Podcast | How to be happier, according to science

Happiness takes work. Professor Laurie Santos shares what social science says about making that work more manageable.

Three smiling children

Children smile as they play in a suburban street in South Jakarta district in Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. (Mark Baker/AP)

Happiness can feel fleeting in even the best of times. In the midst of a pandemic shot through with personal and social upheaval, maintaining a sense of joy or contentment can be especially challenging. 

As if that weren’t difficult enough, human intuition often fails at identifying what, exactly, will bring happiness. But according to professor Laurie Santos, the social sciences can help. 


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As a cognitive scientist and psychology professor at Yale University who launched the popular class Psychology and the Good Life and  hosts the podcast The Happiness Lab, Santos has a firm grasp on the science of feeling good.

In this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast she discusses how scientific study has helped shed common misconceptions about what makes people happy and identifies practices that can lead to happier lives, including daily behavioral changes, larger structural changes in our lives and mindfully balancing happiness with our negative emotions.

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About the Hosts

Mark Baumgarten

Mark Baumgarten

Mark Baumgarten is the managing editor at Crosscut and KCTS 9.