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The recipe for a happy life, according to Yale

The pursuit of happiness draws nearly 1,200 students twice a week to Yale’s most popular course: Psychology and the Good Life.

Professor Lauri Santos teaches the course.

“Psychology and the Good Life is a class that really looks at what science says about how you can live a life that flourishes more, that makes you a little bit happier. We first deal with some of the misconceptions about what makes you happy. This is one of the interesting things that science suggests is that there are certain things that we think will make you happy that we strive to get, but in fact those things don’t make us as happy as we think,” Santos said in a Yale University-produced video.

Incredibly, this class has the largest enrollment size since Yale was founded in 1701. Santos says that’s not surprising because students there are reporting higher rates of depression since they started tracking that mental health marker. Santos says the class acts as relief for the students.

“Researchers try to look at very happy people and they ask ‘what are these very happy people doing?’ And over-and-over again they found happy people spend time with others. They prioritize time with their friends, time with their family, they even take time to talk with their barista,” Santos said.

She went further to say the research suggests that making social connections is necessary to be happy. Homework for the class includes making social connections, express gratitude and perform acts of kindness.

Yale knows others might benefit from this course and are working to offer it for free on Coursera.

If you have a Daily Dose of Kindness to share with Colleen, email her at [email protected].

You can hear Colleen O’Brien’s “Daily Dose of Kindness” segment every morning at 7:30 a.m. on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.

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