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University classes in happiness
By Jerry Brownstein
Yale University (US) is famous for academic excellence in a wide range of complex subjects like organic chemistry, classic literature, economic theory, etc., etc.. Yet the most popular course at this storied institution is ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ – or as the students call it ‘Happiness 101’. One fourth of the University’s students have enrolled in this course for the current year. That’s nearly 1,200 students, which is the largest enrolment reported for a single class in Yale’s 317 year history!
Psychology professor Laurie Santos teaches the students how to live more fulfilling and satisfying lives. Her class focuses on positive psychology by exploring the habits and actions that lead to real happiness. The purpose of the course is not only to learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy, but also to put those strategies into practice. The first half of the course reveals misconceptions that we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The second half of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness, along with strategies to build better habits.
This course is called “The Science of Well Being” and is also available free online at: www.coursera.org