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A psychologist believes he may have found an antidote to the harsh economic times and other bad news: a happiness website.

The CALM (Computer Assisted Learning for the Mind) website focuses on positive psychology and the science of what makes people happy.

Students are able to download audio files giving techniques to manage three sources of long-lasting happiness - mental resilience, healthy relationships and finding meaning in life.

Dr Tony Fernando, of University of Auckland's Department of Psychological Medicine, originally designed the website for medical students.

"A lot of them are incredibly smart and gifted young people, but what they often don't know is there's a very high level of stress [in their academic life].

"And some of them don't have a good coping mechanism."

CALM looks at what makes people genuinely happy.

"There is an ongoing myth that happiness or life satisfaction can be achieved by accumulating wealth and status," Dr Fernando said.

"However, once people become wealthy, they don't necessarily become happy. Cliche as it may sound, happiness is a state of mind that people create."

Dr Fernando, who spent two years developing the project, said happiness was not discovered but developed - and that's where the website could help.

Third-year medical student Phillip Chao is a convert and told the Herald the site helped him most before and during exam time.

"Instead of listening to music or doing other things when I feel like I've had enough of studying, I can go to the CALM website and listen to a few meditation sessions."

However, the 19-year-old, who downloads the audio files to his iPod for convenience, warned it could also be a tool of procrastination.

He said he occasionally used his time on the website to stay away from his books.

The website, initially offered to students in the faculty, is publicly available at www.calm.auckland.ac.nz