Seminar #1: 
The Good Life
by Darcy A. Santor  

What is the good life? What makes you happy? For well over two thousand years, writers from a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, literature, religious and spiritual studies, as well as neuroscience and psychology, have attempted to answer this most basic and fundamental question that concerns each and every one of us.  But it is only in the past few decades that research psychologists have started to measure what happiness is, figure out what predicts it, and determine whether your degree of happiness can be increased.

In this introductory lecture, you will be introduced to some older theories about wellbeing but also learn about Martin Seligman’s psychological theory about wellbeing, called PERMA, as well as some contemporary research on wellbeing from all over the world.  All of the skills that you will learn and acquire in this course contribute in one way or another to your emotional and academic wellbeing.   

Large scales studies have shown that high levels of well-being are related to high levels of performance and success in many different areas of your life, both school and work.  In this way, PERMA serves as a road map for well-being and success, both now while you are in school but also throughout the rest of your life.  Each of the domains, that are contained in Seligman’s model, namely Positive Moods, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement, represent an opportunity to increase your overall well-being, and in doing so your likelihood of success at school and work.       

In this lecture, you will be introduced to PERMA and complete some surveys and exercises designed to help you identify where your current level of well-being is located and identified some untapped opportunities for increasing your well-being.  

Resources:  Please download the worksheet before the seminar and complete the surveys after the seminar.

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