The Science of Happiness

The Science of Happiness

By PRX and Greater Good Science Center

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

Why We Give Thanks

Thank you. Gracias. Merci. Every language has a word for gratitude. But why do we feel it? How can we experience more of it? We revisit some of our favorite episodes about the science of gratitude. 
25/11/2119m 16s

Do You Feel Pressed for Time?

What happens when we share our time? Our guest, chef and author Bryant Terry, pauses to be present with the ones who matter most.
11/11/2115m 46s

Why You Should Make Small Goals

Comedian Paula Poundstone tries to take on a messy and daunting task, one small step at a time.
28/10/2120m 15s

Do You Want to Slow Down?

Anna Sale, host of Death, Sex, and Money, practices awe as an antidote to her anxiety.
14/10/2119m 48s

Can You Mend a Broken Bond?

They were childhood best friends until one came out as queer. Now, two college students reconnect and try to see the world through one another's eyes.
30/09/2121m 13s

100 Good Things

For our 100th episode, host Dacher Keltner sits in the guest chair and tries one of the most popular happiness practices. 
16/09/2117m 53s

What Happens When We Play

When was the last time you went down a slide? Our guest tries a practice to bring more play into his life and explores what that means as a Black man in the U.S.
02/09/2121m 11s

How to Not Take People for Granted

What would life be like without the people you care most about? Our guest tries a practice to help appreciate loved ones.
19/08/2116m 55s

How to Tune Out the Noise

Our guest uses her breath to find calm in some of Los Angeles' noisiest neighborhoods.
05/08/2118m 28s

Don't be Afraid of Your Anger

What happens when we suppress our anger? And what if we tried to work with it instead? Our guest tries a practice to harness her inner fierceness to care for herself.
22/07/2118m 3s

How to Enjoy Life More with Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan tries to get more out of life by temporarily giving up one of his pleasure.
08/07/2119m 36s

How to Craft Your Life

When the world around you changes, so can your goals. This week's guest tries a practice to tap into a new sense of purpose.
24/06/2119m 37s

What Humans Can Learn From Trees

Trees don't just compete with one another for resources, they also cooperate. Scientist and author Suzanne Simard explains the surprising science of trees.
27/05/2117m 53s

Finding Strength through Gratitude

A doctor who serves communities in dire need shares how gratitude helps him find light in the darkness.
13/05/2119m 10s

Why Love Needs Laughter

Focusing on funny things can reduce stress, anxiety, and make us feel more connected to others. Our guests, who were high school sweethearts, learn how humor can also strengthen relationships.
29/04/2119m 36s

How Music Can Bridge Cultures

Have you ever been moved by music sung in a language you don't understand? We speak with Gambian musician Sona Jobarteh about how music can connect us across cultures.
15/04/2118m 45s

How Music Soothes Us

What is it about certain melodies that can relax our nerves and rock us to sleep? We explore the science of calming music with pianist Rosey Chan.
01/04/2117m 58s

David Byrne on How Music Connects Us

Music helped former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne come out of his shell. Hear Byrne's story and learn how music creates social bonds in part one of our series, The Science of Music and Happiness.
18/03/2125m 23s

Scheduling Time to Feel Awe(some)

Feeling awe can boost your mood and make you feel more connected with others. Comedian Chris Duffy learns how to tap into that sense.
04/03/2119m 38s

Why We're Drawn to Nature

What happens when we spend time outdoors? We explore how getting out in nature can restore peace of mind—and make us more creative.
18/02/2116m 52s

Are You Setting the Right Goals?

Setting goals can sometimes feel like setting ourselves up for failure. But journalist Monica Campbell finds there's something magical that happens with certain kinds of goals.
04/02/2120m 30s

Healing Through Gratitude

A stranger helped her through the hardest day of her life. When she expresses her gratitude, our guest encounters the power of true connection.
21/01/2116m 38s

How to Talk with Strangers

The way we interact with people who come in and out of our lives has changed since COVID-19. Our guest tries a practice to connect with strangers while keeping a social distance.
07/01/2115m 22s

Happy Again: How to Connect When You Must Stay Apart (Encore)

Are you unable to be with your friends and family during the holiday season this year? These 36 questions can bring you closer to loved ones, even if you're separated.
24/12/2019m 36s

Are You Listening to Your Elders?

Connecting across generations is one of the oldest happiness practices there is. We explore why to honor your elders, along with other practices from indigenous cultures often overlooked by Western science.
10/12/2021m 35s

How to Make Better Decisions

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.
26/11/2017m 41s

How to Give Up a Grudge

What does it really take to forgive someone? And why should we do it? Our guest, psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, tries a practice to let go of anger.
12/11/2016m 17s

Why Voting Connects Us

Why do we vote? We explore the science behind what drives us to the polls, and the benefits we reap for ourselves and communities when we cast our ballots.
29/10/2016m 54s

How to Ride With the Pain

It's easy to be anxious and uncertain about the future—especially if you're eight months pregnant. Our guest tries practices to help her deal with whatever life throws her way.
22/10/2019m 23s

If You Want to Be More Productive, Cut Yourself Some Slack

Feeling hard on yourself? Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp learns to quiet his inner critic and tap into his highest potential.
08/10/2013m 30s

A Cure for Loneliness

Feeling lonely? Former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy learns why focusing on the quality of our relationships, not the quantity, can be an antidote. 
24/09/2018m 5s

Happy Again: How To Find Beauty in the Everyday (Encore)

A tree next to a bus stop, a flower poking through the sidewalk. Our guest, an Iraq War veteran, discovers how awe and wonder can be found anywhere — if you just pay attention.
10/09/2019m 33s

24 Hours of Kindness

Why should you be nice? Our guest explores how small, daily acts of kindness can produce meaningful life changes.
27/08/2019m 27s

How to Switch Off Your Critics

Do you obsess over negative feedback? Shereen Marisol Meraji, of NPR’s Code Switch, tries a better way to cope.
13/08/2020m 58s

How to Reconnect with Your Partner

A couple try a practice to bring more excitement and passion into their relationship, even while sheltering-in-place.
30/07/2019m 36s

Do You Want to Be More Patient?

We can be at our worst with the people we love best. Our guests try ways to be more calm and present with those closest to them.
16/07/2021m 4s

How to Love People You Don't Like

Our guest tries a practice to help her feel compassion toward others — even those she disagrees with.
02/07/2023m 10s

What's Your "Why" in Life?

Adrian Michael Green asks big questions designed to help teens — and adults — find more meaning and purpose in their lives.
18/06/2023m 31s

From Othering to Belonging

We speak with john a. powell, director of the Othering & Belonging Institute, about racial justice, well-being, and widening our circles of human connection and concern.
11/06/2026m 1s

Taking Small Steps Toward Big Goals

When our world is turned upside down, how do we keep moving forward? Our guest, award-winning author Christine Day, sets a new path for herself.
04/06/2015m 50s

How to Connect When You Must Stay Apart

Do you want to be famous? What's a favorite memory? These 36 questions can bring you closer to loved ones, even if you're separated.
21/05/2020m 3s

Give Yourself a Break

Want to calm your inner critic? Our guest tries a practice to find more self-compassion during uncertain times.
07/05/2019m 58s

Helping Kids Think About the Good

Sheltering-at-home with kids? These questions can help them, and us, focus on the good things in life.
23/04/2019m 40s

Remembering to Breathe

How a doctor stays calm and centered during times of uncertainty, one breath at a time.
09/04/2015m 36s

Staying Close While Physical Distancing

Our guest tries a practice to feel more connected to loved ones, and herself, while sheltering at home.
26/03/2016m 50s

Who Would You Be Without Them?

Think of an important person in your life. Now imagine you never met. Our guest practices counting his blessings by picturing his life without a special person from his past.
12/03/2017m 12s

Step Away from Anxiety

Do you have a hard time calming your nerves? Author Raina Telgemeier tries a practice to get out of her head, one step at a time.
27/02/2020m 53s

Who Is Your Rock?

He survived the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, two years ago and has been a student mental health advocate ever since. Now Kai Koerber finds a way to thank the person who helped him find his voice.
13/02/2018m 28s

What Does It Take To Really Listen To Someone?

Are you actually listening when someone is talking to you, or just waiting for your turn to talk? Our guest, a veteran of the Iraq War, practices how to truly listen to others.
30/01/2017m 7s

Why Shared Goals Can Bridge Divides

How can people from different groups get on the same page? Our guest, an educator and football coach, tries a strategy for building stronger, more inclusive teams.
16/01/2018m 2s

How To Make Time for Happiness

Her New Year's resolution was to have more joyful and fulfilling experiences in her daily life. Our guest tried a practice to help make that happen.
02/01/2018m 16s

How To Get Your Senses Tingling

There are millions of YouTube channels with people crinkling bubble wrap or whispering about folding laundry. Our guests talks about why autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) makes her, and many others, feel more calm and happy.
19/12/1918m 5s

How To Be Less Hard on Yourself

Do you beat yourself up over every mistake? A high school senior tries to be kinder to himself during an especially stressful time.
05/12/1920m 37s

Happy Again: How to Notice What You're Thankful For (Encore)

Comedian Maz Jobrani tries to be more thankful for the good things in his life by writing them down — and encourages his kids to do the same.
28/11/1919m 6s

Can You Find Wonder in the Ordinary?

When was the last time you felt connected to something bigger than yourself? Award-winning cellist Yumi Kendall looks, and listens, for moments of awe.
21/11/1917m 13s

How To Get Your Priorities Straight

It's easy to lose sight of what matters most. Our guest finds a way to reconnect with her values during stressful times.
07/11/1919m 22s

Does Your Doctor Listen to You?

Doctors are often trained to be emotionally detached. But our guest finds greater meaning in his work as a physician when he tries to connect more deeply with his patients, co-workers, and family.
24/10/1921m 44s

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15/10/192m 0s

Finding Beauty in the Everyday

A tree next to a bus stop, a flower poking through the sidewalk. Our guest, a veteran of the Iraq War, discovers how awe and wonder can be found anywhere —  if you just pay attention.
10/10/1919m 28s

How to Find Your Silver Linings

Do you fixate on what's going wrong in your life? Poet and "recovering pessimist" Maggie Smith practices looking on the bright side.
26/09/1925m 44s

Can Margaret Cho Get Any Better?

She's one of the most accomplished comedians of her generation. But Margaret Cho wants to find a different kind of happiness.
12/09/1919m 5s

Can You Humanize a Zombie?

Should we try to find common ground with the villains in our lives? Comedian Zahra Noorbahksh tries to understand a "zombie" from her past.
29/08/1919m 12s

Making Kindness Contagious

We gave our Happiness Guinea Pig a mission: Do five random acts of kindness in one day.
15/08/1915m 58s

Facing Your Fears

Heights. Public speaking. Death. Our Happiness Guinea Pig explains how she overcomes her fears, one small step at a time.
01/08/1916m 39s

How Michael Lewis Finds the Funny

How can you unearth humor in everyday life? Best-selling author Michael Lewis goes looking for laughs.
18/07/1914m 6s

How to Keep Love Alive

After more than a decade together, our Happiness Guinea Pig tries to bring the spark back into her marriage.
04/07/1920m 29s

Who Makes You Feel Connected?

Our Happiness Guinea Pig, the creator of Cartoon Network's We Bare Bears, finds a way to feel close to a loved one he recently lost. Try this week’s happiness practice: Feeling Connected
20/06/1916m 4s

A Better Way to Talk to Yourself

Her husband has been in prison for 23 years. Our Happiness Guinea Pig tries a new approach to stay strong while working to get him released.
06/06/1918m 39s

Happy Again: The Power of Expressing Your Deepest Emotions (Encore)

He started Afghanistan's first post-Taliban rock band when he was 18 years old. A decade later, our Happiness Guinea Pig takes on another challenge: writing about his emotions.
30/05/1923m 32s

Happy Again: A Better Way to Say Sorry (Encore)

“I'm sorry you feel that way.” Some apologies can actually make things worse. Our Happiness Guinea Pigs, Jolenta Greenburg and Kristin Meinzer of the By the Book podcast, try a more effective way of saying sorry.
23/05/1923m 30s

Happy Again: How To Deal With Uncertainty (Encore)

How do you respond when you feel threatened or defensive? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, writer Wajahat Ali, discovers a way to keep himself anchored amidst the challenges and chaos of life.
16/05/1920m 9s

What to Do When You Feel Like a Failure

The loss of a job, the pain of a breakup -- it's easy to get down on ourselves when things aren't going well. Find out how our Happiness Guinea Pig tuned down the self-critic in her head.
11/04/1917m 44s

Delight in the Unexpected

A high-five from a stranger, a hummingbird on a busy city street. Poet Ross Gay shares his own happiness practice: savoring the everyday delights in life. ~ Try one of UC Berkeley's Greater Good in Action happiness practices.
04/04/1920m 21s

How To Let Go of Anger

Are you still mad at someone who hurt you in the past? That can eat away at your health and well-being. Our Happiness Guinea Pig tries a new approach to giving up a grudge.
28/03/1915m 13s

What Are Your Strongest Reminders of Connection?

What kinds of objects, images, and words surround your home or office? Our Happiness Guinea Pig surveys her apartment for items that spark connection and kindness.
21/03/1912m 29s

Do You Know How to Eat a Raisin?

Do you have trouble slowing down enough to actually enjoy your life? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, comedian and radio host Luke Burbank, finds a way to break free from his over-scheduled lifestyle.  Try this week’s happiness practice: Raisin Meditation
14/03/1917m 22s

Finding Awe in Every Step

How can we feel connected to the world around us? Singer Diana Gameros tries to cultivate a sense of awe in the most unlikely of places. Try this episode’s happiness practice: Awe Walk
07/03/1921m 54s

Finding Your Strengths

Do you fixate on your flaws and shortcomings? Our happiness guinea pig tries the opposite: focusing on her personal strengths. ~ Try this episode’s happiness practice: Use Your Strengths
28/02/1914m 37s

Trying Compassion on Capitol Hill

Can you extend compassion toward a difficult person in your life? Congressman Tim Ryan tries a practice to help him reach across the aisle.
21/02/1915m 16s

A Lesson in Thanks and Vulnerability

A junior high school teacher spent his life defying stereotypes about how men should express their emotions. Here he takes on a new challenge: getting his students to express gratitude.
14/02/1920m 4s

Notice the Good in Your Life

Comedian Maz Jobrani tries to pay more attention to the good things in his life by writing them down -- and encourages his kids to do the same. Try this episodes happiness practice: Three Good Things
07/02/1918m 35s

Happy Again: Listen Like It’s Your First Date (Encore)

Do you find yourself looking at your phone when you're supposed to be paying attention to a friend? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, The Takeaway's Tanzina Vega, trades in her technology for some old school listening.
31/01/1920m 27s

Happy Again: Quieting Your Inner Critic (Encore)

Are you too hard on yourself? Our Happiness Guinea Pig spent most of his life behind bars. Discover the research-tested practice that helped him quiet his inner critic.
24/01/1915m 54s

Happy Again: Is there Someone You Need to Thank? (Encore)

Is there someone important you've never properly thanked? Hear how award-winning children's book author, Yuyi Morales, discovers the power of writing a "gratitude letter" to the librarian who changed her life.
17/01/1923m 2s

Happy Again: What Do You Want To Do With Your Life? (Encore)

Did you know what you wanted when you were in high school? Our teen guinea pig takes on the challenge of figuring out her purpose in life.
10/01/1917m 46s

The Power of Expressing Your Deepest Emotions

He started Afghanistan's first post-Taliban rock band when he was 18 years old. A decade later, our Happiness Guinea Pig takes on another challenge: writing about his emotions.
20/12/1814m 6s

Who's Got Your Back?

How do you build feelings of trust and security? Our Happiness Guinea Pig learns some truths about what it takes to feel supported.
13/12/1817m 6s

Being Kinder to Yourself

When you’re helping others cope with stress and anxiety, how do you deal with your own? Psychiatrist Elizabeth Guinto tries a practice to be kinder to herself.
06/12/1819m 32s

W. Kamau Bell’s Thoughts on Awkward Relationships and Bridging Divides

Comedian W. Kamau Bell discusses the challenges of finding common ground, even with people in your own family.
29/11/1815m 44s

Find That Inner Calm

International megastar Daniel Wu tries a practice that brings him calm amidst the chaos. 
22/11/1817m 44s

These Words Cause Happiness

Did you know that you have the power to spark happiness in someone else's brain with just a few simple words? College student Eva Dickerson shares how she spread happiness across her campus, equipped with just her iPhone and some compliments.
15/11/1816m 35s

A Simple Recipe for Happiness

Our Happiness Guinea Pig, children's author Joanne Rocklin, shares her happiness practice: bringing people together to share a meal. It took on a deeper meaning for her after a recent tragedy.
08/11/1821m 33s

Can’t Relax? This Will Help

Why does a bath or swim feel so relaxing? Our guest shares her own happiness practice--spending time in water--which science is finding can make us happier and healthier. 
01/11/1816m 43s

How to Make a Real Apology

"I'm sorry you feel that way." Some apologies can actually make things worse. Our Happiness Guinea Pigs, Jolenta Greenburg and Kristin Meinzer of the By the Book podcast, try a more effective way of saying sorry. 
25/10/1823m 8s

How to Deal with Uncertainty

How do you respond when you feel threatened or defensive? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, writer Wajahat Ali, discovers a way to keep himself centered amidst the challenges and chaos of life.
18/10/1819m 46s

BONUS: The Science of Happiness at Work

What would make you happier at work? Featuring some of our happiness guinea pigs, we share the latest insights and research on well-being and happiness in the workplace.
11/10/1857m 28s

What if You Had Never Met?

Do you take your partner for granted? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, imagines a life in which he never met his wife.
09/08/1815m 12s

Give Yourself Some Distance

Are you stuck ruminating about the past? Legendary skater Tommy Guerrero tries looking at negative events from a different perspective.
02/08/1816m 48s

Listen Like It's Your First Date

Do you find yourself looking at your phone when you're supposed to be paying attention to a friend? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, The Takeaway's Tanzina Vega trades in her technology for some old school listening. 
26/07/1828m 31s

Why You Shouldn't Hate Small Talk

Many of us avoid chatting with strangers – isn't small talk tedious and dull? Listen as our happiness guinea pig discovers its surprising benefits.
19/07/1813m 7s

How to Change Your Mind

Author Michael Pollan, shares his experiences on being a guinea pig for his new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.
12/07/1820m 39s

How to Find Your Purpose in Life

Did you know what you wanted when you were in high school? Our teen guinea pig takes on the challenge of figuring out her purpose in life.
05/07/1817m 12s

What Are You Afraid Of?

Would you rather swim with sharks or give a speech before thousands of people? Discover how our happiness guinea pig tackled one of his many fears--and lived to talk about it.
28/06/1819m 47s

How to Forgive Your Father

Holding on to a grudge? Hear how our happiness guinea pig tried to let go of deep-seated anger and resentment.
21/06/1817m 55s

Feeling Angry? Try This

For years, Dan Harris of ABC News was plagued by anxiety, depression, and streaks of anger. Here's how he learned to tame the voices in his head and get 10 percent happier.   
14/06/1819m 6s

Let People Help You

In hard times, do you seek comfort from others or turn inwards? Find out how our Happiness Guinea Pig emerged from trauma by accepting others' support.  Thank you for your emails, calls, and letters! We think your stories will inspire others and we’ll be sharing some of them on the show. So call us at (510) 519-4903 and let us know how doing the Feeling Supported practice went for you! Support for this podcast comes from Sun Basket. We all know that every part of our life is enhanced when we eat nourishing, healthy meals but always eating right can be hard to do. Sun Basket makes it easy. Go to SunBasket.com/SOH today to learn more and get $35 off your first order!  
07/06/1818m 35s

Is There Someone You Need to Thank?

Is there someone important you've never properly thanked? Award-winning children's book author, Yuyi Morales, discovers the power of writing a "gratitude letter" to the librarian who changed her life. 
02/04/1822m 33s

Can You Predict What Will Make You Happy?

Do memories of your past affect your happiness today? Susannah Cahalan was young and healthy when she was stricken with a mysterious illness. Learn how writing about her “month of madness” in the bestselling book Brain on Fire helped her reclaim her life.
26/03/1820m 7s

Find Your Best Possible Self

Does imagining your future make you more happy--or more anxious?  Our happiness guinea pig looks ahead for inspiration to improve her life now.
19/03/1822m 36s

How Gratitude Benefits Your Brain

Can you train your brain to be more grateful? Todd Zwillich of The Takeaway takes on the challenge.
12/03/1822m 10s

Krista Tippett on Being Grounded in Your Body

Are you so stressed that it wears you down physically as well as mentally? Discover how award-winning radio host Krista Tippett brought relief to her mind and body.  
05/03/1817m 31s

Why a Walk Works Wonders

Do you dwell on the negative and let moments of joy just pass you by? Discover how the Academy Award-winning director of Inside Out got out of his head and savored the good in his life.
26/02/1822m 6s

3 Funny Things

What should you do when you thought you had it all -- but learn you've had it all wrong? Discover what our happiness guinea pig did to bring more joy and humor into his life.
19/02/1816m 28s

How to Fall in Love with Anyone

Can 36 questions help you fall in love--and stay in love? Best-selling author Kelly Corrigan tries a research-proven technique to feel closer to her husband. Plus, we learn how the same technique can actually reduce racism and prejudice.
12/02/1821m 47s

Quieting Your Inner Critic

Are you too hard on yourself? Our Happiness Guinea Pig spent most of his life behind bars. Discover the research-tested practice that helped him quiet his inner critic.
05/02/1814m 50s

3 Good Things

Do you take the good things in life for granted? You’re not alone, and studies show it's very human. But here’s a way to find more joy in the everyday. 
05/02/1813m 24s

The Science of Happiness Trailer

What does it take to live a happier life? Learn research-tested strategies that you can put into practice today. Hosted by award-winning psychologist Dacher Keltner. Co-produced by PRX and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.
23/01/181m 29s
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