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Yale University

The Science of Well-Being

Yale University via Coursera


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NEW TEEN VERSION AVAILABLE HERE: In this course you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life. THE SCIENCE OF WELL BEING WAS PRODUCED IN PART DUE TO THE GENEROUS FUNDING OF THE DAVID F. SWENSEN FUND FOR INNOVATION IN TEACHING.


  • Introduction
    • Why take this course?
  • Misconceptions About Happiness
    • What do we think will make us happy?
  • Why Our Expectations are so Bad
    • Why do we mispredict what makes us happy?
  • How Can We Overcome Our Biases
    • How we counteract our annoying features of the mind?
  • Stuff that Really Makes Us Happy
    • What can we do to improve our happiness?
  • Putting Strategies into Practice
    • How can we intentionally put these strategies into practice and build healthier habits?
  • Start Your Final Rewirement Challenge
    • What rewirement will you commit to for the next 4 weeks?
  • Continue Your Rewirement Challenge
    • How can you rely on others to help you change your behaviors?
  • Continue Your Rewirement Challenge
    • How can you design your environment to help you change your behaviors?
  • Submit Your Final Assignment
    • What mindset can you have to appreciate your progress so far and continue your progress beyond the course?

Taught by

Laurie Santos


4.9 rating, based on 29 Class Central reviews

4.9 rating at Coursera based on 37566 ratings

Start your review of The Science of Well-Being

  • This 10-week course is really inspiring. In this course, Professor Laurie Santos introduces misconceptions about happiness and why our brain has these misconceptions. Our mind has many annoying features and biases, including having strong but wron…
  • This is an insightful course introducing practices to increase your well-being, sense of fulfillment. As my life style significantly changed during the pandemic, this course helped me answer what can improve my happiness. For sure, some of the pra…
  • Adam Meatro Shoun
    Great course which I find myself suggesting to many friends because of it's positive impact on my own life. The course is a series of lectures with slides detailing specific psychological studies and their main points which are relevant for a every…
  • This course helped me to overcome many beliefs and behaviors tha actuaaly can't make me happy. Learning new skills to improve my mindfulness, self-control and have a healthier life - including mental health - this course can be a great way to keep a life-term improvement in well-being. I suggest taking notes on a hardbook and/or keeping track of learning on a journal to improve learning and also to help as a reminder of the lessons to keep into practice what the course gives you. Good video lectures and also very helpful files to download to deepen on the weekly subjects and to study more after you completed the course.
  • This course has really helped me better understand how my brain works, especially in ways that might not lead me to happiness. At least not to true happiness. The lessons are easy to keep up with, and the practical component was very positive. Since finishing this course, I've included many new, more positive habits in my daily routines.

    The course is rooted in research, and all the references are shared with us, including books we can read and take the lessons further.
  • This is the science that proves that less really is more when it comes to a fulfilling and happy life. Most of us, especially in the West, have been deluded into believing "if only I had more money, all the best stuff, a perfect body and a perfect r…
  • Profile image for Angie Figueroa
    Angie Figueroa
    Such an important topic and yet not well known or given the importance it should get. Money and the things we believe will make us complete and therefore happy are not really the key to being discover happiness..
    This course will really open your mind and will allow you to see that you can be happy right now without having to wait to be rich, or to have the things that you may think will make you happy. This psychology based class, makes sense, it’s clear and easy to understand for any level and the best part, it’s free!!! You can take it simply by signing up! Time worth spent!
  • Anonymous
    More than a month since I started this course, my well-being has improved significantly. I applied some of the techniques taught (meditation, expressing gratitude, savoring, exercising) and I feel more satisfied with my life compared to how I felt two months ago. I might have discovered what intrinsic happiness means. If you want to be happier, this course will teach you how, and you don't have to wait for your life circumstances to change. You can start being happier today. This course has saved me countless hours that I would have spent reading positive psychology books. The lessons felt informal and intimate, and I've enjoyed every single one. Thank you, professor Santos!
  • Cecilia Marie Smith
    It's been 2 years since I finished the course. It's been absolutly, hands down, the best 2 years of my life. I'm 67. Highly recommended.
    Hopefully there is one for kindergartens on up. Should be at every grade - just a part of other studies as it really doesn't take even more than 6 weeks to change a life for the better. It's the practice that changes your life yourself when you get on the rails to real happiness for yourself. Not what to were perhaps raised or indoctrinated to believe. I have continued to refine my life and my own definition of happiness accordingly.
  • The course introduces you with some basic ideas of positive psychology. You are introduced in the knowledge in the first 6th weeks so it will be more cramped. The last 4 weeks require you to do a rewirement challenge and is more relaxed.

    I learn something in this course and would like to dig deeper in the subject. The target of audience is students but the concept is suitable to adult.
  • Anonymous
    I desperately needed a kickstart to get myself back to being engaged, mentally healthy, and happy. Love this course! If you are depressed or just feeling unmotivated or maybe just a little downtrodden or flat out world weary, this course will prime your mojo! Mom of 3, entrepreneur, writer, 53
  • Anonymous
    It really makes you think about what happiness means to most people and especially to you. Through week 1 to 10 you get video’s of a yale class, and it makes you feel like you’re sitting right there with them. The teacher is great and inspiring.
  • This is a very insightful course on a topic that hits close to everyone's home. The recommendations for a life of wellness enclosed in this material are presented excellently and practical/feasible. The content will be helpful for everyone, regardless of their psychosocial status. With the uncertainties in the world today and, perhaps, in the foreseeable long-term future, investing in yourself by heeding the lessons from this course is a great way to move forward.
  • Anonymous
    This course applies to all disciplines and helps people put to practice everything that will make their life 100% better. It not only teaches everything it promises but it exercises many skills like reflecting, thinking, and listening, which enhances the knowledge of anything. The course also helped me realize that if you put your mind to about anything you can to most about anything you want to accomplish. The science of well-being strongly advised, motivated me, thought me how, and encouraged me to take initiative to build a better life for myself. It was one of the best experiences I have ever done and made me want to have more experiences.
  • Anonymous
    The one thing I've noticed the most is the fact that I now question just about every purchase I make. Is it really what I want and is it really going to make me happy? I'll let you know since I've been buying more things since I'm at home 24/7 during this Covid 19 pandemic.

    It's good that I'm questioning my buying spree though. Hopefully, it will help me to spend less and really question as to whether I really need it for my "happiness" or if it's just something to pass my time.

    I do want to say that most of my purchases are for my grand daughter and so far she's pretty happy with what she's gotten. But she's 9, what does she know???? JK
  • Simmi Kapur
    I have enrolled myself to this online course and i am really enjoying it. Till now have learnt about my signature strengths, savouring, gratitude, kindness and social connection, meditation and gratitude and exercise and sleep. It is so interesting that i have learnt to handle life in a positive way. I am a very extrovert person and the rewirement on social connection made me realise that i am on the right track. would definitely recommend this course to everybody.
  • Anaswara P
    On Coursera there are some great courses that I'd like to recommend for the high quality, intelligent and interesting narrative, structure and knowledge level The professor is great and his lectures are a pleasure to watch! The course is very well structured from easy to complex matters and has got many interesting examples.

    Highly recommend to everyone interested in how the world works.
  • Anonymous
    Laurie Santos' lectures were delivered with encouragement., rejuvenating so much stuff I had left behind in the vacuum left by the loss of my best friend. The course enervated me to "pick it up", helping me to keep going.

    I've recommended it to another.
  • Anonymous
    This course helped me to examine my life and my expectations. As a retired person I needed to reboot my happiness levels and do more for others. I am very pleased that I took this course. It has changed my life forever.
  • Profile image for Nate Riegler
    Nate Riegler
    The best online class I have audited. This course does a great job tying abstract ideas and concepts to real world applications.

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