125 episodes

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.

The Science of Happiness PRX and Greater Good Science Center

    • Science
    • 4.5 • 13 Ratings

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.

    How to Say "Sorry" Like You Mean It

    How to Say "Sorry" Like You Mean It

    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:

    https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/mindful_breathing

    https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/making_an_effective_apology



    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: https://tinyurl.com/5s45ps2v



    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: https://tinyurl.com/4kzs4n4w



    Resources for Making an Effective Apology

    Hidden Brain - The Power of Apologies: https://tinyurl.com/bdze6yzz

    The Verywell Mind Podcast - A Science-Backed Strategy for Making an Effective Apology: https://tinyurl.com/2j6ar3x8

    The Atlantic - The Art and Science of Apologizing: https://tinyurl.com/38j2re9d

    The New York Times - No, You Don’t Have to Stop Apologizing: https://tinyurl.com/3zwns9n3



    More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    Can Mindfulness Make You Better at Apologizing? https://tinyurl.com/bdes29w5

    The Three Parts of an Effective Apology: https://tinyurl.com/3p273tym

    A Better Way to Apologize: https://tinyurl.com/34hp2re5

    Should You Ask Your Children to Apologize? https://tinyurl.com/4vcrktju

    Eight Keys to Forgiveness: https://tinyurl.com/3x7v8rj7

    Tell us about your experiences and struggles trying to make a mindful and effective apology by emailing us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu 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: pod.link/1340505607

    • 17 min
    Happiness Break: How To Be Your Best Self

    Happiness Break: How To Be Your Best Self

    Visualize your best possible self and tap into your inherent enough-ness with this guided meditation by Justin Michael Williams.

    How to Do This Practice:


    Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and visualize your ideal future self, the person of your dreams you’ve always wanted to be. Try noticing as many details as you can: What color are you wearing, how do you feel, what are you doing, is anyone with you?
    Answer this question in your mind with 1-3 words: As you look at this future version of you, what energy do you need to cultivate more of in your life now, today, to become closer to being that person you see in your vision?
    Breathe in deeply, and as you do imagine yourself breathing in that energy. As you exhale, imagine that energy spreading throughout your body and energy field.
    Open your eyes. ​​Remember, you have what you need to become that which you want to become. We are enough to start stepping into the life of our dreams.


    Today’s Happiness Break host:

    Justin Michael Williams works at the intersection of social justice, mindfulness, and personal growth — with a touch of music that brings it all to life.


    Learn More About Justin’s work: https://www.justinmichaelwilliams.com/
    Listen to Justin’s debut album: https://www.justinmichaelwilliams.com/music
    Order Justin’s book, Stay Woke: A Meditation Guide For the Rest of Us: https://tinyurl.com/2p8xu6hx
    Follow Justin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/wejustwill
    Follow Justin on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wejustwill/


    More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:


    Take our Purpose in Life Quiz: https://tinyurl.com/3uh8jjdv
    Try Imagining Your Best Possible Life: https://tinyurl.com/bdekum2v
    What to Do When You Never Feel Good Enough: https://tinyurl.com/kpy9b44t
    How Strong is Your Sense of Purpose in Life? https://tinyurl.com/2p9h7rm5
    How Thinking About the Future Makes Life More Meaningful: https://tinyurl.com/2p83y2n5
    Listen to The Science of Happiness episode featuring comedian Margaret Cho visualizing her best possible self: https://tinyurl.com/s2s7rdpn


    Tell us about your experience visualizing your best possible self by emailing us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or using the hashtag #happinesspod.

    Find us on Amazon Music: https://tinyurl.com/28hcdfsd

    Find behind-the-scenes material behind this podcast on Pocket, Mozilla’s save-for-later and content discovery app: https://getpocket.com/collections/how-to-access-your-best-possible-self-start-with-your-imagination

    Help us share Happiness Break!

    Leave us a 5-star review and copy and share this link: pod.link/1340505607

    • 8 min
    The Questions to Ask Yourself in an Argument

    The Questions to Ask Yourself in an Argument

    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: https://flipsyde.com/

    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: https://twitter.com/pipedreamzent?lang=en

    Listen to the episode of Snap Judgment podcast about Jinho’s story: https://snapjudgment.org/episode/jinhos-journey/



    Elizabeth Krumrei-Mancuso is a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University who studies intellectual humility.

    Learn more about Dr. Krumrei-Mancuso and her work: https://tinyurl.com/2t6aaa5f

    Check out Dr. Krumrei-Mancuso’s article on intellectual humility: https://tinyurl.com/526m8b93



    More resources about Intellectual Humility:

    Intellectual humility: the importance of knowing you might be wrong: https://tinyurl.com/m2ct29m7

    Five Reasons Why Intellectual Humility Is Good for You: https://tinyurl.com/4dnx5vu4

    The Benefits of Admitting When You Don’t Know: https://tinyurl.com/4frk84k8

    Share your thoughts on this episode and intellectual humility by emailing us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu 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: pod.link/1340505607

    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 www.ggsc.berkeley.edu/IH.

    • 13 min
    Happiness Break: How to Be Your Own Best Friend

    Happiness Break: How to Be Your Own Best Friend

    Take 10 minutes to be guided through a practice meaningful self-care: A self-compassion break with Kristin Neff. How to Do This Practice: Think of a situation in your life that is difficult and is causing you stress. For this practice, especially if you are new to it, it's better to choose something that is moderately difficult in your life, rather than overwhelming. Call the situation to mind and get in touch with what happened or what you think might happen. Now say to yourself, “This is a moment of suffering.” This acknowledgment is a form of mindfulness—of noticing what is going on for you emotionally in the present moment, without judging that experience as good or bad. You can also say to yourself, “This hurts” or “This is stress.” Use whatever statement feels most natural to you. Next, say to yourself, “Suffering is a part of life.” This is a recognition of your common humanity with others—that all people have trying experiences, and these experiences give you something in common with the rest of humanity rather than mark you as abnormal or deficient. Other options for this statement include “Other people feel this way,” “I’m not alone,” or “We all struggle in our lives.” Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch on your chest, and say, “May I be kind to myself.” You can also consider whether there is another specific phrase that would speak to you in that particular situation. Some examples: “May I give myself the compassion that I need,” “May I accept myself as I am,” “May I learn to accept myself as I am,” “May I forgive myself,” “May I be strong,” and “May I be patient.” Today’s Happiness Break host: Kristin Neff is the creator of this practice and a professor of psychology at The University of Texas, Austin. She is a pioneer in the study of self-compassion and the author of the book, Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive.

    • 9 min
    Catch Yourself in a Dream

    Catch Yourself in a Dream

    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: https://tinyurl.com/2m86pw7p

    (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: https://tinyurl.com/2m86pw7p

    Lucid Dreaming at TEDx: https://tinyurl.com/ywkymhs2

    Learn about the cognitive neuroscience of lucid dreaming from today’s expert Benjamin Baird: https://tinyurl.com/mr3anzer

    More sleep resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    Why Your Brain Needs to Dream: https://tinyurl.com/yc3makhp

    The Influence of Dreams: https://tinyurl.com/p6cfh8n4

    How Mindfulness Improves Sleep: https://tinyurl.com/39tk85m9

    Your Sleep Tonight Changes How You React to Stress Tomorrow: https://tinyurl.com/2p8zvbjz

    Dear Christine: Why Can’t I Sleep? https://tinyurl.com/yb88a5z6



    Today’s guests:

    Michaeleen Doucleff f is a science reporter for NPR and author of the book Hunt, Gather, Parent.

    Check out her reporting: https://tinyurl.com/5de2kyt7

    Read her book: https://michaeleendoucleff.com/

    Follow Michaeleen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FoodieScience

    Mary Lee Williams is an editor and producer on a morning news show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Check out her website: http://www.maryleewill.com/about

    Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/marylee_will

    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: https://www.benjaminbaird.org/

    Tell us about your experiences and struggles with lucid dreams by emailing us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu 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: pod.link/1340505607

    • 19 min
    Happiness Break: A 10-Minute Guided Practice

    Happiness Break: A 10-Minute Guided Practice

    We guide you through a reflection of three things you're grateful for today. This practice is shown to boost happiness, connection, and motivation while reducing stress. Happiness Break is a new series by The Science of Happiness.


    How to Do this Three Good Things practice:


    Take a few deep breaths, and notice how you feel.
    Think back on your day. Start from when you woke up, and mentally trace your steps forward in time.
    What was the most beautiful, amazing, or interesting thing you saw all day? How did it make you feel? Take a moment to feel grateful for it. Think what had to happen so you could see that thing today, and let yourself appreciate those things.
    Keep reflecting on your day. What’s the best sound you heard all day? How did it make you feel? Take a moment to feel grateful for that, and think about how you came to hear that thing today.
    Look back over your day again: What’s the best thing that happened all day? It could be anything. Sit with your gratitude for that thing. What caused that thing to happen? Take a moment to appreciate all the factors that led to this good thing happening today.
    Notice how you feel now.


    Find the full Three Goods Things practice at our Greater Good in Action website: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/three-good-things

    More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    Take our Gratitude Quiz: https://tinyurl.com/yc3dc53c

    Why Gratitude is Good: https://tinyurl.com/fr4r2xyw

    Tips for Keeping a Gratitude Journal: https://tinyurl.com/6khs9k28

    Can Gratitude Help You Live More Sustainably? https://tinyurl.com/bdfws2e5

    Four Great Gratitude Strategies: https://tinyurl.com/2s4h6z3f

    How Gratitude Helps Your Friendships Grow: https://tinyurl.com/yc55bvw8

    Cultivate more gratitude for the people you love with the Mental Subtraction of Relationships practice https://tinyurl.com/mthra2jd

    How Gratitude Can Help You Through Hard Times: https://tinyurl.com/m9jz5atd

    Today’s host:

    Dacher Keltner is the host of The Science of Happiness podcast and a co-instructor of UC Berkeley’s course by the same name. He’s also the founding director of The Greater Good Science Center and a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley.



    Tell us about your experiences trying this version of the Three Good Things practice by emailing us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or using the hashtag #happinesspod.

    Help us share Happiness Break!

    Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts and copy and share this link: pod.link/1340505607

    Find us on Amazon Music!

    • 9 min

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