University of Bristol’s ‘Happiness course’ seeks to improve student well-being

University students, who have had “happiness” lessons, experienced improved mental health, a study has found.

Teaching lectures and seminars on what is scientifically proven to make people happier, The University of Bristol has launched a Science of Happiness course.

The first of its kind in the United Kingdom, this course is said to prove that “learning about happiness can improve your mental well-being”, as Professor Bruce Hood explains.

The course has been completed by 1,000 students who learnt what science reveals about the brain, plus practices to achieve a more fulfilling life.

The course also covers topics from the impact of loneliness on the immune system to how optimism can extend life expectancy and how the act of giving activates the reward centre in the brain.

Arriving in Bristol last September from Hungary, Lara Czernecki struggled psychologically when the pandemic took a huge toll on her well-being and explained she felt “drained and tired.”

However, since starting the three-month Science of Happiness course, Lara feels a new sense of reach for happiness, explaining how she practises the meditation she learnt daily.

But states that “I don’t feel I can reach full happiness by taking a course, but I can start to work towards it”.

With the course also involving peer-reviewed studies in psychology and neuroscience, students can research the impact of sleep deprivation and how a countryside walk can deactivate parts of the brain associated with depression.

In a recent study, researchers have found significantly higher mental well-being among the first-year students who took the course compared to a control group.

A second study also revealed that students taking the course when the pandemic restrictions commenced had higher well-being than the control group.

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Posted in Mental Health.