Educating a diverse population in the liberal arts

For personal, professional and global responsibility

In the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame

Select Page

A Notre Dame College alumna and faculty member has uncovered ten practices based in scientific evidence and religious teachings that help students of all ages live happier, healthier lives.

Louise Prochaska, Ph.D., a 1964 graduate of Notre Dame and professor of theology and women’s studies at the College, has published “Ten Keys to a Happier Life: Unlocking the Riches in Positive Psychology, Neuroscience and Ancient Religious Wisdom.”

In the interactive workbook, Prochaska has distilled 20 years of study on brain activity and research of individual and social well-being and connected the science with age-old spiritual insight to create common practices that promote positive feelings. She presents the ten components in a weekly journal of reflections and activities that lead to regular routines that free people from stress and anxiety.

“This just seems to touch a real nerve and a real need,” Prochaska said. “I just feel happier talking about it, too.”

The College Class

The easy-to-understand, lifelong learning guide grew out of a one-credit course Prochaska has offered to undergraduates at Notre Dame.

Her keys to inner calm and deeper holistic happiness include virtues like mindfulness, gratitude and living with purpose, among others. Students have started to meditate, write thank you notes and commit to community service as a result of working through the book with the faculty expert.

“Never have I had so many students thank me for a course and say that everyone should take it,” Prochaska said. “Also, I have never experienced any other theology course result in students’ changes of behavior and attitudes.”

The Personal Coaching

The faculty expert also has conducted a mini-workshop for Notre Dame’s Homecoming and Alumni Reunion Symposium in 2019 and led a four-part seminar at the Jesuit Retreat Center.

Older alums and friends of the College learning with Prochaska attested to experiencing greater gladness by practicing their unique gifts through artistic interests, caring for their physical selves with activities like sports and swimming and keeping a positive outlook despite having to give up pursuits like international travel.

“Happy people learn new ideas faster and remember them longer,” Prochaska said. “They spread joy to others without any effort. Happy people are also healthier and live longer than unhappy people.”

The Science and Religion

In her 95-page spiral-bound book, Prochaska explains the differences between happiness and rejuvenation, as well as how joy and sense of pleasure often are mistaken for contentment. She lists the factors shown to improve well-being and dispels myths that decrease rather than enhance positive feelings.

The author also addresses regaining happiness after sorrow, tragedy or loss.

“Using these keys can reduce stress and increase peaceful communication and interactions in our society. Now that is worth smiling about,” she said.

To learn more about the “Ten Keys to a Happier Life: Unlocking the Riches in Positive Psychology, Neuroscience and Ancient Religious Wisdom” program, to purchase the book or to schedule a free initial coffee conversation, contact Prochaska at louiseprochaska444@outlook.com or call 216.233.0455.

November 2019

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or bjohnston@ndc.edu.