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The Science of Happiness
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The Science of Happiness

Author: PRX and Greater Good Science Center

Subscribed: 45,388Played: 867,082


Learn research-tested strategies for a happier, more meaningful life, drawing on the science of compassion, gratitude, mindfulness, and awe. Hosted by award-winning professor Dacher Keltner. Co-produced by PRX and UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center.
234 Episodes
Link to episode transcript: 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. Link to episode transcript: **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. Link to episode transcript:
High expectations can lead to disappointment, but expecting the worst doesn't feel great, either. This week we explore how to find the balance. Link to episode transcript:
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. Link to episode transcript:
A NYT restaurant critic puts down her pen and grabs her camera to capture the beauty of the outdoors. Link to Episode Transcript:
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. Link to Episode Transcript:
What does your best possible self look like? Our guest tries a practice in optimism by imagining her brightest future. Link to Episode Transcript:
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. Link to Episode Transcript:
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. Link to Episode Transcript:
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. Link to Episode Transcript:
What happens when we share our time? Our guest, chef and author Bryant Terry, pauses to be present with the ones who matter most. Link to Episode Transcript:
Comedian Paula Poundstone tries to take on a messy and daunting task, one small step at a time. Link to Episode Transcript:
Anna Sale, host of Death, Sex, and Money, practices awe as an antidote to her anxiety. Link to Episode Transcript:
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. Link to Episode Transcript:
100 Good Things

100 Good Things


For our 100th episode, host Dacher Keltner sits in the guest chair and tries one of the most popular happiness practices. Link to Episode Transcript:
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. Link to Episode Transcript:
What would life be like without the people you care most about? Our guest tries a practice to help appreciate loved ones. Link to Episode Transcript:
How to Tune Out the Noise

How to Tune Out the Noise


Our guest uses her breath to find calm in some of Los Angeles' noisiest neighborhoods. Link to Episode Transcript:
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. Link to Episode Transcript:
Comments (40)

snur javanbakht

Thank you for this episode .Im here to improve my English and learn more about happiness♥️

Mar 8th

Hossein Vendetta


May 29th

Jeffery Thornock

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


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