We spend a lot of time thinking about happiness. Wondering if we are truly happy, and how we could get there. We try to predict what will make us happy in the future, or what might lead to misery down the road. We chase success, money, and love. We work hard or maybe move from place to place to find fulfillment. But what actually brings us contentment is often very different from what we thought, and researchers are trying to quantify what leads to that lasting sense of well-being.
On this episode, we’ll explore happiness — and how we can find more of it. We’ll hear about the longest-running study on the subject, find out if money is really a game-changer, and talk to a therapist who says we need to stop obsessing over happiness.
Also heard on this week’s episode:
- Reporter Liz Tung wrestles with one of life’s big questions: whether she and her husband should try to have children or continue their current path as a happy childless couple. She enlists the help of friends, family members, and happiness researchers to find out if having children would make her happier than she is right now? Or will not having children lead to emptiness and regret down the road?
- Harvard psychiatrist Robert Waldinger talks about what he’s learned about happiness from directing the longest-running study on the subject. Together with Marc Schulz, he’s written “The Good Life: Lessons from the World’s Longest Scientific Study of Happiness.”
- When does the quest for happiness, the desire to always radiate positivity become a bad thing? Psychotherapist Whitney Goodman joins us to talk about her book “Toxic Positivity: Keeping It Real in a World Obsessed with Being Happy.”
- Several American cities are now experimenting with guaranteed income programs to help families thrive and stay healthy. But could this additional income also have an impact on happiness levels? Alan Yu reports.