I am currently working my way through the class “The Science of Well-Being,” on the website Coursera. The course is taught by Professor Laurie Santos of Yale University, and is offered for free online. The class aims to teach students to build more productive habits and engage in wellness activities to increase their happiness.
Follow along with me for the next 10 weeks to learn some of these best practices and start your new year with positive intentions. I am also looking into offering this class in-person with Kimball Public Library – please email me if you would be interested in participating.
Week 1 is primarily an introduction to the class and an outline of what it covers. Over the next few months, we will learn about the psychology behind happiness, misconceptions about what makes us happy, why our expectations are unrealistic, what really increases happiness, strategies to reset our expectations, and habits to put into practice to increase our happiness.
If you’d like to follow along with the online coursework, you can also measure your happiness before and after taking the class to see if it was effective. How happy are you with your life right now? Rate yourself from 1 to 5, or take one of the suggested assessments: PERMA Profiler and the Authentic Happiness Inventory (both are free to take, though you may need to register on the website). PERMA measures your positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, accomplishment, health, negative emotions, and loneliness to give you an overall well-being score.
Tip of the Week: Learn about your character strengths through the VIA Institute on Character, Gallup, or another strengths-finder source, and then look for ways to use those strengths in your daily life. For example, Love of Learning is my top strength. I try to learn new things every day, whether through a class, by reading the news, by talking to someone new, or trying a new recipe!
This article was originally published in the Western Nebraska Observer.