Today’s guest is Dr. Laurie Santos who’s a professor of psychology and head of Silliman College at Yale University. Dr. Santos is an expert on human cognition and the cognitive biases that impede better choices. Her course, Psychology and the Good Life, teaches students what the science of psychology says about how to make wiser choices and live a life that’s happier and more fulfilling. The class is Yale’s most popular course in over 300 years and has been adapted into a free Coursera program that has been taken by over 3.9 million people to date.

Dr. Santos has been featured in numerous news outlets including the New York Times, NBC Nightly News, Today’s Show, CBS This Morning, NPR, GQ Magazine, and much more. Dr. Santos is a winner of numerous awards both for her science and teaching from institutions such as Yale and the American Psychological Association. She has been featured as one of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10 Young Minds and was named Times’ leading campus celebrity. Her podcast, The Happiness Lab, which launched in 2019, has over 72 million downloads.

We talk about what real happiness is, how our choices affect our happiness, why being happy all the time is not ideal, why we shouldn’t focus on predicting what will make us happy, staying optimistic when things don’t go as we plan them to, and so much more! 

Thanks to this episode’s sponsor:

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What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:39 Do you think happiness is a choice?
  • 03:03 Simple behaviors and mindsets that can improve wellbeing
  • 05:25 The common misconceptions about being happy all the time
  • 08:31 Focus on the things that you can control
  • 11:03 The arrival fallacy
  • 14:50 Emotional contagion: “You are the people you surround yourself with.”
  • 19:07 Being there to listen is the work
  • 21:01 Changing habits and strategies to make children happier
  • 26:13 Our minds suck at predicting what will make us happy
  • 28:11 How can we feel optimistic when things fall apart?
  • 32:57 How does money affect your happiness?
  • 36:11 Correlation between physical health and happiness

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