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WELL 25 — The Science and Practice of Joyful Living

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Jan 17—Feb 14
Time: 5:30—7:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 19
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $345
Instructor(s): Kelly McGonigal
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
5:30—7:00 pm (PT)
Jan 17—Feb 14
5 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 19
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Kelly McGonigal
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Joy is not merely a fleeting sensation. It is the human capacity to feel uplifted by something that is, at its essence, “good.” Physiologically, joy provides energy and helps us recover from stress. Mentally, joy broadens our perspective and renews optimism. Socially, joy bonds us to others and strengthens relationships. People rank joy as the feeling they most want more of in life—and also the emotion least under their control. What if joy isn’t something we have to wait for but something we can choose? What if we could experience more joy every day and capitalize on the energy, hope, and meaning it provides? How do we train the mindset that makes joy possible? How do we increase our biological readiness for joy?

Based on the latest research and insights from psychology and neuroscience, this course will combine weekly lectures with guided exercises, discussions, self-reflections, and the option to perform real-world experiments that unveil a variety of practical strategies designed to amplify joy's influence in our daily existence. Through captivating insights and actionable wisdom, this course will empower you to expand your capacity to feel joy, show joy, and share joy with others. Imagine a life where joy is not an elusive dream but a deliberate choice that fuels your aspirations, forges bonds, and ignites your journey toward greater fulfillment. Experience the profound impact of choosing joy, both as a resource for when life is hard, and as a way to increase what is good in the world.

Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Kelly McGonigal is a psychologist and educator whose work shows us how to experience hope, connection, and meaning—even when life is difficult. She has taught science-based courses for personal transformation through Stanford Continuing Studies since 2008. She is the author of the international bestseller The Willpower Instinct, The Upside of Stress, and The Joy of Movement. Through the Stanford Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, she co-created the Stanford Compassion Cultivation Training. Her TED Talk, “How to Make Stress Your Friend,” is one of the most-viewed TED Talks of all time.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.