Saturday 12th October, 2013
2:30pm to 4:00pm
Foundations of a flourishing life – why skills for well-being should be taught in schools
The past few years have seen a startling reframing of what the goal of government and industry should be. Economic growth is no longer regarded as an end in itself, but as a means to an end – and that end is well-being. Well-being or flourishing, as I prefer to call it, refers to the ability of citizens to develop their full potential and contribute in positive ways to their society. Education within schools and beyond has an important role to play in providing an opportunity to learn or refine the skills needed for flourishing.
In this presentation, I will describe the components of flourishing and the individual and social factors which give rise to it. I will examine the evidence on how the skills of flourishing can be taught and learned, and the benefits that follow. Particular attention will be paid to mindfulness training, which with its emphasis on curiosity, awareness and kindness towards oneself and others, can be regarded as foundational to flourishing. Crucially, it will be argued that there is a need for a major research endeavour to establish the generalisability and long term outcomes of some promising programmes.
Evidence suggests that a mindful approach to life is one of the keys to creating a flourishing population.
Ph.D., Professor emerita of psychology, founding Director of the Well-being Institute at the University of Cambridge
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