HOW TO BE HAPPY: New Course At Yale University

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The focus of the course is to teach students to be happier. It's called "PSYC 157: Psychology and the Good Life," and the course just happens to be the most popular one ever offered at Yale.  Instructors explore not just the science of happiness, but also the practice of it. Think of it as exercise. "The thing that makes this course different is that we also focus on what I call 'behavior change'—the science of how you move your behavior around," instructor Laurie Santos tells her students. All students must start with this survey to help determine their baseline happiness. Then comes the process in which students essentially "rewire" their brains.

"Throughout the class, students use a ReWi app specially developed for the course to alter their behavior and enhance their well-being, They aren't tests per se but exercises designed for self-betterment: Keep a daily gratitude journal for seven days; take a survey to determine your signature strengths; get at least seven hours of sleep for three days in a row." The story digs into how the course shows that most people overvalue money and undervalue time. The syllabus calls for the students show up to class, only to find that it's been canceled. The catch is that they must spend spend the free hour not catching up on homework or other work related activities but rather doing something unexpected for pleasure. One time-crunched student began to cry at the news. 

Any way to help keep the stress of college students down and promote a healthier lifestyle in the form of increased happiness I think is a great thing.

Mike Daniels

Mike Daniels

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