What Science Says about Becoming Happier, a Presentation

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.

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My Bed Time Alarm (Final Assignment for Science of Well-Being Course

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.

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Science of Well-being Pre-course Survey

Starting into the Science of Well-being course, after a little introduction, there was an optional survey, probably more for Yale’s metrics than anything else. To be helpful, I filled it out. FYI, being helpful makes most people happy. 🙂

Most of the questions aren’t what people would care to read about, but two I thought were good for me to note, and to share for commentary.

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Just Started the Science of Well-being Course on Coursera (FREE!)

A shortened version of Yale’s most popular class, Science of Well-being, by Professor Laurie Santos, is now online for free on Coursera! This is a science-based class, from Yale (see video below), not some new age, fuzzy hocus pocus from some flaky happiness adviser. There’s serious homework, including changing habits, that might be harder than most homework most people will have undertaken. It’s a shortened version of the real course over a semester at Yale, but since I can’t enroll at Yale without severely disrupting my life, this will more than do! Getting in would also be hard, of course. I’m not taking that for granted. However, I have a pretty excellent academic and professional background so I like my chances if I had to.

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