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Health & Wellness

The Science of Happiness: A Journey Begins

By Zoran Prodanovich

I’m a miserable cunt. On my worst days I’m an asshole with a bad attitude, and on my best, an asshole with a smile and a quick wit. If I were to quantify my happiness, I’d peg it at 5.5. Whether 10 is the best or the worst, 5.5 is pretty not great for a blah blah blah white, educated male, fill in the things that should make me happy.

So there I am listening to Malcom Gladwell, GOAT podcaster and all-around celebrity brain. His podcast Revisionist History (which explores overlooked and misunderstood people and events) is still on break, so they played an episode of The Happiness Lab, hosted by Yale psychology professor Dr. Laurie Santos. KNOCK ME OVER WITH A 2X4, THERE’S A SCIENCE TO HAPPINESS.

Why does this matter? I worship at the altar of science. It is my God. So why hadn’t I thought, or heard, of this?

Dr. Santos noticed from her Ivy League perch: kids were psyched coming into Yale, but once they got there, their lives were fucking not great. Stress, anxiety, depression, all the good one. So she created a class called “Psychology of the Good Life,” which instantly became the most popular class in the history of that 300-year-old school. 1,200 students signed up. They had to meet in concert halls, like brain rockstars or celebrity preachers. And the entire course is now offered online FOR FREE!

I decided that not only was I going to take it, I was going to rope in every single one of my nearest and dearest to participate too. Worst case scenario, everybody permanently increases their happiness. Best case scenario, everybody permanently increases their happiness. On Saturday October 19th, the year of Our Lord 2019, we all started the 10 weeks to a better life. And you are most definitely invited to join us on the journey! (It’s a fucking Ivy League class, on how to get fucking happier, and it’s fucking freeeee, come on!)

The journey even thus far has been interesting. Responses have ranged from “No thanks, I don’t have the time,” to utter exuberance. A few times the preconception that they “couldn’t be happier” has come up. I’ll be interested to see how that idea fares. The number of people keeps increasing and now friends’ parents are joining my very own Sid and Diane.

So in addition to taking an SSRI, 5-htp, a balanced diet and exercise (I know I need to add meditation to that, but I keep putting that David Lynch transcendental meditation off), I’m adding The Science of Well-Being. Will my shriveled crusty old man heart grow a size? Am I the Grinch about to take a cutting-edge science-based happiness class? Sure, and you, dear reader, are invited to come along on this shit-show. #happinessgang

Thank you to Malcom Gladwell and Dr. Laurie Santos.

Sorry for the language, mom. 🙂

Take THE SCIENCE OF WELL-BEING online for free now! Visit
https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being for more details.

Samuel Clemens Long is not Mark Twain, in this incarnation. He is a photographer, filmmaker, writer, director, and mischief lover. Visit samclong.com for more information or follow him on Instagram at @samuelclemenslong.

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