Over the past handful of years, I have been talking and reveling a lot about the science of happiness, and my happiness from having learned that science through courses at Yale and Berkeley online. I do this enough that there’s even a header menu choice for “happiness” on my blog, even though there’s not a huge number of posts under it. That’s how much I value trying to catch people’s attention with it to share it with them! For all of its value and my intent, though, I find that talking about the science and pursuit of happiness in life occasionally rubs people the wrong way, or lead them to think I’m really misguided since I’d never be happy if I’m always chasing something I can’t get, right? Yes, except that I’m really working to maintain as much of something as I can, though that wasn’t quite right, either. I am not trying to be ecstatic or even perky sort of happy throughout most of my days, which is not what the courses taught, either. I am just pursuing a general feeling of bliss throughout as much for as many of my days as possible, and minimizing stresses and/or things that get me down, stressful or not. But how to properly explain that? Well, recently, the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley which had taught me the Science of Happiness course came to the rescue. Contentment, was the word I was seeking and meaning to use, not happiness, and it makes a huge world of difference!
In some places, you can find people asking for money outside of stores, including grocery stores. Halifax is one of them. I’m not a fan of giving them money, to be honest, because I am not sure where that money ends up being spent. Yes, that’s judgmental because I worry about not being approving of it if I knew. But I’ll firmly defend that with it’s my money and I’ll do with I want with it. I might note, though, that I am just as judgmental towards giving money to bigger charities that do things like hosts lavish celebration parties they reached their goals, or pay their CEOs exorbitant salaries in the eyes of most.
All that judgment doesn’t mean I don’t give to others. I just take a different approach than most, one that requires more work, to know or plan on how to spend that money in ways I approve of. I work hard for it and save it, and I’m not about to give it away so people can become reckless with it, possibly even harming themselves rather than helping that thwarts my good intentions in the first place. If good intentions were bricks on the road to Hell, then I’ll make sure I lay them, not have others lay them on my behalf, thank you very much!
I recently completed two courses on the science of happiness. The first was the Science of Well-being course from Yale, on Coursera, offered by Professor Laurie Santos. The second was the Science of Happiness offered by the UC Berkeley on their edX platform. From those two courses that were fairly complementary, I have put together a presentation not just on the science of happiness, but what it says to help you become happier, that summarizes the content of the courses, for which there was plenty! Links on the side of each slide lets you access much more information than the practical aspects I touch upon for this to be useful. While the courses are about the science of happiness, their content is geared towards making the learner happier, and that is lens through which I am presenting it. The science on its own isn’t terribly great if you don’t or can’t use it for something good, right?
Below is the presentation in 3 formats, pending how you want to view them.
The final assignment for the Science of Well-being course required students to try and develop a week long rewirement assignment into a habit over 4 weeks, then write about it. This need not be a daily habit, as that might take about 3 months from other research, but something done at least periodically each week. The quest for habit development is so that it becomes second nature. Consciously pursuing happiness all the time will drive you crazy, or at least neurotic, as other research has shown that was not mentioned in this course. I confirmed my thoughts on this from content in the free, 10-week course on the Science of Happiness offered by the UC Berkeley on their edX platform that is much more in-depth than this one, but may not as good as this Science of Well-being course for those just wanting a practical overview of the subject matter.
Below is the assignment I submitted. The Bed Time Alarm idea was described briefly in a previous post that talked about the handful of other rewirements I have actually embraced into my life as habits. I had been doing some of them already, or didn’t find them hard to embrace. However, there is a lot more details here, including rationale and measurements, which all good goals should contain to determine progress and/or success.
With this assignment, I have finally completed the course… and happier for it! Yay!
I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this course to anybody who cares about their happiness and wants to become happier. A slightly more detailed review is here, plus you can view my posts about the course to see what else was done and how it impacted me, along with other thoughts.
Wow! Has it been a month since I last posted? That’s what happens when you are in the “flow”, I guess!
In that month, I have “completed” the Science of Well-being course I had been blogging about in the previous while. “Completed” is in brackets because I have done all the course work except the 4 weeks long final assignment to practice at least one of the various “rewirements” in the course so that it becomes a habit, then write about it, and give feedback on a fellow student’s assignment as one will give feedback on mine. The four weeks are almost through, and here is the gist of my report.