Monday, December 28, 2020

The Science of Happiness—Berkeley edX—online learning during a pandemic


In order to focus on things besides the latest pandemic news and to continue to learn and grow as a person, I decided to take edX's The Science of Happiness by BerkeleyX . It teaches positive psychology and science-based principles for a happy and meaningful life. 

Heads up, The Science of Happiness isn't about becoming ridiculously happy all the time or not feeling what you really feel. It's about living your best meaningful life. It's smart and insightful and like any science-based class it's backed up with research and facts. 

It's a big class. That means it takes a chunk of time. The overview says about five hours a week for eleven weeks. I gave myself only five weeks to do it because I have deadlines approaching and had to. A more leisurely pace would have been easier, but I also do better on quizzes and tests if the course material is still fresh in my vestibular migraine head. 

Free or Verified

Verified Track vs. Free

If you choose to take the verified track it offers plenty of extra reading material, podcasts, videos, and even books. I ordered several (you don't have to and they're at your own cost but I was so fascinated by aspects of this class that I wanted the extra material). I'd guesstimate I spent about twenty-plus hours a week on the class. That doesn't include reading the books I purchased, which I haven't done yet. 

Assignments were almost all pleasant, and they were all fascinating. They're suggested tasks to help discover what happiness practices work best for you. I learned things about myself in this class that I thought I knew, but didn't. (Who knew, but some of the things that have annoyed me about hubby for the past centuries aren't all him.) It taught me better communication skills and ways to incorporate happiness-inducing changes in my life. 

It is time well spent

A few of the incredible concepts studied that I found particularly profound are as follows:

Mindfulness, the difference between being Thankful and Gratitude, Empathy, Compassion, Kindness, Maximizer/Satisficer, Why Self-Compassion trumps Self-Esteem, Flow, Habituation & Adaptation, Gratitude in Schools/Romantic Relationships, The Science of Awe. 

As with other edX classes, you can skip the verified track and take it for free. However you chose to increase your happiness, I do recommend checking out The Science of Happiness and the Greater Good Science Center. Especially during this anxiety-producing pandemic, it can help you sort your priorities and learn coping skills. 

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