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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.  Formed 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.
Here's a preview from a new Pushkin podcast, The Loudest Girl in the World. For years, journalist and podcast host Lauren Ober wasn’t all that jazzed about herself. She was always getting in trouble, she had a lot of sensory issues and her anxiety felt off the charts. And then, she found out why — she was autistic. The Loudest Girl in the World tells the story of Lauren’s journey to understand what it means to be on the autism spectrum and how to live life as a newly diagnosed autistic person. You can hear the full episode, and more from The Loudest Girl in the World at 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.
Covid brought disruption and despair... but it also caused many of us to think about our lives and what is most important to us. Listener Dr Amy Comander, Director of Lifestyle Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, wants to know how we can apply lessons from the pandemic to improve our happiness as we return to normalcy.   Amy helps teach cancer survivors wellbeing tips - and also happens to be an old college lab partner of Dr Laurie Santos - so we invited her to host this episode and quiz Laurie on how to lead a happier post-pandemic life. See for privacy information.
It can speak to us in the middle of a work project, the middle of a date, or the middle of the night. The critical voice in our head telling us we're just not good enough and we're headed for failure. Listener Patricia Branigan wrote in to ask what we can do the quiet down this chatter.   To explain what damage negative self-talk does to us and explore some simple strategies to challenge our inner critic, Dr Laurie Santos is joined by "chatter" expert Ethan Kross (professor of psychology and management at the University of Michigan). You can read more in Ethan's book 'Chatter: The Voice in our Head (And How to Harness it)'.  See for privacy information.
Since Covid hit, many of us have seen fewer people and experienced more loneliness. Listener Ivana Cole wants to know what we can do to reconnect and asks, if we can't reconnect: "Can we be happy alone?"  Dr Laurie Santos looks at social connections and how make them with Stanford's Jamil Zaki (author of the War for Kindness). See for privacy information.
Listener Niki Walker has a question... in our busy, career-driven, money-oriented live, are we forgetting to make time for more important things?  In our first episode fielding questions from fans of The Happiness Lab, Dr Laurie Santos looks at the world of work and how we can prioritize purpose, fun and human interaction to make our daily lives better.    Laurie is joined by Professor Cassie Holmes (author of "Happier Hour: How to Beat Distraction, Expand Your Time and Focus on What Matters Most). See for privacy information.
Nobel Peace Prize winners feel burnout too. Malala Yousafzai - who survived an assassination attempted by the Taliban - works tirelessly so that more women and girls can access education. But she often feels guilty at taking time off, but knows she must to avoid burnout.  She shares her tips with Dr Laurie Santos on how to achieve work/life balance; how to deal with disappointment; and how to build bridges with people we disagree with.  (Recorded live at Yale's Silliman College.)  See for privacy information.
What would you ask a wellbeing expert? Dr Laurie Santos is back with a special season of The Happiness Lab fielding listener questions about work, relationships and getting back out into the world after Covid. She'll be joined by fellow scientists and listeners explaining the stories behind their queries.   Begins July 11. See for privacy information.
Comments (188)

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

Mary Mary

loved this episode :) Rob is amazing

Aug 17th
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