DiscoverThe Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos
The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos
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The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

Author: Pushkin Industries

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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.
109 Episodes
The Happiness of Silence

The Happiness of Silence


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 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 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 for privacy information.
How to Eat Intuitively

How to Eat Intuitively


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 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 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 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 into your inner compass - your intuition. Let it guide your approach to things like work, nutrition and happiness over the coming year.   See 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: The Happiness Lab will return in January 2023. See you then.See 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 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 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 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 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 for privacy information.
We’re sharing a bonus episode from another Pushkin podcast, Revisionist History. Revisionist History is Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast about things misunderstood and overlooked. This season, Malcolm’s obsessed with experiments – natural experiments, scientific experiments, thought experiments. In this episode, Revisionist History examines the testimony of 18 men who took part in an astonishing experiment at the University of Minnesota during the Second World War. Revisionist History takes you through the tapes, and asks why people are still arguing over the Minnesota experiment 75 years later.   You can hear more from Revisionist History at 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 for privacy information.
Some sounds bring happy memories flooding back. Other sounds put us on edge; drive us to distraction; or cause us considerable distress. Sound matters... so why don't we pay more attention to our sonic environment?   In a mash-up with our friends at the podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz, Dr. Laurie Santos joins Dallas Taylor to create a Handbook for Sonic Happiness explaining how sound can harm our wellbeing or be a route to greater happiness. Featuring auditory psychologist David Poeppel, psychology researcher Giulia Poerio, clinical psychologist Ali Mattu, sound scholar Mac Hagood and acoustician Trevor Cox.See for privacy information.
Move to Your Happy Place

Move to Your Happy Place


People who live in some places are happier than others. But if you move to a happy country, happy city or happy district, will it make you feel better? And what can do if you can't uproot from your current home, can you make sad spaces happier?   Dan Buettner introduces us to his "Blue Zones", and explains why these places score so highly in wellbeing surveys. Helen Russell tells her story of moving to one of the happiest nations on bleak midwinter. And Texan Jason Roberts admits he had to break the city laws to make his neighborhood in Dallas a bit nicer.  For further reading:  Helen Russell - The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country. Dan Buettner - The Blue Zones of Happiness: Lessons From the World's Happiest People.See for privacy information.
Really love a TV show; a boyband; a sci fi movie; or a celebrity? We're often too embarrassed to admit adoring some things for fear that we'll be seen as frivolous or childish - but we may be missing out on the happiness benefits that geeking out can bring.    Dr Laurie Santos explores the joy of fandom with Benedict Cumberbatch obsessive Tabitha Carvan, YA author Jennifer Lynn Barnes and Star Trek actor (and geek-vangelist) Wil Wheaton.  For Further Reading: Tabitha Carvan - This Is Not A Book About Benedict Cumberbatch  Wil Wheaton - Still Just a GeekSee for privacy information.
Loneliness is a far more common and far more serious problem than we think. It affects one in five Americans, and takes a toll on our bodies and minds. To thrive we need to several types of social interactions - both casual and more intimate.   With the help of US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy; Harvard Divinity School fellow Casper ter Kuile; and friendship expert Marisa Franco; Dr Laurie Santos looks at how loneliness might be affecting you or someone you know, and what science-back steps you can take to increase your circle of friends.  For further reading:  Vivek Murthy - Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World. Marisa Franco - Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can Help You Make—and Keep—Friends as an Adult. See for privacy information.
Happiness can be found in unusual places. Dr Laurie Santos returns with a new season that takes us to the fun frontiers of fandom with Star Trek's Wesley Crusher; to the world's happiest country in the depths of winter; and inside the ranch that inspired The Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart to exclaim "YOLO!".   And you'll hear what it's like to chug the hottest hot sauce on the planet to get a rush of pleasure.  The Happiness Lab Returns September 6 - wherever you get your podcasts. See for privacy information.
Comments (189)

Farid Rezaei

not that the rest of episodes are not great, yes they are, but comparing all of the episodes I have listened to this one is the greatest by far the best episode you have had. Maybe I can say that this one is the one which I listen over and over cause it has helped me A LOT. The fact that these techniques negate my negative thoughts is so fascinating to me. it's not the first time nor the last te I will listen to it. Right now I am on vacation worrying about shitty potential events at work and with a bit of distancing and coaching myself I am back to enjoy the vacation. thanks happiness podcast. A big shout out to you guys whom we never hear your voice but your contents are making us feel happier. Kudos to all of you guys.

Dec 13th

Seema James

why is it thesame as part 1?

Nov 19th

Farid Rezaei

can you please share the full speech in this episode?

Oct 24th

Dave Taheri

great episode, made me change my thoughts about some of things i do💭👌

Jul 29th

nahid daneshvar

Normally I don't leave comments on podcasts or anywhere. But I must confess that waiting for the new episodes is killing me🤣🤣🤣. I am just so addicted to this show that I check it time to time to make sure that I didn't miss the notification of the new episod. So please fasten the process cause there are fans out there waiting too long to hear their favorite podcast show. By the way thanks a lot for making this awesome show! it helped me out to know more about myself as a human.

Jul 6th

Andrew H.

The idea of personifying the fixed mindset made me think of the Pixar movie Luca. "Silenzio Bruno" The kids give a nickname to the negative voice in their head, and use that tagline to confront negative self talk.

May 4th

Galina Ursachii

This is my favorite episode so far. Wow! So much to think about. The beginning of this really reminded me of the Unbreakable. M Night was onto something with his superheroes and antiheroes idea. If we could increase our amygdala as adults, I wonder if that would also hold true for psychopaths. Imagine having a cure or a treatment for that! I wish we could know more about those selfless donors and what other kind of life choices they made that set them apart. What kind of childhood did they have? What kind of life factors might have contributed to them being how they are? So fascinating! We need a whole podcast on Psychopaths and Superheroes. Imagine how much we could learn if we explored those groups closely even more.

Mar 19th

Mariann Davis Maene

what do you do when your sadness extends over a long period of time (I'm going through a divorce) and you've tired out your friends and Whirpool man?

Feb 26th

Mitra Aghadadashfam

learning how to say No is really helpful

Feb 25th

Ricardo da Cruz de Carvalho

Talk about hitting the spot... 😔

Feb 22nd

yalda hashemi

is script of your podcasts available anywhere?

Feb 2nd

Lavender Pixie

Extremely helpful! 😊

Jan 19th

N Yangzom

Thank you for this episode. It was so helpful for me

Jan 19th

David Yang

Why make up new terms all the time when what you really mean is mindfulness...

Jan 12th
Reply (1)

Heidi Adams

What would you do in the situation where children, even very young children, are not intrinsically motivated to learn?

Nov 22nd

Torrance Damgaard

Definitely not what I want when I listen to happiness lab. Like what even is this?

Oct 27th


this entire podcast has been super helpful for my mental health this year. loves these last two episodes about integrating more fun into your life

Oct 22nd

Mary Mary

enjoy the extra fun this week! :)

Oct 9th

Ilene Toth

This has been one of the best podcast subjects I have heard in a long time. It has me thinking how I can bring FUN back into my life because I also thought I was too old to have fun. #fun #nevertooold #tomatoplant

Sep 30th

Reyhaneh mojoodi


Aug 30th
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