Home All MAPP Magazine: Happiness + Connection

MAPP Magazine: Happiness + Connection

written by Abimbola Tschetter 13 September 2023

Abimbola (Abi) Tschetter (MAPP '22) is a business writer, editor, and marketing consultant based north of Seattle on Whidbey Island. She is an assistant instructor in the University of Pennsylvania Master of Applied Positive Psychology program and editor-in-chief of its alumni publication, MAPP Magazine.

Abi's articles are here.

While reflecting on takeaways from over 30 years of research on the how and why of happiness, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California Riverside, shared what she believes to be the key component of happiness: social connection. In her words,

“Perhaps most critical to improving and maintaining happiness is the ability to connect with other people and create meaningful connecting moments.” 

Check out the newest edition of MAPP Magazine, the alumni publication of the University of Pennsylvania Master of Applied Positive Psychology program, for more on happiness + connection. The September issue includes our full interview with Dr. Lyubomirsky, plus articles on social prescription, the role of struggle in thriving friendships, and a memorial tribute to Katie Wittekind, a MAPP alumna who loved others, loved to dance, and worked for the happiness of others. 

The mission of MAPP Magazine is first to keep University of Pennsylvania Master of Applied Positive Psychology Program (MAPP) alumni connected, and second to share the wide range of our applications of positive psychology with a broader audience to inspire collaboration and growth in the field.

You can find past articles from MAPP Magazine online> and even older issues in the MAPP Magazine Archives. To have the latest articles sent to you by email, subscribe to the MAPP Magazine.

Katie Wittekind

In memoriam | Katie Wittekind (MAPP ’18)

This summer, members of the MAPP community gathered to honor Katie Wittekind (MAPP’18), who died in a biking accident earlier this year.

The emerging tribute to Katie is the inspiration for this September issue on happiness + connection.

Read reflections and remembrances from her family, colleagues, classmates, and Katie herself about a life well lived.

Playing together

Social Prescribing

Social prescribing can lead people to experiences that buffer loneliness and nurture well-being through the arts, humanities, and community. According to Paula Toledo (MAPP ’22),

“Social connection is a health determinant, and rich and satisfying relationships are important pillars of a happier and more meaningful life.”

In this article, Paula  shares her personal experiences and explores the professional opportunities with social prescribing, an emerging healthcare practice where practitioners refer patients to non-clinical and social activities, including music, movement, community and the arts, to combat loneliness and promote well-being.

Climbers together

How Friendship Thrives in Shared Struggle

According to Chris Baccash (MAPP ’22),

“the perfect friendship, pursued for and from virtue is both useful—in that it creates eudaimonia (well-being) which sweetens life—and compounds our social & experiential resources.”

Chris knows this from personal experience and through his research on friends who face challenges together. This article explores his construct of virtue resonance and how he faced very challenging situations empowered by friendships. 

Sonja Lyubomirsky

An Interview with Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD

Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky has been studying how and why people can become happier for over 30 years. Her research includes cognitive, motivational, and behavioral processes in subjective happiness. In this interview, she reflects on some of the origins of the research of happiness, her current work, and how we as teachers, leaders, and parents can influence happiness in ourselves and others.


Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. New York: Penguin Books.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2014). The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does. Penguin Books.

Image Credits

Katie Wittekind photo from Wittekind family

Guitar players  by Viktor Solomonik (Unsplash

Climbers on mountain by Chris Baccash

Sonja Lyubomirsky from Taea Thale photography

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