The science of happiness

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Could studying the science of happiness actually make you happier?

Now I have always assumed that you’re either a glass half-full person or a glass half-empty person. An optimist or a pessimist. A ‘can do’ or a can’t do’ person. But recent data from a course held at Bristol University has proven that simply studying the science of happiness, will go a long way towards making you feel happier.

First year students who have been completed a “science of happiness” course – the first of its kind in the UK – have been found to be more positive and optimistic than their peers who have not taken it. The course takes in the neuroscience of happiness, what exactly it is and why it occurs.

As part of the course, students have to carry out homework which quite frankly sounds far too nice to be homework. Tasks include performing an act of kindness, chatting to a stranger, taking time to mindfully enjoy an experience, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and say thank you to someone who has shown them kindness.

The students are educated on the negative impacts social media, loneliness and isolation can have on physical and mental health. Many of the 1000 students who have taken the course say they now feel far more happy and content. That’s quite miraculous when you consider that these students have embarked upon their university career during a global pandemic. Professors have been astounded by the positive impact on the students happiness levels.

The course was launched in response to a worrying increase in student mental health problems across the UK. Anything that takes a proactive approach in combating low mood in young people and the course is now potentially being rolled out at other universities across the country.

If you fancy getting in on the happiness action; the course, which was originally run at Yale University in the USA, is available for free online at Coursera. Check it out and see if you can top up your positivity pot!

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Categories: lifestyle