The recipe for a happy life, according to Yale

Apr 3, 2018, 9:17 AM | Updated: 9:17 am

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

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.

Colleen OBrien

Remote work...

Bill Kaczaraba

Employers should adjust to ‘quiet quitting’ analyst says

Analyst Jill Schlesinger said many businesses are not doing a good job of adjusting to the current cultural and technical business trends.

8 months ago

Mandy Nottingham, 45, and her dog “Betty Boop” are homeless in Aberdeen, WA....

Colleen O'Brien

New Quinault Wellness Center aims to combat ever-growing Fentanyl crisis

In King County alone, nearly 400 people died after using fentanyl in 2021, which is a very high number considering that number was just three in 2015.

11 months ago

girl scout, cookie...

MyNorthwest Staff

New cookie, return to in-person sales could help boost Girl Scout funds in 2022

It's Girl Scout cookie season again. Three local scouts joined KIRO Newsradio to talk about this year's new cookie and what the money raised will support.

1 year ago

Holiday spending at Christmas...

MyNorthwest Staff

Holiday spending expected to set massive records in 2018

With the season kicking into full gear, holiday spending is poised to set records across the United States. But not everyone is spending the same.

5 years ago

Cindy Meyer...

Colleen O'Brien

Cougs fans step up to help alum still in need of kidney donor

Cougs alum Cindy Meyer has been in need of a kidney donor for awhile now, but the hope now is that with some help from her fellow Cougs, she could find one soon.

5 years ago


Colleen O'Brien

Everett Brownie troop uses cookies sales to save pets

An Everett Brownie troop decided to do some good with profits from cookie sales.

5 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

The recipe for a happy life, according to Yale