The Science of a Meaningful Life: Building Compassion, Reducing Stress

A day-long seminar led by Dacher Keltner, and featuring Stanford University biologist Robert Sapolsky, that offers strategies for cultivating compassion, happiness, and reducing stress in yourself and others. Will be webcast live!

  • Venue: Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
  • Date: April 8, 2011

This day-long seminar will offer strategies for cultivating compassion, empathy, and resilience in yourself and others. It will be led by Dacher Keltner, a renowned professor of psychology at UC Berkeley. Drawing on cutting-edge research from psychology and neuroscience, Dr. Keltner will highlight the strong connections between happiness, compassion, and altruism, identifying the health and social benefits that come from practicing gratitude, kindness, and other positive behaviors.

Building on this science, Dr. Keltner will present researchbased tips for fostering empathy, compassion, and other positive skills in yourself, in children, and in colleagues and clients. He will also shed light on those who have trouble forming compassionate relationships, such as those who suffer from social disorders like autism.

The seminar will also feature a presentation by Robert Sapolsky, the Stanford University biologist whose lectures are celebrated for their humor and humanity. Dr. Sapolsky will discuss his ground-breaking work on stress, explaining how stress impacts our brains, our bodies, and our long-term prospects for health and happiness. He’ll also reveal the major causes of stress-related diseases for humans, and what we can do to protect ourselves—and help others protect themselves—from some of these effects of stress.

This event will be webcast live! Attend in-person or online. Click here for more details.

With the webcast, you’ll watch real-time video of the event, including slides, be able to submit questions to the presenter online, and receive CE credits—all from the comfort of your home, office, or anywhere with an Internet connection. You must have a hard-wired connection to the Internet. You will be emailed prior to the event with course materials and a login and password for the webcast.

*Attendees can receive 6 CE credit hours for attending in-person or online.*

Speakers: Dacher Keltner and Robert Sapolsky

Workshop Topics:

  • People are wired to form deep social connections, to cooperate, and to feel compassion
  • There are research-tested steps one can take to cultivate compassion, empathy, trust, and other qualities of social-emotional well-being in themselves and others
  • One’s own emotional well-being can foster social well-being in their relationships, families, workplaces, communities, and the world at large
  • Practicing pro-social behaviors—such as compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude—brings measurable psychological and physiological benefits to oneself
  • Chronic stress can damage one’s physical as well as mental health
  • There are proven strategies for reducing stress in yourself and others, but not every strategy works for everyone


8:30 - 9:00am - Registration and check in
9:00-10:30 - Dacher Keltner on the evolution and neuroscience of social well-being
10:30-10:45 - Break
10:45-12:00 - Keltner on compassion, empathy, and gratitude as paths to social well-being and the meaningful life
12:00-1:00 - Lunch (on your own)
1:00-2:30 - Robert Sapolsky on “The Biology of Stress and Happiness”
2:30-2:45 - Break
2:45-3:30 - Keltner on breakdowns in social and emotional well-being: autism, depression, antisocial disorder
3:30-3:45 - Break
3:45 to 4:45 - Keltner on practical steps toward cultivating happiness and compassion in yourself and others

Learning Objectives

  • Identify the connections between compassion and happiness
  • Identify the causes, symptoms and outcomes of chronic stress
  • Design effective ways to handle stress and maintain a more resilient, compassionate approach toward other people
  • Diagnose the root causes of anti-social behavior, such as aggression and autism
  • Utilize research-based practices to boost happiness in themselves and others

Continuing Education:
Course approval for Psychologists, Social Workers, Therapists, Counselors and Nurses.
This seminar is approved for 6 CE hours. 
Continuing Education is co-sponsored by R. Cassidy Seminars.

The Science of a Meaningful Life seminar series is made possible through a generous grant from the Quality of Life Foundation.