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I just finished Yale’s class on happiness — here are the 6 tricks that have already worked


I chose meditation, a practice I tried to pick up a couple times in the past few years, but it never stuck. Yet through some newfound willpower, along with the consistency of a daily homework assignment, I built up a 4-week streak (okay, I admit, I missed one day) and learned how to maintain a meditation habit.

Let’s be clear, I am no expert meditator — I’m a beginner, for sure — but I see the value now in sticking with it. And I have stuck with it — it’s been a week since the class ended and I’m still meditating every day. The class taught me that our brains are wired to wander, so meditation is becoming a way for me to flex a bit of mind control. Plus, look at some of the words I wrote down to describe my mindset post-meditation each day: mellow, calm, quiet, energized, focused, settled, creative.

All that from just sitting quietly and focusing on breathing for 15-20 minutes a day.

That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m happier, you may argue. Well, lots of research says the opposite and backs me up here. Meditation can lead to more positive moods, better concentration and also can lead to more feelings of social connection.

Read more: Neuroscience shows that 50-year-olds can have the brains of 25-year-olds if they sit quietly and do nothing for 15 minutes a day

Forming a new habit is tough. You have to decide that it’s important enough to you and then find the time in your day. It takes discipline, but people make time for the things that are important.

Which way will work for you? Experiment a bit. Taking a class really worked for me. It made me accountable. If you like the sound of that, try out the free Coursera class.

Happiness can be learned.

To review, here are five strategies from the “happiness” class that have been helpful for me, all based on psychological science.



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