A Yale Class On Happiness
There were many lessons learned in the dumpster fire that was 2020. Some of them were harsh but often they were major blessings. One major lesson from the year was the need to focus on mental health. With so much stressing us out, endangering our finances and our very life, so man have learned about the need to focus on finding happiness. But how do you do that? In today’s world of social media, civil unrest, and political corruption, where is there room for happiness? Well, one popular class from an American Ivy League school might be able to help.
What is it?
The Science of Well-Being is a class made specifically to help people tune into happiness. The class was created by Dr. Laure Santos. Dr. Laurie Santos is a cognitive scientist and psychology professor at Yale University. In addition, she is the head of Yale’s Silliman College, which is the largest residential college at the school.
It’s these two facts that led to Dr. Santos creating the class. You see, Santos realized one day that the majority of her students were stressed and depressed. She then wondered what she could do to help. Dr. Santos decided to use her experience and connections in the psychology field to educate people on how science sees happiness. She researched studies and academic literature on the subject. She then housed students from her college and gave a test lecture on the subject.
But the class didn’t stop just there. When that succeeded and students told their friends about the secret class about happiness, it officially joined the curriculum. Now, it’s the most popular class at Yale University.
How Can You Access It?
So why are we talking about this class here? Because you can take it yourselves. And no, you don’t have to get into Yale University to take it. You see, the class is now online for free and anyone can take it at any time!
You see, the class became SO popular that it got attention outside of the campus. News sources began reporting on the class and even academic professionals in other countries were aware of it. Eventually, Dr. Laurie Santos started getting requests from other institutions about whether they could get a version of the class. Santos’s solution was to put a free version of the class online through the Coursera website.
How Is The Online Class Different?
But how is the experience of this online class different than if you were to take the class in person? Well, the class has been simplified in order to make it work for an online format. Dr. Santos recorded herself giving the full class to a small group of students and then cut up those class videos to deliver to online viewers.
On top of that, the assignment and grading portion of the class is minimal at best. There’s a lot of self-work and self-check going on with The Science of Well-Being. You don’t have a teacher checking in with you to make sure you’re not falling behind or asking for clarity. Learning and growing from the lesson is all on you.
But those are the ONLY differences. At the end of the day, Dr. Laurie Santos wanted to provide a version of this class to the rest of the world. She wanted to share the knowledge of how psychology sees happiness and how to start actively tuning into happiness. Because of that, the majority of the class is still there. Take advantage of it!
How Does The Online Class Work?
So, how exactly does this class work? The class is split up into ten weeks of lessons. Within each week is an assignment or two of practical ways to be happier. This includes taking time to exhibit gratitude, making moments to savor life, giving thank you letters to people who have helped you in life, and more.
On top of that, there are video recordings of Dr. Santos giving lectures about studies, theories, and the reality of how our bodies perceive happiness. You’ll typically spend one to two hours a week watching these videos. Your best bet is to split up the viewing and assignment work throughout the week. That way, you won’t have to stress at the end of the week and squeeze in two hours’ worth of videos and worth’s week of gratitude notes or whatever else was assigned.
Keep in mind, the class escalates as you go. Lecture videos get longer, the assignments get more expansive, and eventually the class shifts into retirement challenges to get you into the habit of tuning into happiness. On the bright side, you can take as much time as you need. If you fall behind in the class, you can later reset deadlines to keep going. What’s important is that you keep going. So don’t get discouraged if the class is hard for you at the beginning. Keep going.
Is It Worth It?
In the end, is The Science of Well-Being worth taking? Is the class worth ten weeks of your life? If you clicked on this article, you already have your answer. Yes. If you want to be happier, yes. Or if you simply are curious about the science and psychology of happiness, the answer is yes.
In the end, you can take this class for as long as it takes you. In the end, you can learn more about psychology and how we as humans function. And in the end, you can rework and rewire the way that you see and explore within the world. If any of that sounds interesting or beneficial to you, and we’re betting that it is given how 2020 went, then yes. Coursera’s version of The Science of Well-Being is worth it. Enjoy.