Positive psychology is a rapidly expanding area of study that is of great interest to students at the graduate, undergraduate, and high school levels. But the field is so broad that teachers who want to cover all the bases when designing a positive psychology course may have difficulty locating and selecting materials.

Activities for Teaching Positive Psychology addresses this problem by presenting a comprehensive set of fun, interactive classroom activities devised by contributors who are experienced teachers as well as leading scholars in their areas.

Chapters cover all the topics typically included in existing positive psychology textbooks, emphasizing the hands-on experience that makes positive psychology courses so powerful. Extensive reading lists point interested readers towards a fuller understanding of the topics.

The book is a rich source of ideas for all teachers of psychology, from novice to experienced instructors.

Table of Contents



Jeffrey J. Froh and Acacia C. Parks

I. Conceptual Explorations

  1. Courage
    What Makes an Action Courageous?
    Cynthia L. S. Pury
  2. Humility
    Humility, the Modest Strength
    Robert A. Emmons
  3. Strengths
    Using a Strengths Approach to Build Perspective-Taking Capacity
    Michelle C. Louis
  4. Eudaimonia
    Contrasting Two Conceptions of Happiness: Hedonia and Eudaimonia
    Alan S. Waterman
  5. Work
    The Value(s) of Work
    Christopher Michaelson
  6. Culture and Identity
    Integrating an Understanding of Cultural Context Into a Discussion of Positive Traits
    Jennifer Teramoto Pedrotti
  7. Purpose
    Understanding Purpose Through Interviews
    Timothy S. Reilly and William Damon
  8. Spirituality
    Spiritual Struggles as a Fork in the Road to the Sacred
    Maria R. Gear Haugen and Kenneth I. Pargament

II. Experiments

  1. Positive Emotion
    How Positive Emotions Broaden and Build
    Bethany E. Kok and Barbara L. Fredrickson
  2. Positive Health
    Heart Rate Variation With Positive Psychology Exercises
    Sarah D. Pressman and Tara L. Kraft
  3. Relationships
    Capitalizing on Positive Events
    Shelly L. Gable
  4. Empathy
    Perspective Taking and Prosocial Behavior: Caring for Others Like We Care for the Self
    Michael W. Myers and Sara D. Hodges
  5. Culture and Subjective Well-Being
    Culture Influences the Ingredients of a Good Life and Conceptualizations of Happiness
    Christie Napa Scollon, Derrick Wirtz, and Xuan-yi Wei
  6. Wealth and Subjective Well-Being
    Spending Money on Others Leads to Higher Happiness Than Spending on Yourself
    Lara B. Aknin and Elizabeth W. Dunn
  7. Mindfulness
    Cultivating Mindfulness Through Listening
    Shauna L. Shapiro and Timothy R. Mariels
  8. Forgiveness
    Teaching Forgiveness in Positive Psychology
    Everett L. Worthington Jr., Aubrey L. Gartner, David J. Jennings II, and Don E. Davis
  9. Flow
    Flow and Optimal Learning Environments
    David J. Shernoff and Brett Anderson

III. Self-Reflections

  1. Gratitude
    Taking Care of Business With Gratitude
    Philip C. Watkins, Amy Sparrow, and Amy C. Webber
  2. Curiosity
    Curiosity as a Social Lubricant: Transforming Conversations to Be Interesting, Engaging, and Meaningful
    Todd B. Kashdan and Paul J. Silvia
  3. Happiness Promotion
    Using Mindful Photography to Increase Positive Emotion and Appreciation
    Jaime L. Kurtz and Sonja Lyubomirsky
  4. Hope
    Hope Projects to One's Future Self
    Jeana L. Magyar-Moe
  5. Materialism
    A Teaching Tool for Disengaging From Materialism: The Commercial Media Fast
    Yuna L. Ferguson and Tim Kasser
  6. Savoring
    The Savoring Expedition: An Exercise to Cultivate Savoring
    Patrick R. Harrison, Jennifer L. Smith, and Fred B. Bryant
  7. Motivation
    Internalized Motivation in the Classroom
    Kennon M. Sheldon
  8. Engagement
    Civic Engagement
    Constance Flanagan and Brian D. Christens


About the Editors

Editor Bios

Jeffrey J. Froh, PsyD, is an associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University and a leading scholar in positive youth psychology. His research, which has been featured in mainstream media such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, focuses on the wellsprings, assessment, outcomes, and enhancement of gratitude in children and adolescents. He is past associate editor for the Journal of Positive Psychology, and his research has been funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Acacia C. Parks, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology at Hiram College. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, where she worked under Martin Seligman at the Positive Psychology Center. Her research focuses on the efficacy of positive interventions and the psychological and behavioral characteristics of individuals who use them. She serves as an associate editor of the Journal of Positive Psychology and was recently guest editor of the special issue "Positive Psychology in Higher Education." She is also editor of a forthcoming handbook of positive psychological interventions from Wiley-Blackwell. Dr. Parks is an active teacher of positive psychology and critical writing, and maintains a blog at Psychology Today.