Question Sheet: A Recipe for Happiness


Before reading:

  1. On a scale from 1 to 10, how happy are you? Explain why you chose that


  2. Do you think most people around you are slightly happy, extremely happy, or

    unhappy? Explain your reasoning.

During reading:

  1. What is “positive psychology”? 
  2. What are some benefits of being happy? 
  3. Why is it difficult to measure happiness? 
  4. Scientists have developed more accurate ways to measure happiness. Describe

    these techniques. 

  5. Which determines how happy you are: genes or external circumstances? 
  6. Name a research-backed happiness booster.

After reading:

  1. The article suggests that poets and artists, in addition to scientists, are

    interested in the subject of happiness. Compare how an artist might talk about

    happiness with how a scientist would talk about the subject. How do members of

    each profession approach the topic differently? Which type of person do you

    think understands happiness better? Why? 

  2. Why do you think teenagers are prone to depression? 
  3. The article offers several tips for becoming happier. Are these suggestions

    helpful to you? Why or why not? 

  4. Besides happiness, name two emotional states that might be useful for

    scientists to rate on a scale from 1 through 10. Name two states that would be

    difficult to rate or compare in a similar way. Why do ratings work well

    sometimes and fail other times as a tool for collecting scientific data? 

  5. Would you expect that scientists have conducted more research on sadness or

    happiness? Explain your answer. 

  6. Where does happiness come from? Is it located in the brain or somewhere



  1. Do you think people in the past were as concerned with happiness as they are

    today? Has the meaning of happiness changed throughout history? 

  2. Do you think people in some parts of the world are happier than people in

    other places? Where would you expect people to be happiest? Where would you be happiest?


  1. Expressing gratitude helps boost happiness, according to research. Write a

    letter to someone that expresses appreciation for something they’ve done for


  2. Your genes help determine how happy you are, and genes get passed down from

    generation to generation. Pick an older family member to interview. Ask

    questions that will help you determine how happy he or she was at your age and

    how happy he or she is now. Has this person’s level of happiness changed over

    the years?