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. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries.
The Kindness of Strangers
When Kitty Genovese was murdered, her family and the wider world was told that bystanders watched, but did nothing to intervene. Psychologists tried to explain this callous inaction with a popular theory - the "bystander effect".
Dr Laurie Santos was taught this theory - that most people won't in step help - but talking to Kitty's brother and Lady Gaga's mother she reveals that the "bystander effect" is wrong. People do like helping out, and we get a happiness boost from being kind. So how do we encourage more bystanders to intervene?
Pushnik: Bill Genovese on Stepping in to Help
EXCLUSIVE TO PUSHNIK MEMBERS: In 1964, Kitty Genovese was repeatedly stabbed outside her New York home. It was widely reported that her neighbors did nothing to help - with only one man bothering to call the police. The awful murder prompted psychologists to investigate the "Bystander Effect" - the notion that groups of people will just ignore a fellow human in need, waiting for someone else to act first.
Kitty's kid brother, Bill, was appalled by the inaction of the eyewitnesses to her death. He vowed to always step in to help - an attitude that saw him volunteer for service in Vietnam and a series of brave attempts to help the people he encountered there. Back in the US, Bill tracked down the supposed eyewitnesses - including Kitty's friend Sophia - and found the story of inaction was not the whole truth.
You Can’t Always Want What You Like
We might love gruelling hikes, trips to see far-flung relatives or super hard crossword puzzles, but often we lack the motivation needed to embark on these fun things. How can that be? They make us happy, right?
Dr Laurie Santos explores why our brains don't encourage us to do things that we know we'll enjoy, and presents some strategies to help us do more of the activities that will result in happier and healthier lives.
Pushnik: Paul Bloom on Finding Pleasure in the Unpleasant
EXCLUSIVE TO PUSHNIK MEMBERS: We would we choose to climb a dangerous mountain, or spar with a boxing partner or run until our legs burn and lungs ache? Why do unpleasant things sometimes feel joyful and exhilarating?
Dr Laurie Santos explores this question with Paul Bloom - a professor at the University of Toronto and author of The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning.
Let Slip the Dogs of More Happiness
Companion pets - especially dogs - are credited with making our lives richer and more fun, but does the science back up this belief? Dr Laurie Santos breaks down what it is dogs can do to make us happier - and what behaviours we can adopt to experience the wellbeing boost of dog ownership even without buying one.
Pushnik: Laurette Nicholl on the Joy of Bonding With a Pet
EXCLUSIVE TO PUSHNIK MEMBERS: Motorsport reporter Laurette Nicoll was recovering from a serious illness when she met Georgia - a puppy living with her neighbour. Laurette felt an immediate bond, and eventually took ownership of Georgia and they embarked on a life of fun and adventure.
Dr Laurie Santos talks to Laurette (and Georgia) about the joy that companion animals can bring... but only if the human keeps up their side of the bargain.