This February, we launched the Science of Happiness podcast (co-produced with Public Radio International) with the hope of bringing proven research, simple tips, and compelling stories to listeners around the world who want to live more meaningful, joyful, socially connected lives. Now, we’re happy to report that the podcast has been downloaded over 5 million times during its first three seasons.

The Science of Happiness also hit the #2 spot on Apple’s top podcasts, as well as being featured as a New & Noteworthy podcast and an Editors’ Pick, and it was a finalist for the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards.

Over the course of 30 episodes, we brought on guests like Inside Out director Pete Docter, radio host Krista Tippett, ABC News’s Dan Harris, skateboarder and musician Tommy Guerrero, comedian W. Kamau Bell, author Michael Pollan, and actor Daniel Wu to be our “Happiness Guinea Pigs.” They tested out practices like meditation, self-compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, and humor in their daily lives and reported back on their experiences, in conversation with GGSC founding director Dacher Keltner and other well-being researchers. Now, we’re gearing up for more great content next season, which launches on February 7, 2019.

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In case you missed them, here are the top five The Science of Happiness podcast episodes, as determined by downloads and shares:

Quieting Your Inner Critic.” Are you too hard on yourself? Steven Czifra, a graduate student at UC Berkeley and a student mentor, spent most of his life behind bars. Discover the research-tested practice that helps him quiet his inner critic.

 
How to Find Your Best Possible Self.” Does imagining your future make you more happy—or more anxious? Twenty-six-year-old Adizah Eghan, an audio producer for Snap Judgment, looks ahead for inspiration to improve her life now.


Three Good Things.” Do you take the good things in life for granted? You’re not alone, and studies show it’s very human. Shuka Kalantari, now our Science of Happiness podcast producer, tries a practice for finding more joy in the everyday.


Is There Someone You Need to Thank? Hear how award-winning children’s book author Yuyi Morales discovers the power of writing a “gratitude letter” to the librarian who changed her life.


What if You Had Never Met? Do you take your partner for granted? Our Happiness Guinea Pig, cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, imagines a life in which he never met his wife.

 

Bonus: Other podcasts we love

The Science of Happiness is part of an amazing community of podcasts that can help you be happier in life, work, and more. Here are some of our staff’s favorite episodes from around the podcast-sphere this year.

by the book podcast

“A Simple Act of Gratitude”: By the Book. Hosts Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer get extra thankful by testing out the guidance in A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life, by John Kralik.

work/life with adam grant

“Faking Your Emotions at Work”: Work/Life with Adam Grant. You manage your own emotions at work—and your coworkers’ and customers’ emotions, too. How do you avoid burnout? Host Adam Grant talks with actor John Lithgow, goes inside the call center at Zappos, and explores the hospitality philosophy of an acclaimed restauranteur.



ear hustle podcast

“Thick Glass”: Ear Hustle. Parenting is never easy, but from prison it’s especially challenging. In this episode, incarcerated fathers share their stories of striving to be present in their children’s lives.
 One inmate reconnects with his son after 20 years. Another stays very involved through letters and visits. And a third gets the opportunity to give his teenaged son a haircut.

hidden brain podcast npr

“The Edge Effect”: Hidden Brain. Researchers have found that people with deep connections to people from other countries and cultures often see benefits in terms of their creative output. Hidden Brain looks at the powerful connection between the ideas we dream up and the people who surround us, and what it really takes to think outside the box.

npr invisibilia podcast
“What Was Not Said”: Invisibilia. Invisibilia examines how leaving things unsaid with our intimates can lead to misunderstandings and missed connections.

 

snap judgment podcast

“Senior Year Mixtape”: Snap Judgment. Three San Francisco high school seniors try to make sense of adulthood. Snap Judgment spends a year with them as they fight for their futures, in a rapidly changing city.

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