When you eat vegetables, is it a chore or an indulgence? When you take a new medication, do you think about how it will help you heal, or do you worry about side effects? Do you avoid or embrace stress? Your answers to questions like these can reveal how mindsets—thoughts, beliefs, and expectations, conscious or otherwise—shape your life. Drawing from cutting-edge research in psychology, medicine, and behavioral economics, this course will illustrate how powerfully, and sometimes surprisingly, mindsets impact our motivation, performance, health, and well-being. We will see how cultivating the mindset that healthy foods are delicious improves health without dieting. We will learn how stress can improve work performance when we adopt the right stress mindset. And we will see how the mindsets that form in the doctor’s office influence how our bodies respond to sickness. We will also take the latest research and apply it to our lives as we see how adopting more useful mindsets is not only possible but also necessary for us to thrive. We will combine scientific research with experiential exercises to understand and shape our mindsets. Students will leave with a scientific understanding of the power of mindsets as well as practical strategies for adopting useful mindsets.
No psychology background is necessary, but a willingness to explore, reflect, and discuss in a group setting is required.
Kari Leibowitz, Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellow in Psychology; Researcher, Stanford Mind & Body Lab
Kari Leibowitz is a PhD candidate in psychology at Stanford researching the influence of mindsets on health and well-being. Prior to Stanford, Leibowitz served as a US-Norway Fulbright Fellow and the program coordinator for the Emory-Tibet Partnership. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic and The New York Times.