Top happiness podcasts

10 Podcasts to Help You Find Happiness

Audio is one of the oldest forms of media around, and yet podcasts are so hot that seemingly everyone is starting his or her own. They cover every topic imaginable, and it turns out we love to listen and learn. Podcasts can help us keep up with the news, lose ourselves in an imaginative story or just make our commute go by a lot faster. Below are 10 podcasts in the fields of positive psychology, mindfulness, happiness and self-help that will not only brighten your day, they will also add to your knowledge of how to become an authentically happier person. The Science of Happiness This excellent recent addition to the podcast happiness space comes from the Greater Good Science Center, which is affiliated with the University of California at Berkeley (Go Bears!). Heavy on the science of happiness and positive psychology, the show features interviews with professors and authors such as Rick Hanson, Srikumar Rao and Jonathan Haidt. Professional production adds to the compelling storytelling. Each episode runs about 20 minutes. 10% Happier with Dan Harris Network news anchor Dan Harris has become an unlikely but extremely effective evangelist for meditation and its benefits. With two best-selling books under his belt, Dan now produces this weekly podcast on the subject, which includes in-depth interviews with mindfulness heavy hitters such as (sometime collaborator) Sharon Salzberg and former Google “Jolly Good Fellow” Chade-Meng Tan. Dan has made it his mission to spread meditation to the mainstream, and he is absolutely succeeding! Each episode runs 50 to 60 minutes. Live Happy Now Live Happy’s own uplifting podcast features insightful interviews with experts in psychology and the science of happiness. Past guests have included psychiatrist and mood-food expert Dr. Drew Ramsey; author M.J. Ryan, one of the creators of the Random Acts of Kindness series; work/happiness expert Shawn Achor; and many others. The tone is friendly and accessible—a perfect way to start your day, lighten your commute and stay informed. Each episode runs about 30 minutes. The Flourishing Center Podcast The Flourishing Center, which offers a Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology, highlights positive psychology research in its podcast. It covers everything from tips on overcoming rumination to practicing self-forgiveness. Each episode features three sections: Science Says, which summarizes recent research; Life Hack, which explains how to incorporate positive psychology tenets into your life; and Practitioner’s Corner, which highlights an individual practicing positive psychology. Each episode runs 30 minutes. Happier with Gretchen Rubin Best-selling author of The Happiness Project and several other books, Gretchen Rubin was an early convert to the podcasting medium. She and her screenwriter sister Elizabeth seem to have a lot of fun chatting and ribbing each other as they discuss various topics of interest, such as how to maintain healthy habits, The Four Tendencies (another one of Gretchen’s books), making time to read, family relationships and other issues that affect our everyday lives. The tone is breezy and casual, and occasionally the sisters will bring in a special guest. Each episode runs about 30 minutes. Happiness Matters Christine Carter, author of The Sweet Spot and Raising Happiness, hosts this parenting-focused podcast along with pediatric nurse Rona Renner. The show, a gabfest-style discussion between the hosts, focuses on how to raise a happy family and have harmonious relationships in the 21st century. Hot topics include “The Art of Saying No,” “Is Yelling the New Spanking?” and “Fostering Creativity in Kids.” Weekly episodes are short and sweet, running just 10 minutes. By the Book In each episode of By the Book, podcast personality Kristen Meinzer and comedian Jolenta Greenberg—two smart, funny Brooklynistas with attitude—choose a different self-help book to live by for two weeks and then report back with their findings. The show is warm, insightful and a great way to get the lowdown on these best-selling (but sometimes repetitive) books so you don’t have to read them all yourself. It’s like getting self-help Cliffs Notes, summarized by your hilarious best friends. Each episode runs approximately 45 minutes and many are followed up with a separate epilogue. The Action for Happiness Podcast Action for Happiness is an international initiative launched by the Dalai Lama. The podcast features interviews with luminaries mainly in the realm of mindfulness and meditation, such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, Daniel Goleman and many others. Listen to substantive discussions of meditation in schools, how meditation can change the world and similar subjects. The sound quality could be better. Each episode runs about 40 minutes. Good Life Project The Good Life Project includes an “intentional community” that puts on mindful get-togethers in real life. In addition, they host this twice-weekly interview show with thought leaders in the happiness, creativity and personal development spaces. Catch up with authors and personalities like Elizabeth Gilbert, Tim Ferriss, Brené Brown and many others. Good production and a lively pace keep things moving along. Each episode runs about 45 minutes. Adventures in Happiness New York Times best-selling author Jessica Ortner is an ebullient guide to happiness and fulfillment through “tapping.” But in addition to the mindfulness practice of tapping, she also covers a wide swath of lifestyle subjects from spring cleaning and feng shui to more serious topics such as depression and anxiety. Guests stop by to chat and lend their expertise. Each episode runs about 45 minutes.
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Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – Flow – 01 by evalottchen, on Flickr

What is Flow?

Flow is a positive psychology concept that focuses on focus. In other words, the state of mind you are in when you have total concentration on a specific task and nothing else around you seems to matter. Total immersion. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a positive psychologist primarily known as the architect of “flow,” describes flow as "being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you're using your skills to the utmost.”Csikszentmihalyi began researching flow after he became fascinated by artists who would get so lost in their work, they would forgo food, water and even sleep.In order to get into the state of flow, a balance of the challenge at hand and the strengths of the challenger must be met. The motivation is for no other reason than just the pure enjoyment of that certain task. For more information watch Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi's TED talk on Flow.
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Image of the word thrive

What Does It Mean to Thrive?

Based on Barbara Frederickson’s Broaden and Build theory, positive emotions can help us thrive within our lives. Broadening our awareness with positive emotions help us learn and grow, which then leads to developing skills and becoming more resourceful. This positivity compounds over time and eventually leads to an increase in well-being. While feelings of fear and anxiety help narrow our focus and sharpen our “fight-or-flight” response, positive emotions (ex. happiness, joy, contentment) help us expand our life instead of just trying to survive. People who are thriving tend to live longer and lead healthier lives.
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Image of words Positive Psychology

What is Positive Psychology?

Positive Psychology is an emerging field of study that focuses on the science of happiness. Pioneered by Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman in 1998, the purpose of Positive Psychology is to find out the virtues that lead to a meaningful life and the effects on that will have on an individual, as well as the community as a whole.Instead of just treating mental illness and relieving suffering, positive psychologists also focus on the strengths that make life worth living and restoring a healthy balance to well-being.Martin andMihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychology professor from Claremont Graduate University, describe the new science in the following way: "We believe that a psychology of positive human functioning will arise that achieves a scientific understanding and effective interventions to build thriving in individuals, families, and communities."Studies have shown that happiness can have a dramatic effect on an individual’s well-being, contributing to every aspect of their life, including health, relationships, employment and longevity. According to the United Nations World Happiness Report 2013, positive emotions help the cardiovascular, immune and endocrine systems; lower the risk of heart disease and strokes; and even speed up the recovery process. Happy workers are more likely to receive positive ratings from management, as well as see an increase in wages. Employee satisfaction can have a positive effect on productivity and performance, increasing revenue, sales and ultimately profit.Positive psychologists believe that figuring out the puzzle and pursuit of happiness can lead to answers to some of our biggest problems individually, nationally and even globally.
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Icons of happiness.

Positive Psychology Timeline

This timeline shows the progression of the unlikely and amazing story of positive psychology. You can read the full story in our article The Happiness Revolution. 1984 Ed Dienercoins the termsubjective well-being. 1985 Ed Dienerpublishes his Satisfaction with Life scale. 1997 Martin Seligmanand MihalyCsikszentmihalyimeet on a Hawaiian beach and begin mapping out a plan for launching positive psychology. 1998 Martin Seligman delivers his "Manhattan Project for the Social Sciences" inaugural presidential address at the American Psychological Association convention. Barbara Fredrickson's "broaden and build" theory of the value of positive emotions is published. 1999 The first positive psychology conference is heldin Akumal, Mexico. The first annual Positive Psychology Summit is held in Lincoln, Neb. The first university programs in positive psychology are available at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. 2000 Special millennial issue ofAmerican Psychologistdevoted to positive psychology. First Templeton Prize to Barbara Fredrickson. 2001 "Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study" published, linking happiness and positive outlook to longevity. U.S. News & World Reportpublishes "Happiness Explained" cover story. 2002 First International Positive Psychology Summit in Washington, D.C. U.S. Department of Education grants $2.8 million for Martin Seligman to explore positive psychology in a Philadelphia high school. Martin Seligman publishesAuthentic Happiness. 2003 Marcial Losada and Barbara Fredrickson publish their 3:1 positivity ratio, showing that those who flourish exhibit a ratio of at least 3:1 positivity-to-negativity in their behavior and expression. Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough publish "Counting Blessings Versus Burdens" showing that a consistent practice of gratitude increases wellbeing. 2004 $1 million National Institute of Mental Health grant to Sonja Lyubormirskyand Kennon Sheldon to explore practical "intervention" pathways to permanent increases in happiness. Martin Seligman and Chris PetersonpublishCharacter Strengths and Virtues, the definitive text and positive psychology's what-goes-right answer to psychology's classic what-goes-wrong reference textDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). 2005 Timepublishes its cover story, "The Science of Happiness." First master's program in positive psychology at U Penn. "Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change" study shows as much as 40 percent of personal happiness is dictated by personal effort. "Does happiness lead to success?" study shows broad range of benefits, from physiological health to financial and career success and greater social engagement. 2006 Gallup World Poll launched, with sampling that represents 95 percent of the world's population. Tal Ben-Shahar's "Positive Psychology" becomes Harvard's most popular course. 2007 Sonja Lyubormirsky publishesThe How of Happiness. First doctoral program in positive psychology at Claremont Graduate University. 2008 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index launched in the United States. The Pentagom approaches Martin Seligman to develop a positive psychology program for the U.S. Army. 2009 First World Congress on Positive Psychology held in Philadelphia. Barbara Fredrickson publishes her 3:1 positivity ratio finding inPositivity. 2010 Tony Hsieh'sDelivering Happinesshits No. 1 onNew York Timesbestseller list and stays on the list for 27 consecutive weeks. Gretchen Rubin'sThe Happiness Projecthits No. 1 onNew York Timesbestseller list and has stayed on the list continuously for more than two years. 2011 British government begins national happiness survey. Somerville, Mass., becomes the first U.S. city to track its population's happiness. 2012 Harvard Business Reviewpublishes issue on "The Value of Happiness."
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Illustration of the word PERMA

What is PERMA?

PERMA (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement) is an acronym that stands for the five elements developed by Martin Seligman that account for what makes up the “good life” – an authentic and sustained happiness and well-being. No one element defines well-being, but each contribute, either subjectively or objectively.Positive Emotion is one of the cornerstones to well-being. Kindness, gratitude, hope, contentment are all positive emotions that contribute to the “pleasant life.”Engagement, much like positive emotion, is a subjective element to well-being. Engagement is about being totally absorbed (in the flow) by a present task where time and self- consciousness seem to cease.Relationships are an important part of well-being. People who maintain strong positive relationships are generally happier in life. We are “social beings” who need to connect with one another.Meaning in life comes from serving something that is bigger than self. To have a sense of well-being, finding a purpose in life is essential. Altruism and philanthropy are good methods to establishing a meaningful life.Achievement is a sense of accomplishment. Having goals and meeting those goals, improves your well-being and allows you to flourish.
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Taktsang Palphug Monastery (The Tiger's Nest), Bhutan

What is Gross National Happiness?

Forty years ago Robert F. Kennedy delivered a speech challenging GNP as a measure of progress and growth for a nation. In his speech he stated, “Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”It is clear that tracking growth using a single statistic, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is limiting our understanding of the relative health of a society to a simple measure of economic prosperity. But measuring subjective factors like happiness, courage and joy is a difficult challenge and the possible solutions to these challenges are still being debated. However, many nations are already moving forward with attempts to more accurately measure the well-being of their citizens by looking beyond hard economic statistics to other areas that impact daily life.Gross National Happiness (GNH) is an indicator originally developed in Bhutan in the early 1970s. His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan, believed that the existing development paradigm—GDP—did not consider the ultimate goal of every human being: HAPPINESS. GNH was based on the premise that the calculation of “wealth” should consider other aspects besides economic development: the preservation of the environment and the quality of life of the people. His Majesty believed the goal of a society should be the integration of material development with psychological, cultural and spiritual aspects.[video: width:595 height:394 autoplay:0]What is “Gross National Happiness”? Inspired by – created by and developed by Simpleshow.Over the last 10 years nations have begun to expand the types of indicators they use to measure national prosperity in an effort to obtain a better understanding of the well-being of their citizens. The implementation of different surveys and indices has been spreading around the world.The Human Development Index (HDI) of the United Nations has been used since the early 1990s. Published every year, the HDI is a score that amalgamates three indicators: lifespan, educational attainment and adjusted real income. In 2010 an update was made to account for inequality standards.In 2003 Europe conducts the first European Quality of Life Survey (EQLS) to be repeated every four years. The survey examines a range of issues, such as employment, income, education, housing, family, health, work-life balance, life satisfaction and perceived quality of society.The Canadian Index of Well-Being (CIW) released their first report in 2009. The CIW identifies a set of key indicators that will track Canada’s progress in eight interconnected domains of well-being: community vitality, democratic engagement, education, environment, healthy populations, leisure & culture, living standards and time use.In 2011 the UK began to measure the National Well-being of its citizens with the specific goal of looking beyond GDP. It includes headline indicators in areas such as health, relationships, job satisfaction, economic security, education, environmental conditions and other measures of personal well-being using individual self-assessment.The Washington Post reported on an in-depth story last year about new government measurements. The article stated, “Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a panel of experts in psychology and economics, including Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, began convening in December to try to define reliable measures of ‘subjective well-being.’ If successful, these could become official statistics.” The commission’s findings are due this fall.It will be very interesting to see what indicators will be used by our government in order to measure our national “happiness and well-being.” Despite some commonalities, the organizations and governments creating these indices are using different approaches for measuring these subjective factors. This creates difficulty in measuring across borders, a key advantage to GDP, and makes them vulnerable to challenges of accuracy and manipulation for political purposes. However, they are providing a wealth of new knowledge that could be employed to help nations address deep-rooted issues.
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Martin Seligman leans on podium

The President’s Address by Martin Seligman

When I was elected president of our Association, I was both humbled and challenged by what I saw as an opportunity to enlarge the scope of our discipline's work. For I believed then, and do still hold, that there are two areas in which psychology of the late 20th century has not played a large enough role in making the lives of people better. One area that cries out for psychology's attention is the 20th century's shameful legacy of ethnic conflict. (Even as I write this piece, the world community is struggling with the plight of some half-million refugees from Kosovo.) The second area cries out for what I call "positive psychology," that is, a reoriented science that emphasizes the understanding and building of the most positive qualities of an individual: optimism, courage, work ethic, future-mindedness, interpersonal skill, the capacity for pleasure and insight, and social responsibility. It's my belief that since the end of World War II, psychology has moved too far away from its original roots, which were to make the lives of all people more fulfilling and productive, and too much toward the important, but not all-important, area of curing mental illness. With these two areas of need in mind—relieving ethnic conflict and making life more fulfilling—I created two presidential initiatives during my time in office, as described below. Ethnopolitical Conflict Certainly the goal of a more peaceful 21st century is as complex and as urgent as ever. To help psychology build an infrastructure that would allow future psychologists to play a role in preventing ethnic conflict and violence, I teamed with Canadian Psychological Association President Peter Suedfeld and created a joint APA/CPA Task Force on Ethnopolitical Warfare. Dr. Suedfeld and I believe that with the death of fascism and the winding down of communism, the warfare the world faces in the next century will be ethnic in its roots and hatreds. In contemporary ethnopolitical conflicts, as in Kosovo right now, civilian populations are the primary targets of terror. The destruction of whole communities and the ongoing problems of refugees and human rights abuse amplify the problems. What can psychology do? I submit to you that we can train today's young psychologists who have the courage and the humanity for such work to better understand, predict, and even prevent such tragedies. When the worst does occur, we can train psychologists to help pick up the pieces by helping people and communities heal and learn to live and trust together again. The first step in creating a scholarly understanding of ethnic conflict was taken at an APA/CPA conference on the subject at the University of Ulster in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in June. The meeting, chaired by Dan Chirot of the University of Washington, brought together 30 of the world's most distinguished specialists not just from psychology but from many disciplines, for example, from the fields of history, ethnic conflicts, human rights, and conflict resolution. Among the questions discussed were the following: What do we know about the roots of ethnopolitical violence? Why do some potentially violent situations result in violence while others do not? How does a society resolve group conflict relatively peacefully, as in the case of a South Africa, while others are solved with mass murder or forced migration? Clearly, these are difficult questions, and the answers need to come from many disciplines. But to set the stage, three universities are taking the lead in creating a pioneering postdoctoral fellowship program combining both scholarship and field work in the scientist-practitioner model to study ethnopolitical conflict. The first entering class is that of June 1999. Classes will take place on three campuses—​at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. The Mellon Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, and private donors have already pledged over $2 million to this initiative. A NewScience ofHumanStrengths Entering a new millennium, we face a historical choice.Standing alone on the pinnacle of economic and political leadership, the United States can continue to increase its material wealth while ignoring the human needs of our people and of the people on the rest of the planet. Such a course is likely to lead to increasing selfishness, alienation between the more and the less fortunate, and eventually to chaos and despair. At this juncture, psychology can play an enormously important role. We can articulate a vision of the good life that is empirically sound and, at the same time, understandableand attractive. We can show the world what actions lead to well-being, to positive individuals, to flourishing communities, and to a just society. Ideally, psychology should be able to help document what kind of families result in the healthiest children, what work environments support the greatest satisfaction among workers, and what policies result in the strongest civic commitment. Yet we have scant knowledge of what makes life worth living. For although psychology has come to understand quite a bit about how people survive and endure under conditions of adversity, we know very little about how normal people flourish under more benign conditions. This is because since World War II, psychology has become a science largely about healing. It concentrates on repairing damage within a disease model of human functioning. Such almost exclusive attention to pathology neglects the flourishing individual and the thrivingcommunity. True, our emphasis on assessing and healingdamage has been important and had its important victories. By my count, we now understand and can effectively treat at least 14 mental disorders that we could not treat 50 years ago. But these victories have come at a considerable cost. When we became solely a healing profession, we forgot our larger mission: that of making the lives of all people better.In this time of unprecedented prosperity, our children can look forward to more buying power, more education, more technology, and more choices than ever before. If it were indeed true that depression is caused by bad events, then Americans today, especially young Americans, should be a very happy group. But the reality is that a sea change has taken place in the mental health of young Americans over the last 40 years. The most recent data show that there is more than 10 times as much serious depression now as 4 decades ago. Worse, depression is now a disorder of the early teenage years rather than a disorder that starts in middle age, a situation that comprises the single largest change in the modern demographics of mental illness. And that, I believe, is the major paradox of the late 20th century. Why? In searching for the answer, I look not toward the lessons of remedial psychology with its emphasis on repairing damage. Instead, I look to a new social and behavioral science that seeks to understand and nurture those human strengths that can prevent the tragedy of mental illness. For it is my belief that no medication or technique of therapy holds as much promise for serving as a buffer against mental illness as does human strength. But psychology's focus on the negative has left us knowing too little about the many instances of growth, mastery, drive, and character building that can develop out of painful life events. So my second presidential initiative is intended to begin building an infrastructure within the discipline and funding it from outside to encourage and foster the growth of the new science and profession of positive psychology. Our mission is to utilize quality scientific research and scholarship to reorient our science and practice toward human strength. In this way, we can learn to identify and understand the traits and underpinnings of preventive psychological health and, most importantly, learn how to foster such traits in young people.Supporting the research and vision of tomorrow’s positive psychology leaders will be an important part of building the foundation of this new science. Toward this end, a number of projects are under way. With generous support from the John Templeton Foundation, APA has created the Templeton Positive Psychology Prize. Awarded annually, it will recognize and encourage the work of mid-career researchers working in the realm of positive psychology. When it is bestowed for the first time in February 2000, the Templeton Prize will become the largest monetary award ever given in psychology. In addition, a "junior scientists" network of 18 early and mid-career researchers all working in issue areas related to positive psychology has also been created. The network grew out of 6 days of conversation and brainstorming led by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, Don Clifton, Raymond Fowler, and myself. This meeting was an unparalleled success. The typical evaluation was "the best intellectual experience of my career." Now these 18 young scientists will continue to collaborate both electronically and face to face. My expectation is that they will be the leaders of our reoriented science in decades to come. In 1998, two groups of more senior scholars also met and began work on the taxonomy of the roots of a positive life. One group is asking, "What are the characteristics of a positive life, and how can they be measured and taught? What are the relationships among subjective well-being, positive individual traits, and positive community?" The other group seeks to transform the study of genius and extraordinary accomplishments. They commend to our science the idea that human greatness occurs not only in the realm of achievement, but that genius can also come into play in mastering human relationships, assuming moral responsibility, engaging in spirituality, and viewing life as a work of art. This Truly Extraordinary People group intends to pioneer such studies. The creation of a new science of positive psychology can be the "Manhattan Project" for the social sciences. It will require substantial resources but it does hold unprecedented promise. The medical model often talks about medical cost offset; and, indeed, cost offset is important. But I suggest there's another cost offset to consider: one for the individual and for the community. Positive psychology should not only have as a useful side effect the prevention of serious mental illness, but it also holds the potential to create, as a direct effect, an understanding and a scientifically informed practice of the pursuit of the best things in life and of family and civic virtue. I have often been asked what was my reason, deep down, for running for president of APA. I will tell you now. It was because I thought I had a mission but did not know what it was.I thought that in serving as president, I would discover my mission. And I did. That mission is to partake in launching a science and a profession whose aim is the building of what makes life most worth living. This opportunity was your gift to me, and my fondest hope is that the two initiatives I have discussed above and gone on to launch will repay your trust. In closing, I now want to make explicit the underlying theme of my presidency: Psychology is not merely a branch of the health care system. It is not just an extension of medicine. And it is surely more than a tenant farmer on the plantation of profit-motivated health schemes. Our mission is much larger. We have misplaced our original and greater mandate to make life better for all people, not just the mentally ill. I therefore call on our profession and our science to take up this mandate once again as we enter the next millennium.
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