Keeping Yourself Happy During Learning For University Students

Whilst I fully admit this is a strange blog post idea, because no one ever thinks about their happiness when they’re learning, when I started to think more and more about the topic, I realised this was a small but very powerful topic that could make an important difference to your learning and, by extension, grades.

We all know that being happy is important because when we’re happy (or at least contempt) our engagement is high, we’re motivated to focus on what we’re doing and generally speaking we concentrate and learn more. Making it important to look at happiness when we talk about learning, as without happiness our learning suffers.

Note: however, I must encourage you to read or listen to this article on my website because it talks about myths around happiness and why you shouldn’t be sad about not being happy. For the purposes of this blog post, happiness can be interchanged with contempt and any positive emotion that will enhance your learning. As well as this post on The Importance of Feeling Good and Self-Satisfaction In Learning is worth reading too.

How Can You Keep Yourself Happy Whilst Learning?

Keep It Visually Interesting

Whilst this isn’t a tip that works for me, I know it works for a lot of people so I need to mention it. A lot of people like to use coloured pens, highlighters and more colourful things to keep their learning interesting for them, and the colours make them happy.

This is a great tip because it means it keeps people engaged, interested and they want to be learning so they can continue to use the colours. That’s critical!

In learning you should want to continue with your learning because you want to. We’ve all been in situations when we want to continue but because the topic is boring, we don’t. So using colours and keeping it interesting is a great workaround.

Overall, when it comes to keeping up happiness, and by extension engagement, focus and concentration, keeping it visually interesting is a great tip.

Be Tidy and Smart (Environmental Factors)

These environmental factors, like the tidiness of your desk, how you’re dressed and more, really do impact your learning and I’m surprised how students with messy desks can learn effectively.

Because in my experience, I learn best when I have a clean desk that isn’t full of distractions, well-lit (otherwise I find the darkness drains my interest) and I’m not struggling to move because my desk or work area is packed full of rubbish.

All in all, I want you to understand that when you want to learn make sure you aren’t in a place that’s full of distractions and isn’t optimised for your learning.

At the end of the day, only you know what works for you. But for me I don’t like to study or learn in a dark, distraction-filled space because I’m not happy in that situation and my engagement, focus and concentration decreases to the point that I don’t learn anymore.

Pressure and Active-Class

Another factor we can all relate to is pressure and this always sucks the joy out of learning or it makes us unhappy. I’m talking about the times when we have lots of things to do, like 5 chapters to read, two essays and 3 seminars to prepare for. (I’m glad I’ve never been in that position before)

This pressure means we get concerned about the fact we have so much to do, we don’t know if we can get it all done and we get sad about it!

We don’t enjoy having all of this pressure.

Thankfully, this is extremely rare to have that much pressure but you get the general idea, having other things on our mind can make us not happy during learning.

This is where Active-Class is useful, as it can help students organise and schedule their workload, helping you to work and plan effectively plan effectively.

The effect of being in happy and positive mindsets, aided by Active-Class, should not be understated as it cannot only benefit learning but other aspects of life too. Read here for insights into university mindsets, or here for what to do if you find yourself in a negative mindset or struggling with mental health.


Even after writing this post I still admit this isn’t an area that’s often thought about during learning. We always focus on concentration, distractions, focus and more, but we never look at how we feel when we learn. That’s important to think about because if you aren’t happy or contempt during learning then the other factors like engagement, focus, and concentration will fail.

Therefore, at the end of this blog post, I want to stress that you should keep your learning visually interesting and focus on your learning environment. At an institute level, the utilisation of tools such as Active-Class could benefit your students’ learning in a very positive way.

And perhaps the most important reason to be happy whilst learning is, life’s too short to be sad when learning, so find a way to have fun and be happy!

Connor Whiteley
Connor Whiteley

Psychology student and Podcaster