234 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 • 1.8K 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.

    The Healing Effects of Experiencing Wildlife

    The Healing Effects of Experiencing Wildlife

    Safe encounters with wildlife can deepen our appreciation for nature, and for other people. Craig Foster of “My Octopus Teacher” shares his transformational experiences with the animals of the ocean.Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/murmd98bEpisode SummaryVenturing into nature and experiencing wildlife can be transformative. Safe interactions with wildlife encourage us to be more in relation with nature, and each other. In this episode, we hear from Craig Foster of “My Octopus Teacher” and how his interactions with sea creatures have changed his life. We also hear from environmental researcher Liz Lev about the effect on our well-being that being in wild spaces provides.How To Do This Practice:The next time you want to explore the outdoors, find the “wildest” space you can think of. Explore the “wild spaces” in your neighborhood or city, and reflect on your experiences with wildlife. Today’s guests: Craig Foster is the director of My Octopus Teacher, and the co-founder of Sea Change Project. Liz Lev is an environmental researcher and research associate at Harder+Company who that specializes in the intersections of environmental and climate justice issues, mental health, and urban planning.
    Learn more about Craig’s work:https://tinyurl.com/tyctr6fu

    Follow Sea Change Project on Instagram: https://tinyurl.com/2pzdx73z
    Watch My Octopus Teacher: https://tinyurl.com/e87edt4b

    Follow My Octopus Teacher on Instagram: https://tinyurl.com/mryx4zum
    Learn more about Liz’s research: https://tinyurl.com/y2afdxpr 
    Read about Liz’s research on wild spaces: https://tinyurl.com/msjsz32t
    Science of Happiness Episodes like this one:Experience Nature Wherever You Are, with Dacher (Encore): https://tinyurl.com/aj34s585How Exploring New Places Can Make You Feel Happier: https://tinyurl.com/4ufn2tpnWhy We Should Look up at the Sky: https://tinyurl.com/mpn9vj2tHow Birdsong Can Help Your Mental Health: https://tinyurl.com/3tey4rb5Happiness Break Related Episodes:Feeling the Awe of Nature From Anywhere, With Dacher: https://tinyurl.com/y4mm4wu9How to Ground Yourself: https://tinyurl.com/2wv69kwsTell us about your experiences with wildlife! Direct message us or leave a comment on Instagram @scienceofhappinesspod. You can also e-mail us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.Help us share The Science of Happiness!Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or share this link with someone who might like the show: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    • 24 min
    Happiness Break: Experience Nature Wherever You Are, with Dacher (Encore)

    Happiness Break: Experience Nature Wherever You Are, with Dacher (Encore)

    Just a few moments of tuning into nature can make you feel more inspired, connected, and less lonely. Let us guide you through a five-minute noticing nature practice — you don't even have to leave your neighborhood.Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/aj34s585How to Do This Practice:
    Find somewhere where you can focus on the natural environment, like your backyard.
    Take a few slow, deep breaths. Close your eyes or soften your gaze.
    Notice your belly and chest rise and fall as you breathe. Note the physical sensations of your breath.
    If you closed your eyes, open them. Let your breath fall into its natural rhythm.
    Look around you and let your eyes wander slowly through your surroundings: the plants, animals, and bugs.
     Let yourself be curious about anything that catches your eye and moves you. Rest your awareness there. Pause to appreciate it, and let it hold your attention for a few moments.
    Turn your awareness to your emotions. How are you feeling? When something you see evokes an emotion, take a mental photo of it. What about it captivated you? What did it make you feel?
     Write that down in just a few words or sentences, or make a mental note of it. Let your gaze wander again whenever you’re ready, repeating these steps. 
    Today’s Happiness Break host:Dacher Keltner is the host of the Greater Good Science Center’s award-winning podcast, The Science of Happiness and is a co-instructor of the GGSC’s popular online course of the same name. He’s also the founding director of the GGSC and a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.If you enjoyed this Happiness Break, you may also like these Happiness Breaks:Feeling the Awe of Nature From Anywhere, With Dacher: https://tinyurl.com/y4mm4wu9How to Ground Yourself: https://tinyurl.com/2wv69kwsCheck out these episodes of The Science of Happiness Walk Outside with Inside Out’s Pete Docter: https://tinyurl.com/23vpuj8jWhy We Should Look up at the Sky: https://tinyurl.com/mpn9vj2tHow Birdsong Can Help Your Mental Health: https://tinyurl.com/3tey4rb5Tell us about your nature experience! Direct message us or leave a comment on Instagram @scienceofhappinesspod. You can also e-mail us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.Help us share The Science of Happiness!Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or share this link with someone who might like the show: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    • 7 min
    The Value of Variety and Novelty

    The Value of Variety and Novelty

    Exploring novel places and having diverse experiences is important to our well-being and can make us feel happier. This week, Ike Sriskandarajah, a producer for This American Life, takes us with him as he explores new parts of New York City.Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/seystc6cEpisode summary: Shaking yourself out of your normal routine can be hard–but studies show it’s worth it. Creating space for variety, novelty, and awe in our lives is essential for our well-being. Exploring new and diverse environments in our daily life can lead to better stress resilience and can make us feel better. In this episode, investigative journalist Ike Sriskandarajah, shares his experience exploring new places with his family in New York City. Then, we hear from Aaron Heller, a neuroscientist and assistant professor at the University of Miami's Department of Psychology, who studies how exposure to novel places can make us happier. Practice: Break out of your usual daily routine–take a route to work you have never taken before, or visit a park you’ve never gone to. Explore a place you have never been to.Today’s guests: Ike Sriskandarajah is an investigative journalist and Producer at This American Life.Aaron Heller is a neuroscientist and assistant professor at the University of Miami's Department of Psychology.
    Learn more about Ike’s work: https://tinyurl.com/4auuk7pd

    Learn about Ike’s work at Reveal: https://tinyurl.com/serhuyt5

    Follow Ike on X: https://tinyurl.com/ycxz6xbr
    Connect with Ike on LinkedIn: https://tinyurl.com/ydwztavw
    Learn more about Aaron’s research: https://tinyurl.com/yxrpm944

    Follow Aaron on X: https://tinyurl.com/rr3ac6jw

    Connect with Aaron on LinkedIn: https://tinyurl.com/36trsaux

    Science of Happiness Episodes like this one
    How Awe Brings Us Together: https://tinyurl.com/bddavvbv

     Can You Find Wonder in the Ordinary? https://tinyurl.com/4j8h4dzk
    Happiness Break Related Episodes
    Feeling the Awe of Nature From Anywhere, With Dacher: https://tinyurl.com/y4mm4wu9

    Feeling the Awe of Nature From Anywhere, With Dacher https://tinyurl.com/y4mm4wu9

    Tell us about your experience exploring new places! Leave a comment on Instagram @scienceofhappinesspod, or e-mail us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.Help us share The Science of Happiness!Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or share this link with someone who might like the show: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    • 20 min
    Happiness Break: How to Ground Yourself in Nature, with Yuria Celidwen (Encore)

    Happiness Break: How to Ground Yourself in Nature, with Yuria Celidwen (Encore)

    Connect to yourself and the land you stand on in under 10 minutes with this grounding practice led by Indigenous scholar Dr. Yuria Celidwen.Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/3at8hrsuHow to Do This Practice: 
    If possible, go outside and find some natural ground, like grass or dirt. If you're wearing shoes or socks, take them off and place the soles of your feet directly on the ground. 
    Bring your attention to the earth beneath you. Allow it to hold you, paying attention to how it feels — soft, firm, reliable. Imagine you're starting to grow roots from the tip of your toes, digging deep into the earth.
    Visualize energy and wellness flowing through your roots to your toes, into the soles of your feet, your thighs and knees, then base of the spine and upwards into your chest, expanding the whole center of your chest. Take a full, deep breath and contemplate the  openness you feel in your chest.
    Look up towards the sky and open your eyes, allowing all of your senses to awaken to the sounds, smells, colors, and life around you. Feel their presence.
    Today’s Happiness Break host:Dr. Yuria Celidwen is an Indigenous studies, cultural psychology, and contemplative science scholar of Indigenous Nahua and Maya descent. She also works at the United Nations to advance the rights of Indigenous peoples and the Earth.Learn more about Dr. Celidwen’s work: https://www.yuriacelidwen.com/More resources from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:
    Listen to Dr. Yuria Celidwen on The Science of Happiness episode about listening to your elders: https://tinyurl.com/yr2ydk43

    Does Nature Make You More Mindful? https://tinyurl.com/4wcreu9z

    Why You Need More Nature in Your Life: ​​https://tinyurl.com/ye282e5d

    Being Around Nature Helps You Love Your Body: https://tinyurl.com/57d5ntxm

    How Modern Life Became Disconnected From Nature: https://tinyurl.com/yc6u73f9

    Listen to The Science of Happiness episode featuring podcast host Krista Tippett, on Being Grounded in Your Body: https://tinyurl.com/8t7rr4yy

    Tell us about your grounding practice experience! Direct message us or leave a comment on Instagram @scienceofhappinesspod. You can also e-mail us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.Help us share The Science of Happiness!Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or share this link with someone who might like the show: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    • 10 min
    How To Unwind By Doing Mindful Yard Work

    How To Unwind By Doing Mindful Yard Work

    Everyday activities, such as cleaning and gardening, can be sources of joy and opportunities for mindfulness. This week, our guest shares his experience practicing mindful sweeping on the temple stairs in Kyoto, Japan with Shoukei Matsumoto, a Buddhist monk.Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/3r6ju2whThe Science of Happiness is now Instagram, and we'd love for you to follow us! You can find us at @ScienceofHappinessPod. We're going to go behind the scenes of our episodes, and share how to do the practices we talk about on the show. The first 100 followers will be included in a raffle to win a signed copy of host Dacher Keltner's newest book, Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life.Episode summary:Many of us see yard work as a chore. But what if we shift our perspective and instead see it  as an opportunity to practice mindfulness? This week on The Science of Happiness, our guest  shares his experience of sweeping the steps of a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, and the mindfulness and mental processes involved in the practice. Then, we hear from Shoukei Matsumoto, a Buddhist monk and author, about the practice of cleaning as a form of mindfulness.Practice:The next time you’re tending to your garden, picking up trash on your sidewalk, watering the plants, or doing other chores, spend a few minutes practicing mindfulness by slowing down and really being present with the activity and your own body's movements while you do it. Today’s guests:Matt Heron is a Canadian who has been living and working in Japan for five years. Shoukei Matsumoto is a Buddhist monk and cleaning enthusiast in Kyoto, Japan. He is the author of “A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind,” which has been translated into 18 languages, including English 
    Follow Shoukei on instagram: https://tinyurl.com/4e2jk7xt
    Follow Shoukei on Linkedin: https://tinyurl.com/48xkr9ew
    Learn more about Interbeing: https://www.interbeing.co.jp/en

    Read “A Monk’s Guide to a Clean House and Mind” : https://tinyurl.com/7u3zhvcz
    More episodes like this one:How to Make Work More Satisfying: https://tinyurl.com/3fa925yfWhy We Should Seek Beauty in the Everyday Life: https://tinyurl.com/26dskv38Related Happiness Breaks (a short, guided practice by The Science of Happiness) Contemplating Our Interdependence With Nature, With Dekila Chungyalpa: https://tinyurl.com/erz2f5deHappiness Break: How to Be in Harmony in Nature—Wherever You Are, With Yuria Celidwen: https://tinyurl.com/ynxeeb7aTell us about your mindful gardening experiences! Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.This episode is sponsored by Tianren Culture, whose vision is “One Health, One Wellness.” Tianren Culture is a next-generation social platform that acts as a catalyst to foster positive global values and lifestyles.Help us share The Science of Happiness!Leave us a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts or share this link with someone who might like the show: https://tinyurl.com/2p9h5aap

    • 23 min
    Happiness Break: How to Relax Your Body Through A Standing Meditation, With Sherry Zhang

    Happiness Break: How to Relax Your Body Through A Standing Meditation, With Sherry Zhang

    Last week on The Science of Happiness, we discussed the scientifically proven health benefits of the ancient Chinese practice of qigong with Harvard psychologist Peter Wayne. This week, we practice a standing meditation, with qigong master Sherry Zhang. Link to episode transcript: https://tinyurl.com/3t5wdexeHow to Do This Practice:
    Take a moment to stand upright with your feet together and take a few deep breaths.
    Have your eyes looking forward.
    Soften your knee.
    Gently shift your weight onto your left leg and step your right foot aside.
    Face your palms inward, with your fingers relaxed and pointing down. 
    With your chin slightly in, relax both shoulders, and tuck in your tailbone.
    Ground your feet and relax your knees, armpits, and fingers.
    Take a deep breath and exhale. 
    Spend a few moments focused on your natural breathing and relaxed body.
    Now, bring your right foot back, so both feet are together.
    Lengthen your spine. 
    Take a moment to observe how your body feels, until your breathing slows. 
    Next, bring your hands together and rub them together vigorously, creating heat in between your palms.
    Now "wash" your face with your hands.
    "Wash" the side of your ears, to the back of your ears, the back of your neck.
    Now relax both hands at the front of your chest.
    Repeat this practice for one to five minutes.
    Today’s Happiness Break host:Sherry Zhang is the founder of Tai Chi Solutions and a Master Teacher of Qigong. She is faculty at Pacific College of Health and Sciences in New York City. 
    Learn more about Sherry’s work:https://www.taichisolution.org/

    Follow Sherry on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/taichisolution/

    Follow Sherry on Twitter: https://twitter.com/taichisolution
    Follow Sherry on Linked-In: https://tinyurl.com/ywca6nd5

    Follow Sherry on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sherrytaichi/

    Follow Tai Chi Solutions on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taichisolution/

    If you enjoyed this Happiness Break, you may also like these ones:Walk Your Way to Calm (Guided Meditation), with Dacher: https://tinyurl.com/4w37zwpyA Walking Meditation With Dan Harris of 10% Happier: https://tinyurl.com/4dv4ckzcCheck out these episodes of The Science of Happiness about movement-based practices: How Qigong Can Calm Your Mind and Body: https://tinyurl.com/2ywsck4eEpisode 5: Walk Outside with Inside Out’s Pete Docter: https://tinyurl.com/2nfc94zbWe love hearing from you! Tell us what movement based practice you’ve tried!Email us at happinesspod@berkeley.edu or use the hashtag #happinesspod.Find us on Spotify: https://tinyurl.com/6s39rzusShare this Happiness Break!

    • 5 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
1.8K Ratings

1.8K Ratings

MsFlowerLady14 ,

Spring

My hands were sweating for no reason all morning long no matter how I tried to tell my mind everything was ok . My anxiety just wanting to be on top. I found this podcast & after 8 minutes my hands were no longing sweating! Amazing !

taubg ,

Seeing Results

Just listening to the talks has a positive effect. But actively engaging in these short easy meditations, and sticking with them yields surprising results. There is always something you can relate to.

mituska2 ,

Applicable to my life

This podcast gives strategies tried by people and backs them with research.

Top Podcasts In Science

Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam
Radiolab
WNYC Studios
Short Wave
NPR
Making Sense with Sam Harris
Sam Harris
Ologies with Alie Ward
Alie Ward
StarTalk Radio
Neil deGrasse Tyson

You Might Also Like

The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos
Pushkin Industries
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris
Ten Percent Happier
Untangle
Untangle
Good Life Project
Jonathan Fields / Acast
Being Well with Forrest Hanson and Dr. Rick Hanson
Rick Hanson, Ph.D., Forrest Hanson
Hidden Brain
Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam

More by PRX

Snap Judgment
Snap Judgment and PRX
Reveal
The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX
The World
PRX
Latino USA
Futuro Media and PRX
Living on Earth
World Media Foundation
Suave
Futuro Studios and PRX