Increase your Happiness

Over the past several weeks I’ve been “missing in action” on my new blog here.  The reason being is my reflections have been a bit exhausting with the current events of Coronavirus changes.  I needed to take a step back and adjust to the new landscape of life.

Early in the stay home order for the economy, a colleague suggested a free course she was taking with her spouse.  I loved the idea and thought it may give me some good information to share with readers as well as help to offset the changing life style of staying home.

So, I signed up for the course “The Science of Well Being” by Yale University, offered on Coursera.  (I don’t have any affiliation with Coursera or this Yale course) It is still offered to all for free.

Well-being – the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. 

What do we know about being happy, healthy and comfortable? What are the actions we can take to increase our well-being in general. The following are the most well known and I was somewhat familiar with these going into the class.


Being active

Keep learning

Helping others

Taking notice, being in the moment.

Lots of insight from this course…

But quickly into the course, I started learning many more details of the science and statistics behind happiness and well-being. I realized I was aware, but could actually take more action and a pro-active approach to enhancing my well-being. I’m going into a little detail on a a few items from the class I think everyone would benefit from. The following observations only scratch the surface of this experience, and I highly recommend everyone try this class.

What’s important these days

How we are taught what is important these days are not the things that actually make us happy or healthy.  Things like money (at least not directly), jobs, grades, stuff we buy.  This was a very interesting look into details about how people thought they would be happy about these things, but when surveyed after they got them, they actually were not that happy about them. 

How strong are our influences and intuition

I found it very interesting to learn the science of how our minds’ strongest intuitions are often wrong and what can influence us.  Things that impact us without even realizing, such as reference points and comparisons.  Social media drives these all the time in influencing our spending and attachment to affluence.  Social comparisons skewing our perceptions of physical appearance and lowing even our partners attractiveness at times.

Happiness wanes with repetition (without work)

Something I got out of this class were the concepts from the book “Stumbling on Happiness” by Gilbert, which states “wonderful things are especially wonderful the first time they happen, but their wonderfulness wanes with repetition”.  The class actually digs into the concept of Hedonic Adaptation.  I found this to be very valuable information to adjust the way I perceive things and gratitude time I devote to things I want to enjoy for longer periods of time. 

Using science to back up the information

This class really dove into the studies that have been conducted on measuring happiness and well-being.  There are exercises and surveys they ask students to take to measure the level of happiness. This is done at different stages before and after putting some of the recommendations, to increase happiness, into practice.

This course goes into to detail about ways to apply small to large routines or actions that have been proven to increase well-being overall.  I highly recommend this course, and I will likely use the information I learned into my daily routines as well as into my writings.

I wish you well.