The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos
The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos
About 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. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries.
Educator and author Simran Jeet Singh is Sikh. Most of his fellow Americans have no idea what Sikhism is - causing some to treat Simran with suspicion and hostility. But one of the key teachings of his religion is that all things and all people are connected - something that offers Simran comfort and hope in even the darkest moments. In the first of a two-part show, Dr Laurie Santos talks to Simran about his book - The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life - and finds that the centuries-old traditions of Sikhism map surprisingly well over the latest happiness science. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We often think of yoga as a physical exercise - but a centuries-old Sanskrit text, The Yoga Sutras, share teachings intended to improve both the body and mind. The author, Patanjali, makes clear that the poses and stretches are only part of picture - we also need to be kind, contemplative and grounded. Jessamyn Stanley (yoga teacher and author of Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance) takes Dr Laurie Santos through Patanjali's text - saying its lessons "can be applied in every circumstance, no matter who you are or where you are". See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
In Virgil's epic poem, The Aeneid, few Trojans survive the destruction of their city at the hands of their Greek enemies. A prince, Aeneas, leads a band of those fleeing Troy - but the journey is fraught with deadly storms and hungry monsters. But Aeneas takes a positive view of the struggles he and the other Trojans face, telling them to be proud of their resilience and courage. With the help of MIT classics professor Stephanie Frampton, Dr Laurie Santos explores how The Aeneid can be read as a tale of post-traumatic growth and how we can sometimes emerge happier and stronger from tragic events. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Achilles has anger issues. The great Greek warrior sits out most of the Trojan War because he's angrily sulking. When he finally enters battle, he does so in a fit of rage that causes him to commit atrocities and bring dishonor on himself. So what can we learn from this angry character in Homer's epic poem, The Iliad? With the help of Harvard classics expert Greg Nagy and anger counsellor Dr Faith Harper, we look at how anger can creep up on us and what we can do to defuse this sometimes explosive emotion. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Greek thinker Socrates was put to death for encouraging his students to question everything - from their own beliefs to the laws and customs of Athenian society. But his ideas didn't die with him. Here's a chance to hear two episodes from our archive examining the legacy of Socrates, and how he influenced the thinking of Plato and Aristotle. Turns out the Ancient Greeks had a lot to say about how to live a happier life. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Question everything... that's a key insight from the great Greek philosopher Socrates. We may think we know ourselves and what makes us happy... but that's not always true. Yale professor Tamar Gendler says that by harnessing our "inner Socrates" we can ask ourselves why we think or feel certain things. We might then find that deeply-held convictions that money or status or accolades are a reliable route to happiness aren't correct, and can then start to pursue the things that might really make us happier. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We're surrounded by noise. That "noise" can be actual sounds - but also other annoyances and distractions that make it hard for us to concentrate or think clearly. And it's only getting worse - we're all being bombarded with more sirens, more pings, more chatter, more information. And then there are our internal monologues. Silence is just harder to come by. Leigh Marz and Justin Zorn (co-authors of Golden: The Power of Silence in a World of Noise) join Dr Laurie Santos to discuss the benefits of silence and how we can all seek out more moments of quiet and recognise their value. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We can put huge amounts of physical and emotional energy into our jobs - even basing our self-worth on our achievements at work and letting ourselves be defined by what we do. So have our careers taken over too much of our lives? Simone Stolzoff (author of The Good Enough Job: Reclaiming Life from Work) argues that we should stop hunting for the "perfect" job - that idealized career that will prove to others how smart, industrious or virtuous we are - and instead find an occupation that allows to us live happier and more rounded lives that don't revolve only around work. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Lots of us hit the gym in January to get fit - but should we also be exercising our minds in preparation for tough times? A daily "self-talk workout" might be just as beneficial as squats and push-ups, says Seattle University psychology professor Rachel Turow. By practicing simple self-compassion exercises each day - such as breathing techniques - we can prepare for future challenges when we'll need those tools to help us tackle crippling self-criticism or paralyzing sorrow. Further reading: The Self Talk Workout by Rachel Turow See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Everyone has a view about what you should eat and how much. We're so bombarded with fad diets, fasting plans and nutritional advice that we can bounce from one way of eating to another without stopping to think: "What do I want to eat?" Psychotherapist Andrea Wachter endured years of disordered eating and obsessing about her weight, until she decided to heed her inner voice and what her body wanted to consume. She explains to Dr Laurie Santos how so-called intuitive eating can free us from both diets and overeating. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We're often looking into the future... hunting for the "next big thing". That could be an exciting new job or a new relationship. We can get so fixated with these events and the happiness we hope they'll deliver, that we forget to look for joy right now. Actor and author Tony Hale (Veep, The Mysterious Benedict Society, Arrested Development) was always chasing new accomplishments, until he realised he was missing the chance to be happy living in the moment. He used his experience to write one of Dr Laurie Santos's favourite children's books Archibald's Next Big Thing. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Here's a preview of another podcast we love, Ten Percent Happier. Host Dan Harris flies to Dharamsala, India to spend two weeks in the orbit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. This is the first installment of a five-part audio documentary series. Over the course of the episodes, Dan talks to His Holiness about practical strategies for thorny dilemmas, including: how to get along with difficult people; whether compassion can cut it in an often brutal world; why there is a self-interested case for not being a jerk; and how to create social connection in an era of disconnection. He also gets rare insights from the Dalai Lama into everything from the mechanics of reincarnation to His Holiness’s own personal meditation practice. In this first installment, Dan watches as a young activist directly challenges His Holiness: In a world plagued by climate change, terrorism, and other existential threats, is the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion practical — or even relevant? Want more of The Dalai Lama’s Guide to Happiness? Listen to the Ten Percent Happier podcast here. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
At the start of a new year there are plenty of voices telling us to get fit; go on a diet; or supercharge our careers. This advice might be well-intentioned, but it can also be DEAFENING!!! In 2023, try listening to a voice that's often drowned out by all the noise... the voice inside you. From Jan 2, Dr Laurie Santos presents a series of interviews with experts to help you tune in to your inner compass - your intuition. Let it guide your approach to things like work, nutrition and happiness over the coming year. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Money can buy you happiness - but not in the way we think. Giving money away - especially to help others - has been shown make us happier than spending on ourselves. Social psychologist Lara Aknin explains the best ways to spend on loved ones, friends and even total strangers to get the biggest happiness bang for your buck. And Harvard's s Josh Greene reveals how much money Happiness Lab listeners gave to charity via Giving Multiplier last year - and how many lives you saved. To give to a charity of your choice and to some of the most effective charities around (and have your donation matched at a special rate) visit: https://givingmultiplier.org/invite/HAPPINESSLAB The Happiness Lab will return in January 2023. See you then. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
It's tempting to tie a child's shoe lace, tidy their rooms or help with their science projects - to see that these tasks are done right - but parents are depriving their kids of the valuable experience of falling, failing, and f-ing up. Former Stanford dean Julie Lythcott-Haims says these "f words" are vital for children if they are to grow into happy, capable and autonomous adults. While Yale psychologist Julia Leonard warns that interfering too often in a child's life can actually teach them that trying isn't even worth the effort. Further reading: Michaeleen Doucleff - Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy Helpful Humans. Julie Lythcott-Haims - How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. Marty Seligman - Authentic Happiness See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Rosy had a packed schedule of lunches, meet-ups and activities - and she was only three. Mom Michaeleen Doucleff felt she couldn't waste a second of her daughter's time. Rosy needed to be constantly lectured and stimulated if she was going to reach the Ivy League. This style of parenting was exhausting both mother and daughter, until Michaeleen found that not everyone approaches child-rearing in this way. She tells Dr Laurie Santos how she forged a happier and more relaxed relationship with Rosy - that benefited them both. Formed Stanford dean Julie Lythcott-Haims explores how "overparenting" has taken hold in recent decades and why it needs to be challenged. Further reading: Michaeleen Doucleff - Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy Helpful Humans. Malcolm Harris - Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials Julie Lythcott-Haims - How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
When mild-mannered David Banner gets mad he transforms into the raging Incredible Hulk. Dr Laurie Santos loves this comic book tale - because it reflects real life. Intense things like anger, pain, even hunger, can cause us to act in extreme ways that we might not predict beforehand or forgive afterwards. When we're in so-called "hot states" we might become a total stranger to ourselves. This can have a serious impact on our happiness, by stopping us properly planning for how we'll react to strong emotions and causing us to be unfairly harsh on our inner Hulks. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
YOLO seems like the perfect rock 'n' roll philosophy. You only live once... so do whatever seems right in the moment. Be spontaneous. Quit your job; find a new person to date; and always, always keep your options open. We all fear getting stuck in the wrong occupation, relationship or home - so shun fully committing to anything. But we're misguided. The man who coined the term YOLO - the Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart - tells Dr Laurie Santos that throwing yourself fully into a life choice is the best way to live our precious life. Further reading: Pete Davis - Dedicated: The Case for Commitment in an Age of Infinite Browsing. Dan Gilbert - Stumbling on Happiness. Barry Schwartz - The Paradox of Choice. Further Listening: Try Mickey Hart's new album with Planet Drum “In the Groove". See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
There is nothing hotter than Puckerbutt Farm’s Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce... and author Leigh Cowart gargles it for FUN!!! Why do we sometimes get a happiness high from painful and scary things? And what if we want to experience the fun of discomfort and danger... but without the risk of coming to real harm? With the help of Leigh, psychology professor Paul Bloom and the Yale philosopher Tamar Gendler, Dr Laurie Santos finds out how we can fool ourselves into reaping all the benefits of danger without actually being in peril. For further reading: Leigh Cowart - Hurts So Good: The Science and Culture of Pain on Purpose. Paul Bloom - The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Regret sucks. Thinking back on things we should have done, or should never have done, can make us feel bad. But #noregrets isn't a philosophy for a happy and healthy life. Regrets can be a great guide and can help us live a life that's true to our authentic selves. Illustrator Liz Fosslien learned to listen to her regrets after letting down her mom during a family crisis. While writer Daniel Pink compiled a global database of regrets to help unpick what common regrets tell us about our real values. For Further Reading: Daniel Pink - The Power of Regret. How Looking Back Moves Us Forward See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Society & Culture
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