Local Universities Try to Teach Students to Be Happy

Image via Anthony Pezzotti, Philadelphia Inquirer.

A number of local universities are aiming to teach students how to be happy through various courses and initiatives – one of which is a class at Penn called The Pursuit of Happiness – writes Aneri Pattani for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

This is in response to the increasing levels of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts reported by students nationwide for the last eight years.

The Pursuit of Happiness, taught by professor James Pawelski, encourages students to build deeper connections with each other.

It focuses on the practice of positive psychology, the scientific study of what goes well in life and ways to cultivate it. Nearly 200 students are currently enrolled, twice the number of a typical lecture course.

But Pawelski says the goal of the class is not to just dole out happiness to everyone.

“Our goal in class is to explore the pursuit of happiness together,” he said.

Other schools across the state are offering similar classes. In fact, both Penn State and Villanova have been offering positive psychology courses for more than a decade.

Read more about teaching students to be happy in the Philadelphia Inquirer here.

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