [wisdom]: Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that makes sense to oneself and others


Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal

  • Bravery [valor]: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty or pain; speaking up for what’s right even if there’s opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery
  • Perseverance [persistence, industriousness]: Finishing what one starts; persevering in a course of action in spite of obstacles; taking pleasure in completing tasks
  • Honesty [authenticity, integrity]: Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way and acting in a sincere way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions
  • Zest [vitality, enthusiasm, vigor, energy]: Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated


Interpersonal strengths that involve tending to and befriending others

  • Love [capacity to love and be loved]: Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people
  • Kindness [generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love, niceness]: Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping; taking care of others
  • Social intelligence [emotional intelligence, personal intelligence]: Being aware of the motives and/or feelings of others and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes people tick


Civic strengths that underlie community life

  • Teamwork [citizenship, social responsibility, loyalty, fidelity]: Working well as a member of a team or group; being loyal to the group; doing one’s share
  • Fairness: Treating all people the same according to the notions of fairness and justice; not letting feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance
  • Leadership: Encouraging a group, of which one is a member, to get things done and at the same time maintain good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen


Strengths that protect against excess

  • Forgiveness and Mercy: Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting others’ shortcomings; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful
  • Modesty and Humility: Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is
  • Prudence: Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that you might regret
  • Self-Regulation [self-control]: Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions


Strengths that forge connections to the universe and provide meaning

  • Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence [awe, wonder, elevation]: Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to math to science to everyday experiences
  • Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks
  • Hope [optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation]: Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about; ability to find the silver lining
  • Humor [playfulness]: Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the lighter side of life; making (not necessarily telling) jokes
  • Religiousness and Spirituality [faith, purpose]: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000