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Yale University

The Science of Well-Being for Teens

Yale University via Coursera


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A recent survey found that 37% of teens say they have poor mental health. This 6-week course aims to curb this mental health crisis by bringing together the best insights from Dr. Laurie Santos’ popular Yale course Psychology and the Good Life. In this course, you will explore what the field of psychology teaches us about how to be happier, how to feel less stressed, and how to thrive in high school and beyond. The lessons along with short weekly ‘happiness homework’ assignments will ultimately prepare you to put these scientific findings into practice. The ultimate goal is for you to feel better and build healthier habits. Parents, teachers, and other professionals supporting teenagers may also find the course beneficial. Note: This course does not confer Yale University grade, credit or student status. THE SCIENCE OF WELL-BEING FOR TEENS WAS PRODUCED IN PART DUE TO THE GENEROUS FUNDING OF THE ARTHUR M. BLANK FAMILY FOUNDATION AND THE JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION.


  • Misconceptions about happiness
    • In this module, you will learn what it means to be happy and why pursuing happiness is not a pointless endeavor. Dr. Santos addresses how our minds lie to us and how the science shows that our misconceptions about money, grades, and social media are holding us back from implementing the techniques studied in positive psychology.
  • Biases that get in the way of happiness
    • In this module, you will learn about biases that get in the way of our own happiness. Dr. Laurie Santos explores why we get used to good and bad things in life and how we can deal with growing accustomed to things and making bad predictions about what we will want in the future. Dr. Santos discusses how we compare ourselves to others using reference points and what we can do to deal with our limited attention.
  • Behaviors that make us happy
    • In this module, you will learn about behaviors that make us happy. Dr. Laurie Santos discusses behaviors such as engaging in social behaviors, finding time to do the things you love, and practicing healthy habits. Dr. Santos explains how a little bit of extra sleep each night or exercise can make a world of a difference.
  • Thoughts that make us happy
    • In this module, you will learn about thought patterns that lead to better moods. Dr. Laurie Santos addresses the power of focusing our thoughts and developing the right mindset in order to experience gratitude, practice mindfulness, and get some perspective.
  • Feelings that make us happy
    • In this module, you will learn how harnessing our feelings can make us happier. Dr. Laurie Santos explores how we need both our positive and negative emotions in order to improve our well-being. Dr. Santos also explores how to regulate your fight-or-flight response using a tool that is most definitely underused, the breath.
  • Achieving happiness goals
    • In this module, you will learn techniques to achieve happiness goals learned throughout the course. Dr. Laurie Santos investigates how we can put happiness tips into practice, addressing the ways in which situations and people can affect us. Dr. Santos additionally discusses how to implement better habits and hack the habits that we do have.

Taught by

Laurie Santos


4.9 rating at Coursera based on 495 ratings

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