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Record Breaking Yale ‘Happiness’ Course Now Available Online

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The Yale course that broke enrolment records at the University and received worldwide coverage is now available to access for free on Coursera.

Nearly a quarter of Yale’s undergraduates — approximately 1,200 students — have enrolled in Yale’s new course, “Psychology and the Good Life,” making it the “most popular course in Yale’s 316-year history,” according to The New York Times.

The twice-weekly lectures, taught by Prof. Laurie Santos, center on positive psychology and real-life behavior change. Santos told the Yale Daily News she aims to share “scientifically backed ways to deal with stress and ‘fight the culture’ that suggests students cannot take a break.”

Santos, a psychology professor and the head of one of Yale’s residential colleges, tries to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life.

 

“Yale students are interested in the class because, in high school, they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school”

 

“Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus. With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.”

Dr. Santos speculated that Yale students are interested in the class because, in high school, they had to deprioritize their happiness to gain admission to the school, adopting harmful life habits that have led to what she called “the mental health crises we’re seeing at places like Yale.” A 2013 report by the Yale College Council found that more than half of undergraduates sought mental health care from the university during their time there.

The course focuses both on positive psychology — the characteristics that allow humans to flourish, according to Dr. Santos — and behavioral change, or how to live by those lessons in real life. Students must take quizzes, complete a midterm exam and, as their final assessment, conduct what Dr. Santos calls a “Hack Yo’Self Project,” a personal self-improvement project.

“We have this moment where we can make a difference in Yale’s culture, where students feel like they are part of a movement and fighting the good fight,” she said.

 

The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy but also to put those strategies into practice.

 

Dr. Santos’s course is now available for free on Coursera. Here’s a snippet of what you can expect.

  • The first part of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do.
  • The next part of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits.
  • The last part of the course gives learners time, tips, and social support to work on the final assignment which asks learners to apply one wellness activity aka “Rewirement” into their lives for four weeks.

 

For the full article see NY Times

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