Yale’s Most Popular Course Ever Teaches Students How to Be Happy

It’s called “Psychology and the Good Life.”

Courtesy of Rob Bye/Unsplash

Nearly a quarter of Yale’s undergraduates — approximately 1,200 students — have enrolled in Yale’s new course, “Psychology and the Good Life,” making it the “most popular course in Yale’s 316-year history,” according to The New York Times.

The twice-weekly lectures, taught by Prof. Laurie Santos, center on positive psychology and real-life behavior change. Santos told the Yale Daily News she aims to share “scientifically backed ways to deal with stress and ‘fight the culture’ that suggests students cannot take a break.”

And, she adds, that could also begin to have a wider effect on the campus. “With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture,” she explained to The Times.

Santos reasons that so many students are interested in the class because they had to “deprioritize their happiness” in high school to get into college, resulting in “the mental health crises” happening at campuses across the nation.

Santos has also encouraged students to take her course pass-fail. She said the things students work so hard for — prestigious internships, stellar grades, high-paying jobs — actually fail to increase happiness in life.

Yale freshman Alannah Maynez told The Times that a lot of her peers are “anxious, stressed, unhappy” and sick of “numbing their emotions — both positive and negative.”

Read more at The New York Times

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