Health and Wellness

I'm taking Harvard's free 6-week course on happiness—here's what I hope to learn

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Less than two years after finishing graduate school, I've found myself signing up for what may be my most unique class yet: a course called "Managing Happiness," led by Harvard University professor, Arthur Brooks.

As a health and wellness reporter, I've noticed that people can't help but feel drawn to articles about happiness. It's something that we all want to know more about and experience as much as possible. After all, happiness seems to be very helpful in boosting our chances of living longer lives.

But most of us struggle to understand how to maintain it — a dilemma that this Harvard course will hopefully shed some light on.

The online module is free of charge for audit only, until March 27, 2024, and receiving a verified certificate from the university will cost you $229. It's a self-paced course, but must be completed within six weeks if you don't want to lose access to its materials and the progress you've made.

And at week one, I already have so many questions.

Here's what I hope to learn from Harvard's free happiness course

The course's tagline is "Happiness is within your control. Write your own ending," which sparked this major question for me and it's one I'm sure we all have: Are we completely in control of our own happiness?

Other questions I'm hoping to have answered, or at least gain more insight on, by the end of my six-week stint as a "Harvard student" are:

  • How often should we experience happiness?
  • Is it realistic to expect to feel happy all of the time?
  • How do we prioritize happiness without falling into the realm of toxic positivity?
  • If our happiness is connected to our experiences, especially with those around us, how can we protect it when dealing with difficult people?
  • How can we cultivate happiness during tough times in our lives?

I look forward to sharing what the course has taught me, and hopefully get some answers to these questions I have. And who knows? Maybe I'll even be a bit happier in the end.

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