Become Happier – The Science of Well-Being by Yale University #2
Well, welcome everybody to The Science of Well-being: What psychological science says about the good life. I’m going to kind of give a quick introduction to the stuff about the course, and then we’ll get to our particular topic of today. But, I kind of wanted to start because this is a bit of a strange adventure. I’m here sitting with about 25 of my students, most of these students are in Silliman College, one of the residential colleges here at Yale, but a couple of students who snuck in from other colleges. But we welcome you anyway. And I thought it’s cool to welcome you by noting that you are starting this kind of interesting new journey. And I mean new in a couple of different senses. One is that this is kind of a new thing for Yale. Never before at Yale have they taught a course on that kind of science or psychology and so practice of how to be happy. So it’s kind of new for Yale. It’s sort of new for Yale’s online courses. Unlike most of the online courses, we’re sitting here in my living room, chatting with you guys in this kind of comfy space. It’s kind of a new way to think about how we teach people who aren’t at Yale. And it’s also a new journey for all of you. The hope is that this isn’t going to be like an ordinary kind of class or lecture series for you. This is the kind of thing that we really hope can actually change your life in a real way, not just by teaching you new content and new information but by really changing your habits. That’s sort of the goal. So, welcome to this new journey. If you’re scared of the journey, you don’t want to be here, you can take off. They’ll shut the cameras off and cut you out of it. So, either way you got that. All right. Okay. But the new journey is cool. The goal of the class is to do two separate things. One is the thing that’s kind of typical of classes here at Yale, we’re going to teach you some content, we’re going to teach you about the science of happiness. All these cool new findings that the field of psychology has. But the second part which is a little bit different, which is the kind of journey part, is that we’re not just going to do stuff on the science of happiness, we’re going to think about the practice of happiness too. One of the things we’re going to learn is just knowing about this information, about what makes you happy isn’t enough to actually make you happy, you actually have to put those things into practice. And the hope is that by being here as part of this course, you’re signing on to do that hard part too. You’re not going to have homework in the way of readings or that kind of stuff, but you are going to have homework if you want the stuff to stick, you’re just kind of thinking about your habits and that stuff too. And in part because of that, we’re really hoping because I’m a scientist not just to kind of give you this content, but I really kind of want to see if this works. The goal is to scale this up to a really large course at Yale, you guys are the pilot program about this. And in part because of that, we really want to check whether or not this kind of approach of teaching you guys the science and sort of seeing if this practice goes together is actually going to work. And so, one of your pieces of homework for tonight, if you guys are interested in doing so, is to actually help me measure whether or not this stuff is working, and we’re going to do that by actually measuring your happiness levels. We’re going to take that sometime this afternoon – that’s going to be the before, and then at the end of this we’re going to do the after. Really, our goal is to make sure that what we’re doing in this course is actually having its effect. We’re going to try to look at that in detail. Okay. So, what is the course about? Well, you’re signed on for five quick lectures here in my home, and we’re going to go through a couple different topics. Today’s topic is going to be about misconceptions about happiness. The things you think make you happy but don’t actually. So, be ready for kind of all of your misconceptions to be cleared up, which would be great. Next time, we’re going to talk about why our expectations are so bad. Basically, I think what you’ll see is many of the things we think are going to make us happy don’t. And so, why are we not accurate about the kinds of things that are going to make us happy? Why are we singling out these things that aren’t going to help us? Third, we’re going to jump to the stuff that actually really does increase happiness. And as is the case in a lot of Buzzfeed articles, the answer may surprise you. So weird. From there, we’re going to broaden to say, okay, if that’s the stuff that’s going to increase happiness, what are the strategies that we should be using? That’s where we’re going to get into more homework and more habits for you guys to engage in. And then, the fifth thing is going to take this even broader, not just thinking about putting these strategies into practice for you yourself in terms of your own personal happiness, but how can you put these in practice more broadly? How can we use this stuff to help society, or help Silliman, or help things more broadly?