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Lux and Happiness

Amid the frenzy of papers and projects, some Yalies are working seriously on their happiness.

Margarita Mooney ’95, an associate research scientist in the sociology department, has started something she calls the Calhoun Happiness Project in Calhoun College, where she's a resident fellow. It's based on notions from positive psychology about taking concrete actions to increase daily happiness.

About 20 students have joined the project, which has three components, Mooney writes: reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin ’89, ’94JD; making resolutions "to improve your happiness" (exercise, play music, get more sleep); and building relationships "by discussing how you are doing in your happiness project and learning about others’ journeys to authentic well-being."

Last night, at the group's fourth meeting,"we discussed the meaning of flow—being so engrossed in an activity that time feels like it has stopped—and how busy, high-achieving students can get more flow in their daily lives," Mooney notes in a blog post.

One answer, ironically, seems to be: multitask. Assigned to find a "buddy" to help them stick to their resolutions, "students wanted to pick a 'buddy' who was a stranger, not a friend they already had," Mooney says. "Their reasoning was that one of the objectives of the Calhoun Happiness Project at Yale was to make a new friend." In other words, kill two happiness birds with one joyful stone.

Mooney hopes teach a Yale course on "The Happy Society." Let's hope it's well-attended, proving that happiness loves company.

Filed under Margarita Mooney, happiness
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