How to be happy    It's an age-old question and the subject of a growing field of psychology research. College courses focused on how to be happy have made headlines for their popularity at universities around the country and The University of New Mexico is no exception. UNM’s course on positive psychology is one of the University’s most popular classes and has even been shown to increase happiness and well-being in students who take it.

Bruce Smith
Bruce W. Smith

This week’s episode of It’s (Probably) Not Rocket Science features Bruce Smith, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology and positive psychology researcher, discussing proven positive psychology exercises, strategies, and interventions for living a happier life. Smith has taught the Positive Psychology course since 2005. He’s also published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles and chapters in journals on topics related to mindfulness interventions, resilience, the hero’s journey, and more, as well as a workbook titled “From Surviving to Thriving,” which teaches readers how to develop resilience and improve their lives and mental health.

In the episode, Smith walks listeners through some of the exercises students use in class and explains how they might be implemented in the workplace or someone’s personal life. Tips and strategies explored in the episode include gratitude practices, identifying strengths, framing adversity as a hero’s journey, imagining our best possible life, and more.

The episode also provides an introduction to the subfield of positive psychology in advance of the Western Positive Psychology Association’s conference, which will be held on UNM’s campus later this month.

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