Happiness Education Course Ideas

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This page was created for Ravi Iyer and Brian Lickel to brainstorm over ideas for a new course on "Happiness" aimed at undergraduates at USC.

Contents

General vision

Syllabus in Progress

Schedule of Classes and Topics

*February 12:  Social Comparison – Envy or Inspiration? 
*February 14:  Overwhelmed by Choice? 
*February 19:  Exam 1 Covering Lecture Material up to February 14, and these readings… Goleman (1-6); Schwartz (All of it); 
*February 21:  Health and Happiness – A Two Way Street 
*February 26: The Importance of Others – The Neurological Bases of the Pain of Social Isolation and Joy of Social Inclusion 
 *February 28:  The Benefits of Social Connection – Giving and Getting 
*March 4:  Why your Set-Point gets Set - How Genes, Parenting, and Childhood Experiences Interact to Influence Lifetime Happiness 
*March 6:  Depression and Anxiety – The Accidental Discovery of Anti-Depressants, and the Neuroscience of Negative Mood 
*March 11:  Belief in Change – You Are Not (Totally) a Prisoner to Your Genes (or Childhood) 
*March 13:  Self-Esteem – The Strange Journey of a Pop Psychology Concept 
*Week of March 17 – Spring Break 
*March 25:  Positive Illusions – The Bad and the Good 
*April 1:  Focusing Your Mind – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s Science-Tested Tricks to Beat the Thoughts that Lead to Unhappiness
 *April 3:  Zen Mind, Happy Mind? – The History, Practice, Neuroscience, and Consequences of Meditation and Prayer 
 *April 8:  Exam 2 – Lecture material through April 3, and these readings…Goleman (7-16); Haidt (All of it); Twenge (All of it) 
 *April 10:  The Art of Social Negotiation – Getting What You Want and Being Nicer Too 
  *April 15:  Money – Why Most of Us Spend Too Much and Save Too Little (and what to do about it). 
*April 17:  Creating Good Relationships – Some Science-Based Suggestions  
 *April 22:  Work and Happiness – Flowing with Csikszentmihalyi 
*April 24:  The Science of Happiness and the Practice of Public Policy – What (If Anything) Should Government Do? 
 *April 29:  The Meaning of it All – Adversity, Gratitude, and Growth 
 *May 1:  Turn in Paper, Class Evaluation, Review for Final 
 *May xx:  Final Exam (For the Final, read all of Easterbrook…which you should have done anyway to write a good paper)

Topics we could cover

What is happiness? How is it measured?


the Hedonic Treadmill

Wanting vs. Liking

Basic Psychological Needs

Training one's focus (ie. Gratitude, Altruism)

Meditation


Relationships & Emotional Intelligence

The relationship between physical and emotional health

Self Regulation, Habits vs. Discipline, Belief

Adversity and Resilience

Experiencing Flow

Morality and Evil

Wrap-up

Multimedia we could use

Experiential Excercises

Books to buy/check out

Other thoughts/ideas

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