Can happiness be taught?
Nowadays, our conception of happiness has been altered radically. Limited in our houses, meeting our favorite people through a screen and not being able to find satisfaction in those little things we so took for granted before the pandemic, has led us to wonder: will we be able to feel genuine happiness that will last more than 15 minutes? Or are there any other ways to feel happy besides an Instagram story or a TikTok video?
The University of Bristol, UK, has the answer for us. It is possible and achievable to find happiness through just a course.
The inspiration came to the course leader and Professor of Development Psychology in Society, Bruce M. Hood, through his immense will to help students improve their deteriorated mental health, in 2018. Being alarmed, as he states, by his students’ mental health problems, which kept on developing, he felt the need to act. Coincidently, a former student of his, Laurie Santos, had also developed a similar course at Yale University, which gave him the boost he needed.
Therefore, the University of Bristol launched its “Science of Happiness” course for the first time in UK, and we have read the syllabus for you. Influenced by the Yale University program, the course offers a combination of theoretical and practical activities, weekly ‘Happiness Hub’ discussions, and journaling.
Some titles of the course include “Meditation”, “Understand how the brain distorts information that contributes to unhappiness” and “Overcoming our Biases”.
All of the above and many more, not only teach students the science behind feeling happy, but, as it appears to be the case since 2018, they make them happier! A report shows that students, after taking this class, apply what they learn on themselves and become happier and according to Yale University those lessons can be applied in every part of our lives.
Statistics show that especially students in higher education, even before the pandemic, suffer the most from depression and anxiety. The sudden change in their lives, entering a University? The uncertainty of what the future holds? The increasing responsibilities? You name it, it all creates those mental health issues. Hence, the University of Bristol, acknowledging the benefits psychoeducational courses have on students, encourages them to take part in them.
Oh, how we wish we could also take part in this invaluable module and learn all about altering our brains in to being happier!
Words by Vasiliki Roussou
Sources: coursera.org, bristol.ac.uk, dazeddigital.com