Nov 12, 2019
250 students were expected to register for Yale University Professor Laurie Santos’ class “Psychology and the Good Life”. Instead it became a mass phenomenon with 1,200 registered students. She later offered her class “The Science of Well-Being” online, and it went viral around the world. Why? Because human beings have spent thousands of years searching for happiness, to no avail.
“Something that the science teaches us is that although we all search for happiness, we don’t tend to do it well. We have preconceived ideas about the things that could make us happy, but we are often wrong. I think that’s where the science can help us, because it suggests that there are very simple things we can do to improve our well-being, such as imitating five behaviors of happy people: socializing, being altruistic, showing gratitude for what we have, practicing healthy habits and meditating,” says the researcher.
Psychologist Laurie Santos is the Director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory and Canine Cognition Laboratory at Yale, where she participates in scientific studies on emotional well-being, positive psychology and behavior. She maintains that “me culture” has not made us happier, but taken us farther away from this goal. Comparing ourselves to others, not being objective when valuing what we have, and losing the traditional values of our predecessors makes us more unhappy than they were. However, all is not lost. “By recognizing that we live well and only need to change our attitude, we can obtain that happiness and resilience needed to solve our problems. A universal recipe for finding happiness could be summarized as taking time to think of others and the here and now, and adding a bit of exercise and hours of sleep,” concludes the expert.