STANFORD CONTINUING STUDIES BERRY-ELIGIBLE COURSESThis quarter, select Continuing Studies courses will be Berry-eligible for employees participating in Stanford’s BeWell program.
**In order to receive a Berry, students must take the course for Credit or a Letter grade.** Students will be asked to choose the credit option during the registration process. The Continuing Studies program will report student attendance to the BeWell office at the conclusion of the quarter. And, as always, all Continuing Studies courses are STAP-fund eligible.
Spring courses that are Berry-eligible include:
Course: The Internet and Our Psychological Health: Sanity in a Digitalized Life (PSY 95)
Instructor: Elias Aboujaoude, Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford School of Medicine
Schedule: 5 weeks, Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:50 pm, Apr 2 – Apr 30
Format: On-campus course
Most of us spend a great deal of time interacting with internet-related technologies. This screen time can change a person in subtle or even profound ways. For example, many people behave more impulsively, narcissistically, angrily, or immaturely online. And after spending countless hours “being” that online person, they can find these undesirable characteristics seeping into their offline behavior, adversely affecting everyday relationships and transforming society along the way. Drawing on research and cultural observations, this course will explore the range of ways the internet affects psychology and mental health, and what can be done to mitigate the harmful effects and promote the beneficial ones. As the course unfolds, we will explore how the internet can change our cognition, affecting our attention, memory, reading, and writing. We will also see how over-reliance on social media can come at a high personal cost. We will discuss how to maintain psychological balance in a social media world where privacy—crucial to a healthy psychology—is all but impossible to maintain. Finally, to explore the other side of the coin, we will highlight how internet technologies are offering new ways to treat mental illness and increase access to care (e.g., virtual reality therapy, “brain training,” and AI therapy).
Course: Nutrition: A Personalized Approach (SCI 12)
Instructor: Clyde Wilson, Research Associate, Biochemistry, UC San Francisco
Schedule: 8 weeks, Tuesdays, 6:30 – 9:00 pm, Apr 2– May 28
Format: On-campus course
Good nutrition sounds simple: Eat a variety of wholesome foods and drink some water. But in our modern environment, we are surrounded by food options very different from those on a traditional farm. Low-calorie sweeteners, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and a multitude of other additives vie for our attention, all claiming to be the key to improved health. Various fad diets claim the same thing, offering different (and even completely opposite) approaches to eating. How can we figure out a “best” way to eat for each of us personally, and then survive a trip to the grocery store or our own kitchen? Science provides broad guidelines for meeting our body’s needs, but only when we take into account each person’s individual situation does an effective, sustainable, and personalized approach emerge. Nutrition for general health, weight loss, disease prevention, and exercise performance will be explored throughout this course. Homework assignments will challenge students to apply the concepts from class to their own personal life, schedule, and food preferences. In the end, each student’s diet will be highly individualized despite resting on the same sound principles.
Students should be comfortable hearing about scientific findings on the topics discussed in class, but no science background is required in this introductory course.
Course: Diet and Gene Expression: You Are What You Eat (BIO 03 W)
Instructor: Lucia Aronica, Lecturer, Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC)
Schedule: 5 weeks, Apr 15 – May 17
Format: Online course
We tend to think that good genes make us thin and healthy, whereas bad genes make us fat and sick. But what if we could turn our “good” genes on and our “bad” genes off, and improve our overall health, by making the right dietary and lifestyle choices? The science of epigenetics suggests we can do just that. In this course, we will provide an introduction to epigenetics, the study of how lifestyle factors can change gene activity without actually modifying the underlying DNA. With that basic foundation in place, students will discover that there is a sort of give and take between our genes and the food we eat: Genes affect nutrient response through nutrigenetics, while nutrients affect gene activity through nutrigenomics, which in turn is mediated by epigenetics mechanisms. We will specifically explore basic concepts in nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics, and see how certain nutrients and bioactive food compounds can send signals to our genes and modify their activity. We will have live question-and-answer sessions with two of the world’s leading scientists in this field, Professor Randy Jirtle (University of Wisconsin) and Professor Michael Skinner (Washington State). Using the information covered in this course, students will be able to design a personalized nutrition action plan to positively impact their gene expression.
Course: Exploring Creative Mindfulness (PDV 106)
Instructor: Suzanne Taylor, Life and Leadership Coach
Schedule: 5 weeks, Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:50 pm, May 7 – Jun 4
Format: On-campus course
Do you feel stressed from the busyness of life, wedded to your devices, and not connected enough to what matters most? If so, you are not alone, and mindfulness can help. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, including the emotions, sensations, and insights you are experiencing. Mindfulness can help people feel more at peace, become less stressed, and shift perspective. These practices are not just buzzwords. They are scientifically based ways to help you navigate the changes and challenges you face. Together we will practice ways to enjoy living in the now, feel more at peace, and reframe challenges to build resilience. In each class, you will experience a combination of lecture, creative projects, exercises and discussion. Hands-on creative activities like crafts, painting, and drawing will give you a means to explore and express yourself mindfully. Activities you’ll undertake at home will supplement and deepen your reflections to help you get more clarity, explore your wishes for the future, and build well-being. At the end of our time together you’ll have a greater understanding of the benefits that mindfulness can bring, and the start, if you wish, of a lifelong practice.
For more information about Stanford's BeWell program, please visit: bewell.stanford.edu