I have just done the first week of a really interesting free online course, “The Science of Happiness” – by Berkeley on the edx platform. (You should take a look – there is an endless stream of excellent free learning opportunities)
This course looks at positive psychology and some of the evidence based methods which could help people to live happier lives.
It is enlightening to be given the opportunity to examine my beliefs about happiness, and unpick some of the habits and patterns in my life which get in the way of being as happy as I can. You are asked to add your thoughts to discussion forums as the course goes along, so it’s also interesting to engage with other people’s reactions to the course content.
The first happiness practice they give is daily recognitions of the positives, like my “Friday five” (which I really should try harder to do regularly!) – but in this case it is “the three goods”. There is also a discussion of research suggesting a ratio of three positive emotions to one negative is required to be able to maintain a happy state. Other concepts introduced are the importance of mindfulness, kindness, and gratitude.
All of which has me revisiting some of the tenets of Buddhism, which I have long found interesting in the search for a peaceful mind. Somewhere we need to find a way to accept our woes, and let go of the negativity which can build and fester. To find a way to look on life with love and benevolence, even if it looks back at you with anger and hate.
Anyway – I am looking forward to the next nine weeks, I don’t think it’s too late to sign up if you like the sound of it.