PSY 123 (lower level GE): Beyond Mental Health: The Science of Well-Being

Course Overview

Beyond Mental Health: The Science of Well-Being is a course that is on both the science and practice of well-being.

Well-being and the experience of it is close to the hearts of college students and societies. College students across the world care well-being more than money. Yet, college students are increasingly reporting high levels of depression and anxiety. Beyond college, societies are increasingly concerned with assessing and tracking well-being as a measure of societal progress.

This course seeks to provide a scientific and psychological account of well-being – its definition, determinants, and outcomes. We address questions such as: How do we go about measuring happiness? Can happiness enhance longevity and health? What interventions can promote happiness? What types of societies are happier? This course will engage and challenge students not only intellectually, but also experientially as we work on enhancing happiness in our lives and in the lives of others around us.

The course will introduce you to the science of well-being and provide an opportunity to experience and empirically test positive psychology exercises. Through lectures, in-class demonstrations, exercises, readings, and hands-on outside class exercises, students successfully completing the course should be able to:
(1) Outline the history of well-being research to its present day incarnation
(2) Identify the key antecedents of well-being
(3) Distinguish the different scientific theories of well-being
(4) Understand the positive outcomes of happiness for individuals and societies
(5) Appreciate scientific process of studying well-being (data collection, research design, confounds)
(6) Apply positive psychology exercises in their lives
(7) Find resources on campus to promote mental health and well-being

By understanding happiness and practicing positive psychology exercises, I hope that students (and those around them) will be able to make choices that lead to happier lives.

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