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Anacapa School Focuses on Art, Science of Happiness

Group of experts looks at power joy in time of disaster

Anacapa School open house is Feb. 8.
Anacapa School open house is Feb. 8. (Anacapa School of Santa Barbara.)

At a time when Santa Barbara is responding and rebuilding after local disasters, Anacapa School of Santa Barbara recently brought 18 professionals from across California and beyond to spend three days sharing thoughts on the human condition.

Dr. Zev Nathan presented The Science of Happiness; Elissa Ashwood discussed Happiness Through Hard Times; Josette Tkacik examined The True Power of Joy; and Dave Mochel reflected on Good Life Practice: Training Your Brain for a Peaceful and Powerful Life.

Highlights from Anacapa’s Synthesis Unit — The Art and Science of Happiness — included an analysis of the pursuit of happiness, exploration of mindfulness, inquiry into finding happiness through the divine, and a probe into the power of perseverance.

Anacapa students, families and faculty posed questions to further enhance the relevance of this event for students across in grades seven through 12, the school said.

Following Emily Esfahani Smith’s talk on The Power of Meaning, one student asked, “How do you stay motivated to find meaning through challenging times?”

The annual Anacapa Synthesis Unit is a signature element of the school’s curriculum. The program exposes students to some of the brightest minds and most talented experts from across the state and the world via Skype, the school said.

The theme of happiness was created in collaboration between Anacapa students and teachers. Hoping to help the broader Santa Barbara community, results of the series will be posted via, the school said.

Anacapa School is an independent, co-educational school for grades 7-12. For more information, the community is invited to attend the school’s Feb. 8 open house, or visit online

— Kito Cetrulo for Anacapa School.

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