Cover art for podcast The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

90 EpisodesProduced by Pushkin IndustriesWebsite

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. B… read more

90 Episodes | 2019 - 2022

Q: "What Did the Pandemic Teach Us About Happiness?"

August 1st, 2022


Covid brought disruption and despair... but it also caused many of us to think about our lives and what is most important to us. Listener Dr Amy Comander, Director of Lifestyle Medicine at the Massachusetts General …

Q: "How Do I Stop Negative Self-talk?"

July 25th, 2022


It can speak to us in the middle of a work project, the middle of a date, or the middle of the night. The critical voice in our head telling us we're just not good enough and we're headed for failure. Listener Patricia …

Q: "Can You Be Happy Alone?"

July 18th, 2022


Since Covid hit, many of us have seen fewer people and experienced more loneliness. Listener Ivana Cole wants to know what we can do to reconnect and …

Q: "Are We Born to Work? Or Born to Live?"

July 11th, 2022


Listener Niki Walker has a question... in our busy, career-driven, money-oriented live, are we forgetting to make time for more important things? 

In our first episode fielding questions from fans of The Happiness Lab, …

Malala on Burnout, Guilt and How to Disagree Better

July 11th, 2022


Nobel Peace Prize winners feel burnout too. Malala Yousafzai - who survived an assassination attempted by the Taliban - works tirelessly so that more women and girls can access education. But she often feels guilty at …

Laurie Answers Your Happiness Questions - Coming July 11

July 4th, 2022


What would you ask a wellbeing expert? Dr Laurie Santos is back with a special season of The Happiness Lab fielding listener questions about work, …

Relax and Win from Legacy of Speed

June 14th, 2022


Sharing a new Pushkin show, Legacy of Speed. When two Black sprinters raised their fists in protest at the 1968 Olympic Games, it shook the world. More than 50 years later, the ripple effects of their activism are still …

Social Media and our Brains with CNN’s Chasing Life

May 12th, 2022


“Is social media bad for our brains?” asks Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN’s Chasing Life. Dr. Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent talks about social media and how, while it can be a place for community and entertainment, …

Well-Read Black Girl: Finding Connection Through Community

March 1st, 2022


Sharing a special preview of Pushkin's newest show, Well-Read Black Girl. Glory Edim started a book club called Well-Read Black Girl in 2015, and since then it's exploded into a passionate, worldwide reading community. …

Burnout and How to Avoid It

February 21st, 2022


If you dread getting out of bed in the morning; if you are bad tempered with co-workers, clients or customers; if you leave work feeling an …

Fighting that "Meh" Feeling of Languishing

February 14th, 2022


Psychologist and writer Adam Grant used every second of his day to the fullest... until he was struck by feelings of emptiness and stagnation. His …

When Guilt is Good... and When it's Not

February 7th, 2022


If you've done something wrong, feelings of guilt can prompt us to apologise, make amends and change our ways. But many of us also feel guilty with …

Embracing Sadness in the Pursuit of Happiness

January 31st, 2022


We react to sadness in a variety of unhelpful ways. We try to suppress it. We experience guilt over it and apologise to the people around us for …

How to be Angry Better

January 24th, 2022


Anger is a powerful signal that you or someone you value is in danger. But in our normal lives the sensations of rage we experience are false alarms …

Stepping Off the Path of Anxiety

January 17th, 2022


Many of the most painful or troubling emotions we experience are reactions to events that have actually happened - but one powerful and sometimes …

The Paradox of Grief

January 10th, 2022


Most of us don't like to think about death - and when we experience a bereavement we're often not prepared for the pain or willing to confront all …

The Eight Pillars of Grieving

January 10th, 2022


Grief is a simple enough word, but the emotional journey it describes is chaotic, messy and unique to each person. Psychotherapist and bereavement …

How to Identify Your Negative Emotions

January 3rd, 2022


We need to pay attention to our negative feelings - since they are telling us important things which we should address if we are to be happier in …

Emotions Are Data...So Listen to Them

January 3rd, 2022


Uncomfortable emotions such as anger, guilt or loneliness are like the guiding beam of a lighthouse - they warn you of dangers ahead and help you …

Reset Your Relationship With Negative Emotions in 2022

December 20th, 2021


The Happiness Lab returns on Jan 3 to help you take a fresh, new year look at the emotions that make us sad, angry or uncomfortable. We often either ignore these feelings, or wallow in them. Neither strategy will …

How to Give More Effectively

November 30th, 2021


We all want to do good - and doing good can make us feel good - but we often don't make the most effective choices when we do things like donate …

How to Adopt a Growth Mindset

November 23rd, 2021


If we decide that we can't get better at things, or that our ideas and personality traits are fixed... then we hinder our ability to change and …

The Happiness Lab Presents: Miracle and Wonder: Conversations with Paul Simon

November 22nd, 2021


Presenting: An Excerpt from Miracle And Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon by Malcolm Gladwell and Bruce Headlam. Download the audiobook today at 

How to be Happier at Work (with Dan Harris)

November 8th, 2021


Dan Harris was working seven days a week - and knew something had to give. He reluctantly left his ABC News job to concentrate on the Ten Percent Happier podcast.

To mark his career move, Dan and Dr Laurie Santos trade …

How to Feel More Empathy (With the Host of Bad Women: The Ripper Retold)

November 2nd, 2021


When bad things happen to people - illness, accident or crime - our brains fool us into believing the victims must have done something to deserve …

An 80s nostalgia-fest with Molly Ringwald and Rob Lowe

October 25th, 2021


Our recent episode about happiness and nostalgia prompted a lot of listener feedback. Since people seemed to really enjoy our chat with 80s star Rob …

Laurie Gets a Fun-tervention (Part Two: Beach Party)

October 11th, 2021


Dr Laurie Santos doesn't have so much fun these days - which is really bad for her health and wellbeing. So Catherine Price (author of The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again at is staging an …

Laurie Gets a Fun-tervention (Part One)

September 27th, 2021


Peter Pan was her childhood hero, but Dr Laurie Santos woke up one day and realised she'd broken the cardinal rule of Neverland - she'd grown up and …

BONUS: How to Handle Change

September 22nd, 2021


Change is the only certainty in life. We may desperately want to change ourselves and our surroundings, or we may fear the disruption and distress some changes bring. Dr Laurie Santos talks to change expert Dr Maya …

The Kindness of Strangers

September 20th, 2021


When Kitty Genovese was murdered, her family and the wider world was told that bystanders watched, but did nothing to intervene. Psychologists tried …

You Can’t Always Want What You Like

September 13th, 2021


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 …

Let Slip the Dogs of More Happiness

September 6th, 2021


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 …

Boldly Go Like Yuri Gagarin

August 30th, 2021


Space crews, athletes and pop stars all indulge in strange rituals before moments of high stress. It's easy to mock these behaviours - indeed even …

Treating the Pain of a Broken Heart

August 23rd, 2021


Being shunned by a lover, a school or an employer hurts - but we're only just beginning to understand how real this pain is and what steps we can …

Why Nostalgia Ain't So Rosy

August 16th, 2021


Actor Rob Lowe LOVES the 1980s. And who can blame him? He was one of the most famous men on the planet. But, as he tells Dr Laurie Santos, he's …

The Happiness Lab Meets No Stupid Questions

August 9th, 2021


There are no stupid questions when it comes to discussing happiness - so Dr Laurie Santos has joined forces with fellow psychologist Angela Duckworth …

A Slight Change of Plans

May 20th, 2021


Dr Maya Shankar studies how our minds work and how we change. She joins Dr Laurie Santos to discuss how her own life plans were derailed at 15 and the journey that finally brought her to start a new podcast, A Slight …

Hidden Brain: Laurie Talks Monkeys and Bad Money Decisions.

May 10th, 2021


Hidden Brain is a weekly podcast hosted by Shankar Vedantam. It's a show about science and human behaviour we think you'll enjoy. Dr Laurie Santos was a guest on the show - so we thought you'd appreciate a chance to …

Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: Lao Tzu

May 3rd, 2021


The challenges of life often cause us to work frantically to overcome our difficulties - but the Chinese thinker Lao Tzu recommended that instead we …

Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: Confucius

April 26th, 2021


The Covid pandemic has robbed us of many rituals and ceremonies we took for granted - from simple handshakes to elaborate graduation ceremonies. Their loss is important - rituals contribute to our happiness in so many …

Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: Forgiveness

April 19th, 2021


Miroslav Volf teaches at Yale Divinity School - and is celebrated for his work on reconciliation and forgiveness. But book learning alone does not …

Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: The Day of Rest

April 12th, 2021


Sarah Hurwitz worked 24/7 at Harvard, and barely took time off as she built a career in DC writing speeches for first Hillary Clinton and then …

Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: The Torah

April 5th, 2021


Sarah Hurwitz grew up thinking there was little the great texts of Judaism could teach her - she even hatched a plot to get out of Hebrew school. But …

Move More... But for the Right Reasons

January 25th, 2021


Moving more is great for your happiness - but many of us decide to exercise because we're unhappy with our bodies and long to change them. What …

Feed Yourself Like You'd Feed a Loved One

January 18th, 2021


Diets and "healthy" eating fads are a January fixture - but few of us stick to these harsh regimes. And when the dieting ends, we often go back to the "bad" foods we craved during our fasting.

Psychotherapist Andrea …

Reconnect With The Moment

January 11th, 2021


Psychologist and meditation teacher Tara Brach felt too stressed and busy to spend time with her elderly mother - until she had a lightning moment of …

Dump Your Inner Drill Sergeant

January 4th, 2021


We often start a new year hoping to make big changes in how we look, feel or act. This can involve a lot of self-criticism and adopting things like …

Happier Holidays: How to Celebrate No Matter What

December 14th, 2020


A lot of the festive events and traditions we look forward to each year will be very different in 2020. Gatherings might be smaller than we'd like... or cancelled altogether. Family tensions might be heightened too. But …

Happier Holidays: How to Give and Receive the Perfect Gift

December 7th, 2020


Exchanging holiday gifts is supposed to be joyful... but for many of us it is a source of stress, anxiety and hurt feelings. To transform the way you …

Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: The Buddha

October 5th, 2020


The Buddha was born to a royal family... and it shocked him when he found out that no amount of money or power could keep suffering and loss at bay …

Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: Epictetus

September 28th, 2020


Epictetus was born into slavery and beaten until he was lame... but he became one of Ancient Rome's greatest thinkers by accepting every setback as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Philosophy professor Bill Irvine joins …

Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: Plato

September 21st, 2020


Plato likened us all to charioteers trying to control two wayward horses. The steeds represent the competing wants and desires that constantly pull …

Happiness Lessons of The Ancients: Aristotle

September 14th, 2020


He gave us biology, physics and drama... but Greek philosopher Aristotle also thought deeply about how humans can flourish and live happy lives of …

How to Be a Better Ally

June 29th, 2020


You might detest bigotry and injustice, but have you done anything to address these problems? There are many reasons we stay silent and inactive when …

The War For Kindness

June 22nd, 2020


Feeling you belong to a group can be great - but it also has a darker side, leading us down an unhappy path of hatred and violence towards people …

Demonic Possessions

June 15th, 2020


Cait Flanders went deep into debt so she could buy all the clothes, books and gadgets she thought would make her happier. It was only when she junked …

How to Kick Bad Habits (and Start Good Ones)

June 8th, 2020


We all have bad habits - things we eat, drink, do or say that cause us unhappiness. We repeat these behaviours over and over again - almost as if we are on autopilot. But we can break free from them, and use the …

Dial D for Distracted

June 1st, 2020


The world is full of people and things that can make you happy, but you have to notice them to get the full effect. Smartphones are technological …

For Whom the Alarm Clock Tolls

May 25th, 2020


'Time famine' is when you just don't feel you have a spare moment... and it can make you miserable. It's a feeling Dr Laurie Santos knows only too well, so she seeks help from her time affluence hero, Idler author Tom …

Working Your Way to Happiness

May 18th, 2020


Marty kills rats... but if you asked him what his job is he'd say it was "solving problems" and "helping people". How we view our work can contribute …

The Power of a Made-up Ritual

May 11th, 2020


Vlad's mom taught him a family tradition - remember grandpa when you taste the first fruits of the season. It was odd, but the boy went along with it. Only later when he faced two crushing bereavements of his own did …

PJ and Alex Love to Gripe

May 4th, 2020


Reply All hosts PJ and Alex love to trade gripes. Their complaints about the minor annoyances of modern life make for great audio, but are the podcasters making a classic mistake?

We all like to complain - thinking that …

Psychopaths and Superheroes

April 27th, 2020


We talk a lot about psychopaths - but rarely discuss their polar opposites, super altruists. These are people who go to extreme lengths to help …

New Season: The Happiness Lab Returns April 27

April 23rd, 2020


Do you want to be happier? Complain less? Enjoy your work more? Find time for the things that matter to you?

Yale's Dr. Laurie Santos has studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite …

BONUS: Good Screens and Bad Screens

April 20th, 2020


The pandemic has us all glued to our smartphones, tablets, laptops and TVs - they give us important information, vital social contact and much needed distraction. But Catherine Price (founder of Screen/Life Balance and …

BONUS: Helping the Helpers

April 16th, 2020


The heaviest burden of Covid-19 has fallen on the shoulders of medical staff, first responders and others who care for the sick and vulnerable. These …

BONUS: Laurie's Personal Tips

April 9th, 2020


Many people seek Laurie's advice on how to be happier despite this awful pandemic. Prof Katy Milkman invited Laurie to appear on the Choiceology …

BONUS: Keep Your Relationship Healthy

April 2nd, 2020


The health of our romantic relationships is in peril thanks to the many stresses and strains of the pandemic lockdown. Couples might be facing huge emotional and financial challenges at the same time as being tightly …

BONUS: Help Others to Help Yourself

March 30th, 2020


College student Liam Elkind studied happiness in the class taught by Dr Laurie Santos. When the Covid 19 crisis hit, he knew exactly what to do to …

BONUS: Calm Can Be Contagious

March 26th, 2020


In normal times our minds can be filled with unhelpful thoughts, but during this crisis you might be finding it even harder to calm your anxious …

BONUS: Rising to a Challenge

March 23rd, 2020


We always face problems and setbacks - but the coronavirus has dramatically upended many of our lives in a few short weeks. Allowing sadness, anger …

BONUS: Coach Yourself Through a Crisis

March 19th, 2020


We all need to keep a clear head at times of crisis - but that's not always easy. So when strong emotions of fear and anxiety start to cloud your judgement, turn to an effective and reassuring voice of reason... you. …

BONUS: Beat Your Isolation Loneliness

March 16th, 2020


Many of us are being advised to stay at home and avoid social contact to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Human interaction is a vital component of happiness, so Dr Laurie Santos asks Stanford's Professor Jamil …

BONUS: Sleep When You're Dead Tired (LIVE with Arianna Huffington)

January 27th, 2020


Business leader Arianna Huffington nearly died because she didn't get enough sleep. She tells Dr Laurie Santos how this wake-up call changed her attitude to getting enough sack time and shares tips on how we can all …

BONUS: Think Yourself Happy (LIVE from Yale)

January 20th, 2020


Really concentrating on the emotions and physical sensations you are experiencing right now can make you happier. Join Yale mindfulness expert Dr …

BONUS: Grateful Expectations

January 13th, 2020


Grit and determination to change your habits can only get you so far... if you want to be happier you have to stop and think about how nice people have been to you and how nice you can be to them in return. This circle …

BONUS: A New Hope

January 6th, 2020


Research shows we all look for moments to make a fresh start - new years, new seasons, new decades. Our optimism about making big, positive changes is strong, but it fades quickly. As we enter 2020, Dr Laurie Santos …

BONUS: A Happier Christmas

December 16th, 2019


Accept our gift of happiness this holiday season! It can be a hectic and stressful time of year... but it's also full of opportunities to feel …

Making the Grade

November 19th, 2019


From school grades to fitness trackers, we're all being ranked and rated on a daily basis. This is having a huge impact on our happiness and …

Make 'Em Laugh

November 15th, 2019


The world's greatest expert on canned TV laugh tracks helps Dr Laurie Santos demonstrate how the emotions of those around us can make us feel happier or more sad. If happiness is so contagious... can we do more to bring …

Choice Overload

November 5th, 2019


We all make thousands of choices each day - and think it means we're in charge of our lives. But making even trivial decisions - about salad dressings, for example - can sap our energy and cause anxiety. Dr Laurie …

Don't Accentuate the Positive

October 29th, 2019


We often think positive thinking is the best way to achieve our ambitions - but the science shows it holds us all back. Dr Laurie Santos hears how …

Don't Think of the White Bear

October 22nd, 2019


Once a thought is in our heads, we can't suppress it and trying to only causes us misery. Dr Laurie Santos explains why our brains work in this way and hears from real people who have confronted and overcome disruptive …

Caring What You're Sharing

October 15th, 2019


Sharing a good experience with another human deepens our enjoyment of the moment... but only if we abide by certain rules. Dr Laurie Santos shows us …

Mistakenly Seeking Solitude

October 8th, 2019


Technology allows us to bank, shop and dine without talking to another human, but what toll is this taking on our happiness? The inventor of the ATM …

A Silver Lining

October 1st, 2019


Ice skater Michelle Kwan was all set to win Olympic Gold... but in a major sporting upset she came second. Sharing her story with Dr Laurie Santos, …

The Unhappy Millionaire

September 24th, 2019


How can winning the lottery ruin your life - while contracting an incurable disease feel like 'a gift'? Dr Laurie Santos hears about dreams come true and nightmares realised; and talks with Dr Dan Gilbert about why …

You Can Change

September 13th, 2019


You can make yourself happier today. Your life circumstances and personality aren't nearly as important as you think in deciding how happy you can be. Dr Laurie Santos explains how understanding the latest science will …

Coming Soon: The Happiness Lab Season One

August 27th, 2019


Do you want to be happier? Yale's Dr. Laurie Santos has studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite of what will …

Introducing: The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

July 24th, 2019


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