A New Podcast For Happiness
Dr. Laurie Santos
Dr. Laurie Santos has become one of the most famous college professors in the world at the moment because of her research into happiness.
I first heard about Dr. Santos when she appeared on a news show discussing the course she has created as part of her work as a Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Yale University.
Dr. Santos’ brand new podcast The Happiness Lab was a show I was keen to listen to because the online version of her Yale course has been used by millions of people around the world.
The course could be seen as a guide for detailing how to consciously seek more joy and happiness in our often busy and distracted modern lives. I was curious about what the podcast had to offer.
The Reasons for The Happiness Lab
When I first heard about the course created by Dr. Santos and the podcast that was to be launched I was intrigued but also a little wary. I questioned whether this was going to be the usual nonsensical academia we have heard about being taught across the planet.
To say I was pleasantly surprised by the introduction to The Happiness Lab new podcast would be an understatement.
I listened in shock to the various facts and figures given by the Yale Professor about the mental health crisis sweeping the U.S. and the majority of the world.
For me, this new podcast seems to be reframing the discussion around mental health and is serving as much as a guide to avoiding being unhappy as opposed to a resource that focuses solely on teaching us how to become happy.
What I found most compelling about the opening to the podcast's first episode was the letter from a French person who had completed the online course offered by Yale based on the work of Dr. Santos.
The letter detailed a spiral of depression that was followed by the realization the writer had the right to be happy and content with his life with the aid of the tips given by the professor.
An Expert Host and Guests
I listen to a lot of podcasts and usually stick to the genres I love of true crime and some sports. However, the idea of understanding and discussing happiness and how it affects every aspect of our lives was something I felt I had to explore.
When I started listening to the podcast I was concerned it would appear corny or it would struggle to overcome the more basic and trite advice of smiling more and having a positive outlook.
These subjects were covered in the opening episode but there was more content available that was thrown at me almost at a pace too quickly to take in.
Dr. Santos is undoubtedly qualified to host the podcast and has an excellent listenable voice that is easy to understand. As I was listening to the podcast I found myself waiting to hear the next aspect of how to be happy and keep hold of that feeling for the duration of the episodes.
I particularly enjoyed listening to the story of the Yale Professor as she detailed how she had spotted the mental health crisis impacting her own life as she has been through her own periods of unhappiness.
In my opinion, the personal journey of Dr. Santos only adds to the success of the podcast with her personal insight showing how even those studying the subject of how to be happy can struggle with their own mental health problems.
There are many guests thrown at the listener throughout the podcast and this can get a little confusing as I struggled to keep up with each guest's opinion at times.
Despite this, I understood and felt how each guest was an expert in their respective fields. One of the leading experts in this field on the show supplied a helpful definition of what we mean by happiness and how to go about achieving that feeling.
The History of Being Happy
One of the most impressive aspects of the new podcast was the analysis of the study of adult development that saw subjects from Harvard and children from inner-cities who were all followed throughout their lives.
As this was discussed I was shocked to hear the name of President John F. Kennedy as one of the members of the study group along with others who worked in The White House who achieved much success in their lives.
The big takeaway from the discussion about the study of adult development was the fact that the group who had been studied until they were in their 90s proved that the parts of life we tend to associate with being happy ended up not being the most important to actually cultivating those feelings.
For example, being happy for a majority of the members of the study group, who came from various walks of life, stated that excessive wealth did not make them happy. The majority agreed that meeting their economic needs was important and added to the stability of their lives but it did make them happier.
Segments of the podcast such as this do provide us with vital information and much-needed perspective regarding how we should live our lives to achieve as much as possible while maintaining happiness.
Humans do tend to inflict personal damage on ourselves with the host even noting study results that detail how alcohol and drugs can damage our moods and numb our emotions.
An Interesting Premise
The Happiness Lab is at the start of its path as a podcast but the host and subject matter lend themselves to long-term success for the series.
A small and constructive complaint would be the use of advertisements at regular intervals throughout the episodes which feel a bit jarring when such an important subject as mental health is being discussed.
All podcasters should reserve the right to monetize and benefit from their work but perhaps there is a more creative and less intrusive way to convey the sponsor's message, especially for shows focusing on heady subject matters.
That minor critique aside, the editing of the podcast was impressive with the introduction of each guest giving precise and clear information detailing how they are an expert and why we should be listening to them, even if distinguishing the multitude of experts becomes a little tough to do as the episodes roll on.
Keeping track of the experts and their respective opinions throughout the podcast is likely due to the breakneck speed of the discussions taking place that often make it difficult to keep track of all the information being provided.
Slowing down a little and focusing a little more on a single subject could be a positive improvement for the series but overall I was impressed with this new podcast show.
I tend to listen to podcasts while cooking or working but I felt this was a subject I really had to concentrate on as I was intent on learning the secrets of how to be happy and mentally healthy.
A Positive Beginning
Overall, I feel this is a podcast I will look for each week as new episodes are released because I hope I will learn something that will contribute to the quality of my life.
As a parent, I have even considered listening alongside my children when they get a little older to help them as they move towards adulthood.
Hopefully, Dr. Santos will turn this podcast into a long-term project that will provide us all with some tips on being happy.
As the podcast grows and matures I hope the subjects covered are discussed at more depth with the pace of the show slowed down a little to make it easier to digest the wealth of great information being shared by the host and her guests.
In general, I enjoyed the podcast and I think the subject has enough interest to keep us all interested long into the future.
Subscribe to The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos and begin to strive for adding more happiness into your own life.