Scan any bookstore shelf and you’d think the human psyche is hanging on by a thread. From fighting anxiety to seeking happiness to putting an end to procrastination, the titles compete for the opportunity to fix our problems with the promise of self-improvement. But are we really in worse psychological shape than those who have come before us? And how would we begin to study the status of our wellness? This first-year seminar will offer one approach to exploring these and related questions: studying the rhetoric of self-help. Rhetoric provides a lens for thinking about the ways people talk about self-help. This lens will drive the organization of the course. Studying the language in online self-help discourse, for instance, will enable extensive research activities. Students will learn to collect a corpus of Tweet data, and then use grounded theory and qualitative approaches to study the conversation. Using mixed methods, they will then quantify interpretations and develop visuals to recognize patterns. In addition to working with contemporary online discourse, students will explore texts with historical instantiations of self-help rhetoric—from classical instruction linked with civics and oration to medieval meditations to 1960s and 70s self-actualization to modern mindfulness. Rhetorical study will also facilitate the production of knowledge as students translate their understanding into communication to be shared publicly. The class activities will feature the creation of texts in a range of media. Students will produce print reports, visual memes, and PSA video projects. Students will also explore oral communication through the creation of podcasts. The combination of mixed methods research and public communication will drive the class. Teaching methods will tap into this dynamic by augmenting lecture and discussion with hands-on activities, collaboration, and the drafting and revision of projects.