Spring 2023

PSY 300 - Positive Psychology

Overview of Course

What makes life worth living? This is the question posed by the field of Positive Psychology. In this course, you will learn research and theory pertaining to positive psychology, including both Western approaches and Eastern teachings (the latter of which has been around long before the term ‘positive psychology’ was coined). Together, we will explore what it means to be happy, and how the answer may depend on what country, culture, and time you live in. In class meetings and readings, we will draw on memoir, neuroscience, videos, and self-help techniques, and examine different cultural notions of the good life. We will learn about the relationship between Eastern religions and emotion regulation and brain science, and explore Taoist, Islamic, and Buddhist practices as tools for decreasing stress and anxiety and increasing peace and calm. We will also experiment with more Western approaches (and adaptations) to feeling good such as exercise, gratitude, relationships, achievement, and purpose. By the end of the course, you will build out your own personal positive psychology toolkit that you will be able to draw on to help you navigate tough times.