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18,500 sign up to learn more about the science of health and happiness

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More than 18,500 people have signed up for ‘The Science of Health and Happiness’ – a free online public course at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Presented by the RCSI Centre for Positive Psychology and Health, this free 10-week course explores how the principles of positive psychology and lifestyle medicine can be used to improve our health and optimise our well-being.

The course covers a range of topics, including whole person health, strengths, mindfulness and meditation, as well as obstacles and paths to happiness. It also examines happiness throughout the life-cycle and shares strategies aimed at fostering health and happiness in childhood and adolescence and in ageing.

Professor Ciaran O’Boyle, Director of the RCSI Centre for Positive Psychology and Health, said: "The COVID crisis has accelerated a global focus on health and well-being. We already know that the virus will have far-reaching and long-lasting implications, not least on our resilience and mental health. We are very interested in the idea that while adversity is difficult when we are going through it, adversity can also make us stronger.

"We are looking at what science has to tell us about increasing our happiness. The key idea here is to provide the scientific underpinning for thinking about our health and our happiness. There is a lot of misinformation out there, particularly on social media. We want to give people information that was authoritative that they can rely on to improve their health and their well-being.”

Dr Trudy Meehan, Senior Clinical Psychologist specialising in child and adolescent mental health, and lecturer at the RCSI Centre for Positive Psychology and Health, said: "There is a need out there. People are feeling a little bit lost. Government, policy makers and society at large need to take into account that there is a desire, need and an appetite out there if more than 18,000 people are willing to sit down, pay attention and give their time. It means it is important to a lot of people.”

Consisting of 10 online lectures, released at a rate of one per week, this flexible course is free of charge and open to anyone interested in improving their health and well-being. Visit the course page for more information or to sign up.

The RCSI Centre for Positive Psychology and Health was established in 2019 in response to the increasing prevalence of diseases associated with lifestyle and the growing evidence of the role of psychological factors in optimising health and well-being.