Yale University now offers its most popular course, “The Science of Well Being,” online, and it’s currently being offered for free through Coursera. The course is taught by Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos. Professor Santos synthesizes all the “happiness” research done over time into a course that presents evidenced-based ways of improving our mental well-being.

I invite you to join me in enrolling online. Get more details here.

This course resonates with me because, as an undergraduate psychology major back in the day, I did my senior thesis on happiness. At that time I found very little research on what makes us happy and why. So, I adopted a thesis and, following public opinion polling protocols, developed a questionnaire similar to a public opinion poll and surveyed students on campus. Then a computer science major converted the questionnaire answers into data and helped analyze the data. The thesis I decided on, for long-forgotten reasons, was that people who take action to solve problems directly are happier

I met all kinds of interested, and interesting, Yale students while distributing and collecting the questionnaires. Regrettably, though, the data did not unequivocally prove my research thesis. Or, it may simply have been that my questionnaire did not adequately probe the thesis. Perhaps if I had stuck with this project after graduation instead eventually turning to law, I wouldn’t be enrolling in “The Science of Well Being” today to learn what makes people become happier.

Joanne Underhill
(303) 721-7112