Over 40% of college students report feeling too depressed to function on a daily basis. Over 60% are overwhelmingly anxious. This was not always the case. COVID-19 aside, what is it about our modern times that is leading to stress instead of joy? One of my observations is that we’re meant to be human beings, not humans doing, yet we’re constantly just trying to get things done, to accumulate more possessions, to achieve power and success. But we can reframe our perspective of what matters and focus more on simply being—on sitting, listening, noticing—to improve our happiness and satisfaction in life. Today’s guest on The Doctor’s Farmacy, Laurie Santos, is the perfect person to talk to about actively working on increasing our happiness.
Laurie Santos is a Professor of Psychology and the Head of Silliman College at Yale University, as well as the host of the critically acclaimed podcast The Happiness Lab. After observing a disturbing level of unhappiness and anxiety among her students, she began teaching a course entitled "Psychology and the Good Life," which quickly became the most popular course in Yale's history and has also reached almost 2 million people from all over the world online. Although she’s now best known as a "happiness expert,” Santos's research explores the much broader question of "What makes the human mind unique?" and often includes comparing the cognitive capacities of non-human animals to humans.
Here are more of the details from our interview:
When Laurie began to notice the mental health crisis among her students (2:18)
How we are misguided about what will make us happy by our culture and our intuition (5:32)
The happiest countries in the world and one likely reason why the United States doesn’t make the list (9:09)
How happiness is created through gratitude practices and serving others (12:17)
Using social media and our technological devices more productively (22:49)
Hacking your stress through your breath, diet, and more (40:24)
Exercise your compassion muscle and fight compassion fatigue through metta, or loving kindness meditation (44:34)
Creating new habits and rituals to build happiness (50:43)
Ways in which the coronavirus pandemic is changing and affecting us (55:08)
Post-traumatic growth (58:00)
Check out Laurie’s podcast, The Happiness Lab at https://www.happinesslab.fm/ and follow her on Twitter @lauriesantos
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