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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*.* They recruit their husbands to ask and answer these questions and then fill us in on the surprising ways they helped each of their relationships. Later, we hear from psychologists Arthur and Elaine Aron, the married duo who co-created the 36 questions this practice is based on. They explain the principles behind the questions, so you can come up with your own conversation starters to foster closeness with anyone — family, friends, or your partner. Practice: 36 Questions for Increasing Closeness Identify someone with whom you’d like to become closer. Find a time when you both have about 45 minutes to meet in person. Take 15 minutes answering the questions in Set I below. Each person should answer every question, but alternate who answers first. If you don’t finish the set in 15 minutes, move on to Set II. Repeat the steps above for sets II and III. Find the 36 questions at Greater Good In Action: Today’s guests: Kristen Meinzer is a pop culture commentator, Royals expert, and co-host of By the Book podcast. She also co-hosts the new podcast Romance Road Test. Jolenta Greenberg is a comedian, pop culture commentator, and aslo co-hosts of By the Book and Romance Road Test. Listen to Romance Road Test: Listen to By the Book: Arthur and Elaine Aron are two of the leading psychologists studying the psychology of love and close relationships, and they are a married couple. The Arons created the original 36 questions this practice is based on. Resources For Increasing Closeness: The New York Times, Smarter Living - How to Be a Better Friend: NBC News - How to build emotional intimacy with your partner: Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel - Twice Married, To Each Other: More resources from The Greater Good Science Center: Take our Compassionate Love Quiz: 36 Questions That Can Help Kids Make Friends: Moments of Love and Connection May Help You Live Longer: Tell us about your experience asking and answering these 36 questions by emailing us at or using the hashtag #happinesspod. Help us share The Science of Happiness! Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or copy and share this link with someone who might like the show:
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? This week on The Science of Happiness, our guest tries a writing practice to feel more connected to those close to him. Simon Liu is the co-founder of the Bay Area Freedom Collective, a home where other formerly incarcerated people can find community and connections. Simon talks about the importance of the social connections he made while in prison, and outside. Psychologist David Cwir explains how finding and building connections not only supports our emotional well-being, but can also change our bodies. Practice: Feeling Connected Think of a time when you felt a strong bond with someone in your life. Choose a specific experience where you felt especially close and connected to them. Spend a few minutes writing about what happened during the experience. In particular, consider how the experience made you feel close and connected to the other person. Today’s guests: Simon Liu co-founded the Bay Area Freedom Collective, a home by and for formerly incarcerated people, which provides resources and support for their re-entry. Simon is also a software engineer. To learn more about Bay Area Freedom House: or: To financially support the Bay Area Freedom Collective: David Cwir is an associate professor of psychology at Briercrest College and Seminary. His research has looked at how moments of social connection with strangers can positively affect our bodies and minds. Learn more about this practice at Greater Good In Action: We’d love for you to try out this practice and share how it went for you. Email us at or use the hashtag #happinesspod. Help us share The Science of Happiness! Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or copy and share this link with someone who might like the show: Resources for Feeling Connected: Harvard Health — Easy daily ways to feel more connected: NPR — 4 tips to stay connected when your friends live far away: The New York Times — Need to Dust Off Your Social Skills? (featuring Dacher): How to Start Over (The Atlantic) — The Misgivings of Friend-Making: Invisibilia — Therapy, With Friends: More resources from The Greater Good Science Center: Feeling Connected Makes Us Kind: Is Social Connection the Best Path to Happiness? Why You Click With Certain People: Why Are We So Wired to Connect? Listen to our episode, “Who Makes You Feel Connected?” Listen to our episode, “What Are Your Strongest Reminders of Connection?”
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 present can help us make more mindful decisions. He recounts how, after experiencing stress as a judge, his wife suggested he try an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction course. After taking the course, Jeremy felt more connected to himself and his surroundings, and decided to make mindfulness a part of his everyday life. The changes Jeremy made had profound impacts on his work as a judge. We also hear from Dr. Shauna Shapiro, a clinical psychologist and professor at Santa Clara University, about how mindfulness affects our moral reasoning. Practice: Mindful Breathing Find a comfortable, seated position and invite your body to relax. Tune in to the sensations it experiences — the touch, the connection with the floor or the chair. Do your best to relax any areas of tightness or tension. Listen to the natural rhythm of your breath, in and out, without trying to control it. Notice where you feel your breath in your body. It might be in your abdomen, chest, throat, or nostrils. See if you can feel the sensations of breath, one breath at a time. As you do this, you may start thinking about other things. Try to notice that your mind has wandered, and say “thinking” or “wandering” in your head softly. Then gently redirect your attention right back to the breathing. Stay here for 5-7 minutes. Finally, notice your whole body seated here once more. Let yourself relax even more deeply, and thank yourself for doing this practice today. Learn more about this practice at Greater Good In Action: Today’s guests: Jeremy Fogel is a former district judge in Northern California. Today he’s the executive director of the Judicial Institute at UC Berkeley and is at the forefront of a movement to bring mindfulness practices into the work of judges. Learn more about Judge Fogel’s work: Shauna Shapiro is a professor at Santa Clara University and the author of Good Morning, I Love You, a book on how to cultivate mindfulness and self-compassion. Listen to Dr. Shapiro’s TED talk on the power of mindfulness: Resources for Mindful Decision-Making Harvard Health - Can Mindfulness Change Your Brain? NPR’s Life Kit - Faced With A Tough Decision? The Key To Choosing May Be Your Mindset: The Atlantic - Mindfulness Hurts. That’s Why It Works: The New York Times - How to Be More Mindful at Work: More resources from The Greater Good Science Center: Take our Mindfulness Quiz: Five Ways Mindfulness Meditation is Good for Your Health: Three Ways Mindfulness Can Make You Less Biased: The Mindfulness Skill That is Crucial for Stress: Can Mindfulness Improve Decision Making? Tell us about your experiences bringing mindfulness to your decision-making by emailing us at or using the hashtag #happinesspod. Help us share The Science of Happiness! Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or copy and share this link with someone who might like the show:
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 moment to cultivate mindfulness through a mindful breathing practice. Next, Sam invites us in as she apologizes to her husband Nate. Sam reflects on how she took out her stress on Nate, what led her to lash out, and the importance of making a true, heartfelt apology — as opposed to the mindless ones many of us make on a near-daily basis. Then we hear from Sana Rizvi, a professor at the University of New Brunswick, about the science of how mindfulness can make us more apologetic. Practice: Mindful Breathing Invite your body to relax into a comfortable position. Tune into the rhythm of your breath, and pay attention as you breathe in through your nose, hold your breath, and exhale through your mouth. Repeat as many times as you’d like. Making an Effective Apology Acknowledge the offense by showing that you recognize who was responsible, who was harmed, and the nature of the offense. If helpful, provide an explanation, especially to convey that it was not intentional and that it will not happen again. Express remorse. Make amends. When considering how to best make amends, be sure to ask the offended person what would mean the most to them. Learn more about this practice at Greater Good In Action: Today’s guests: Sam Dugan is a public defender in Salt Lake City, Utah. She and her husband Nate have three dogs, and they were on the show last year to try the Three Funny Things practice. Listen to Sam and Nate on Why Love Needs Laughter: Sana Rizvi is a professor in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at the University of New Brunswick, in Canada. Learn more about Dr. Rizvi’s work: Resources for Making an Effective Apology Hidden Brain - The Power of Apologies: The Verywell Mind Podcast - A Science-Backed Strategy for Making an Effective Apology: The Atlantic - The Art and Science of Apologizing: The New York Times - No, You Don’t Have to Stop Apologizing: More resources from The Greater Good Science Center: Can Mindfulness Make You Better at Apologizing? The Three Parts of an Effective Apology: A Better Way to Apologize: Should You Ask Your Children to Apologize? Eight Keys to Forgiveness: Tell us about your experiences and struggles trying to make a mindful and effective apology by emailing us at or using the hashtag #happinesspod. Help us share The Science of Happiness! Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or copy and share this link with someone who might like the show:
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 years before resigning in 2019. Jinho joins us today after trying a practice in cultivating intellectual humility. It asks us to consider how our memories and understanding of the world might be fallible, so we might not have all the answers. When Jinho tapped into the practice during a disagreement with a bandmate, he was able to navigate the conflict and come to a resolution. Check out Jinho’s band, Flipsyde: Try this practice: Cultivate Intellectual Humility If you can, write out your answers. When you encounter information or an opinion that contradicts your opinion or worldview, ask yourself these questions: Why do you disagree? Are you making any assumptions about the other person and the source of their opinion? Might those assumptions be wrong? What about your own opinion, how did you come to believe it? Do you really have all of the information? Now think about the scenario from the perspective of a person who disagrees with you. Try to imagine how they came to believe what they believe. What information might they be basing their opinion off of? What values do you think they’re weighing in how they think about this topic? Can you imagine how they came to hold those values? If you find yourself getting stuck, imagine yourself as a third person weighing in with an opinion that’s different from both of yours. Try to generate an entirely new perspective. Can you think of another way to understand this issue? 3. Tap into your intellectual humility: Identify places where, before, you weren’t acknowledging the limitations of what you know about the issue. Can you find any? Now that you’ve worked to see this issue from another person’s point of view, do you see more value in their perspective than you were able to see before? What other ways do you engage with viewpoints that challenge your own? Do you notice any patterns? Today’s guests: Jinho “Piper” Ferreira is a rapper in the Band Flipsyde, a former deputy sheriff, and playwright. Follow Jinho on Twitter: Listen to the episode of Snap Judgment podcast about Jinho’s story: Elizabeth Krumrei-Mancuso is a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University who studies intellectual humility. Learn more about Dr. Krumrei-Mancuso and her work: Check out Dr. Krumrei-Mancuso’s article on intellectual humility: More resources about Intellectual Humility: Intellectual humility: the importance of knowing you might be wrong: Five Reasons Why Intellectual Humility Is Good for You: The Benefits of Admitting When You Don’t Know: Share your thoughts on this episode and intellectual humility by emailing us at or using the hashtag #happinesspod. Help us share The Science of Happiness! Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or copy and share this link with someone who might like the show: This episode was supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, as part of our project on "Expanding Awareness of the Science of Intellectual Humility." For more on the project, go to
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 mindfulness. In this episode, journalists Marylee Williams and Michaeleen Doucleff try a practice to induce lucid dreaming, and researcher Benjamin Baird explains what lucid dreaming is teaching scientists about consciousness, plus how it might benefit our well-being. Lucid dreaming appears to help foster creativity and can boost your mood when you wake up. Try Lucid Dreaming There are a few different ways to induce lucid dreams. All of them take time and practice. Find a brief summary below and more information at this link: (i) Reality Testing (RT), a technique that involves checking your environment several times a day to see whether or not you’re dreaming; (iii) MILD, a technique that involves waking up after five hours of sleep and then developing the intention to remember that you are dreaming before returning to sleep, by repeating the phrase ‘The next time I’m dreaming, I will remember that I’m dreaming;’ you also imagine yourself in a lucid dream; (iv) SSILD, a technique that involves waking up after five hours of sleep and then repeatedly focusing your attention on visual, auditory, and physical sensations for 20 seconds each before returning to sleep; this technique is similar to mindfulness meditation but involved repeatedly shifting your focus; More Resources: Lucid Dreaming FAQ by The Lucidity Institute: Lucid Dreaming at TEDx: Learn about the cognitive neuroscience of lucid dreaming from today’s expert Benjamin Baird: More sleep resources from The Greater Good Science Center: Why Your Brain Needs to Dream: The Influence of Dreams: How Mindfulness Improves Sleep: Your Sleep Tonight Changes How You React to Stress Tomorrow: Dear Christine: Why Can’t I Sleep? Today’s guests: Michaeleen Doucleff f is a science reporter for NPR and author of the book Hunt, Gather, Parent. Check out her reporting: Read her book: Follow Michaeleen on Twitter: Mary Lee Williams is an editor and producer on a morning news show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Check out her website: Follow on Twitter: Benjamin Baird is a Research Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, where he focuses on consciousness, including lucid dreaming. Check out Dr. Baird’s website: Tell us about your experiences and struggles with lucid dreams by emailing us at or using the hashtag #happinesspod. Help us share The Science of Happiness OR HB! Leave us a 5-star review and copy and share this link:
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-backed tips for finding your natural sleep rhythm. Drew, also known as “Dearest Scooter,” talks about his history with insomnia and sleep anxiety, sleep hygiene, and his philosophy on bringing more self-compassion into his approach to trying to fall asleep. Then we hear from sleep scientist Eti Ben Simon about how sleep affects your social life. Practice: Here are four tips to help you sleep from Dr. Eti Ben Simon. Avoid alcohol and caffeine after 2 p.m. to unmask your true biological sleep needs. Keep lights dim in the evening and limit access to LED lights after 9 p.m. Go to sleep as soon as you feel tired (even if you're in the middle of something). This will help you figure out the earliest window it is physiologically possible for you to fall asleep. Do not use an alarm clock to wake up. Try a version of this practice with the sleep tips in this article by expert Eti Ben Simon: Today’s guests: Drew Ackerman You might know Drew as his alias, “Dearest Scooter*,”* the host of Sleep with Me podcast. Drew struggles with bedtime worries and has a history of insomnia himself, but he’s great at helping others sleep. Sleep with Me is one of the most listened-to sleep podcasts. On each episode, “Scooter” lulls listeners off to dreamland with meandering bedtime stories intended to lose your interest. Listen to Sleep With Me Podcast: Follow Drew on Twitter: Follow Drew on Instagram: Follow Drew on Facebook: Eti Ben Simon is a sleep scientist and postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, where she works at Matthew Walkers’ Center for Human Sleep Science. Learn more about Eti and her work: Follow Eti on Twitter: Follow Eti on Google Scholar: Resources for A Good Night’s Sleep Psychology Today - What’s Your Sleep Type? Two forces that dictate our sleep, by Eti Ben Simon: Matthew Walker’s 11 Tips for Improving Sleep Quality: TED - Sleeping with Science: Harvard Health - 8 Tips to Get a Good Night’s Sleep: BBC - Why Do We Sleep? More resources from The Greater Good Science Center: Four Surprising Ways to Get a Better Night’s Sleep: How Mindfulness Improves Sleep: Your Sleep Tonight Changes How You React to Stress Tomorrow: Tell us about your experiences and struggles with falling asleep by emailing us at or using the hashtag #happinesspod. Help us share The Science of Happiness! Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or copy and share this link with someone who might like the show:
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 to pack 800 pre-ordered books into boxes for shipping. It’s a laborious task, and he knew he couldn’t handle it all on his own. It was a Sunday, and people probably already had plans. He took a beat, and then he sent the texts out anyway. Before long, he had eight people packing books. ** ** Vanessa Bohns of Cornell University has studied exactly what Emanuel experienced: When it comes to asking for help, we underestimate how likely others are to say “yes” to our request. But when we put ourselves in the shoes of a person being asked for help, it’s hard to imagine saying “no.” “People do get this warm glow from helping,” Bohns says. “People enjoy being helpful.” This Happiness Practice might benefit you as much as the person you ask. Try this week’s practice, Ask for Help at Work at Today’s guests: Emanuel Hahn is a freelance photographer and director in Los Angeles. He just released his first book, Koreatown Dreaming, which documents 40 small businesses in LA’s Koreatown as they weather the pandemic and encroaching gentrification. He joins us today after trying a practice where he makes a commitment to ask for help whenever he needs it. Follow Emanuel on Twitter and Instagram. Vanessa Bohns is an associate professor of social psychology at Cornell University and the author of the book You Have More Influence Than You Think. She did an experiment to see why it’s so hard for people to ask for help. Follow Vanessa Bohns on Twitter. More resources from The Greater Good Science Center: How Love and Connection Exist in Micro-Moments Is Stress Making You Withdraw from People? Try Our One-Month Pathway to Happiness Program Tell us about your experiences and struggles with asking for help by emailing us at or using the hashtag #happinesspod. Help us share The Science of Happiness! Copy and share this link:
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!**\ You’ll have to make an account, but we promise it takes less time than it does to say “The Science of Happiness.” Don’t forget to verify your account! CLICK HERE to make an account and vote. Or, go to Click "Start Voting." Click "categories," then select "Podcasts," then "Limited Series & Specials" at the bottom. Click "Health, Science and Education" and click The Science of Happiness and Music to make an account and vote!
Comedian Marilyn Pittman takes stock of what she really wants in life – and makes a plan to get it.
High expectations can lead to disappointment, but expecting the worst doesn't feel great, either. This week we explore how to find the balance.
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.
A NYT restaurant critic puts down her pen and grabs her camera to capture the beauty of the outdoors.
What happens when we feel compassion for the things that scare us? Shabazz Larkin shares what it's like to face some of his deepest fears.
What does your best possible self look like? Our guest tries a practice in optimism by imagining her brightest future.
How Gratitude Renews Us

How Gratitude Renews Us


Feeling burned out? Our guest, a nurse, explores how cultivating gratitude helps people in high stress jobs.
Can taking a few photos really make you happier? Afghan rocker Sulyman Qardash tries a practice to find meaning through snapping photos of daily life.
Why We Give Thanks

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. 
What happens when we share our time? Our guest, chef and author Bryant Terry, pauses to be present with the ones who matter most.
Comedian Paula Poundstone tries to take on a messy and daunting task, one small step at a time.
Comments (39)

Hossein Vendetta


May 29th


People love to speculate on what God would ask in a interview. It occurred to me one day that he will ask us if we enjoyed his creation. And then he will ask why not. We will then have too answer that we were to busy.

Apr 27th

Mohammad Kamran

how can I find the script?

Jan 20th

Mohammad Kamran

thnx for your useful podcast, is there any script for this podcast?

Sep 17th

Bethany Edwards

I loved all this information about trees and the networks they create. Thankyou for sharing.

Sep 10th

Corinne Meier

hold on WHAT???? I had to go re-listen back several times: when it rains it washes sewage into the ocean?!? and you say that like it's just normal and ok and just the way it is???? you should be outraged. how is it ok for raw sewage to just run into the ocean!?!?

Apr 23rd

Helia Ahmadi

It was one of the most useful podcasts I have ever listened.

Mar 31st


Valuable information.

Oct 19th



Sep 14th

Sophie Cheng

69 episodes?

May 27th

Jenny TheMachine

interesting story.

Jan 12th

Ral Reckons

Thank you. Great pod cast!

Oct 29th

Caren A. Kewer

Graveyard of meditation apps!! 🙋🏼‍♀️

Oct 22nd
Reply (1)

5 min K-World

it's funny how 3 good things look like an easy task, but actually it needs a lot of effort. I just loved this episode!

Aug 7th
Reply (1)


agreed @nova 💜

Aug 1st
Reply (1)


thank you very much! please keep up the good work, let us make this world a better place.

Apr 3rd

Aoife Mcdonnell

Give them a crazy Irish name like Aoife. Who hates the Irish?

Mar 8th

Regina Rose

I like the idea of creating distance from ruminating thoughts and perceived problems. The distance does help create different perspectives. The situation may not change, but just the idea of changing my perspective is just pure, 1) self-care, and 2) helps me show up differently in the world, with different energy where I can positively affect others' lives too!

Mar 8th



Jan 26th



Jan 9th
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