The pursuit of happiness - Bristol launches its first ‘Happiness Course’


By Laura Reid, University Correspondent

Today, on World Mental Health Day, the University of Bristol has become the first UK university to launch a ‘Science of Happiness’ course.

Bristol has today launched a 10 week course which will explore what happiness really is and how we can fully achieve it. The optional course is designed to help Bristol students achieve fulfilment and flourish, and aims to teach practices for happiness which can be easily applied in everyday life.

The course is aimed at all students across the University, and is an exciting opportunity to delve into the science of what makes us happy. The course covers topics including: how our minds distort happiness, what role culture plays in influencing happiness and whether happiness is in our genes. It is based on the latest research in psychology and neuroscience.

The University’s press release states: ‘Bristol’s new course was inspired by Yale University’s highly-successful ‘Psychology and Good Life’ course - the most popular in its history, with one in four students enrolling.’

The course will be led by Professor Bruce Hood, a leading psychologist. Professor Hood has said, “Ultimately, the aim of this course is to give students a greater understanding of what happiness is and how the human mind often sabotages happiness. Greater awareness amongst the student body will equip students to pre-empt and improve the mental health of themselves and others.”

The course launches today on World Mental Health Day. It comes at an important time for mental health at Bristol, amongst the University’s new support service implementations and a growing demand for better wellbeing services. As a recent report from the IPPR has shown, 94 percent of universities have experienced a sharp increase in the amount of people trying to access support services.

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Judith Squires said: “We’re really excited to launch this new course, which is pioneering in the UK. We hope it will be hugely beneficial to our students, not just during their time at university but throughout their lives.”

The course will be running again in second term, so those who missed it this time around can sign up next time.

Featured Image: Unsplash / Laura Pratt

Have you enrolled on the course? Let us know.