The Paradox of Happiness - Why Pursuing It Makes You Less Happy & What You Can Do About It with Dr. Tal Ben Shahar

February 16, 2017
In this episode we discuss the paradox of happiness - why pursuing it makes you less happy, and what you can do about it, we dig into the research about what really makes people happy, we break down happiness into its essential components and discuss how to cultivate it, we look at the interaction between stress and recovery and why most people look at it the wrong way, why active acceptance and surrender is critical to processing and dealing with negative emotions and much more with Dr. Tal Ben Shahar.
Dr. Tal Ben Shahar created the most popular course in Harvard University’s history, he is the best-selling author of several books including The Pursuit of Perfect, Happier, Choose The Life You Want, Even Happier. He’s also the co-founder and chief learning officer of The Wholebeing Institute, Potentialife, Maytiv, and Happier.TV.
 
We discuss:
  • What science shows is the The #1 Predictor of Happiness
  • How the direct pursuit of happiness can actually prevent you from being happy and makes you less happy
  • One of the most robust findings in the field of psychology research is about what creates happiness
  • The paradox of happiness - why pursuing it makes you less happy, and what you can do about it
  • Why the expectation that you should be happy all the time is a barrier to your own happiness
  • The “hamburger model” and how it can transform the way that you live your life
  • The lens that we can use to understand all of our “happy” experiences
  • How Tal defines “happiness” as the intersection of meaning and pleasure
  • We discuss what The BEST predictor of your future behavior is
  • Why awareness is a critical first step to cultivating happiness
  • We dig into the research about what really makes people happy
  • Why money has very little to do with happiness (according to the research)
  • The vital importance of cultivating healthy relationships
  • We discuss the blue zones where people live the longest in the world and why these people live longer than anyone else
  • The critical importance of physical exercise on your psychological wellbeing
  • How to trigger a release of the “feel good” chemicals in your brain (norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin)
  • How happiness helps you be healthier, more creative, gives you more energy, and makes you more productive
  • Strategies for indirectly pursuing happiness
  • We break down happiness into its essential components and discuss how to cultivate it
  • The only 2 types of people who do not experience painful emotions (are you one of them?)
  • What happens when we try to suppress negative emotions 
  • How experiencing and accepting negative emotions can paradoxically improve your happiness 
  • Why active acceptance and surrender is critical to processing and dealing with negative emotions
  • How perfectionism can create self sabotage and unhappiness
  • The critical distinction between healthy perfectionism and unhealthy perfectionism
  • The vital importance of accepting criticism and how refusing to accept criticism hamstrings you
  • Adaptive vs maladaptive perfectionism and why its important to know the difference 
  • (Once again) Meditation and how important it is
  • The interaction between stress and recovery and why most people look at it the wrong way
  • Why stress isn’t bad and in fact can be very good for - but with a very important caveat 
  • How the concept of weight lifting can help us better understand and manage stress in our lives
  • How recovery is vital to your productivity, health, and happiness
  • How long periods of recovery are an investment in your future growth
  • The power of breath and how it is an incredibly impactful mind/body intervention to reduce stress and anxiety
  • The vital importance of rituals and how you should build them into your day
  • “We first make our habits, then our habits make us.”
  • We walk through Tal’s powerful daily ritual and how you can harness it to change your day
  • How self forgiveness and self compassion can transform your life and emotional experience
  • And much more!!
 
If you want to live a happier life - listen to this episode! 
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