Prof Santos’s class Psychology and the Good Life is the most popular in Yale’s 317-year history, and broke the university’s enrolment record when more than 1,200 students signed up.
“Being happy isn’t something that just happens, you’ve got to practice to be better at it,” she adds.
Here are five exercises from Prof Santos to get you started to ‘BE HAPPY’
1. Make a gratitude list
Prof Santos asks her students to write down what they are grateful for – every night, for a whole week.
This becomes their gratitude list.
“It might sound quite simple, but we’ve seen that the students who regularly do this exercise actually tend to be happier,” she says.
2. Sleep more and better
The challenge is to sleep eight hours a night, every night, for a whole week.
This simple exercise proves to be the hardest to achieve, according to Prof Santos.
“It might seem silly, but we know that sleeping more and better reduces your chances of suffering from depression and improves your positive attitude,” she says.
Meditate 10 minutes a day, every day.
Prof Santos says that when she used to be a student, regular meditation made her feel better.
Now she’s a professor, she refers her students to several studies demonstrating how meditation and other activities that engage your full attention can help you become happier.
According to Prof Santos, there’s growing research that shows enjoying quality time with your friends and family makes your happier.
4. Spend more time with family and friends
Spending time with people we like – or having “healthy interpersonal relations and social connections”, in psychology speak – significantly boosts your wellbeing.
It doesn’t take much, says Prof Santos, just make sure you “live in the moment, be aware you are having this time together, be conscious of how you spend your time”.
The concept of time is very important for your happiness.
“We often associate wealth with how much money we have,” adds Prof Santos, “but research shows that wealth is more closely tied to how much time we have”.
5.Fewer social networks and more real connections
Social media can give us a false sense of happiness, says Prof Santos, and it is important not to be swept away by it.
The latest research shows that people who use social networks the most tend to be less happy than those who don’t use it so much, she adds. Courtesy:BBC