The Science of Well-Being

Photograph by Max van den Oetelaar

This is a Coursera course I can highly recommend if you're into well-being, mindfulness or personal development at all. Yale professor of psychology Laurie Santos is teaching the "most popular class in the history of Yale" and now brought that class to Coursera for us non-yalies to enjoy.

As with most self-help advice, the gist of it is really simple (almost trivial). The value offered by the course from my perspective is really two-folded. On the one hand understanding a lot of the psychological background of the advice given helps rationale people like me with accepting it and buying into the proposed methods. On the other hand the format of the course helps with adopting these methods and turn them into habits, the part that's probably the hardest to achieve and at the same time an absolute necessity to gain any benefits at all. So while I think it's absolutely benefical to go through the course, I'll summarize the content to serve as a reminder for myself and to provide some insight for anyone interested in learning more before committing to this (free) course.

The course is focused on a couple of "rewirement exercises" to build up habits that help to "rewire" our brain in order to think in healthier (read: optimized towards happiness) patterns.

- Week 1: Measure Your Happiness
- Week 1: Using Your Signature Strenghts
- Week 2: Daily Gratitude Journal
- Week 2: Savoring
- Week 3: Random Acts of Kindness
- Week 3: Social Connection
- Week 4: Exercise
- Week 4: Sleep
- Week 5: Gratitude Letter/Visit
- Week 5: Meditation