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The Challenge of Feeling Happy During this Pandemic

The professor behind the most popular class in Yale history teaches you how to achieve the greatest happiness every day.

The Woman Post | Carolina Rodríguez Monclou

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If happiness is a state of mind, it is also something you can learn. Professor Laurie Santos taught her Wellness Science course at Yale in 2018. Now it's free online, and it's suddenly very popular.

More than 1.4 million students have enrolled in the teacher's online course on happiness since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Santos started this class after watching the students struggle with anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Her curriculum is based on studies and practical habits for everyday life.

COVID-19 has given us a new life. Professor Santos told CGTN America, "We know what we should do to protect our physical health. We should wash our hands and stay home." She then added: "But I think many of us are struggling with what we can do to stop all this anxiety, uncertainty, and anger that we feel about this situation."

How can we work on that?

She suggests exercise and meditation, deleting social media accounts, and prioritizing social interaction, even if it's virtual, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the expert, happier people tend to be more productive at work, healthier, and live longer. "How you feel has a real physical, social, and maybe even economic impact in terms of how we feel on a day-to-day basis," she emphasizes.

Past students say it works. At the beginning of the course, they talk a lot about what will not make them happy to avoid those scenarios. They do thirty minutes of exercise every day and take time to meditate. Among the activities, they also have a "thank you" journal. Here are seven ways to be happier you can try, according to the Yale professor.

1. Talk to a stranger

Make a social connection. Talk to someone online, with you at the coffee shop, or someone close to you in your community.

2. Meditate

According to the teacher, this activity can help you improve your concentration, not only when you are meditating but also afterwards. More importantly, meditation can improve your mood. It is a technique that can help us stop rambling.

3. Reduce the number of options

We believe that having more options makes us happier. This is another point where our mind is wrong. It would be better to restrict our options and even limit our freedom. It will improve our well-being much more than we expect.

4. Focus less on one end goal

Every time we put an external reward on an activity that we otherwise enjoy, it makes us want that activity less because it robs us of joy.

Also read: For a Better Quality of Life, Just Laugh More

5. Call a friend

We forget that the quick five minutes it will take to reconnect with someone we care about will dramatically improve our mood. It will reduce our loneliness and make us feel more connected to the people who really matter to us.

6. Keep a gratitude journal

Jotting down four to five things you're grateful for each night can significantly improve your mood in less than a month.

7. Sleep

If you want to feel better mentally and physically, you need to get some sleep. The recommended amount is 7 to 8 hours a night, and it is best done with a little sleep hygiene. Get rid of phones before bed and try to sleep at the same time every night.

Santos hopes that people will be happier after COVID-19 and that they connect socially, exercise more, and be thankful for the things that we missed. In the fall of 2019, Santos began hosting a podcast, The Happiness Lab. Follow the expert to learn more about the science of happiness.

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