139 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
    • 4.0 • 1 Rating

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.

    Why Listen to the Other Side?

    Why Listen to the Other Side?

    These days, it's hard to imagine befriending people with different politics than your own. But these two men did it using a tried and true practice.



    Episode summary:

    When a graphic work of art depicting two men having sex was hung up in a busy hallway on a community college campus, it stirred up a huge controversy. Some students wanted it taken down, while others opposed the idea of censoring art. Instead of retreating to their respective echo chambers, two students who disagreed had a public debate. It was so successful, they actually went on to create a discourse club on campus. We learn the tactics that helped them navigate a divisive topic with their civility and differing values intact. Later, we hear from psychologist Cynthia Wang on how taking someone else’s perspective can bring people of different backgrounds together and disrupt stereotyping.

    Practice:


    Think of someone whom you might be at odds with — perhaps they have different political beliefs, or they’re not part of your ethnic or religious group, or they have arguments with you.
    Take a moment to imagine yourself as this person, seeing the world through their eyes. Recall a moment you shared with this person and think how you, as this person, experience that shared situation. What does the world look like from their point of view?
    Try to imagine how it feels to be them as vividly as possible. Ask yourself questions such as, what emotions are they experiencing? How might that feel in their body? How might their feelings in the situation differ from yours?
    If you’re in a debate with this person, try taking their side and formulate an argument on their behalf. You might understand more nuances about their views.
    If you have the time, you can even try to imagine a day in your life as this person.


    Find the bridging differences playbook in our Greater Good in Action website: https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/what_we_do/major_initiatives/bridging_differences



    Today’s guests:

    Mark Urista is a professor of communication at Linn-Benton Community College in Oregon.

    Anthony Lusardi and Steven Olson are former students at Linn-Benton Community College.

    Learn more about LBCC Civil Discourse Club: https://tinyurl.com/5becxpba

    Follow the LBCC Civil Discourse Club on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LBCCCivilDiscourse/



    Dr. Cynthia Wang is the clinical psychology professor at Northwestern University. She’s also the executive director of the Dispute Resolution Research Center at the Kellogg School of Management.

    Learn more about Cynthia and her work: https://tinyurl.com/56kebcvw

    Follow Cynthia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cynthiascwang



    Resources for bridging differences from The Greater Good Science Center:

    Learn more about the Bridging Differences Initiative: https://tinyurl.com/5n6j5e3t

    Eight Keys to Bridging Our Differences: https://tinyurl.com/ywaay6ux

    What Will It Take to Bridge Our Differences? https://tinyurl.com/yjvvt622

    How to Get Some Emotional Distance in an Argument: https://tinyurl.com/342r4sjz



    More resources on bridging differences:

    TED - Bridging Cultural Differences(playlist): https://tinyurl.com/racj5edf

    NPR - Why We Fight: The Psychology Of Political Differences: https://tinyurl.com/52rxnxwj

    Tell us about your experiences of bridging differences 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: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    This episode is supported by Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, as part of the Greater Good Science Center’s Bridging Differences initiative. To learn more about the Bridging Differences initiative, please visit: https://ggsc.berkeley.edu/what_we_do/major_initiatives/bridging_differences

    • 16 min
    Happiness Break: Six Minutes to Connect with Your Body

    Happiness Break: Six Minutes to Connect with Your Body

    Dedicating a little time to tune into your body fortifies you to better handle the stresses of daily life.



    How to Do This Practice:


    Find a quiet place where you feel safe and comfortable.You can be standing, sitting, or lying down. Make sure that you feel relaxed.
    Close your eyes, and take a few deep, long breaths.
    Move your attention through your body slowly, part by part. Focus on your feet, then your calves, knees, and so on, until you get to the top of your head. Without judgment, notice what sensations you can identify in each part of the body.
    When your mind wanders, gently and with self-kindness, guide your attention back to the part of the body you’re focusing on in the present moment.


    Find the full Body Scan Meditation practice at our Greater Good in Action website: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/body_scan_meditation



    More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:


    Listen to a Science of Happiness episode on the body scan meditation with Daniel Wu: https://tinyurl.com/hn6vhx4b
    How a Body Scan Can Help With Strong Emotions: https://tinyurl.com/57sdek76
    How Tuning In to Your Body Can Make You More Resilient: https://tinyurl.com/328scfjj
    What Self-Compassion Feels Like in Your Body: https://tinyurl.com/426hfnjj
    Compassionate Mind, Healthy Body: https://tinyurl.com/5n79ary9
    Your Anxiety Might Be Coming From Your Body: https://tinyurl.com/4j9ynwr9
    Why Yoga Is Good for Your Body and Brain, According to Science: https://tinyurl.com/ynja9f22




    We love hearing from you! Tell us about your experience with the body scan meditation. Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or using the hashtag #happinesspod.

    Find us on Apple Podcast: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    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.

    • 7 min
    Nine Steps to Forgiveness

    Nine Steps to Forgiveness

    How do you forgive someone while still holding them accountable? What if that person is yourself? This week, our guest tries a practice in forgiving herself and someone else.

    Episode summary:

    Anoosha Syed appreciates her name now, but as a kid, she struggled with feeling different from everyone else. She had friends call her “Annie” and even dyed her hair blonde in an effort to look less Pakistani. Anoosha joins us after trying a practice in forgiveness. Anoosha explores the complexities of forgiving someone who’s in a position of power and privilege and should know better, like the teacher who always mispronounced her name. Then, Anoosha took the practice a step further and directed it inward. She shares what it was like to forgive her younger self for not being as proud of her culture as she is today.  Later, we hear from psychologist Dr. Lydia Woodyatt about the power of self-compassion and affirming our important values to release us from destructive self-blame while still holding ourselves accountable when we need to.

    Practice:


    Make sure you know how you feel about what is going on and be able to articulate it. Then, tell someone you can trust about your experience.
    Tell yourself you will feel better because of this forgiveness. Forgiveness is for you, not for others.
    Remember, forgiveness does not necessarily mean reconciling with the person who upsets you or condoning the behavior.
    Recognize that your primary pain comes from hurt feelings, thoughts, and physical discomfort you are experiencing now, not from the thing that offended or hurt in the past.
    Practice stress management to soothe yourself when you're feeling overwhelmed. Try things like mindful breathing or going for a walk.
    Remind yourself that you cannot expect others to act in the way you think they should, but it’s ok to hope that they do.
    Find another way to achieve the positive outcome you had hoped for in the first place.
    Instead of focusing on your hurt feelings, look for the bright side of things. Focus on what’s going well for you.
    Change the way you look at your past so you remind yourself of your heroic choice to forgive..


    Find the Nine Steps to Forgiveness Practice at our Greater Good in Action website: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/nine_steps_to_forgiveness

    Today’s guests:

    Anoosha Syed is a Pakistani-Canadian freelance illustrator and author of the children's book, That is Not My Name.

    Learn more about Anoosha and her works: http://www.anooshasyed.com/

    Follow Anoosha on

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/foxville_art

    Instagram: https://tinyurl.com/3pahbn7x

    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/anooshasyed

    Dr. Lydia Woodyatt is an associate professor in Psychology at Flinders University in Australia. She studies wellbeing, justice, emotions, and motivation.

    Learn more about Lydia and her works: https://tinyurl.com/mrs974by

    Follow Lydia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/LydiaWoodyatt

    Resources for forgiveness from The Greater Good Science Center:

    Listen to an episode of Happiness Break on Self-forgiveness: https://tinyurl.com/3d7sevfs

    Eight Keys to Forgiveness: https://tinyurl.com/5n82yjkf

    Is a Grudge Keeping You Up at Night?: https://tinyurl.com/yc7pkdyk

    More resources on forgiveness:

    TED - How (and why) to forgive: https://tinyurl.com/mu2zep4f

    Harvard Health - The Power of Forgiveness: https://tinyurl.com/2p9fden3

    10% Happier - Writing a Forgiveness letter: https://tinyurl.com/mr5y624x

    Tell us about your experiences letting go of a grudge 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

    • 18 min
    Happiness Break: A Note to Self on Forgiveness

    Happiness Break: A Note to Self on Forgiveness

    Letting go of our regrets can motivate us to improve and help us grow. Alex Elle, a certified breathwork and writing coach, guides us through a meditation to forgive and accept ourselves.



    How to Do This Practice:


    Take a deep breath. As you exhale, remember all you have done in the past that led you to come to be where you are today.
    Remember that you are allowed to forgive yourself and let it go. Give yourself permission to release any shame that you’re carrying. Forgive yourself.
    Think of the good things about yourself. Trust your worth and acknowledge that you are evolving. Remember, you are worthy of good things even when you think you are now.
    When you're ready, you can bring your attention back to the present moment. Take a few deep breaths in through the nose, and out through the nose. Drop your shoulder and unclench your jaw.
    If you'd like to take this practice a step further, you can write your own letter of self forgiveness, it can start with “Dear self, I forgive you for …”




    Today’s Happiness Break host:

    Alex Elle is a certified breathwork coach, author and restorative writing teacher. Her new book, How We Heal, will come out soon.

    Learn more about Alex and her new book: https://www.alexelle.com/about

    Follow Alex on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alex/

    Follow Alex on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@easewithalexl

    Follow Alex on Twitter: https://twitter.com/alex__elle

    Follow Alex on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AlexElleFB



    More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:


    Listen to a Science of Happiness episode on self-compassion: https://tinyurl.com/2hundtmc
    How to Grow from Your Regrets: https://tinyurl.com/ys8239k2
    Just One Thing: Forgive Yourself: https://tinyurl.com/5ybny4xx
    Forgive Yourself, Save Your Relationship: https://tinyurl.com/49by7ma6
    The Healthy Way to Forgive Yourself: https://tinyurl.com/4p3e9eha
    How to Let Go of an Old Regret: https://tinyurl.com/4mryyyfy




    We love hearing from you! Tell us how letting go of your regret makes you feel. Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or using the hashtag #happinesspod.

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

    Help us share Happiness Break!

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

    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.

    • 11 min
    When Rumination Is a Good Thing

    When Rumination Is a Good Thing

    When's the last time you made a good memory — intentionally? Our guest tries a practice in cultivating positive experiences and taking time to savor them.



    Episode summary:

    Life doesn't always hand us good times, but we can benefit as much or more when we create our own happy memories and take time to appreciate them. This week on The Science of Happiness, our guest tries a practice to intentionally create good experiences and reflect on them. Deandrea Farlow is a member of the Bay Area Freedom Collective, a re-entry home where formerly incarcerated people can find community and connections. Deandrea  brings us into his experience with this practice, and shares what it’s like to find strength through the hardest times as well as  positive events, like the ones he created for our show. Psychologist Meg Speer explains how ruminating on good times can actually change the way we respond to stress. .

    Practice: Creating and Recalling Positive Events

    1. Do an activity that you enjoy doing alone.

    2. With a friend, do something that you enjoy doing with others.

    3. Do something that you consider personally important and meaningful.

    4. Then take a step back and really think about these three events. Write about how they make you feel. Talk about it with a friend, or just really think about it.



    Learn more about this practice at Greater Good In Action:

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



    Today’s guests:

    Deandrea Farlow is a member of the Bay Area Freedom Collective, a home by and for formerly incarcerated people, which provides resources and support for their re-entry.

    To learn more about Bay Area Freedom House: https://www.collectivefreedom.org/

    or: https://www.facebook.com/bayareafreedom/

    To financially support the Bay Area Freedom Collective: https://givedirect.org/freedomcollective/



    Meg Speer is a postdoctoral researcher in the SCAN lab at Columbia University. She studies how autobiographical memories and positive thoughts affect our brain function.

    Learn more about Meg and her work: https://tinyurl.com/yf39acwk

    Follow Meg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mspeer3

    Follow Meg on Google Scholar: https://tinyurl.com/9cn3tmbh



    Resources for Recalling Positive Event:

    TED —There’s an art to happy memories — you can make more by experiencing more “first”s: https://tinyurl.com/2p8sdsy7

    Hidden Brain (NPR) — Nostalgia Isn't Just A Fixation On The Past - It Can Be About The Future, Too: https://tinyurl.com/5d8dej3a



    Resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

    Five Ways Nostalgia Can Improve Your Well-Being: https://tinyurl.com/veeraw6u

    Listen to our episode, “How to Make Time for Happiness” https://tinyurl.com/yhf39awt

    Listen to our last episode featuring the Bay Area Freedom Collective, “How to Feel Less Lonely and More Connected” https://tinyurl.com/4d6dm9zp



    We’d love for you to try out this practice and share how it went for you. Email 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

    • 21 min
    Happiness Break: A Meditation to Connect to Your Roots

    Happiness Break: A Meditation to Connect to Your Roots

    When was the last time you thought about your ancestors? This guided meditation by indigenous scholar Yuria Celidwen will help you connect to your heritage and reap the potent benefits of remembering your roots.



    How to Do This Practice:


    Bring your attention to the center of your chest, allow the chest to open, and relax.
    Notice an open space in your chest when you breathe in. Pause before exhaling, resting your awareness in the space between breaths, then breathe out. Contemplate the pause that connects the constant flow between openings and returning.
    In that pause, contemplate your  lineage. Think about the origin stories of your elders, their own elders, and their own elders, moving back in time.
    Think about those elders and the lands that touched their feet. Imagine bringing that land into the center of your chest, into the pause between breaths.


    Today’s Happiness Break host:

    Dr. Yuria Celidwen is an Indigenous scholar of Nahua and Maya descent. She also works at the United Nations to advance the rights of Indigenous peoples and environmental sustainability.

    Learn more about Dr. Celidwen: https://www.yuriacelidwen.com/

    More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:


    Listen to Dr. Yuria Celidwen on The Science of Happiness episode about listening to your elders: https://tinyurl.com/ykn8euhc
    Try the grounding practice led by Dr. Yuria Celidwen from Happiness Break: https://tinyurl.com/24kdurc4
    Why Telling Our Own Story Is So Powerful for Black Americans: https://tinyurl.com/2nvcxpam


    We love hearing from you! Tell us how connecting to your ancestors made you feel. Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or using the hashtag #happinesspod.

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

    Help us share Happiness Break!

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

    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.

    • 10 min

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