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The Introduction to Wholebeing Happiness is a 5-week online course, giving you the science and skills to aim towards your highest and best. With live weekly webinars and two recorded video lessons each week, you’ll gain knowledge about what the research has shown works for optimal human living, and then practice applying it within the ecosystem of you.

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January 29–March 2, 2018

Live webinars held every Thursday at 7:00 pm ET

(recorded for replay)

This course introduces key principles from the diverse sciences of optimal human functioning, including positive psychology, neurobiology, and the social and behavioral sciences. The research is integrated through the SPIRE model of well-being. Students are introduced to the concept of aiming towards an ideal self, the advantages of a positive focus, the five perspectives of well-being, how to engage character strengths and appreciation, and using evidence-based tools to make lasting change.


This is Module 1, a prerequisite for the Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology. You can take Module 1: Introduction to Wholebeing Happiness as a stand-alone course, or to complete the full nine-month, in-depth study.

Register for the full certificate course and save $1,100 with special early bird pricing. Once you register, we will e-mail you a coupon code for an extra 50 percent off the first module, Introduction to Wholebeing Happiness.

Objectives and Outcomes
  • Understand the key principles of positive psychology
  • Practice new perspectives—and learn how changing our mindset can be a leverage point for positive impact
  • Apply the SPIRE model of well-being to increase appreciation for and application of a multifaceted view of thriving
  • Focus attention towards the positive for more creativity, motivation, health, and overall success
  • Integrate the personal learning by constructing a narrative that aims towards the ideal self

Who This Is for

From day one, you’ll get actionable, down-to-earth video lessons that help you aim higher—for more happiness, resilience, joy, and connection that you can apply in your own life and in your work as a coach, consultant, therapist, or any other role you play in life.

For those enrolling in the year long certification, this is Module 1, a prerequisite course.


Free Mini-Course

Dip your feet into Wholebeing Institute’s SPIRE model, the backbone of the Certificate in Wholebeing Positive Psychology in this free two-part video training and e-book.

Explore how to

  • Reach for your best and move towards happiness
  • Focus on what’s working in your life
  • Track small yet powerful changes as you increase your well-being.


Course Flow

Here is the calendar of the course flow.

In the weekly video lessons and homework, you’ll get stories, science, and personal examples, plus worksheets and exercises so you can apply what you’re learning. You’ll have time to reflect, to inquire within through writing and journaling with the aid of prompts—going deeper into what each aspect of wholebeing happiness means to you personally or professionally.

Along with the video lessons, you’ll be invited to live weekly webinars. You can ask your questions, connect with faculty and peers, and dive deeper into the material.

Your week looks like this:

Monday: Video lecture
Tuesday: Exercise to apply what you’ve learned
Wednesday: Video lecture
Thursday: Live webinar
Friday: Exercise to apply what you’ve learned, posting in forum

As you can see, the course is designed so that you not only take in information, you also use it as a catalyst for transformation.

That’s the intent of this course—transformation.

Full course syllabus.


Program Faculty


Megan McDonough, is the CEO and co-founder of Wholebeing Institute. She is the lead faculty in the course, responsible for your weekly video lessons. As a CEO, teacher, and mom, Megan uses divergent thinking and creative perspectives to lead, harnessing the best in people for the greatest good. She is the award-winning author of three books on mindfulness, and has been teaching well-being for over two decades.


Karen Whelan-Berry, PhD, is passionate about facilitating positive and effective change for individuals, teams, and organizations. Karen is the course manager, responsible for moderating the live events and the forum discussions. She’s also part of the research team studying the course outcomes and works on instructional design, improving the curriculum flow and planning out new courses at Wholebeing Institute. Karen is a scholar/practitioner, recently as chair of management at NE Tech. After graduating from WBI’s certificate course, she became a teaching assistant for the program.


Guest Faculty


Along with weekly video lessons with Megan McDonough, you’ll watch video interviews with positive psychology researchers so you can hear about the science directly from the people doing the work. Plus, you’ll hear more about wholebeing from WBI’s own Tal Ben-Shahar and Maria Sirois, along with movement breaks with Megha Nancy Buttenheim.

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson is among the most highly cited scholars in psychology. She’s the Director at the PEP lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focusing on the study of positive emotions.
Dr. Sara Algoe’s research looks at what helps things go right in social interactions. She an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Director of the Emotions and Social Interactions in Relationships Lab.
Dr. Patty Van Cappellen is an experimental social psychologist interested in the psychology of religion, spirituality, health, and morality. Patty is the associate director of the Interdisciplinary and Behavioral Research Center at Duke University.
Megha Nancy Buttenheim, MA, E-RYT 1000, is CEO and Founding Director of Let Your Yoga Dance®, and author of Expanding Joy: Let Your Yoga Dance, Embodying Positive Psychology. An expert in experiential education, Megha is a long-time teacher-trainer at Kripalu Center, where she has trained thousands of people in yoga, health, movement, and meditation.
Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar is co-founder of Wholebeing Institute. Tal taught one of Harvard’s most popular–and life-changing–courses on positive psychology, and is the author of five books, including the best-sellers Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. He holds a doctorate in organizational behavior and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and psychology from Harvard.
Dr. Maria Sirois is the course director for WBI’s yearlong certificate course. She’s an inspirational speaker, seminar leader, and author who has worked at the intersections of wellness, psychology, and spirituality for nearly 20 years. She’s the author of Every Day Counts: Lessons in Love, Faith, and Resilience from Children Facing Illness and A Short Course in Happiness After Loss.
Dr. Kristen Lindquist studies the nature of emotion—what emotions are, how they are created, and how we experience and perceive them in daily life. She’s an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and director of the Carolina Affective Science Lab.


Lesson Overview

You’ll have two lessons each week, along with one live webinar. Use this course calendar to plan your schedule. Here’s the overview of each lesson:

In Lesson 1, you’ll learn about the happiness set point—our habitual way of falling back into our comfortable emotional level, and how we can lift that happiness level over time through our choices and actions. What we say yes to is important. You’ll also begin to see, understand, and make sense of the many different, sometimes conflicting voices or selves within us. You’ll play with the notion of aiming towards your “ideal self,” the aspirational vision you hold for yourself.

Lesson 2 is all about the five perspectives of well-being, and how to paint your masterpiece of life using all five. You’ll also learn how to learn—the practice we use to make sure lessons are not just superficially understood, but deeply taken in.

Lesson 3 is usually a game-changer for students. You’ll learn about putting your strengths front and center. And, in case you don’t know your own strengths, we’ll give you a tool for identifying what enlivens and energizes you—your personal power.

Lesson 4 helps you understand why positive emotions matter, and how our view of the world is shaped by the emotional lens we’re looking through.

Lesson 5 covers the importance of paying attention, and how that focus can help build meaning and purpose in life.

Lesson 6 is all about relationships. You’ll learn about the power of appreciation, of noticing what is working well in your connections with the people who are most important to you.

Lesson 7 and 8 are about the physical body—how to take care of it and how to align body and mind.

Lesson 9 is about fostering and following curiosity, using an open, engaged mind to stay connected to learning and growth.

Lesson 10 weaves it all together as you create a plan for a 30-Day Practice that serves you after the course is over.

This course is about lasting change and continual movement in a positive direction —and a quicker recovery if you get off track (and we all do!).


Your course material is housed in the virtual classroom, a password-protected area where students watch the videos, connect on the forum, and get information on all course-related material, including connecting on the live events.

Wholebeing Institute uses state-of-the-art webinar technology that allows you to see the faculty via video during the weekly live events. The user-friendly technology is easy to connect to, through your computer or your mobile device. Recordings will be posted following each session for students who are unable to join live or would like to review the material again.

Need help navigating the online educational experience? Our student support manager and technology team are here to foster your positive learning environment.


Registration closed
Tuition for this course is $495 USD

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