The Psychology of Happiness

JMU professor’s online course hits the sweet spot.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a James Madison University professor’s “happiness” course has found quite an audience during the pandemic. Since its inception in January, psychology professor Jaime Kurtz’s “The Psychology of Happiness” course has gained a 4.7 rating out of 5 on the online audiobook and podcast service Audible.

“I’m proud of it. I think it came out well,” says Kurtz, who teaches and researches the science of happiness and positive psychology. She is also the author of The Happy Traveler: Unpacking the Secrets of Better Vacations (Oxford University Press, 2017).

In 10 lessons, which run a total of nearly five hours, Kurtz outlines the physical and emotional benefits that a boost of happiness can bring. She invites participants to access those benefits with a range of science-based strategies that help cultivate more happiness in everyday life.

Kurtz wrote the course’s script last summer as part of a partnership between Audible and The Great Courses, and recorded it in late September. “They didn’t want to get too into the nitty-gritty of the research, but practical tips. I enjoyed trying to hit that balance of both,” Kurtz says.


This article originally appeared in the August 2021 issue.

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