What it’s like taking The Science of Well-Being class by Yale on Coursera
Coursera is great if you’re a life-long learner like myself. There are tons of free courses you can take and others that you can pay to receive a certification of completion and others that count towards accreditation of different university level programs. This class happens to be the most popular online course offered by Yale ever with over 2 million participants enrolled and more than 10,000 reviews. It is a 10-week course taught by professor of psychology Laurie Santos that can be taken completely at your convenience as long as you submit the weekly quizzes by deadline. You can pay $49 for a certification if you so choose or enroll in the class for free sans the certificate.
Professor Santos really digs into the science and mechanisms of your brain
The whole goal of this course is to actually positively increase your own happiness. That’s pretty freaking cool. Before you start the class you will be asked to participate in survey to gauge your current state of happiness and then you will retake these surveys at the end, so the results will be real and quantifiable. What I’m loving about this class is that Professor Santos really digs into the science and mechanisms of your brain, reveals a lot of stuff we get wrong about the idea of happiness and shares a lot of research and polls that show change is possible if we are only willing to redefine happiness and start taking control of your thoughts.
I am on week 4 of the class and I’m really enjoying the weekly challenges or missions, as I call them. You are on the honor system there as no one is actually going to enforce if you slept 8 hours a night or spent 30 minutes each day doing physical activity or kept a gratitude journal, but if you’re taking the class, chances are that you yourself actually want to be happier, so why wouldn’t you jump in with both feet?! There’s an app available to help you track your progress or you can go old school like me with an old fashioned paper journal and pen.
This class has been extremely rewarding, functionally beneficial and highly informative. I hope you like it as much I do, and if you do take the class, I’d love to chat with you about! Shoot me an email or hit me up on Insta @MelissaIsStrongerToday so we can talk all things happiness.
If you don’t have time to take the class, here’s some recommended reading from the course that you might be able to sneak on your reading list!
Week 1 Books
- Martin Seligman, Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being – and how to Achieve Them. This book is a fantastic overview of positive psychology from the father of this discipline)
- Ed Diener, Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth. A nice introduction to the science of well-being from one of its pioneers.
- Ryan Niemiec & Robert McGrath, Power of Character Strengths: Activate and Ignite Your Positive Personality. The official guide on Character Strengths.
- Daniel Lerner & Alan Schlechter, U Thrive: How to Succeed in College (and Life) This is a book aimed towards undergraduates which covers many of the reqirements taught in this course.
Week 2 Books
Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want –A great introduction to work in positive psychology and a practical guide to using this work in your daily life.
Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness -A nice introduction to the science of behavior changes and how we can work with some of the glitches of our own minds.
Other Books From the Class Worth Reading
- Robert Emmon, Thanks! The New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier -a nice introduction to the work on gratitude and happiness.
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience -a wonderful review of the research on flow and how we can get in the zone.
- Martin Seligman, Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment -a great introduction to the work on happiness generally as well as the power of using your character strengths.
- Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success -a lovely introduction to the power of a growth mindset.
- Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton, Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending -an elegant overview of the research on the science of spending, explaining how you can get more happiness for your money.
- Gabriele Oettingen, Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation -a nice introduction to the work on using implementation intention and WOOP in your daily life.
I’ll finish this post with sharing this fascinating TED talk by Dan Gilbert where he challenges the idea that not getting what we want makes us unhappy. He’s the author of the book Stumbling on Happiness.
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