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Debate on teaching happiness

There is an interesting debate in the Guardian today, between Anthony Seldon and Frank Ferudi, on 'Can we teach people to be happy'

The debate brings up some very important issues about how to foster well-being in our young people.  This is of interest to us at the Centre since we have written extensively on how to create confidence and well-being in young people.

We are extremely fearful of how this agenda might be applied within schools ? and are in agreement with many of points Ferudi makes. Most importantly, Ferudi says that too much focus on the self distracts the young person from engaging with the world.  He warns that this agenda could go down the self-esteem route if we encourage people to focus too much on themselves and how they feel ? which will paradoxically fuel the epidemic of depression and anxiety, rather than cure it.

Ferudi says that teaching people ?how to feel? is not a suitable subject for teaching. Why? 'because genuine happiness is experienced through the interaction of the individual with the challenges thrown up by life' and not by teaching them how to feel.

 This debate is important for those wanting to address issues of well-being within education and highlights the potential dangers of focusing on feelings, the self and fixing people.   To read the article click here
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