The Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness

Learn research-tested strategies for a happier, more meaningful life, drawing on the science of compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, and awe. Hosted by award-winning psychologist Dacher Keltner. Co-produced by PRX and UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.

Episodes

August 18, 2022 21 min

Comedian Aparna Nancherla has always struggled with anxiety — can a new technique help her cope?

Episode summary:

Comedian Aparna Nancherla has always struggled with anxiety. Starting a new task at work, writing her book, talking to a baby — you name it, she worries about it. And while she’s built a career in stand-up comedy making light of her struggles, she still suffers. Aparna joins us to share what it’s like to try a new t...

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A few slow, mindful paces can lower your cortisol and make you more at ease. Psychologist Dacher Keltner guides you through this Walking Meditation.

How to Do This Practice:

  • Find a relatively peaceful space that allows you to walk back and forth for 10-15 paces, where you won’t be disturbed or observed.

  • Begin to walk forward slowly, lifting one foot first, then placing it gently on the floor or ground ahead of you, heel first. N...

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    August 4, 2022 18 min

    What if you could fall in love, or forge deep connections in just 45 minutes? Our guests try out 36 questions with their partners to see if they can strengthen their connection.

    Episode summary:

    There are 36 questions that have been shown over and over again in lab studies to help people fall in love or form fast connections. In this week’s episode, we bring back Kristen Meinzer and Jolenta Greenberg of By the Book podcast*.* T...

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    Connect to yourself and the land you stand on in under 10 minutes with this grounding practice led by Indigenous scholar Dr. Yuria Celidwen.

    How to Do This Practice:

  • If possible, go outside and find some natural ground, like grass or dirt. If you're wearing shoes or socks, take them off and place the soles of your feet directly on the ground.

  • Bring your attention to the earth beneath you. Allow it to hold you, paying attention...

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    When we feel more connected, we're kinder and care more for others. After 21 years of being incarcerated, our guest Simon Liu, of Bay Area Freedom House Collective, tries a practice that helps him remember the profound connections he's made both inside and out of prison // throughout his life.

    Episode summary:

    When’s the last time you felt a deep connection with someone, and then really reflected on your connections? Th...

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    Just a few moments of tuning into nature can make you feel more inspired, connected, and less lonely. Let us guide you through a five-minute noticing nature practice — you don't even have to leave the city.

    How to Do This Practice:

  • Pause and take notice of the natural elements around you, like trees, clouds, leaves, moving water, animals, bugs and butterflies, etc. Take a moment to allow yourself to truly experience the natur...

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    Can practicing mindfulness make us wiser? Judge Jeremy Fogel explores how being present in the moment helps him keep a clear mind and stay connected to his true values.

    Episode summary:

    What do you think it takes to become wiser, more compassionate, and more open-minded? This week on The Science of Happiness, we bring you one of our most popular episodes. Former district judge Jeremy Fogel shares his insights on how being prese...

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    Having close bonds with others is one of the most important things to our happiness. Host Dacher Keltner walks you through a practice you can do with someone else to create new bonds or strengthen old ones. Plus, hear some of his answers to these questions alongside his wife, Molly.

    How to Do the 36 Questions for Increasing Closeness Practice:

  • Take a few deep breaths, and notice how you feel.

  • Identify someone with whom you’d like ...

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    June 23, 2022 17 min

    Apologies are key to successful relationships. But are you doing them right?

    Episode summary:

    We all have moments when we say or do something we later regret. Then the time comes to make an apology. But a halfhearted “I’m sorry” rarely gets the job done. On this episode of The Science of Happiness, public defender Sam Dugan joins us for a second time to try science-backed tips for making an effective apology. First, she takes a...

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    Visualize your best possible self and tap into your inherent enough-ness with this guided meditation by Justin Michael Williams.

    How to Do This Practice:

  • Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and visualize your ideal future self, the person of your dreams you’ve always wanted to be. Try noticing as many details as you can: What color are you wearing, how do you feel, what are you doing, is anyone with you?

  • Answer this question ...

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    Our guest explores how reminding yourself that you don't know everything can have a profound impact on your relationships, and our society.

    Episode summary:

    Jinho “Piper” Ferreira is a playwright, a rapper, and a former deputy sheriff. His band Flipsyde toured the world, but Jinho wanted to make real change to end police violence against his community – so he became a deputy sheriff himself. He was on the force for eight year...

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    Take 10 minutes to be guided through a practice of meaningful self-kindness: A self-compassion break with Kristin Neff.

    How to Do This Practice:

  • Think of a situation in your life that is difficult and is causing you stress. For this practice, especially if you are new to it, it's better to choose something that is moderately difficult in your life, rather than overwhelming.

  • Call the situation to mind and get in touch with what...

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    May 26, 2022 19 min

    Have you ever known you're dreaming while you're asleep? Our guests try practices to help induce lucid dreams, and we hear what they can teach us about consciousness.

    Episode summary:

    How do you know you’re awake? Are you sure? Practicing lucid dreaming means taking a step back to question your very consciousness — throughout your day, and even when you’re asleep. It’s no wonder lucid dreaming is associated with mindfulne...

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    We guide you through a reflection of three things you're grateful for today. This practice is shown to boost happiness, connection, and motivation while reducing stress. Happiness Break is a new series by The Science of Happiness.

    How to Do this Three Good Things practice:

  • Take a few deep breaths, and notice how you feel.

  • Think back on your day. Start from when you woke up, and mentally trace your steps forward in time.

  • What ...

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    Do you struggle with sleep? This week Drew Ackerman of Sleep with Me podcast tries tips for a good night's sleep, and we explore why it's so important to our well-being.

    Episode summary:

    A good night’s sleep can be hard to come by, and beating yourself up over not sleeping enough will only make it worse. On this episode of The Science of Happiness, the host of Sleep With Me podcast Drew Ackerman joins us to try science-...

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    April 28, 2022 17 min

    Episode summary:

    Emanuel Hahn has never been great at asking for help. He didn’t live with his parents after age 12, and consequently, he says he learned to only rely on himself. But now that he’s launching his first book and juggling a freelance career, he knows he can’t do it all on his own. He tried our Ask for Help at Work practice, which challenges you to make a direct request when you need a hand from someone. 

    Emanuel had ...

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    April 14, 2022 18 min

    Fear is a normal part of our lives — but there are ways we can safely challenge and conquer it. Our guest tries a research-backed way to tackle a fear she's had since elementary school.

    **Vote for The Science of Happiness in The Webby’s!**

    https://vote.webbyawards.com/PublicVoting#/2022/podcasts/limited-series-specials/health-science-education\

    You’ll have to make an account, but we promise it takes less time than it does to...

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    March 31, 2022 16 min

    Comedian Marilyn Pittman takes stock of what she really wants in life – and makes a plan to get it.

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    March 17, 2022 18 min

    High expectations can lead to disappointment, but expecting the worst doesn't feel great, either. This week we explore how to find the balance.

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    March 3, 2022 19 min

    Part of life is experiencing pain and loss. And sometimes, finding meaning in it. We explore a writing practice shown to help us come out stronger after difficult times.

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