Yale's most popular class ever is all about happiness — and you can take it for free.

When I think of classes at Yale University, I imagine things like organic chemistry and 19th-century literature. I don’t picture Happiness 101.

As it turns out, the class Psychology and the Good Life, colloquially dubbed Happiness 101, is Yale’s most popular course offering — ever. Approximately 1 in 4 undergrads enrolled in the class for spring semester. That’s nearly 1,200 students — the largest enrollment reported for a single class in Yale’s 317-year history.

Spring on the Yale campus. Photo via Christopher Capozzielo/Getty Images.


Psychology professor Laurie Santos offers the twice-weekly lecture to teach students how to live more fulfilling, satisfying lives. The class focuses on positive psychology, exploring the characteristics that help people flourish. It also taps into behavior — the habits and actions that lead to real happiness.

Students take quizzes on all of this, including a midterm exam. As a final assessment, they have to complete a self-improvement project, that Santos refers to as a “Hack Yo’Self Project.”

It may sound simple, and some students undoubtedly take the class because they think it’ll be easy credits. But according to The New York Times, Santos calls her course the “hardest class at Yale.” Success in the class means a real life change in habits, which requires a great deal of personal accountability, she says.

Santos even encourages students to take the class as a pass-fail to avoid the tendency to place too much importance on grades, which she says is not conducive to happiness.

Students at prestigious schools often put their personal happiness on hold. Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images.

College students report struggling with mental health at unprecedented rates.

One might assume that kids in the prime of their lives, who've been accepted into one of the world’s most prestigious colleges wouldn’t struggle so much with happiness. But Santos says many driven, successful students put their personal happiness on hold, often adopting habits that are detrimental to their mental well-being in the long run.

College students in general are reporting record levels of anxiety and depression. And a 2013 report from the Yale College Council found that half of undergraduate students at Yale seek help with mental health.

Those numbers are actually good, if you ask me. Far too many people suffer in silence, so I'm happy to see that students at Yale aren’t afraid to ask for help.  

Photo via Maddie Meyer/Getty Images.

The popularity of a college class on happiness speaks to a larger quest most of us find ourselves on at some point.

It’s the eternal human question, isn’t it? How do we live a happy and fulfilled life? For decades, self-help gurus have written book after book about the subject, but somehow a class at Yale feels way more legit, doesn’t it? We’re talking actual scientific research and evidence-based recommendations.

I mean, if Yale can’t teach us to be happy, who can? (Harvard, maybe... )

The best news is that we can all access this course online — for free. The course is called "The Science of Well-Being" on Coursera, which anyone with internet can access. Here’s a description of the course:

“The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy but also to put those strategies into practice. The first half of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The second half of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits.”

Photo via Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

The free Coursera option does not include all class assignments and materials, but you can access the lectures. And there is an option to pay for the full class and earn a certificate if you wish.

Bottom line: Yale is offering the scientific keys to happiness for free. What a time to be alive.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

Eight months into the coronavirus pandemic, many of us are feeling the weight of it growing heavier and heavier. We miss normal life. We miss our friends. We miss travel. We miss not having to mentally measure six feet everywhere we go.

Maybe that's what was on Edmund O'Leary's mind when he tweeted on Friday. Or maybe he had some personal issues or challenges he was dealing with. After all, it's not like people didn't struggle pre-COVID. Now, we just have the added stress of a pandemic on top of our normal mental and emotional upheavals.

Whatever it was, Edmund decided to reach out to Twitter and share what he was feeling.

"I am not ok," he wrote. "Feeling rock bottom. Please take a few seconds to say hello if you see this tweet. Thank you."

O'Leary didn't have a huge Twitter following, but somehow his tweet started getting around quickly. Response after response started flowing in from all over the world, even from some famous folks. Thousands of people seemed to resonate with Edmund's sweet and honest call for help and rallied to send him support and good cheer.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less

The subject of late-term abortions has been brought up repeatedly during this election season, with President Trump making the outrageous claim that Democrats are in favor of executing babies.

This message grossly misrepresents what late-term abortion actually is, as well as what pro-choice advocates are actually "in favor of." No one is in favor of someone having a specific medical procedure—that would require being involved in someone's individual medical care—but rather they are in favor of keeping the government out of decisions about specific medical procedures.

Pete Buttigieg, who has become a media surrogate for the Biden campaign—and quite an effective one at that—addressed this issue in a Fox News town hall when he was on the campaign trail himself. When Chris Wallace asked him directly about late-term abortions, Buttigieg answered Wallace's questions is the best way possible.

"Do you believe, at any point in pregnancy, whether it's at six weeks or eight weeks or 24 weeks or whenever, that there should be any limit on a woman's right to have an abortion?" Wallace asked.

Keep Reading Show less

When it comes to the topic of race, we all have questions. And sometimes, it honestly can be embarrassing to ask perfectly well-intentioned questions lest someone accuse you of being ignorant, or worse, racist, for simply admitting you don't know the answer.

America has a complicated history with race. For as long as we've been a country, our culture, politics and commerce have been structured in a way to deny our nation's past crimes, minimize the structural and systemic racism that still exists and make the entire discussion one that most people would rather simply not have.

For example, have you ever wondered what's really behind the term Black Pride? Is it an uplifting phrase for the Black community or a divisive term? Most people instinctively put the term "White Pride" in a negative context. Is there such a thing as non-racist, racial pride for white people? And while we're at it, what about Asian people, Native Americans, and so on?

Yes, a lot of people raise these questions with bad intent. But if you've ever genuinely wanted an answer, either for yourself or so that you best know how to handle the question when talking to someone with racist views, writer/director Michael McWhorter put together a short, simple and irrefutable video clip explaining why "White Pride" isn't a real thing, why "Black Pride" is and all the little details in between.


Keep Reading Show less