>> These students at Yale University aren't looking for a cure for cancer or life on other planets. They are searching for something far simpler but elusive, happiness.>>
Psychology and the Good Life is the most popular course ever offered at Yale. And explores what science has to say about the secret to happiness.
>> Researchers try to look at very happy people. And they ask, what are these very happy people doing? And over and over again, what they find is that very happy people spend time with others. They prioritize time with their friends, time with their family. They even take time to talk to the barista.
>> Psychology Professor Lori Santos, who has 1,200 students enrolled in her course, says the biggest impediment to happiness, focusing on the wrong goals.>> There's a psychological phenomena of miswanting, wanting the wrong things. We work really hard to get a great salary, or to buy this huge house, but we forecast it wrong.
Those things are not gonna make us as happy as we think. Another issue is just not having time, one of the things research shows can make us happy is something as simple as what's called time affluence. Which is just having time for leisure, just not being scheduled all the time.
And in this day in age, those things are trickier and trickier.>> Part of the appeal of the class, possibly the homework. Assignments include showing more gratitude, performing acts of kindness, and bumping up social connections. Might sound cushy, but these high achievers are of course taking their workload seriously.
>> I'm really trying to watch my thoughts a little bit more and watch my own emotions and what I associate them with. Specifically, I mean I try not to stress out as much about grades. I try not to stress out about the next steps and jobs and things like that.
I really try to focus on the present moment.>> Due to overwhelming demand, the course is now being offered free through Coursera.org. Even for those of us who didn't get into Yale, but still want a shot at happiness.