What makes people happy? There’s no single answer.
However, for those looking to find the secret, Yale University is offering an offshoot of a popular class.
Happiness comes in all different forms, but Yale psychology professor and head of Silliman College Laurie Santos said she has noticed plenty of students on campus are overwhelmed.
“Sometimes we worry too much about the wrong things,” Santos said.
Her class this past semester, “Psychology and The Good Life,” focused on happiness and had more than 1,000 students enrolled, making it the most popular class in Yale’s history.
“I was getting emailed by coaches, CEOs, moms, high school teachers, everyone really wanted this content, so we thought, why don’t we just make it available for free to everyone,” Santos said.
So that’s what Yale did, using website, Coursera, where anyone can sign up to take “The Science of Well-Being.”
So far, more than 100,000 people in more than 160 countries have signed up.
The free online course consists of 5-hour long lectures that are broken down into: Misconceptions about happiness Why our expectations are so bad What stuff really increases happiness Strategies to reset our expectations Putting strategies into practice“I think the secret can be boiled down into three sets of things. One is practices that bump up our social connection, taking time to be with others, expressing your gratitude to other people, just doing nice things,” Santos said.
She added that it’s not more money, a better job, or material items, but being around people you care about, or making time for some free time.
“The second thing is healthy practices, simple things like exercise, getting enough sleep, those kinds of things matter more than we think and the third thing is taking time for finding bigger things, finding meaning in your life,” Santos said.
For this class, there are no tests or papers, but there is a little homework that you have to put in if you want to see the results.
“Things like, taking time for gratitude every day, or trying out a meditation practice, or just doing random acts of kindness. These are things the science says can make us happier,” Santos said.
She added that in order to be happy, you have to do it daily.
“The tough thing for increasing your happiness, it doesn’t happen easily. Like all good things in life, it takes some work,” Santos said.
To find out more about the free online course and how to sign up, click here.
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