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mindful minute

We are freed and imprisoned by our thoughts

Mark Fontaine

The Internet is packed with information about how to be happy. The volume of advice out there can be mind-boggling. Is all that information helping us to become any happier?

What does it really take to lead a happy, meaningful life? The University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) studies well-being with the goal of fostering a more resilient and compassionate culture. They are using a new online course to educate the public about what it really takes to achieve happiness.

To reach a wider audience this fall, the University will bring a wealth of positive psychology research to the public. They are offering the Science of Happiness MOOC,a massive online open course.
The course emphasizes two main keys to happiness: Strong social ties, and a sense of purpose or connection to the greater good.

Leading thinkers in positive psychology will join as guest-lecturers throughout the course, engaging with topics including mindfulness, compassion and gratitude.

The eight-week course is available to the public free of charge. Nearly 30,000 people have already signed up.

The hope is to help the public to sort through the mass of happiness advice and content available on the Internet, and to give them real, tried-and-true skills that can be applied to everyday life.
There isn’t a philosophical or spiritual layer underneath the content. It is based in neuroscience.

There is no agenda other than giving people more information about what works and what doesn’t work.
The course is more than a bunch of research about how positive emotions affect the brain. The course is designed to be hands-on and experiential. Each week is divided into a topic. Students will dive into the science and research. The week will conclude with a practical exercise to boost well-being.

Students will keep track of their activities and progress through self-reflection and mood evaluation.

You may find that you get much more happiness from your interpersonal connections than from your possessions and privilege. Perhaps this course would provide an opportunity for you to take a step back and notice how your habits and values may be impacting your happiness.


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