There are things you can do every day to improve happiness.
By Alison DeNisco Rayome, June 28, 2022 6:36 p.m. PT
In 2014, two psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley, launched an online course with a lofty goal: teaching students how to be happy, through both science and practice, in just eight weeks.
No big deal, right?
The amazing thing: It seemed to work. Thousands of students took the Science of Happiness course (which is still free to audit on edX, a provider of open online courses) and learned about the science of connection, compassion, gratitude and mindfulness. Perhaps more importantly, they also completed a series of simple activities that research suggests increase happiness.
Those who fully participated saw their positive feelings increase each week. They reported feeling less sadness, stress, loneliness, anger and fear, while at the same time experiencing more amusement, enthusiasm and affection, as well as a greater sense of community. During the course, students’ happiness and life satisfaction increased by about 5%. And that boost remained even four months after the course ended (though it’s difficult to fully untangle that result; it could’ve been from doing the activities, the students’ new understanding of the psychology of happiness, or something totally different).