From Susan Cain’s June 26 New York Times opinion piece, “Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?”
Is shyness/introversion a sign of lesser psychological health? If the answer to that question is “not necessarily,” as most would probably argue, then at what point does an introverted personality become a mental illness, or at least a diagnosable “disorder” such as S.A.D.? And how does introversion impact questions of happiness? Do our definitions of happiness discount shy attitudes and behaviors; do we define as “sad” people who merely are introverted? Lots of questions for us to chew on as we embark in 2011–12 on our year-long examination of Health, Wellness, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Finally, Susan Cain also reminds us in this piece that diversity—which is celebrated by just about any definition of global citizenship—is a concept with psychological dimensions as well as cultural and socio-economic.
… Health, Wellness, and the Pursuit of Happiness! From a list of seven nominated choices, this was chosen by an online vote of Santa Monica College students, faculty, and staff to be our annual Global Citizenship theme for 2011–12.
As with our first two annual themes, Water and Food, we’ll explore the overlapping issues of health, wellness, and happiness through a variety of curricular and extracurricular activities. In addition to our already existing online presence at Twitter, Facebook, and the SMC website, this new Tumblr site gives us a virtual space in which to share and discuss ideas.
To get us started thinking about the academic year ahead as we ease into the summer break, here is how we have initially set up our theme:
Health is a centerpiece of the United Nationsʼ efforts to promote human development, and modern society has made profound strides in fighting infectious disease and raising life expectancies around the world. Yet we still find the provision of care and the promotion of healthy living to be a perennial challenge, one that knows no boundaries but nonetheless reveals gaping inequities within and between countries worldwide. Moreover, even when physically healthy, we struggle to feel truly well; despite living (on average) longer and more comfortable lives than countless generations of human beings before us, a true sense of happiness and well-being often eludes us. What does it mean to be healthy? What does it mean to be happy? And how can we get there?
In addition to this prompt, here is just a small sample of the rapidly growing collection of articles and resources online concerning the question of happiness and well-being. Follow us on Tumblr as we will be adding to this list throughout the year ahead.