220 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

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 Make Work More Satisfying

    How To Make Work More Satisfying

    Finding ways to bend tasks toward your strengths and passions can make you happier, more productive and find more meaning in your life — no matter your job.

    Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/4ky325rs



    Episode summary:

    When the poet and former professor Susan Glass first retired, she stacked her days with so many volunteer gigs and passion projects, she felt like she was working harder than ever before. Now, she wants to prioritize living a life of meaning and enjoyment. Susan tried a lab-tested practice called Job Crafting, where you take stock of the tasks that fill your day, how much time and energy they require, what really lights you up, and what changes you can make to better align your efforts at work (or in your free time) with your genuine strengths and passions. Then we hear from researcher Maria Tims about how Job Crafting doesn’t just benefit your own well-being and help to guard against burnout, it can also boost your whole team’s productivity and morale.

    Practice:


    Create a “before” sketch: List all your regular tasks, and note each one as low, medium, or high in terms of the time and energy you actually devote to them.
    Reflect on and write down what motivates you, what your strengths are, and what you’re passionate about.
    Create a more ideal (but still realistic) "after" diagram, shifting draining tasks from “high” to “low” or “medium” if possible, and boosting energizing and enjoyable tasks where you can.
    Create an action plan: What are some concrete changes that are in your power to make? Are there places where you need to ask for the support of a colleague or supervisor to make a change?




    Learn more about this practice at Greater Good In Action:

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



    Today’s guests:

    Susan Glass is a retired English professor and visually impaired, Bay Area-based poet. She’s the author of the poetry book “The Wild Language of Deer.”

    Read Susan’s book: https://pod.link/sleep-with-me

    Learn more about Susan’s life and work: https://tinyurl.com/j3pcjn6r



    Maria Tims is a professor of Management and Organization at the University of Amsterdam School of Business and Economics.

    Learn more about her work: https://tinyurl.com/mtp7tpy3



    Resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    How to Make Life More Meaningful (The Science of Happiness Podcast) https://tinyurl.com/39pth57f

    How to Be More Engaged at Work: https://tinyurl.com/2s3t5x2c

    How Oxytocin Can Make Your Job More Meaningful: https://tinyurl.com/mrx8458h

    Four Keys to a Healthy Workplace Hierarchy: https://tinyurl.com/788m6tme



    More Resources for Improving the Job You Have:

    HBR - What Job Crafting Looks Like: https://tinyurl.com/453yamac

    LSE - Can workers really craft their own happiness in the job? https://tinyurl.com/yjavhda9

    TED - The Power of Personalising Our Work: https://tinyurl.com/4cvznn8v



    Tell us about your experiences finding meaning in your day-to-day tasks. Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

    Help us share The Science of Happiness!

    Leave us a 5-star review and share this link with someone who might like the show: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    • 16 min
    Happiness Break: A Meditation To Move Through Anger, With Eve Ekman

    Happiness Break: A Meditation To Move Through Anger, With Eve Ekman

    Accepting difficult feelings like anger or irritation can help us keep our cool, feel better overall, and find calm on the other side.

    Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/n6hm5yhz

    How to Do This Practice:


    Begin the practice by settling your mind and body. Notice your breath and any sensations that arise in your body,
    Shift your attention away from your body, recalling an instance where you felt mildly irritated or frustrated. Give yourself a few moments to fully feel this emotion. 
    Notice any physical sensations that arise. Then, release that memory, refocusing your attention on the body. 
    Allow these sensations to shift and move, giving them the space to change and observing them with a sense of curiosity and kindness.
    Consider shaking hands with the emotion the next time it arises in your daily life.


    Today’s Happiness Break host:

    Eve Ekman is a contemplative social scientist and meditation teacher from San Francisco, California.

    Learn more about Eve’s work: https://tinyurl.com/2vhuarh8

    Find out about Eve’s Emotional trainings with Cultivating Emotional Balance: https://tinyurl.com/5n95m7yx

    Explore Eve’s Project, The Atlas of Emotions: https://tinyurl.com/mt75ytm3

    Follow Eve on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/3txahape

    More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    How to Regulate Your Emotions Without Suppressing Them: https://tinyurl.com/4x29denx

    What to Do When You Feel Stuck in Negative Emotions: https://tinyurl.com/mwczxfya

    How to Turn Your Brain from Anger to Compassion: https://tinyurl.com/57upkcfa

    How to Overcome Destructive Anger: https://tinyurl.com/49zu6whw

    We love hearing from you! How do you manage your emotions? Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

    Find us on Spotify: https://tinyurl.com/6s39rzus

    Help us share Happiness Break! Rate us and copy and share this link: https://tinyurl.com/6s39rzus

    We're living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That's where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.

    • 7 min
    How To Talk To People You Disagree With

    How To Talk To People You Disagree With

    We learn techniques for working across the aisle without compromising our values from a Democratic politician in one of the most conservative states, Oklahoma.

    Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/w2a9a42p



    Episode summary:

    Trying to have a conversation with someone who has an opposing view can be exhausting. This week, we explore what it means to have productive discussions when we disagree. Democratic Oklahoma State Senator Jo Anna Dossett recounts her experience bridging political divides with Republican senators in her state with  active listening and self-compassion. Later, we hear from political science professor Lilliana Mason about the blurred line between personal and political identities, and how connecting with individuals on an emotional and social level can lead to more fruitful discussions than just focusing on facts.



    Today’s guests:

    Jo Anna Dossett is an Oklahoma State Senator.

    Learn about Jo Anna Dossett: https://tinyurl.com/muxw7yvz

    Follow Jo Anna Dossett on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dossett4ok

    Follow Jo Anna Dossett on Instagram: https://tinyurl.com/293n98fc

    Follow Jo Anna Dossett on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/yc3mszhx



    Lilliana Mason is a political science professor at Johns Hopkins University.

    Learn about Lilliana Mason’s work: https://tinyurl.com/w2hy6fhk

    Follow Lilliana Mason on Twitter: https://tinyurl.com/29sumyxb



    Resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    Eight Keys to Bridging Our Differences: https://tinyurl.com/45ntehyp

    Four Lessons From Mediators for Bridging Differences: https://tinyurl.com/bdhf68te

    What Will It Take to Bridge Our Differences? https://tinyurl.com/3sua8uz5

    Six Techniques to Help You Bridge Differences: https://tinyurl.com/ypsbycf4

    15 Practices to Help Kids Bridge Differences: https://tinyurl.com/mvw4s649



    More Resources on Bridging Differences

    TIME - How Americans Can Tackle Political Division Together: https://tinyurl.com/3phj6y7j

    APA - Healing the political divide: https://tinyurl.com/38kzvm5k

    BBC - Crossing Divides: What the research tells us: https://tinyurl.com/yahmwdth

    Stanford - How to Bridge Political Divides: https://tinyurl.com/yc7ha55p



    Tell us about your experiences and struggles bridging differences. Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

    Help us share The Science of Happiness!

    Rate us on Spotify and share this link with someone who might like the show: https://tinyurl.com/d3mc7e6t

    • 17 min
    Happiness Break: Tap into the Joy that Surrounds You, With Anushka Fernandopulle

    Happiness Break: Tap into the Joy that Surrounds You, With Anushka Fernandopulle

    Beyond just feeling good, studies show experiencing other people's joy makes us more compassionate and satisfied with life.

    Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/43e35j37

    How to Do This Practice:


    Find a comfortable position to begin this practice, focusing on your breath.
    Visualize a person or situation that brings you a sense of joy or happiness. It might be a child laughing, the success of a friend, or even a dog wagging its tail.
    Connect with their joy and happiness, wishing them well.
    Expand your focus to larger groups of people, like a team winning a match, wishing them well.
    Consider repeating this practice when you want to connect your sense of happiness with others.


    Today’s Happiness Break host:

    Anushka Fernandopulle is a Buddhist meditation teacher and leadership coach. 

    Learn More about Anushka: https://www.anushkaf.org/about/

    Follow Anushka on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/anushka_dharma/

    Follow Anushka on Twitter: https://twitter.com/anushkaf

    More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    Happiness Break: Wishing Others’ Well, With Anushka Fernandopulle: https://tinyurl.com/jrkewjs8

    What Is Sympathetic Joy and How Can You Feel More of It? https://tinyurl.com/yuzmykct

    How to Overcome Stress by Seeing Other People’s Joy: https://tinyurl.com/4csukyd5

    Can Little Steps Lead to Big Joy? https://tinyurl.com/3e5yt3hp

    Why Experiencing Joy and Pain in a Group Is So Powerful: https://tinyurl.com/3trjtzfm

    We love hearing from you! Tell us about your experience of appreciating others’ joy. Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

    Find us on Spotify: https://tinyurl.com/3bj4637f

    Help us share Happiness Break! Leave us a 5-star review and copy and share this link: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    We're living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That's where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.

    • 4 min
    Who’s Always There for You?

    Who’s Always There for You?

    When we remember the times someone had our back, it changes the way we view ourselves and the world. Our guest explores what happens when trying a practice to feel more supported.

    Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/mrpyr8a7



    Episode summary:

    Ever since he was a young child, José Valladares has spent his life caring for others and has taken pride in supporting his family and community, For our show, he tried a practice where he recalled people in his life who he can turn to during a difficult moment — the people who support him. As he wrote about their admirable qualities and specific instances where they helped him, José felt a renewed sense of gratitude and energy to persist forward in helping others. Later, we hear from psychologist Angela Rowe about how feeling supported can impact our relationships and sense of personal empowerment.

    Practice:


    Make a list of the people who offer you comfort or security.
    Write down six positive qualities that are common to some or all of these people.
    Next, recall and visualize a specific situation when you felt distressed or worried, and one of these people comforted and helped you.
    Write a brief description of that situation and how you felt during it.




    Learn more about this practice at Greater Good In Action:

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



    Today’s guests:

    José Valladares is a software engineer in Utah originally from Honduras.



    Angela Rowe is a psychology professor at the University of Bristol.

    Learn more about Angela’s work: https://tinyurl.com/4nh752ad



    Resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    Happiness Break: Who Takes Care of You? With Dacher Keltner: https://tinyurl.com/bdezwwyd

    How to Let Someone Love You (The Science of Happiness Podcast): https://tinyurl.com/5xtzbzj2

    Four Ways Social Support Makes You More Resilient: https://tinyurl.com/2p9zkjpj

    Just One Thing: Feel the Support: https://tinyurl.com/yrfnmwfv

    Friend or Family? https://tinyurl.com/msbs2kuh



    More Resources on Feeling Supported

    NYT Times - Are You Anxious, Avoidant or Secure? https://tinyurl.com/yes746sv

    The Atlantic - The Trait That ‘Super Friends’ Have in Common: https://tinyurl.com/bdheumdh

    BBC - Why friendship makes us healthier: https://tinyurl.com/3596n4u7

    TED - How to ask for help -- and get a "yes": https://tinyurl.com/2ybrmt7m

    Stanford - Asking for help is hard, but people want to help more than we realize, Stanford scholar says’: https://tinyurl.com/4n4hraj5'



    Who do you turn to for support in your life? Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

    Help us share The Science of Happiness!

    Rate us on Spotify and share this link with someone who might like the show: https://tinyurl.com/b6779syt

    • 16 min
    Happiness Break: Where Did You Come From? Guided Writing With Lyla June

    Happiness Break: Where Did You Come From? Guided Writing With Lyla June

    Indigenous artist Lyla June leads a 5-minute freewriting exercise about our personal journeys. Autobiographical writing has been shown to help do better in relationships and feel more satisfied in life.

    Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/3622n5s6

    How to Do This Practice:

    You will need writing utensils for this practice.


    Find a comfortable place to start this writing practice, taking a few moments to ground yourself.
    Write the prompt, “I come from a place where…” 
    For the next 5 minutes (or more), write whatever comes to mind, allowing your thoughts and ideas to flow freely, without judgment or filters. Trying keeping your pen to the paper the whole time. 
    Take some time afterward to read and reflect on what you wrote. 
    Consider repeating this exercise every few weeks or months to reflect on your past and prospective future. 


    Today’s Happiness Break host:

    Lyla June is an Indigenous artist and scholar from the Diné Nation.

    Learn about Lyla June’s work: [https://www.lylajune.com/>\
    Watch Lyla June’s videos: [https://tinyurl.com/bdhbwyru>\
    Follow Lyla June on Twitter: [https://tinyurl.com/4pj565d6>\
    Follow Lyla June on Instagram: https://tinyurl.com/4pj565d6

    More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    The Power of Expressing Your Deepest Emotions (The Science of Happiness Podcast): [https://tinyurl.com/2uzh3r67>\
    How to Journal Through Your Struggles: [https://tinyurl.com/yua6wkwd>\
    How Journaling Can Help You in Hard Times: [https://tinyurl.com/3zv3hunw>\
    How Creative Writing Can Increase Students’ Resilience: https://tinyurl.com/4xw8xuff

    How was your experience with this freewriting exercise? Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.

    Find us on Spotify: https://tinyurl.com/ycukc4za

    Help us share Happiness Break! Leave us a 5-star review and copy and share this link: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    We're living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That's where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.

    • 9 min

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