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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. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show and to sign up to our newsletter visit: happinesslab.fm

iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries. 

53 Episodes
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Moving more is great for your happiness - but many of us decide to exercise because we're unhappy with our bodies and long to change them. What should be fun and life-enhancing often becomes saturated with self-loathing. Jessamyn Stanley identified as a "fat and awkward weirdo", who shied away from exercise until she realised that it was her own body-shaming that was holding her back. She tells Dr Laurie Santos how she decoupled her love of yoga from the corrosive idea of transforming her body - and in the process became an inspirational teacher and author for those who think exercise isn't for them. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Diets and "healthy" eating fads are a January fixture - but few of us stick to these harsh regimes. And when the dieting ends, we often go back to the "bad" foods we craved during our fasting. Psychotherapist Andrea Wachter says this dieting "roller coaster" makes our minds obsess over food and causes our bodies no end of harm. Andrea stepped off the roller coaster by taking a kinder and calmer approach to the foods she consumed. She tells Dr Laurie Santos the key rule - feed yourself like you'd feed someone you love. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Reconnect With The Moment

Reconnect With The Moment

2021-01-1134:1526

Psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach felt too stressed and busy to spend time with her elderly mother - until she had a lightning moment of realisation. Why couldn't she enjoy living in the moment with her beloved parent? What fears and insecurities were preventing her from devoting time to her mom? Tara tells Dr Laurie Santos how she created RAIN - a mindfulness practise that allows us to Recognise, Allow, Investigate and Nurture our emotions. Once we consciously engage with those emotions, Tara argues, we can decide what is really important to us and our happiness. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
We often start a new year hoping to make big changes in how we look, feel or act. This can involve a lot of self-criticism and adopting things like tough diets and brutal exercise regimes. But being hard on ourselves doesn't deliver results. Dr Laurie Santos examines why being a nasty drill sergeant to ourselves is less effective than being a kind coach; and hears from researcher and author Kristin Neff about why developing self-compassion is vital to helping us achieve our new year goals. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
A lot of the festive events and traditions we look forward to each year will be very different in 2020. Gatherings might be smaller than we'd like... or cancelled altogether. Family tensions might be heightened too. But Dr Laurie Santos has gathered a group of top happiness experts to share their tips, tricks and science-backed strategies to make this holiday season as good as it can be.... and maybe even great. Joining Laurie for this festive Zoom party are Jamil Zaki from Stanford University, Liz Dunn from the University of British Columbia and Nick Epley from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Exchanging holiday gifts is supposed to be joyful... but for many of us it is a source of stress, anxiety and hurt feelings. To transform the way you think about the act of giving and receiving presents, Dr Laurie Santos has gathered together the top experts in the field of happiness to share their tips, tricks and science-backed strategies. They even tackle the thorny issue of giving money in lieu of a present - with some surprising conclusions. Joining Laurie for a festive Zoom party are Jamil Zaki from Stanford University, Liz Dunn from the University of British Columbia and Nick Epley from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
The Buddha was born to a royal family... and it shocked him when he found out that no amount of money or power could keep suffering and loss at bay forever. The quest to accept that life brings us pain was key to the development of Buddhism as a major religion. Dr Laurie Santos is joined by Liz Angowski and Robert Wright (author of 'Why Buddhism is True') to explore The Buddha's teachings about unhappiness and how mindfulness meditation can help us come to terms with the negative feelings we all experience from time to time. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Epictetus was born into slavery and beaten until he was lame... but he became one of Ancient Rome's greatest thinkers by accepting every setback as an opportunity to learn and grow. Philosophy professor Bill Irvine joins Dr Laurie Santos to delve into Stoicism - an ancient school of thought which urges us to reframe how we view the problems we all face and defuse the negative emotions of anger and envy that can be so harmful to our happiness. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Plato likened us all to charioteers trying to control two wayward horses. The steeds represent the competing wants and desires that constantly pull us off course and away from a happier life. Yale professor Tamar Gendler joins Dr Laurie Santos to examine how the ancient Greek philosopher didn't only diagnose the internal tensions we all face, but also offered a cure. The horses can be made to pull in the direction you command... but each must be coaxed in the right way. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
He gave us biology, physics and drama... but Greek philosopher Aristotle also thought deeply about how humans can flourish and live happy lives of virtue. Yale professor Tamar Gendler tells Dr Laurie Santos about Aristotle's wellbeing insights and how he recommended taking daily "baby steps" towards becoming the sort of happy, moderate person we aspire to be. A kind of ancient "fake it, 'til you make it" ethos. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
How to Be a Better Ally

How to Be a Better Ally

2020-06-2938:4857

You might detest bigotry and injustice, but have you done anything to address these problems? There are many reasons we stay silent and inactive when we know we should intervene to defend the rights of others. We look at the psychology underpinning our reluctance to act and the ways in which we can match our moral beliefs with concrete actions. Featuring James Barr and Dan Hudson, co-hosts of the podcast 'A Gay and a Non-Gay'. WARNING: This episode talks frankly about discrimination, hate crimes and sex. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
The War For Kindness

The War For Kindness

2020-06-2236:5557

Feeling you belong to a group can be great - but it also has a darker side, leading us down an unhappy path of hatred and violence towards people with different identities and backgrounds. Dr Laurie Santos talks to Mina Cikara - whose homeland descended into a bloody civil war - and Jamil Zaki about how we can fight hatred with empathy, kindness and difficult conversations. (Deep canvassing clips courtesy of The Leadership Lab https://leadership-lab.org/ at the Los Angeles LGBT Center.) For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Demonic Possessions

Demonic Possessions

2020-06-1526:2242

Cait Flanders went deep into debt so she could buy all the clothes, books and gadgets she thought would make her happier. It was only when she junked it all that she found that 'doing' rather than 'having' is a better way to spend your salary. Dr Laurie Santos examines why investing in experiences like concerts, vacations and dining out can give us a long-term happiness boost that buying things just can't match. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
We all have bad habits - things we eat, drink, do or say that cause us unhappiness. We repeat these behaviours over and over again - almost as if we are on autopilot. But we can break free from them, and use the mechanics of habit formation to make doing good things feel effortless. Dr Laurie Santos meets a scientist who sleeps in her running gear and a former army doctor who went to Vietnam to fight a wave of heroin abuse in the military and discovered something startling about habits. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Dial D for Distracted

Dial D for Distracted

2020-06-0132:2765

The world is full of people and things that can make you happy, but you have to notice them to get the full effect. Smartphones are technological marvels, but the hold they have over our limited attention is causing us to miss out on more than we realize. Dr Laurie Santos finds that even having a phone nearby can reduce how happy you feel. Laurie chats with Catherine Price, a science journalist, founder of ScreenLifeBalance.com and author of How to Break Up With Your Phone. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm or visit screenlifebalance.com, the website for guest Catherine Price. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
'Time famine' is when you just don't feel you have a spare moment... and it can make you miserable. It's a feeling Dr Laurie Santos knows only too well, so she seeks help from her time affluence hero, Idler author Tom Hodgkinson. Tom lives life to the full, but he ensures he carves out time to wander around, think, chat with friends and even take naps. He argues that 'idling' is vital to leading a happy, creative and productive existence. Is he right? And if so, what can we all do to break free from the tyranny of time? For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Marty kills rats... but if you asked him what his job is he'd say it was "solving problems" and "helping people". How we view our work can contribute greatly to our daily levels of happiness - far more than money or status. Dr Laurie Santos examines how we all came to ignore the importance of job satisfaction and hears from Professor Amy Wrzesniewski about "job crafting" - the reframing skill that happy people like Marty use to see their careers as more than just a way to make money. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
Vlad's mom taught him a family tradition - remember grandpa when you taste the first fruits of the season. It was odd, but the boy went along with it. Only later when he faced two crushing bereavements of his own did Vlad realise the power of tiny personal rituals to ease his grief. Dr Laurie Santos examines the science behind this effect and explains how rites, ceremonies and rituals could help you deal with events that make you sad - from job rejections to divorce. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
PJ and Alex Love to Gripe

PJ and Alex Love to Gripe

2020-05-0431:3929

Reply All hosts PJ and Alex love to trade gripes. Their complaints about the minor annoyances of modern life make for great audio, but are the podcasters making a classic mistake? We all like to complain - thinking that venting does us good - but Dr Laurie Santos explains to PJ and Alex that they should gripe less if they want to be happier, and sets them a task to say something nice. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
We talk a lot about psychopaths - but rarely discuss their polar opposites, super altruists. These are people who go to extreme lengths to help others - even though their acts of kindness might cost them time, money or expose them to physical danger. These folk are also happier than the rest of us. A super altruist once saved the life of psychology professor Abigail Marsh - so she devoted her career to understanding what drives these amazing and happy people and how we call all learn to be more like them. For an even deeper dive into the research we talk about in the show visit happinesslab.fm Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.com
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Comments (143)

Angie montes

I really needed to hear this today! Thank you!🌻

Jan 23rd
Reply

Misty Carpenter

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Jan 22nd
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Ana Egri

this episode is full of unscientific bull. pretty disappointed

Jan 19th
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Stephannie Hearit

this is awesome! thanks!

Dec 20th
Reply

Ali Watts

🖤🖤🖤

Dec 16th
Reply

Amber Weekley

this is one of my Top 5 favorite podcasts! Self Help podcasts are my favorite. Thanks for such an awesome thing to make a part of my morning routine.

Nov 25th
Reply

Carrie Tucker

Wow. Seriously gross.

Nov 14th
Reply

Tass

Some of this advice felt off-base in this context! "How am I going to feel about this in a year?" is a great distancing practice for many things but I 100% guarantee I will still care very much who won the election in a year. Kind of glad I didn't listen to this until after it was called.

Nov 10th
Reply

Farhood

I love the content but the recording is iffy and makes me have a headache. it's not smooth.

Nov 10th
Reply

Sarah Lung

p

Oct 26th
Reply

Robert Jones

Love this show and Laura

Oct 18th
Reply

Trina Bruner

I enjoy the new questions I walk away from this podcast pondering.Is the amygdala of generous folks bigger at birth,or does the extra 8% or so come from usage? I'm sure science will know some day,but for now it's fun to ponder

Oct 17th
Reply

Ali Watts

I want to thank you for bringing light to how important it is to study the past literary minds to being light into the darkness of 2020. The episodes with Plato and Aristotle have really given me some tools to help compartmentalize this, sometimes, overwhelming time we are in.

Oct 16th
Reply

Finny Callahan

the meditation made me tear up because I truly and worried for people amd sending out that love to them really helped.

Oct 12th
Reply

ID19619055

My enemy is a Buddha who has been sent to teach me about my ego. That’s kind of discussed. Interesting.

Oct 5th
Reply

Jodi Traver

What a beautiful thing to stumble upon!

Oct 3rd
Reply

Sara

I just found this podcast and with each episode that i listen to i start to love it more and more Thanks for the awesome job you're doing

Sep 21st
Reply

Yael Gabi

I've never been a podcast person I'll listen with friends and such but this podcast gets me excited to learning something every morning.

Sep 14th
Reply

Emily Haywood

He summed up the mindfulness meditation really well

Aug 24th
Reply

Trina Bruner

The mere presence of phones being a negative was obvious to me before I had a smartphone myself. I remember how much I resented my husband's first device.

Aug 8th
Reply
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