Self-Directed Online Course
Over the past few decades Western scientists and practitioners have become increasingly interested in the mind-body connection. This 5-week module introduces well-researched and thoroughly validated tools and techniques that can enhance the quality of our lives. Topics include mindfulness meditation, physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, and human touch.
Objectives and Outcomes
- Understand how mind and body are interconnected, and how each psychological state has its physiological corollary
- Learn scientifically validated tools and techniques that rely on mindfulness meditation.
- Explore the effect physical exercise has on our emotions and the latest research on constructing an exercise regime
- Recognize the impact of nutrition on our overall mental and physical state, and learn a few basic rules that can lead to a healthier and happier life.
- Understand the impact that sleep, or the lack of it, has on our physical and mental health, and learn how to enjoy better and more efficient sleep.
Over a five-week period, students participate in a completely online curriculum that features one new class every week. Lessons in each class consist of watching approximately 60-90 minutes of a prerecorded video lecture with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, class assessments and assignments, and practice applications.
The course is completely asynchronous, which means you can start at any time and participate whenever it is convenient for you during the five-week window.
This is a self-directed curriculum. No homework is submitted and no grades are given. You will receive a certificate of completion when all lessons are completed.
The Certificate in Positive Psychology course uses the same video lectures with the added bonus of two onsite immersions, small peer work groups, live conference calls with faculty, and ongoing support for the full 11 months. Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.
No prerequisites are required for this course. Technology requirements include an Internet connection.
Class 1: Connecting Mind and Body
Since Renee Descartes, the West has struggled to reconcile mind and body, perceiving the two as separate and irreconcilable entities. However, over the past few decades, an increasing amount of research is showing that our minds and bodies are, in fact, interconnected—changing the way we think impacts our physiology, and changing our physiology directly affects the way we think.
Class 2: Physical Exercise
Regular physical exercise can have a similar effect as some of the most powerful psychiatric medications—in dealing with depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and other conditions. This class explores the impact of different forms of physical activity on our well-being by looking at aerobic and anaerobic exercises as well as heart-rate coherence and variability.
Class 3: Behavior
The most effective way to bring about lasting change is to modify our behaviors. Engaging in deliberate and persistent practice, while allowing time for rest and recovery, is the combination that yields long-term improvement in one’s chosen field. Coping by getting out of one’s comfort zone is a more acute and immediate way of using behavior to bring about change.
Class 4: Cognition
Our thoughts impact our feelings and behaviors. This class introduces the basic ideas that make cognitive therapy so effective, while illustrating how in each moment of our lives we make choices that impact the quality of the next moment and potentially beyond. The Eureka Experience is provided as an example of acute change.
Class 5: Combining the ABCs
It is difficult to move against the force of habit to alter emotional, behavioral, and cognitive patterns that have been ingrained over time. Journaling is a technique that combines the ABCs (affect, behavior, cognition) and can therefore help overcome the force of habit and bring about lasting change.
Please note refunds are not provided if you decide to take the certificate course at a later date.
Questions? Ask our student support manager.