Most people do not have a crisis in midlife, but many do experience a difficult period of restlessness and disappointment. That, however, is not because anything is wrong with their attitudes or their lives; it is the result of an emotional reboot that eventually will lead us toward building connections and community with others — values that not only increase our own contentment but also benefit those around us.
Happiness, in the end, is a result of a complex interaction of genes, behaviours, and what’s going on in our lives at a specific moment in time. But can we really train ourselves to become happier? The science says yes. So it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that over two million people have already signed up for Yale’s online course on ‘The Science of Wellbeing‘.
Launched two years ago and centred on the subject of happiness, it soon became the most popular course ever in the 317-year history of the University, which is why it was then made available online for the rest of the world.
We’re in a particularly challenging time not just for this health crisis, this physical health crisis, but also a potential mental health crisis as well – course creator Laurie Santos, a Yale psychology professor, said-. However, happiness comes from the simple things. What plays a much bigger role in our lives are our simple practices, simple acts like making a social connection, or taking time for gratitude, or taking time to be in the present moment.
The 19-hour course gives students knowledge that can easily be adapted to their own day-to-day lives and helps them create their own happiness. How? You will be asked to engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. Also, as preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. The goal is to help you incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life.
Our minds lie to us all the time. We miswant things. We think we need to change our life circumstances to become happier- Santos said. – Many people mistakenly believe happiness is just around the corner if we land a better job, find a more attractive mate, or buy a bigger house. But the neuroscience literature doesn’t back that up, she says. Happiness and contentedness stem from repeatedly doing simple tasks, rather than herculean ones. I take the science of happiness as giving us a lot of good news.
Anyone can audit the course for free, and $49 lets you complete assignments, submit them for a grade and earn a certificate of completion.