Happiness Class for Teens

Happiness, which is defined by long-term positive affect or well-being, not only feels good--it is good. Research show that happier people have more stable marriages, stronger immune systems, higher incomes, and more creative ideas than their less happy peers.  They also have more resilience to get through difficult challenges and tend to be kinder, more conscientious human beings.  Most importantly, studies have demonstrated that happiness is not merely a consequence of success but a cause of it. This means that investing in the happiness of our teens is an investment in the future health and wellness of society as a whole.  

Finding ways to help adolescents get happier has never been so important as it is today. Teen depression and anxiety rates have increased by 70 percent in the last 25 years. According to Mental Health America’s estimates, 20% of teens or 1 out of five adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18, are clinically depressed.  And according to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 25% of teenagers have a diagnosable anxiety disorder at some point in their teens years. These rates have increased despite the fact that the accumulation of wealth in 1st world countries has increased exponentially in the last 50 years. This points to the fact that there is more to being happy that materialistic attainment.

But there is good news. Research on the science of happiness has discovered that a sense of well-being is not solely based on external circumstances or genetic predisposition. Rather, it is a skill that most everyone can learn and improve upon with practice.

This 12 week class aims to create conditions to help teens experience, firsthand, how to cultivate greater levels of overall happiness both personally and socially. The class will examine happiness research as well as conduct personal experiments on the findings so that students can test it out for themselves. They will walk away with practical tools to increase wellbeing in their everyday life and have some serious fun in the process.

Topics include:

optimism/perception of events
connection with others
mindfulness meditation