Joy division: Would you pursue a course in Happiness Studies? At Harvard University in 2006, the most popular subjects were illegal, medical, business, or even arts. Twice a week, about 1,400 students flock to Psyc E-1504 to study in the new field of Positive Psychology.
The lessons cover confidence, compassion, friendship, love, success, wisdom, music, spirituality and humor. Put simply, these studies promised a happy education.
Its professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, left Harvard in 2008, developed leadership development programs, and eventually founded the Happiness Studies Academy in 2016, where he also awarded the certificate of Happiness Studies online.
Over 40 hours of lectures, two-week webinars and tons of homework, participants read two modules – Introduction to Fun Lessons and Make It Easy. The purpose is to determine what is causing the uncomfortable feelings and to learn how they can teach themselves and others to be happy.
The course costs $ 3,900 (approximately ₹ 2.8 lakh), but students in 57 countries have registered so far.
I am a good practice coach and a different therapist, and I signed up last year. Now I’m finishing my second semester. Let me explain why I signed up, and what it was like to watch the excitement through the education lens.
As someone whose clients are struggling with anxiety, feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with their choices and situations, I always point out that having a positive attitude is a learned behavior. Such learning requires effort, mental alertness, and patience, as does any new skill. When I first heard about Ben-Shahar, I was intrigued.
A teacher and author had graduated from Harvard with a BA in Philosophy and Psychology and holds a PhD in organizational ethics. His famous course was no longer offered at Harvard (not that I was going to enter Harvard anyway – being literally an important element of happiness). But the online version has the same questions: What if there is a set of habits that can keep you in the mood for “happy and healthy life” 70%? What if you could learn those habits, just as you learned long distances or badminton? And what if you could describe happiness not as a vague concept of well-being – a pink candy of candyfloss – but as a visual emotion that helped you live your life better?
I’ve been in the middle of previously recorded lectures and live webinars, and already the course has done me two very important things. Research is provided based on research on how the mind influences emotions and behavior, and has taught me simple but powerful tools that I can share with my clients.
I have always believed that good physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health determines one’s overall happiness. Ben-Shahar’s model is inclusive and threw into something else: the well-being of relationships, or our power and the people in our lives.
This lesson contains references to literature and real life, from Shakespeare’s Henry V (which raises the question: what is the price you are willing to pay for?) To a different activist and activist Helen Keller (how determined are you to dedicate yourself to your pursuit?). I really liked the idea of building the Islands of Sanity: small packets of time where you do one job so that your focus is not diverted.
I read what may seem obvious: That we are all destined for happiness. But I also learn about the thoughts, fears, and habits that drive the program. I was able to improve my tests as a result.
Such exercise enables clients to balance themselves each morning with four levels of energy: Physically (tired or well-rested?), Emotional (tired and angry, anxious or happy?), Cognitive (peacefully or excessively?) And spiritually (feeling weak or hopeless?). Depending on the schools of the day, they should incorporate or abandon balancing and renewable energy activities. Sneak into sleep on days when they are mentally exhausted. Connect with a friend if they are emotionally down. It is an effective tool and a good way to understand how energy is used and can be redirected or replenished.
It is one of the best lessons I have ever learned. It helped me make it clear to customers that happiness is not a static thing, but a state of being that needs to be worked on. And it keeps me in a state of curiosity all the time.
There is no test at the end of this study. There is no distance to prove what I have learned. But I am convinced, after the discourses of reorganization of understanding, neuroplasticity, improv comedy and anterograde amnesia, that happiness is not rocket science. It is a real, very accessible, possibility.