Yale’s Happiness Professor Says Anxiety Is Destroying Her Students

Since the Yale cognitive scientist Laurie Santos began teaching her class Psychology and the Good Life in 2018, it has become one of the school’s most popular courses. The first year the class was offered, nearly a quarter of the undergraduate student body enrolled. You could see that as a positive: all these young high-achievers looking to learn scientifically corroborated techniques for living a happier life. But you could also see something melancholy in the course’s popularity: all these young high-achievers looking for something they’ve lost, or never found. Either way, the desire to lead a more fulfilled life is hardly limited to young Ivy Leaguers, and Santos turned her course into a popular podcast series “The Happiness Lab,” which quickly rose above the crowded happiness-advice field. (It has been downloaded more than 64 million times.) “Why are there so many happiness books and other happiness stuff and people are still not happy?” asks Santos, who is 46. “Because it takes work! Because it’s hard!”

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