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Winter Quarter

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This quarter, select Continuing Studies courses will be Berry-eligible for employees participating in Stanford’s BeWell program.
**In order to receive a BeWell 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
Winter courses that are BeWell Berry-eligible include: 

Course: Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease: An Introduction to the Microbes Within (BIO 94 W)
Instructor: Tobi Schmidt, Immunotherapy Researcher; Personal Health Advisor
Schedule: 5 weeks, Jan 13 – Feb 14
Format: Online course

The microbes that live on and in us are collectively known as the microbiota. Studies have shown that an unhealthy lifestyle, especially a poor diet, are key factors contributing to the types of gut bacteria that promote diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, colorectal cancer, depression, and even neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In this course, students will be introduced to the key microbiota that have a profound influence on our health. We will explore how they exert this influence and what lifestyle factors contribute to healthy and unhealthy gut microbiota populations. The course emphasis is on the role of diet in influencing the gut microbiota and our overall health. However, we will also explore other lifestyle factors such as exercise, sleep, and stress, and how they can modulate gut bacteria. Learn more >

Course: New Year, New Metabolism (SCI 45)
Instructor: Clyde Wilson, Research Associate, Biochemistry, UC San FranciscoTobi Schmidt, Immunotherapy Researcher; Personal Health Advisor
Schedule: 6 weeks, Tuesdays, Jan 14 – Feb 18, 6:30 – 9:00 pm
Format: On-campus course

Metabolism, or the rate at which your body burns calories, is directly related to health, fitness, and weight loss. A low metabolism can make it harder to achieve all three. Nutrition, movement, sleep, and stress all have an impact on your metabolism, and research provides us substantial guidance on how to manage these to our benefit. In this course, we begin with the theory and application of the core components of exercise plus the “three Ws” of nutrition, then discuss how to coordinate exercise and nutrition so they are mutually supportive. Through weekly homework assignments, each student will develop a comprehensive personal plan for rejuvenating their metabolism from the ground up. This course is geared toward anyone who wonders why their exercise has hit a plateau, why they can’t lose weight in spite of exercising more and eating fewer calories, or why some aspects of their health have worsened even as they try to improve them. Learn more >

Course: Improv-ability for Life and Work (PDV 102)
Instructor: Lee Eisler-Duvall, Founder, Presence Delivered; and Gary Grossman, Independent Theater Professional; Coach; Educator
Schedule: 9 weeks, Wednesdays, Jan 15 – Mar 11, 6:30 – 9:15 pm
Format: On-campus course

In work and life, we often run into situations that require an impromptu, improvised response, such as giving an unplanned speech, articulating the solution to a problem, or establishing a new relationship. This course will offer creative new ways to think on your feet and expand your comfort zone. In each class session, you will begin by sharpening your improvisational skills through theater games and exercises designed to get the judge off your shoulder, and develop in-the-moment presence, whole-body listening, and quick-impulse responses. These skills will then be applied to real-life and work situations to practice in a risk-free environment. In a safe environment, as we cultivate interacting as a team, you will explore structured improvisations to gain confidence in your ability to respond quickly and authentically to changing circumstances through your heightened “improv-ability.” Learn more >

Course: Managing Emotions with Skill: An Introduction to the Principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (PSY 96)
Instructor: Hannah Raila, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Psychiatry, Stanford School of Medicine
Schedule: 5 weeks, Wednesdays, Jan 15 – Feb 12, 6:30 – 8:20 pm
Format: On-campus course

Emotions shape our worlds, yet they can be difficult, confusing, and draining. Whether we are trying to navigate our own distress or to comfort loved ones through trying times, we may find ourselves wishing we had more tools to think about and handle emotions from a different perspective. Skills derived from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)—a treatment especially effective for depression and anxiety—are one way of challenging the thought patterns and behavioral habits that keep people stuck in a spiral of negative emotion. In this course, students will learn the principles of and theory behind CBT, as well as ways to integrate them into daily life. Students will participate in CBT exercises, group discussions, and role-plays in which they “play therapist” with one another, and assignments will include relevant readings, case studies, and completion of CBT worksheets. Learn more >

Course: Brain Glitches: How Our Thinking Goes Wrong, and What to Do About It (SCI 64)
Instructor: Jennifer Randall Crosby, Psychology One Coordinator, Stanford
Schedule: 8 weeks, Wednesdays, Jan 15 – Mar 4, 7:00 – 8:50 pm
Format: On-campus course

When do smart people make bad decisions? How can well-meaning people still demonstrate bias? Why is happiness often elusive? In this course, we will investigate common “glitches” in our thinking to help answer these questions. Through readings and discussions, we will take a research-based approach to understanding where our thinking can go wrong, and what specific strategies we can use to create more productive interactions, make better decisions, and increase our happiness. In addition to utilizing existing research in these domains, we will build strategies to critically evaluate and make use of psychological research we may encounter in the future. By the end of this class, students will have a better understanding of strategies and practices that can increase personal well-being and create more successful interpersonal relationships. Learn more >

Course: Diet and Gene Expression: You Are What You Eat (WSP 375)
Instructor: Lucia Aronica, Lecturer, Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC)
Schedule: 2 days, Saturdays, Jan 25 and Feb 1, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Format: On-campus 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. We will have live Q&A sessions with some of the world’s leading scientists in this field such as professors Randy Jirtle (University of Wisconsin), Steve Horvath (UCLA), and 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. Learn more >

Course: Excellence Is No Accident: Mental Skills Training for Work, Sport, and Life (PDV 33)
Instructor: Glenn Brassington, Professor of Psychology, Sonoma State
Schedule: 8 weeks, Thursdays, Jan 30 – Mar 19, 7:00 – 8:50 pm
Format: On-campus course

Learn to apply the mental-training techniques used by the world’s greatest athletes, performing artists, and business leaders to enhance your performance in all aspects of life. This highly practical course will teach you how to create the optimal mental state necessary for success and happiness in almost any endeavor. You will learn how to increase your concentration, overcome fatigue, enhance your mood, build confidence, and effectively master the mental, emotional, and physical challenges of work, sport, and life. During the course, you will implement a health behavior and mental skills training program to achieve goals that can have an enduring, positive influence on the quality and success of your life. This course is for students who wish to learn how to perform at their full potential with poise, calm, and grace in the midst of the increasing pressures associated with life in Silicon Valley. Learn more >

Course: Mindfulness for Life and Leadership (PDV 107)
Instructor: Kathleen Sexton, Manager of Learning and Employee Development, County of Santa Clara; Founder and CEO, Kairos Learning
Schedule: 5 weeks, Wednesdays, Feb 5 – Mar 4, 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Format: On-campus course

At work, do you find yourself feeling burdened by too many requests, too many issues to resolve, and too little time to think strategically? Through mindfulness practices you can improve your leadership abilities. Leaders who practice mindfulness become more strategic in their thinking and more organized in their daily work life. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of mindfulness and provide opportunities to practice different techniques in class and between class sessions. We will use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to examine your leadership skills and style as well as what types of mindfulness practices might be best suited to your personality type. Finally, we will discuss insights and strategies from noted mindfulness experts. Whether you’re aspiring to a leadership role or wanting to expand your leadership abilities, this course will give you tools and techniques to keep you grounded and prepare you to successfully navigate any leadership challenge you encounter. Learn more >

Course: The Science of Personal Success (WSP 114)
Instructor: Joel Constable, Director of Talent Development, Intuit
Schedule: 2 days, Saturdays, Feb 29 and Mar 7, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Format: On-campus course

Have you ever set out to achieve a personal goal only to fall short, or worse yet, not even start? If you’re like most people, you lead a busy life and the idea of taking on a new challenge or changing your current ways of doing things can be daunting. The good news is that there is a science to success. Drawing upon research in psychology, behavioral economics, and the neuroscience of change, this workshop will examine why change is so difficult and introduce a step-by-step process to take you from where you are now to where you want to be. During day one, we will explore common barriers to change and why we often get sidetracked from our goals. Through personal reflection and small-group discussion, each student will identify and work toward a goal that is meaningful to them. On day two, we will reflect on our progress during the week and further refine our plans. Students will leave the workshop armed with new tools and strategies to achieve their own version of success. Learn more >

Course: Playful Mindfulness: A Two-Day Immersion (WSP 60)

Instructor: Ted DesMaisons, Founder and Principal, ANIMA Learning
Schedule: 2 days, Saturday and Sunday, Feb 29 – Mar 1, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Format: On-campus course

The fast-paced demands of our current world often leave us breathless and frustrated. Mindfulness—paying attention to the present moment with curiosity and kindness—helps us slow down, take a breath, and befriend the inner resources that lead to discovery, delight, and a life well-lived. Integrating insights and exercises from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) with those from improvisational theater, this concentrated workshop will help you forge new neural pathways and develop a more connected personal presence. While mindfulness training sometimes takes on a somber or even pious tone, in this course we will learn to “play attention” through traditional methods and also through humor, games, and exercises drawn from improvisational theater. Topics will include our relationship to failure, cultivating curiosity and kindness, the mind as storyteller, mindfulness in motion, and moving from reactivity to response. Learn more >

Course: Happiness: Gratitude, Gumption, and Grace (WSP 20)
Instructor: Carole Pertofsky, Director Emerita, Stanford Health Promotion Services; Lecturer, Stanford School of Medicine
Schedule: 2 days, Saturdays, Mar 7 and Mar 14, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Format: On-campus course

We know from research that happiness, resilience, and well-being are within reach, even if our demanding lives often blur our motivation to prioritize those things that make us feel truly alive. This workshop will teach you essential life skills that support a strong sense of contentment, strength, courage, and joy. Because each of us is unique, we each have the opportunity to explore skills best attuned to our own disposition and lifestyle. Buttressed by research drawn from psychology, basic neuroscience, and contemplative traditions, including mindfulness, we will tap into natural gifts such as courage, gratitude, self-care, and compassion, all of which are known to increase resilience and happiness. The workshop also will include reflective practices and lively group discussions to rejuvenate and restore well-being. Learn more >

For more information about Stanford's BeWell program, please visit: bewell.stanford.edu