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The course, Science of Well-Being for teens, share strategies for a happier life


Depression and anxiety is rising among young people in the U.S..

LAURIE SANTOS: Some surveys say that as high as 37% of teens are experiencing poor mental health. Teen mental health is not great, and it is getting worse over time.


That's Laurie Santos, a psychology professor at Yale and host of the podcast "The Happiness Lab." She started a free online class called "The Science Of Well-Being For Teens" to share strategies for a happier life.

MARTÍNEZ: Santos says that well-intentioned parents often overemphasize getting good grades or getting into a good college, but that may not ensure happiness.

SANTOS: The happier students tend to have the worse grades.

FADEL: What can help is being kinder to yourself.

SANTOS: If that was your friend, you wouldn't give them advice and say, well, you're horrible, you know, why do you suck so much? But this is often the way we talk to ourselves.

MARTÍNEZ: Another piece of advice from Santos is to focus on others.

SANTOS: Happy people tend to be very other-oriented. In other words, they're focused on making the people around them happy. They volunteer more. You know, in adults, they donate more money to charity.

FADEL: And when life gets difficult, remember...

SANTOS: It's normative to feel sad or anxious. The key, though, is just we have to listen to these emotions and know how to regulate them and use them productively.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. So the takeaway, kids - cut yourself some slack, reach out to others and get more sleep. Adults, same goes for you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.