The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Teaching the Art and Science of Happiness

David Kaufman, Simon Fraser University (Canada)


In this presentation, I argue that education for children and adults should include practical methods to enhance their happiness in life. Happy people experience a more enjoyable life and are a ‘beacon of light’ to those around them, that is, they inspire or encourage others. They guide and give hope to others and spread their positivity and motivation to people around them. Not surprisingly however, an unhappy person is toxic to everyone around them. The famous Terman study from Stanford University followed people for 80 years and found that being around unhappy people is toxic and affects your health and lifespan in a similar way to second-hand smoke. Unhappiness drives people away, creating a vicious cycle that erodes positive connections with family members, friends, and even strangers. If you radiate joy, positivity and kindness to your students, colleagues, and teachers, this has a positive impact on their healing journey and health outcomes. There are some simple (but not easy) things you can do. Your happiness can be greatly affected by your habits of thinking and your actions. I briefly discuss various views of what is happiness. I then provide a conceptional model that forms the basis of a ‘happiness’ curriculum. The model consists of the following elements: Running Your mind: This is the most important element of the model, as your mind is the “engine” that controls all the others. Behaviors: Be here now; Social engagement; Meditation; Making changes. Personal attributes: Self-acceptance; Self-awareness; Emotional intelligence; resilience. I then present three practical tips that audience members can start applying in their daily lives. Participants will be asked to write down one action step they will take after the preesentation and some may wish to share with the group. Finally, I will provide a variety of print and media resources for further learning.



happiness; joy; conceptual model; currculum



[1]">Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want. New York:">Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-311495-6

[2] Kaufman, D. (2018). Super happy: A practical guide to banish worry, anxiety, and stress and reclaim joy and inner peace. Vancouver: OLLI. ISBN 978-1-7781005-1-2

[3] Kaufman, D. (2023). A Conceptual Framework for Enhancing Seniors’ Happiness. Gerontology and Geriatrics Studies, 8(2). GGS. 000681. 2023. DOI: 10.31031/GGS.2023.08.000681



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