Category Archives: Research

The Science of Well-Being – Free Happiness course offered by Yale University offers many excellent courses – many of them for free!

Currently they are offering, “The Science of Well-Being”, starting on July 23rd, Although you can take this course and pay the tuition fee, it is also offered at no charge provided the student is not looking for an educational credit at the end. The majority (if not all) of the content is available for free and includes videos and articles.

Here is their description of the course:

About this course: “The Science of Well-Being” taught by Professor Laurie Santos overviews what psychological science says about happiness. The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy but also to put those strategies into practice. The first part of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The next part of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits. The last part of the course gives learners time, tips, and social support to work on the final assignment which asks learners to apply one wellness activity aka “Rewirement” into their lives for four weeks.


Although I have not taken this course myself (yet!), I have taken other Coursera courses and thoroughly enjoyed them. If you are looking for strategies to increase your happiness, you might want to give this a try!

Gratitude For What We Don’t Want?? What Is That About??

Gratitude for the blessings and abundance in our lives is a simple, wonderful way to be present in the moment. Gratitude helps us become more joyful, and more receptive to the small but bountiful things that fill our day, but typically slip under the radar because we are too busy thinking about all the “other” things that have to be done.

So if we find we are too preoccupied to be grateful for the good things in life – how (and WHY??) would we ever be grateful for the “bad stuff” that happens”?? Why on earth would we be thankful for the things we don’t want??

Here is a perspective on WHY gratitude for the difficult things in life, can help turn “bad” into “better”


Why are we restless and anxious?

Matt Killingsworth

Are our brains “wired” for anxiety and restlessness, rather than happiness and contentment?

Dr. Matt Killingsworth examines this question and comes up with some surprising answers, at a 2012 TED talk, “Want to be happier? Stay in the moment”

Watch this short, thought-provoking video and see if it changes your mind about mind-wandering !


“Taking in the Good”, a Guided Meditation by Dr. Rick Hanson

Dr. Rick Hanson, PhD and neuropsychologist, has recorded this guided meditation on, “Taking in the Good.” We enjoyed it in our third class when we discussed the topic of gratitude – feel free to play it again and again, and use it in your daily meditation if you find this particular approach resonates with you!

This meditation is from his CD set, “Meditations to Change Your Brain” which is available for loan from the Scugog Memorial Public Library, or for purchase. Alternatively, the whole set is available (like this one) on YouTube.

When you are meditating, please remember when thoughts or emotions arise during your session (as they inevitably will): 

  • Witness them – don’t resist them – but don’t participate in them either
  • Accept your thoughts and emotions just as they are – No Judgement
  • Take some time to experience the emotions without “feeding them”
  • Breathe in to them, then try to let them go

Why meditate?

meditation (1)Stressed? Depressed? Chronic pain and inflammation?

Researchers have found that meditation not only reduces your stress levels and calms you, it can also reduce inflammation in your body and boost your immune system.

The result? A decrease in depression; less inflammation; less pain; fewer infections; better physical health.

Sound waaaaaay out there? Click on this link to check out what WebMD says!