Students Claim to Be Happier After Attending Bristol University’s Happiness Course
United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News by Erudera News Mar 25, 2021
1,000 students at the University of Bristol have completed the course in “science of happiness” the first one of its kind in the country, that intends to help students with their mental health struggles, which have experienced an increase due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students learned about psychology and the neuroscience of happiness during the three-month course, and the 1,000 participants claimed they felt happier than before they started to attend the happiness classes, Erudera.com reports.
Students don’t have to take exams for the course but completing it provides them with 20 academic credits, which is one-sixth of what a student at the University of Bristol needs in order to pass the first year.
The participants were assigned tasks such as performing an act of kindness, taking time to savor an experience, chatting to a stranger, exercising, sleeping well, even writing a thank you letter.
“I knew the students would enjoy the lectures as the content is so fascinating, but I was truly astounded to discover the positive impact on their mental wellbeing,” Professor Bruce Hood, leader of the course, said.
The University of Bristol launched the course to ease students’ mental state since an increase in worrying and mental health problems has been evident lately in the UK.
Universities UK, the joint universities advocates, called on the government to offer students support after the National Statistics Study showed that two-thirds of students had reported mental health issues during the academic year.
The University of Bristol’s pro-vice-chancellor for student experience, Sarah Purdy, said that offering a non-gradable or examined course was a new university approach.
“It was a recognition that equipping students with the skills they need to stay mentally resilient is at least as important as giving them the knowledge they need for their future careers,” Provost Purdy asserted.
According to a study conducted by the course, the first participating group who attended the classes at the end of 2019 had an evident better mental wellbeing than a pilot group.
The second group, which took the course during the Covid crisis, did not report being happier, but they were evaluated as more resilient than a random group.
The third group was held online due to lockdown restrictions, and although there was no control group, students reported that their sense of wellbeing had improved.
A first-year film and television student who participated in the course claims that it helped her feel more content, and she continues using the meditation methods from the course.
“It’s made me feel more conscious of my happiness. I’ve thought a lot about success and happiness. Lots of people think they will be happy if they are successful. We can turn it around – if we are happy, we are more likely to be successful.”
Results of the study also reveal that most of the participants came from a white background, were females, and some students could partake because of timetabling issues.
Based on data provided by the American College Health Association (ACHA), the suicide rate in 15-24 year-olds in the US has tripled. Since 2018, suicide became the second cause of death among young adults. The first cause of young adult deaths is accidents.
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