One of the big ideas behind "The Science of Well-Being," Yale's most popular class of all time, is that true happiness doesn't come from your circumstances or your achievements. It comes, professor Laurie Santos, PhD, told CNN, from simple daily practices like being grateful, living in the present moment, and connecting with others.
Now might be the best time to tune in to her massively popular course, which has been available online for about two years via Coursera. It's free to audit the classes, and costs $49 for access to the full course materials and assignments (plus a certificate of completion). Over one million people have already signed up for the next semester of the class, which started March 24. "We're in a particularly challenging time not just for this . . . physical health crisis, but also a potential mental health crisis," said Dr. Santos, who created the course to help college students boost their mental health. Focusing on achievable goals is a good way to ease your anxiety and uncertainty in the current climate, and taking a free online class is a simple, satisfying one to aim for, with bonus points because the course itself is all about creating practices to improve your mental health.
"We miswant things," Dr. Santos told CNN. "We think we need to change our life circumstances to become happier . . . what plays a much bigger role are our simple practices, simple acts like making a social connection, or taking time for gratitude, or taking time to be in the present moment." You can sign up for the Yale class now on Coursera, and check out more expert-approved ways to ease coronavirus anxiety here.