Healthy Mind

Sign Me Up for This Free Online Course From Yale To Deal With Stress During Uncertain Times Like, Yesterday

Photo: Getty Images / Oscar Wong
Human beings crave certainty, and that can be tricky to navigate when we have no clue what even the next few weeks, let alone the next few years will hold. (You might have even lost count of the number of times you’ve heard the phrase “uncertain times” since the onset of the pandemic, which has largely been characterized by that exact uncomfortable feeling.) If you're no stranger to uncertainty anxiety, though, there are tools that may help, including Yale’s free online eight-week course, “Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty & Stress,” which serves as social and emotional learning training.

Social and emotional learning training helps folks with “skills including self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship management, and responsible decision-making,” says Marc Brackett, PhD, who teaches the course and is the director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and author of Permission to Feel, which encourages people to give emotions their due credit. The course is based on decades of research on emotions, resilience, and human development, and Dr. Brackett says it's intended to support healthy emotional regulation among educators so they can better support themselves and, in turn, their students.

While that means the course is designed for educators, Dr. Brackett says anyone can benefit from taking it, given that most people have room for improvement when it comes to social and emotional learning. “Emotions matter for everything,” he says. “How we feel drives our attention, learning, decision-making, relationships, mental health, creativity, and academic [and] workplace performance.”

“How we feel drives our attention, learning, decision-making, relationships, mental health, creativity, and academic [and] workplace performance.”  —Marc Brackett, PhD

In understanding the reality that emotions drive so many components of our life, says Dr. Brackett, folks may consider how to work with rather than against the ways in which they feel. Social and emotional learning training can help with exactly that. Per the course's description, those enrolled can expect to be equipped “with the knowledge, skills, and strategies to understand and manage their emotions and those of their students.”

Though the virtual course is designed to be taken in eight weeks, students can move through its eight lessons at their own pace (which should take approximately 10 hours to complete in total). Lessons focus on a variety of tips to help strengthen social and emotional muscles, including understanding why emotions matter, learning how to identify them, managing emotions, identifying others' emotions, and more.

Still not convinced that the free social and emotional learning training course is worth your time? Well, considering the positive feedback from some of the 100,000 people who have registered might change your mind. According to one five-star review from March 2021, “the tools, language, and resources shared in this course were very helpful in improving my well-being and learning how to become a person that can help colleagues and, most importantly, our students.” And another, also from March 2021, shared that the training was “a great introduction to emotional intelligence and how to use tools to help you manage your emotions. This course is truly inspiring to anyone who is interested in an ‘emotion revolution.’”

The free virtual Ivy League learning opportunities don't end with this course, either. You might also consider Yale's “Science of Well-Being” course and the University of Pennsylvania’s “Foundations of Positive Psychology.” In these uncertain times, it can't hurt to register for all three.

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