The Science of Happiness

By PRX and Greater Good Science Center

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Category: Social Sciences

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Subscribers: 2046
Reviews: 3

 Jul 25, 2019

 Jan 7, 2019
Love this podcast and the way it explores the science behind practices that real people employ in an effort to live a happier life.

A Podcast Republic user
 Aug 16, 2018


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.

Episode Date
Staying Close While Physical Distancing

Our guest tries a practice to feel more connected to loved ones, and herself, while sheltering at home.

Mar 26, 2020
Who Would You Be Without Them?

Think of an important person in your life. Now imagine you never met. Our guest practices counting his blessings by picturing his life without a special person from his past.

Mar 12, 2020
Step Away from Anxiety

Do you have a hard time calming your nerves? Author Raina Telgemeier tries a practice to get out of her head, one step at a time.

Feb 27, 2020
Who Is Your Rock?

He survived the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, two years ago and has been a student mental health advocate ever since. Now Kai Koerber finds a way to thank the person who helped him find his voice.

Feb 13, 2020
What Does It Take To Really Listen To Someone?

Are you actually listening when someone is talking to you, or just waiting for your turn to talk? Our guest, a veteran of the Iraq War, practices how to truly listen to others.

Jan 30, 2020
Why Shared Goals Can Bridge Divides

How can people from different groups get on the same page? Our guest, an educator and football coach, tries a strategy for building stronger, more inclusive teams.

Jan 16, 2020
How To Make Time for Happiness

Her New Year's resolution was to have more joyful and fulfilling experiences in her daily life. Our guest tried a practice to help make that happen.

Jan 02, 2020
How To Get Your Senses Tingling

There are millions of YouTube channels with people crinkling bubble wrap or whispering about folding laundry. Our guests talks about why autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) makes her, and many others, feel more calm and happy.

Dec 19, 2019
How To Be Less Hard on Yourself

Do you beat yourself up over every mistake? A high school senior tries to be kinder to himself during an especially stressful time.

Dec 05, 2019
Happy Again: How to Notice What You're Thankful For (Encore)

Comedian Maz Jobrani tries to be more thankful for the good things in his life by writing them down — and encourages his kids to do the same.

Nov 28, 2019
Can You Find Wonder in the Ordinary?

When was the last time you felt connected to something bigger than yourself? Award-winning cellist Yumi Kendall looks, and listens, for moments of awe.

Nov 21, 2019
How To Get Your Priorities Straight

It's easy to lose sight of what matters most. Our guest finds a way to reconnect with her values during stressful times.

Nov 07, 2019
Does Your Doctor Listen to You?

Doctors are often trained to be emotionally detached. But our guest finds greater meaning in his work as a physician when he tries to connect more deeply with his patients, co-workers, and family.

Oct 24, 2019
Finding Beauty in the Everyday

A tree next to a bus stop, a flower poking through the sidewalk. Our guest, a veteran of the Iraq War, discovers how awe and wonder can be found anywhere —  if you just pay attention.

Oct 10, 2019
How to Find Your Silver Linings

Do you fixate on what's going wrong in your life? Poet and "recovering pessimist" Maggie Smith practices looking on the bright side.

Sep 26, 2019
Can Margaret Cho Get Any Better?

She's one of the most accomplished comedians of her generation. But Margaret Cho wants to find a different kind of happiness.

Sep 12, 2019
Can You Humanize a Zombie?

Should we try to find common ground with the villains in our lives? Comedian Zahra Noorbahksh tries to understand a "zombie" from her past.

Aug 29, 2019
Making Kindness Contagious

We gave our Happiness Guinea Pig a mission: Do five random acts of kindness in one day.

Aug 15, 2019
Facing Your Fears

Heights. Public speaking. Death. Our Happiness Guinea Pig explains how she overcomes her fears, one small step at a time.

Aug 01, 2019
How Michael Lewis Finds the Funny

How can you unearth humor in everyday life? Best-selling author Michael Lewis goes looking for laughs.

Jul 18, 2019
How to Keep Love Alive

After more than a decade together, our Happiness Guinea Pig tries to bring the spark back into her marriage.

Jul 04, 2019
Who Makes You Feel Connected?

Our Happiness Guinea Pig, the creator of Cartoon Network's We Bare Bears, finds a way to feel close to a loved one he recently lost.

Try this week’s happiness practice: Feeling Connected

Jun 20, 2019
A Better Way to Talk to Yourself

Her husband has been in prison for 23 years. Our Happiness Guinea Pig tries a new approach to stay strong while working to get him released.

Jun 06, 2019
What to Do When You Feel Like a Failure

The loss of a job, the pain of a breakup -- it's easy to get down on ourselves when things aren't going well. Find out how our Happiness Guinea Pig tuned down the self-critic in her head.

Apr 11, 2019
Delight in the Unexpected

A high-five from a stranger, a hummingbird on a busy city street. Poet Ross Gay shares his own happiness practice: savoring the everyday delights in life.

~ Try one of UC Berkeley's Greater Good in Action happiness practices.

Apr 04, 2019
How To Let Go of Anger

Are you still mad at someone who hurt you in the past? That can eat away at your health and well-being. Our Happiness Guinea Pig tries a new approach to giving up a grudge.

Mar 28, 2019
What Are Your Strongest Reminders of Connection?

What kinds of objects, images, and words surround your home or office? Our Happiness Guinea Pig surveys her apartment for items that spark connection and kindness.

Mar 21, 2019
Do You Know How to Eat a Raisin?

Do you have trouble slowing down enough to actually enjoy your life? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, comedian and radio host Luke Burbank, finds a way to break free from his over-scheduled lifestyle. 

Try this week’s happiness practice: Raisin Meditation

Mar 14, 2019
Finding Awe in Every Step

How can we feel connected to the world around us? Singer Diana Gameros tries to cultivate a sense of awe in the most unlikely of places.

Try this episode’s happiness practice: Awe Walk

Mar 07, 2019
Finding Your Strengths

Do you fixate on your flaws and shortcomings? Our happiness guinea pig tries the opposite: focusing on her personal strengths.

~ Try this episode’s happiness practice: Use Your Strengths

Feb 28, 2019
Trying Compassion on Capitol Hill

Can you extend compassion toward a difficult person in your life? Congressman Tim Ryan tries a practice to help him reach across the aisle.

Feb 21, 2019
A Lesson in Thanks and Vulnerability

A junior high school teacher spent his life defying stereotypes about how men should express their emotions. Here he takes on a new challenge: getting his students to express gratitude.

Feb 14, 2019
Notice the Good in Your Life

Comedian Maz Jobrani tries to pay more attention to the good things in his life by writing them down -- and encourages his kids to do the same.

Try this episodes happiness practice: Three Good Things

Feb 07, 2019
The Power of Expressing Your Deepest Emotions

He started Afghanistan's first post-Taliban rock band when he was 18 years old. A decade later, our Happiness Guinea Pig takes on another challenge: writing about his emotions.

Dec 20, 2018
Who's Got Your Back?

How do you build feelings of trust and security? Our Happiness Guinea Pig learns some truths about what it takes to feel supported.

Dec 13, 2018
Being Kinder to Yourself

When you’re helping others cope with stress and anxiety, how do you deal with your own? Psychiatrist Elizabeth Guinto tries a practice to be kinder to herself.

Dec 06, 2018
W. Kamau Bell’s Thoughts on Awkward Relationships and Bridging Divides

Comedian W. Kamau Bell discusses the challenges of finding common ground, even with people in your own family.

Nov 29, 2018
Find That Inner Calm

International megastar Daniel Wu tries a practice that brings him calm amidst the chaos. 

Nov 22, 2018
These Words Cause Happiness

Did you know that you have the power to spark happiness in someone else's brain with just a few simple words? College student Eva Dickerson shares how she spread happiness across her campus, equipped with just her iPhone and some compliments.

Nov 15, 2018
A Simple Recipe for Happiness

Our Happiness Guinea Pig, children's author Joanne Rocklin, shares her happiness practice: bringing people together to share a meal. It took on a deeper meaning for her after a recent tragedy.

Nov 08, 2018
Can’t Relax? This Will Help

Why does a bath or swim feel so relaxing? Our guest shares her own happiness practice--spending time in water--which science is finding can make us happier and healthier. 

Nov 01, 2018
How to Make a Real Apology

"I'm sorry you feel that way."

Some apologies can actually make things worse. Our Happiness Guinea Pigs, Jolenta Greenburg and Kristin Meinzer of the By the Book podcast, try a more effective way of saying sorry. 

Oct 25, 2018
How to Deal with Uncertainty

How do you respond when you feel threatened or defensive? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, writer Wajahat Ali, discovers a way to keep himself centered amidst the challenges and chaos of life.

Oct 18, 2018
BONUS: The Science of Happiness at Work

What would make you happier at work? Featuring some of our happiness guinea pigs, we share the latest insights and research on well-being and happiness in the workplace.

Oct 11, 2018
What if You Had Never Met?

Do you take your partner for granted? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, imagines a life in which he never met his wife.

Aug 09, 2018
Give Yourself Some Distance

Are you stuck ruminating about the past? Legendary skater Tommy Guerrero tries looking at negative events from a different perspective.

Aug 02, 2018
Listen Like It's Your First Date

Do you find yourself looking at your phone when you're supposed to be paying attention to a friend? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, The Takeaway's Tanzina Vega trades in her technology for some old school listening. 

Jul 26, 2018
Why You Shouldn't Hate Small Talk

Many of us avoid chatting with strangers – isn't small talk tedious and dull? Listen as our happiness guinea pig discovers its surprising benefits.

Jul 19, 2018
How to Change Your Mind

Author Michael Pollan, shares his experiences on being a guinea pig for his new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.

Jul 12, 2018
How to Find Your Purpose in Life

Did you know what you wanted when you were in high school? Our teen guinea pig takes on the challenge of figuring out her purpose in life.

Jul 05, 2018
What Are You Afraid Of?

Would you rather swim with sharks or give a speech before thousands of people? Discover how our happiness guinea pig tackled one of his many fears--and lived to talk about it.

Jun 28, 2018
How to Forgive Your Father

Holding on to a grudge? Hear how our happiness guinea pig tried to let go of deep-seated anger and resentment.

Jun 21, 2018
Feeling Angry? Try This

For years, Dan Harris of ABC News was plagued by anxiety, depression, and streaks of anger. Here's how he learned to tame the voices in his head and get 10 percent happier.   

Jun 14, 2018
Let People Help You

In hard times, do you seek comfort from others or turn inwards? Find out how our Happiness Guinea Pig emerged from trauma by accepting others' support. 

Thank you for your emails, calls, and letters! We think your stories will inspire others and we’ll be sharing some of them on the show. So call us at (510) 519-4903 and let us know how doing the Feeling Supported practice went for you!

Support for this podcast comes from Sun Basket. We all know that every part of our life is enhanced when we eat nourishing, healthy meals but always eating right can be hard to do. Sun Basket makes it easy. Go to today to learn more and get $35 off your first order!


Jun 07, 2018
Is There Someone You Need to Thank?

Is there someone important you've never properly thanked? Award-winning children's book author, Yuyi Morales, discovers the power of writing a "gratitude letter" to the librarian who changed her life. 

Apr 02, 2018
Can You Predict What Will Make You Happy?

Do memories of your past affect your happiness today? Susannah Cahalan was young and healthy when she was stricken with a mysterious illness. Learn how writing about her “month of madness” in the bestselling book Brain on Fire helped her reclaim her life.

Mar 26, 2018
Find Your Best Possible Self

Does imagining your future make you more happy--or more anxious?  Our happiness guinea pig looks ahead for inspiration to improve her life now.

Mar 19, 2018
How Gratitude Benefits Your Brain

Can you train your brain to be more grateful? Todd Zwillich of The Takeaway takes on the challenge.

Mar 12, 2018
Krista Tippett on Being Grounded in Your Body

Are you so stressed that it wears you down physically as well as mentally? Discover how award-winning radio host Krista Tippett brought relief to her mind and body.  

Mar 05, 2018
Why a Walk Works Wonders

Do you dwell on the negative and let moments of joy just pass you by? Discover how the Academy Award-winning director of Inside Out got out of his head and savored the good in his life.

Feb 26, 2018
3 Funny Things

What should you do when you thought you had it all -- but learn you've had it all wrong? Discover what our happiness guinea pig did to bring more joy and humor into his life.

Feb 19, 2018
How to Fall in Love with Anyone

Can 36 questions help you fall in love--and stay in love? Best-selling author Kelly Corrigan tries a research-proven technique to feel closer to her husband. Plus, we learn how the same technique can actually reduce racism and prejudice.

Feb 12, 2018
Quieting Your Inner Critic

Are you too hard on yourself? Our Happiness Guinea Pig spent most of his life behind bars. Discover the research-tested practice that helped him quiet his inner critic.

Feb 05, 2018
3 Good Things

Do you take the good things in life for granted? You’re not alone, and studies show it's very human. But here’s a way to find more joy in the everyday. 

Feb 05, 2018
The Science of Happiness Trailer

What does it take to live a happier life? Learn research-tested strategies that you can put into practice today. Hosted by award-winning psychologist Dacher Keltner. Co-produced by PRX and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

Jan 23, 2018