The Science Of Creating Happiness

Episode 117 1h
Topics Overview


Over 40% of college students report feeling too depressed to function on a daily basis. Over 60% are overwhelmingly anxious. This was not always the case.

COVID-19 aside, what is it about our modern times that is leading to stress instead of joy? One of my observations is that we’re meant to be human beings, not humans doing, yet we’re constantly just trying to get things done, to accumulate more possessions, to achieve power and success.

But we can reframe our perspective of what matters and focus more on simply being—on sitting, listening, noticing—to improve our happiness and satisfaction in life. Today’s guest on The Doctor’s Farmacy, Laurie Santos, is the perfect person to talk to about actively working on increasing our happiness.

Laurie and I kick off our discussion with her experience living on campus at Yale and what the current generation of college students are experiencing. Our culture has misguided us to what creates happiness and without consciously recognizing it we can get sucked into the consumerism and never-ending comparisons on social media.

Social media doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing thing, though. Laurie’s experiences with her students have proven that most of us could stand to change our relationship with it in one way or another and that we’d notice a positive outcome in our attitude and attention.

Laurie shares that, as humans, we’re more successful in creating happiness from experiences, and not things, because they help to form our identity. The acts of helping others and practicing gratitude are also foundational to improving happiness. Writing down or even just thinking about things you’re grateful for every day can have dramatic effects on how you feel and interact with the world.

Happiness doesn’t have to be something you have or you don’t—just like our health, it’s something we can work on. I hope you’ll tune in to learn more about embracing nutritious lifestyle habits that promote more joy and contentment in your own life.

Topics Covered

  • When Laurie began to notice the mental health crisis among her students

    (2:15 - 2:18)

  • How we are misguided about what will make us happy by our culture and our intuition

    (5:29 - 5:32)

  • The happiest countries in the world and one likely reason why the United States doesn’t make the list

    (9:06 - 9:09)

  • How happiness is created through gratitude practices and serving others

    (12:14 /12:17)

  • Using social media and our technological devices more productively

    (22:46 - 22:49)

  • Hacking your stress through your breath, diet, and more

    (40:21 - 40:24)

  • Exercise your compassion muscle and fight compassion fatigue through metta, or loving kindness meditation

    (44:31 - 44:34)

  • Creating new habits and rituals to build happiness

    (50:40 - 50:43)

  • Ways in which the coronavirus pandemic is changing and affecting us

    (55:05 - 55:08)

  • Post-traumatic growth

    (57:57 - 58:00)

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Ep. 117 - The Science Of Creating Happiness