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    The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

    You might think you know what it takes to lead a happier life… more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations. You’re dead wrong. Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos has studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better. Based on the psychology course she teaches at Yale -- the most popular class in the university’s 300-year history -- Laurie will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will change the way you think about happiness.

    enPushkin Industries170 Episodes

    Episodes (170)

    The Happiness of the Long Distance Runner

    The Happiness of the Long Distance Runner

    Georgia Bell was a great runner as a child - but in college she fell out of love with the sport. She hung up her running shoes - and they gathered dust until Covid hit and she began to run again for fun. Turns out that aged 30, she's one of the fastest women in the world and is now headed to the Olympics!

    Georgia tells Dr Laurie Santos how she regained her enthusiasm for the 1500m race - and reflects on the happiness lessons she's picked up in her dramatic return to the very pinnacle of her sport.  

    Check out more Olympics related content from Pushkin Industries and iHeartPodcasts here.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    How Talking to a Friend Helps (Live at The International Festival of Arts and Ideas)

    How Talking to a Friend Helps (Live at The International Festival of Arts and Ideas)

    Making shows about her own happiness challenges was both fun and instructive for Dr Laurie, but it also took guts to be so vulnerable and open. She later spoke to her close friend at Yale Dr Tamar Gendler about the experience. This private chat threw up lots of interesting insights, so when the duo were asked to speak at the 2024 International Festival of Arts and Ideas... they decided to share parts of that private conversation with the public.  

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    A Matter of Life and Death

    A Matter of Life and Death

    Dr Laurie HATES thinking about her own death. It's scary, creepy and morbid, right? Wrong. Thinking about our finite lives can makes us better, happier people.  The shadow of death makes us behave more kindly towards others, and can motivate us both to enjoy the little joys of life and seek out greater fulfilment in our careers and in our relationships. 

    But you need to look death square in the face - and that's not easy for a thanatophobe like Dr Laurie. To help her, she enlists psychologist Jodi Wellman (author of You Only Die Once: How to Make It to the End with No Regrets) and death doula Alua Arthur (author of  Briefly Perfectly Human: Making an Authentic Life by Getting Real About the End).

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    Why Don't We Have a 15-hour Work Week?

    Why Don't We Have a 15-hour Work Week?

    By 2030 we'll only work 15 hours a week, predicted the legendary economist John Maynard Keynes back in 1930. He thought advances in technology and wealth would let us earn enough money to live in a day or two - leaving the rest of the week for leisure and community service. 

    How wrong he was. We seem to be working more than ever - with technology adding extra tasks to our workdays (like answering emails and monitoring Slack). Dr Laurie longs for more leisure time, but how can she tame her fear of being "unproductive"? 

    Computer scientist Cal Newport explains how we all got into this mess - and why we still treat modern employees as if they were farm laborers or assembly line workers. Reformed "productivity junkie" Oliver Burkeman also offers tips on how to concentrate our minds on fulfilling and important work - and not little tasks that chew up so much of our days. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Does the You of Today Hate the You of Tomorrow?

    Does the You of Today Hate the You of Tomorrow?

    We often do things now that will make our lives more difficult or stressful in the future. We spend money, when we should save. We eat junk food, when we should exercise. We agree to commitments, when we should protect our free time. We act so thoughtlessly that it's almost like we hate our future selves. 

    Dr Laurie asks UCLA's Hal Hershfield to help her find the happiness balance between listening to what she wants now, and the preferences she might have in the future. And she steps into an AI time machine to get some happiness advice for herself decades from today. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    The Power of Awe... and Where to Find it

    The Power of Awe... and Where to Find it

    Awe reduces stress, helps us forget our minor worries and makes us feel more connected to the people around us. We all need more awe in our lives - but surely it's not that easy to find awesome experiences on your average Tuesday?

    Actor Tony Hale explains how everyday awe helps ease his anxieties, while UC Berkeley's Dacher Keltner shows us how to find awe in music, art, scenery... even in a walk around our block. And Dr Laurie explores the things that give her a sense of awe with the help of Mike Menzel - who built a space telescope that lets us see billions of years into the past.  

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    How to Tame Stress

    How to Tame Stress

    Dr Laurie is stressed, and it's harming her health. Constant worry and stress is bad for our bodies and our minds, but how can we break the cycle and relax? It turns out scientists have learned a lot from one of America's most stressed-out communities - caregivers.  

    Hollywood star Steve Guttenberg talks about the toughest chapter of his life - caring for his dying dad - and Dr Elissa Epel explains why some caregivers suffer badly from stress, while others seem to find ways to live with the awful situation they find themselves in daily.  

    Further reading:

    Steve Guttenberg - Time to Thank: Caregiving for My Hero.

    Dr Elissa Epel - The Stress Prescription: Seven Days to More Joy and Ease

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    How I Stopped Fearing Boredom

    How I Stopped Fearing Boredom

    Dr Laurie HATES boredom! Since childhood she's found it so painful that she'll do anything to avoid being bored. She'll watch crappy TV. She'll find extra work to do. She'll snack. But boredom is actually an incredibly useful tool to boost our happiness and creativity.  

    With the help of leading boredom experts, Dr Laurie learns how to embrace doing nothing and finds that in the midst of tedium our brains can come up with the most amazing breakthrough ideas. 

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    How to Fight Perfectionism

    How to Fight Perfectionism

    Holding yourself to impossibly high standards is self-defeating and makes for a miserable life. Can Dr Laurie Santos find ways to tackle her constant perfectionism so she can perform better and have more fun? 

    She hears from researcher Thomas Curran about a worrying growth in perfectionism in society, and asks "recovering perfectionist" Jordana Confino how to tackle the nagging voice in your head telling you to always push yourself and work harder.  

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    My Personal Struggle to be Happy (Coming June 3)

    My Personal Struggle to be Happy (Coming June 3)

    Sometimes the happiness teacher flunks her own class. In a deeply personal new season, Dr Laurie Santos opens up about the things she really, really struggles with. Things like crippling perfectionism, chronic stress and a paralyzing fear of death. 

    With the help of world-class experts, a Hollywood star and a host of normal people who grapple with the same issues, Dr Laurie will face up to her own happiness demons and try to defeat them. 

    Coming June 3, wherever you get your podcasts. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Happiness Through Generosity : Liz Dunn on The TED Interview

    Happiness Through Generosity : Liz Dunn on The TED Interview

    Liz Dunn is a regular guest on The Happiness Lab, but in this extended interview with TED's Chris Anderson she take us on a deep dive into her research. It shows that by increasing our generosity and by giving to others we can significantly boost our own happiness. 

    Listen to more episodes of The TED Interview wherever you get your podcasts.  

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    Unlock Your Hidden Potential with Adam Grant and Maya Shankar

    Unlock Your Hidden Potential with Adam Grant and Maya Shankar

    A chance to hear a recent episode of A Slight Change of Plans in which Maya Shankar asks psychologist Adam Grant about his new book "Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things". They talk about how to filter out unhelpful feedback, the benefits of imperfectionism, and why we need to give soft skills more respect. 

    Listen to more episodes of A Slight Change of Plans  wherever you get your podcasts. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    Five Tips to be Happier at Work (Dr Laurie at SXSW)

    Five Tips to be Happier at Work (Dr Laurie at SXSW)

    Work is a worry. Are we paid enough? Should we be getting promoted quicker? Is artificial intelligence about to replace us all? 

    Speaking at SXSW 2024, Dr Laurie Santos argues that because of all our career woes we often neglect our happiness. She walks through her top five tips for improving our workplace wellbeing - which will not only make us feel better, but might even cause our salaries to rise!  

    Suggested reading from this episode:

    Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN by Tara Brach

    Slow Productivity: The Lost Art of Accomplishment Without Burnout by Cal Newport

    Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff

    The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It by Christina Maslach

    The Business of Friendship by Shasta Nelson

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    Tame Those Devices: 10 Tips to Achieve Digital Balance

    Tame Those Devices: 10 Tips to Achieve Digital Balance

    Technology is amazing! We can make video calls, find facts in an instant and watch movies on our phones. We take all this for granted, but have we let our screens and devices take over too much of our lives? 

    To mark Digital Wellness Day on May 3, we hear from Amy Blankson (author and "chief evangelist" at the Digital Wellness Institute) about her ten tips to tame our devices at home and in the workplace. 

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    How to Grow After Adversity

    How to Grow After Adversity

    Karen Guggenheim was devastated by the death of her husband, Ricardo. She was alive, but dead to the world around her. Slowly she put her life back together and found growing happiness. To share her insights with others in need, Karen started the World Happiness Summit

    Karen's campaign to spread global happiness is just one example of "post traumatic growth". Clinical psychologist Dr Edith Shiro (author of The Unexpected Gift of Trauma) has worked with many people who have recovered from trauma and grown as a result. She explains how we can give ourselves the best possible chance to experience post traumatic growth.

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    Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day - with Dr Rangan Chatterjee

    Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day - with Dr Rangan Chatterjee

    Medical doctors are waking up to the importance of happiness, partly prompted by the work of people like Rangan Chatterjee. Dr Chatterjee is Professor of Health Education and Communication, the host of the hit podcast 'Feel Better, Live More' and author of five best-selling books including Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day.

    Rangan sat down with Dr Laurie Santos at the 2024 World Happiness Summit to discuss his life and work - and explain why physicians like him are joining the fight to make happiness a health priority.

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    How to Make America's Young People Happier Again

    How to Make America's Young People Happier Again

    The US is sliding down the world happiness rankings - but it's the unhappiness of young people that's really dragging down the average. What has happened to make Gen Z so sad? And what can be done to turn the situation around?

    Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (director of Oxford University’s Wellbeing Research Centre) has been analyzing the figures for the World Happiness Report. He offers advice to young people and parents, and looks at what happy young Lithuanians can teach the rest of the world.

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    Can Happiness Ward Off Dementia?

    Can Happiness Ward Off Dementia?

    Age is the main risk factor for cognitive decline. So with more people around the world living longer, cases of dementia are set to rise. There's currently no cure - but research suggests that happiness can reduce the impact of this awful illness. 

    Psychologist Emily Willroth helped write a chapter on this topic for the 2024 World Happiness Report - and explains how making friends, helping others and engaging in fun physical activities can slow cognitive decline, even when the disease has taken hold.  

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    What Can We Learn From the Happiest Country on Earth?

    What Can We Learn From the Happiest Country on Earth?

    There are certain nations which always top the rankings in the World Happiness Report. What are they doing right, that other countries are getting wrong? And what can you do to make your home country happier?

    John Helliwell of the World Happiness Report explains how things like wealth, freedom and friendship combine to make a happy society - and how tiny changes in your home, neighborhood or workplace can have a huge national impact. 

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    Pushkin Hosts Celebrate World Happiness Day

    Pushkin Hosts Celebrate World Happiness Day

    The Happiness Lab’s Dr. Laurie Santos brings together other Pushkin hosts to mark the International Day of Happiness. Revisionist History’s Malcolm Gladwell talks about the benefits of the misery of running in a Canadian winter. Dr. Maya Shankar from A Slight Change of Plans talks about quieting her mental chatter. And Cautionary Tales host Tim Harford surprises everyone with the happiness lessons to be learned from a colonoscopy.

    Hear more of The Happiness Lab HERE.

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