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Tabitha Kirkland was interviewed about happiness and positive psychology in this article from The Daily.

Learning happiness in a lecture hall

Positive psychology and mindfulness are important in increasing students’ quality of life

By Rachel Morgan The Daily

It’s midterm season. Or it’s finals season. Or it’s just Wednesday. Regardless, life is falling apart. That essay you never started that was assigned weeks ago is due tomorrow. Your friends invited you out to eat but you are too busy, so you are left out of the fun. Sleep is a joke at this point, since you barely got four hours of it last night. It’s the culture of college: stressed out, missing out, and worn out. But we can’t help it. That’s how it has to be, right?

Turns out, it doesn’t have to be that way. The surprising thing is students can improve their quality of life by learning how to reduce stress and increase happiness in a classroom.

Beginning this semester at Yale University, PSYC 157:“Psychology and the Good Life”appeared on the register. The class, taught by professor Laurie Santos, aims to teach students how to live happier, less stressful lives.

While she expected high interest, Santos did not realize how popular the class would be. Enrollment in the course rests at approximately 1,200 students, or one-fourth of the school’s undergraduate population, making it the largest course offered in Yale history. A course this size has the potential to make a huge, positive impact on students’ lives by encouraging less procrastination and more social connections, according to Santos.

The core course material is on the teaching of positive psychology; essentially, happiness. Students had been requesting a class on positive psychology for a while, and teachers on other campuses, particularly at the UW, can see the benefits as well.

Tabitha Kirkland of the psychology department has been pioneering a course focusing on happiness and positive psychology for a few years. This quarter, she is teaching PYSCH 448: “Happiness.”

The course is in the pilot stages of development and is being tested as a special topics seminar offered to only psychology majors. The current enrollment is approximately 40 students. Kirkland is hoping to transition a version of the course into a larger class in the future.

Read the entire article here