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Focusing on the greater good — and personal happiness

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What does “living well” really mean? It’s a big question, and one tackled daily by experts at the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC).

UC Berkeley psychology Dacher Keltner co-founded the GGSC in 2001, thanks to the generosity of alumni Thomas and Ruth Ann Hornaday, who envisioned an interdisciplinary research center that would focus on the science of inner and interpersonal peace — and share that knowledge with the public. (Learn more about the Center’s history.)

Today, the GGSC produces a variety of programs and initiatives, including Greater Good magazine; The Science of Happiness podcast; a video series for parents; a collection of online well-being practices called Greater Good in Action; and a number of free online workshops and courses, including The Science of Happiness.

These resources are a fabulous opportunity for anyone interested in using research-based strategies to boost their emotional well-being. Another bonus? When you participate alongside UC colleagues, you support your mutual well-being and foster a workplace culture of happiness, gratitude and collaboration.

Be happier at work

One particularly relevant resource from the Center is The Science of Happiness at Work, a three-course professional certificate that teaches the hallmarks and benefits of a happy workplace — as proven through scientific research and demonstrated through real-life case studies — along with strategies for fostering a positive organizational culture. Courses include:

Each course is self-paced, allowing attendees to work through the course material in a comfortable and thoughtful way. The full program experience, including three courses, typically takes about two to four months (8-28 hours). The cost is $447 and participants earn a professional certificate upon completion.

If you’re interested in learning more, but aren’t able to commit to completing the full professional certificate, you can also audit shortened versions of each class at no charge by indicating this preference during the registration process.

Watch a video to learn more about the program

Measuring progress

The Center’s impact has been far-reaching and positive. An impressive 99% of audience members have reported greater knowledge of well-being and 95% credit the Center for an increase in their overall well-being. Center researchers have charted results of “The Science of Happiness” course on participants and note a week-by-week positive trajectory — even after the course is complete. 

“Feedback on our Science of Happiness at Work courses suggest that the learning experience helps students in several key ways,” says course co-instructor and GGSC science director Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D. “Students feel validated and driven to take action by the hard evidence — from several different disciplines — that happiness at work leads to bottom-line advantages, like higher productivity and profit margins. They say they’re using our PERK organizing framework to guide strategy towards upskilling happiness at work.”

“And,” Simon-Thomas explains, “they often share impressive gains after trying activities, exercises or practices from the courses at work, to tough issues like time-management, collegiality and engagement. There’s a palpable appreciation of the learning community and the collective momentum that this worldwide student body can contribute to improving happiness at work for everyone.”

To learn more about the Center, visit ggsc.berkeley.edu and consider subscribing to the Center’s many newsletters.

Have questions? Learn how to contact the Center.

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