Can You Trust Happiness Studies? Image

Can You Trust Happiness Studies?

25 September - 41 mins
Podcast Series The Art of Manliness

How to be happier is a topic covered in countless books, blogs, and podcasts. Consume enough of this content and you repeatedly come across the same recommendations that have purportedly been proven to increase happiness: exercise, spend time in nature, meditate, socialize, and practice gratitude. 

But is there actual scientific evidence that these strategies work?

Today on the show, we'll find out what professor of social psychology Elizabeth Dunn discovered when she did a study of happiness studies, and what the surprising findings have to do with the "replication crisis" that's occurred in science. In the second half of our conversation, Elizabeth shares the takeaways of a few well-vett...

41 mins

Series Episodes

Unpacking The Emotion No One Likes to Talk About

Unpacking The Emotion No One Likes to Talk About

Of all the emotions, there's one that people are arguably the most reluctant to talk about and admit to feeling. Envy. Not only is there very little social discussion of envy, but there's also been very little academic scholarship on the topic. As a result, few people really understand this emotion — what it is, why they feel it, and what it means in their life. Today we'll reveal the fascinating dimensions of the green-eyed monster with one of the few people who has given a lot of thought and study to this oft-neglected but important subject: Sara Protasi, a professor of philosophy and the author of The Philosophy of Envy. Today on the show, Sara defines envy and explains how it's different from jealousy and why people are more comfortable admitting to feeling jealous than envious. Sara then unpacks what she thinks are the four types of envy, and we work our way from the worst type to a kind that is actually redeemable and potentially beneficial. We end our conversation with how envy, something that's often considered the worst kind of vice, can, in fact, be used to achieve more excellence in your life.

1 hour

6 December Finished

Increase Your Influence With the Science of Immersion

Increase Your Influence With the Science of Immersion

Why are so many social, business, and classroom interactions so dang dull? This state of affairs isn't only a bummer for those on the receiving end of these underwhelming experiences, but those offering them, too. It means that people are failing to connect with others, teachers are failing to impart knowledge, and salespeople are failing to make sales. Because when you don't engage people, you don't influence them. My guest says that the secret to making an impact on others is learning to turn ordinary experiences into extraordinary ones through the science of immersion. Dr. Paul Zak is a professor, scientist, and the author of Immersion. Today on the show, Paul shares what he's learned from decades of neuroscience research on how to create immersive experiences that will set you apart as an individual or business and increase your influence. We discuss the elements that create immersion, what goes on in the brain when it occurs, how long it can last, and how to induce immersion, whether you want to teach a more engaging class, wow your customers, or simply make everyday interactions with friends and family more memorable.

45 mins

4 December Finished

Turn Your Anxiety Into a Strength

Turn Your Anxiety Into a Strength

Anxiety is typically thought of as a disease or a disorder. My guest has a very different way of looking at it, and says that rather than being a burden, anxiety can actually become a benefit, and even a strength. Dr. David Rosmarin is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, the founder of the Center for Anxiety, and the author of Thriving with Anxiety: 9 Tools to Make Your Anxiety Work for You. Today on the show, David explains why the prevalence of anxiety has risen while the reasons to feel anxious have fallen, and what the increase in anxiety has to do with our growing intolerance for uncertainty and uncontrollability. We discuss how the perception of anxiety is a big part of the problem that has made anxiety a problem, and how you can change your relationship with anxiety, transforming it from something that hinders your life, to something that helps you develop greater self-awareness, reach your goals, make needed changes, connect better with others, and build your overall resilience.

52 mins

29 November Finished

Counterintuitive Ideas About Marriage, Family, and Kids

Counterintuitive Ideas About Marriage, Family, and Kids

There are a lot of popular ideas out there around marriage, family, and culture, like, for example, that living together before marriage decreases your chances of divorce, people are having fewer children because children are expensive to raise, and society is becoming more secular because people leave religion in adulthood. Are these ideas actually born out by the data? Today we put that question to Lyman Stone, a sociologist and demographer who crunches numbers from all the latest studies to find out what’s going on in population, relationship, and familial trends. We dig into some of the counterintuitive findings he’s discovered in his research and discuss the possible reasons that cohabitation is actually correlated with a higher chance of divorce, the effect that marrying later has on fertility, why the drop in the number of kids people are having isn’t only about cost but also about the rise in high intensity parenting, and how the increase in societal secularization can actually be traced to kids, not adults.s

47 mins

27 November Finished

The Cues That Make You Charismatic

The Cues That Make You Charismatic

Note: This is a rebroadcast. Charisma can make everything smoother, easier, and more exciting in life. It’s a quality that makes people want to listen to you, to adopt your ideas, to be with you. While what creates charisma can seem like a mystery, my guest today, communications expert Vanessa Van Edwards, says it comes down to possessing an optimal balance of two qualities: warmth and competence. The problem is, even if you have warmth and competence, you may not be good at signaling these qualities to others. In Vanessa’s work, she’s created a research-backed encyclopedia of these influential signals, and she shares how to offer them in her bookCues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication. Today on the show, Vanessa and I discuss some of the verbal and nonverbal social cues that make you attractive to others, and keep you out of what she calls the “danger zone.” She explains what the distance between your earlobes and shoulders has to do with looking competent, how using uptalk and vocal fry sabotages your ability to convey power, how to put more warmth in your voice, how to trigger the right response with a dating profile picture, and more.

44 mins

22 November Finished

The Japanese Practice That Can Give More Meaning to an American Holiday

The Japanese Practice That Can Give More Meaning to an American Holiday

A focus on gratitude is typical this time of year. But more often than not, the cognitive or behavioral nods we give gratitude around Thanksgiving can feel a little limp, rote, and unedifying. If you feel like this American holiday has been lacking in meaning, maybe what you need is to infuse it with a Japanese practice. The Naikan method of self-reflection grew out of Buddhist spirituality and has been recognized by psychologists as a way to develop greater self-awareness, gratitude, empathy, and direction. Naikan involves asking yourself three questions: What have I received from others? What have I given others? What troubles and difficulties have I caused others? Gregg Krech, who is the executive director of the ToDo Institute, which promotes principles of psychology based on Eastern traditions, has created a Thanksgiving-specific version of Naikan that helps practitioners dig further into its first question. Today on the show, we talk about the way Naikan differs from mainstream gratitude practices and is based less on feeling and more on seeing the world objectively. Gregg shares six prompts that can help you recognize the reality of how you're being supported in the world, cultivate the art of noticing, and embrace life's grace.

53 mins

20 November Finished

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