The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos-logo

The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

Health & Wellness Podcasts

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.

Location:

United States

Description:

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.

Language:

English


Episodes

Can Couples Learn to Argue Better?

2/19/2024
No matter how much you love your partner, your relationship will never be totally free from disagreement. And nor should it be, say researchers Dr John Gottman and Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman. We actually just need to learn to argue better. The Gottmans join Dr Laurie Santos to talk us through how to raise complaints with our partners and how to react when they complain about us. Further reading: Fight Right: How Successful Couples Turn Conflict into Connection by Dr John Gottman and Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:34:41

Love Lessons from the "Masters of Relationships"

2/12/2024
Some people are just good at building and maintaining healthy partnerships. In their 'Love Lab", the married researchers Dr John Gottman and Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman have seen how certain couples interact in ways that mean they'll happily stick together for decades. The Gottmans join Dr Laurie Santos to explain what we can learn from these "Masters of Relationships" - so that the stresses and strains of life don't destroy our intimate partnerships. Further reading: Fight Right: How Successful Couples Turn Conflict into Connection by Dr John Gottman and Dr Julie Schwartz Gottman. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:45:29

The Sweet Smell of Happiness

2/5/2024
Does happiness have a scent? Dr Laurie has been trying to remove the bad smells in her life and bring in more fragrances that enhance her wellbeing. But she's noticed that some of the smells that bring her joy can being a little weird - like musty books and rotting seaweed. So what's going on in noses and brains? Laurie turned to neuroscientist Dr Rachel Herz (author of The Scent of Desire) to explain why we respond to certain smells and how we can use scent to reduce stress, boost our happiness, make us perform better and even to find the perfect mate. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:51:54

How Getting Active Can Make You Happier

1/15/2024
Busy scientist Adam Aron had too much on his plate to think deeply about climate change - until he read a scary report about what lay in store for the planet if no one acted to cut greenhouse gases. So Adam did more and more to fight climate change, until activism became his full time occupation. And the move made him happier and more content. We can't all give up our normal lives to stop global heating - but even making small contributions to the cause can make us feel more connected, more fulfilled and happier. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:20:37

Being Green Doesn't Mean Sacrificing Fun... or Cutting Out Meat

1/8/2024
We often think of fighting climate change as a drain on our happiness - it'll mean sacrificing the things we love, like air travel or eating hamburgers. But researchers Jiaying Zhao and Liz Dunn have pioneered the idea of "Happy Climate" that shows us ways in which doing good for the planet can make us feel great. Changing how we fly, drive, shop and eat in very small ways can make us enjoy our travel, our friends, our wardrobes and, yes, even our steaks, more than ever before. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:27:45

Why our Brains Don't Fear Climate Change Enough

1/2/2024
Humans are great at reacting to mortal danger... but only sometimes. Unfortunately, some risks to our safety and wellbeing don't set off alarm bells in our brains. Climate change falls into that category. Why is that? Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert explains how some dangers trigger us, and some don't. In discussion with Dr Laurie Santos, he also outlines ways in which we can be made to care more about threats to the planet and maybe react to them in more positive, happiness-inducing ways. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:37:06

When Stalin Killed the Weekend - A Happiness Lab/Cautionary Tales Crossover

12/18/2023
Time off work is vital for your happiness. So what would you do if you couldn't take the same rest day as your family and friends? Would you quit your job? What if it was the murderous dictator Stalin giving you the order? The Soviet Union wanted its factories to run every day, so workers were stopped from taking the same day off - killing the weekend as we know it. In a crossover between The Happiness Lab and Cautionary Tales, Dr Laurie Santos and Tim Harford discuss the pros and cons of everyone downing tools together and why holidays matter so very much. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:36:41

Build The Life You Want from Oprah's Super Soul

12/15/2023
Enjoy this episode of another show you might like: the Build the Life You Want Super Soul Podcast. Oprah and Arthur Brooks offer listeners a better understanding of the science behind happiness and why Arthur says, “Happiness is not a destination, happiness is a direction.” Together, they take questions from people across the country who have read Build the Life You Want and are curious how to apply topics from the book to their own lives. They discuss the “The Four Pillars of Happiness: Faith, Family, Friends and Work that Serves” as well as the power of metacognition which Oprah calls “one of the biggest contributions to people getting happier.” Arthur Brooks explains how using “emotional caffeine” can lead to greater happiness and how having “a better storage of emotions” can block anxiety and depression. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:54:28

Is There a Gen Z Happiness Crisis? Dr Laurie Meets the US Surgeon General

12/11/2023
Have we created a culture where young people prioritize good grades, social media likes and constant hustling over the important wellbeing pillars of sleep, friendships and free time? Dr Laurie Santos joins the US Surgeon General on his podcast House Calls with Dr. Vivek Murthy to ask how we got here and what Gen Z can do to get out of this happiness crisis. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:35:40

How Eating Got Complicated

12/4/2023
For our ancient ancestors food was just another thing they needed to survive - like sleep, shelter or warmth. But in the modern world, food has become a source of anxiety. Do we eat too much, or too little? And are we feeding ourself the "wrong" things? Dr Laurie Santos has plenty of thoughts on our complicated relationship with eating and shared them on a recent episode of the PRX podcast Food, We Need to Talk. The show turned out great, so we thought we'd give you the chance to hear Laurie's chat with the hosts Juna Gjata and Dr. Eddie Phillips. Just like The Happiness Lab, Food, We Need to Talk relies on the latest science to tackle issues like body image, nutrition, exercise and addiction. You can listen to other episodes of Food, We Need to Talk wherever you get your podcasts. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:43:10

Awe and Psychedelics with Michael Pollan

12/1/2023
Laurie's former student and friend, Dr. Maya Shankar, has a Pushkin podcast we love called A Slight Change of Plans. If you like The Happiness Lab, then this show is right up your alley. In this episode, Maya and author Michael Pollan discuss the fascinating science of psychedelics and how they have the power to transform our minds and improve our mental health. You’ll also get a glimpse into Michael’s personal experience with psychedelic trips and how they unlocked a singular kind of joy within him. Plus, you'll hear him try and convince scaredy-cat Maya to give them a try. You can hear more from A Slight Change of Plans wherever you get your podcasts. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:37:57

Giving Away Cash Makes You Happy... and Transforms Lives

11/27/2023
YOU can boost your happiness and transform the lives of people in one African village with a cash gift by going to givedirectly.org/happiness Giving money to others makes you happier than spending the same cash on yourself. That's been proved by science. But new research also shows that giving people in need cold hard cash is an amazing way to help them improve their lives. We explore why trusting people to help themselves is a cheaper and more effective way to solve poverty - and hear about Kibobo in Rwanda, where any money you donate will have a huge impact. Read more about Kibobo at givedirectly.org/happiness Former British politician Rory Stewart used to manage billions of dollars in aid money - and like other international donors thought poor people needed to be told what to do with charitable gifts. He was shocked how effective no-strings-attached cash turned out to be, and now promotes "giving directly". He was also surprised how good giving away even small amounts of money made him feel. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:27:45

Make America Happy Again

11/20/2023
We're distrustful, unequal and isolated. That's according to the figures showing a decline in happy community feeling since the 1960s. But can we do anything to regain the healthier communal lives enjoyed by many of our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents? We talk to a hopeful trio - an economist, a political scientist and a US senator - about how we can reduce social isolation, temper political division and prioritize the kind of mixing and meeting that makes neighbors into friends. Further reading: Robert Putnam Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community and The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again. Lord Richard Layard Can We Be Happier? Evidence and Ethics and Wellbeing: Science and Policy (co-authored by Jan-Emmanuel De Neve). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:31:29

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

11/13/2023
Cheers was a sitcom hit in the 80s thanks to a theme tune promising that the fictional bar was a place "where everybody knows you name". Venues like pubs - away from our homes and workplaces - are vital for building our social networks and making our lives richer, easier and more fun. But these so-called "Third Places" are in danger. Neighborhood hangouts are closing and membership of clubs, associations and unions is falling. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam has been watching this worrying decline across a lifetime and warns that we need to act before it's too late. Robert is author of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community and The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again. He also inspired the 2023 film Join or Die. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:30:08

Don't Make Friends Where You Make Your Money?

11/6/2023
Work and friendship don't mix, thought Katherine Hu. A recent graduate, she found it harder to form bonds with colleagues than she'd expected. But then she concluded that not having friends at work helps you set boundaries and remain professional. After all, work is fundamentally a financial transaction, right? Well, we spend many of our waking hours at work - and the science suggests that if we decide not to use that time making meaningful friendships then our health and wellbeing could suffer. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:33:36

Ask for Help... and Spread Happiness

10/30/2023
Jia Jiang dreamed of being the next Bill Gates... but an entrepreneur needs the courage and confidence to ask for help. Jia was terrified of rejection - so couldn't fulfil his ambitions. That is, until he decided to beat his fear by seeking out rejection after rejection for a full 100 days. Many of us share Jia's nervousness about appearing vulnerable and needy, but the science suggests that we and the people around us would be happier if we asked them for help more often. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:25:03

The Introvert's Guide to Extroversion

10/23/2023
Jessica Pan hated social gatherings - she cried when her friends threw her a surprise birthday party, and was even too scared to give a speech at her own wedding. Jessica was a hardcore introvert - and it was making her sad. Extroverts find it easier to experience the joy that comes with social interactions - but that doesn't mean introverts are doomed to lives that lack such fun. Jessica read some research that suggested introverts can learn to enjoy being more outgoing - so decided to turn her social life around. You can read more of Jessica's story in her book: Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: One Introvert's Year of Saying Yes. She is posting updates from her year of extroverting at her Substack, "It'll Be Fun, They Said" (https://jesspan.substack.com/). See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:29:29

Text a Friend... Right Now!

10/16/2023
When did you last check in on a friend? Maybe the last time you did, their reply was terse or non-existent. Perhaps months or years have passed and you feel awkward about reestablishing contact? Or you might worry they're busy and you're just bothering them? Andy Salkind tells Dr Laurie Santos that you should forget your worries - and just TEXT THEM! After all, a simple message from a friend saved his life. WARNING: This episode deals with depression and suicidality. If you’re based in the US, you can call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Similar services are available in pretty much every other country. So, if you need help, please, please reach out. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:26:05

How to Make Friends and Compliment People

10/9/2023
Connecting with people is a sure-fire way to be happier - and you can quickly build relationships with friends and strangers alike just by giving them a sincere compliment. In the first show of a season about how to be more sociable - we meet Troy Hawke, who makes a living complimenting everyone he passes on the street, and scientist Xuan Zhao - an expert on compliments who ditched her boyfriend for failing to say out loud all the nice things he thought about her. (For more on Xuan's public benefit startup Flourish Science - a company aiming to "help people discover joy, combat burnout, and cultivate deeper connections within supportive communities" - then visit www.flouriship.com.) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:29:31

Grover’s Super Solution to Self-Talk

10/2/2023
It's not always easy being a podcast host. Dr Laurie is stressed, making mistakes and blaming herself. When things go wrong, we're often our own harshest critics. So how can we tame this type of unkind self-talk? Luckily for Dr Laurie, Super Grover comes to the rescue - with tips on how she can talk to herself in kind and compassionate ways that will help her manage her feelings, perform better, and feel happier. (Sesame Workshop is a non-profit organization with a mission to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. The work they do is funded by donations big and small - so if you want to become a part of their important work to improve children’s emotional well-being, then visit: sesameworkshop.org/support-us/) See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Duration:00:28:51