I spend my days thinking about all aspects of how to be happier – it’s my job! – and yet I find it really easy to get lost in the worries and stresses that fill my life. The other day I heard a really insightful and inspiring TED Talk that reminded me to lift my head above the daily worries and really think about living what I preach at Happier: celebrating those little tiny moments that are hiding amidst the stress and routines of our daily lives.
Here are 5 of the best TED talks that will inspire you to do just that and will (hopefully) teach you something new about how to be happier:
If you tend to think that getting certain things – from possessions to accomplishments – will make you happy, this talk might change your mind. Dan Gilbert talks about our “psychological immune system” which, surprisingly, helps us stay happy even when what we thought should happen doesn’t.
Using data gathered from thousands of people, this researcher learned that we are happiest when we get lost in experiencing the present moment we’re in instead of letting our minds wander to another time, place, dream, or idea.
This is one of my favorite TED Talks of all time (and 18 million other people seem to think it’s pretty amazing, too). It’s also a surprising talk to include on the list of TED Talks that will make you happy. But in this funny, extremely personal talk, Brene Brown opens up our minds about some of the absolutely core human emotions – courage, vulnerability, connection, love, fear – in ways that, if you really listen with an open heart, can fundamentally change how you think of being happier and living a better life.
I was really touched by this speaker’s personal story of leaving her home in post-Chernobyl Ukraine to take asylum in the U.S. But more than just relating to her story because of similar personal experiences, I found her talk an amazing reminder to pay more attention to the tiny, simple joys that fill our days but that are so incredibly easy to take for granted.
Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel laureate, founder of behavioral economics, and one of the most prominent psychologists in the world. There are dozens of gems in this talk but for me, the one with the most impact is the one about how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently. I’ve listened to it several times and each time there were very specific ways in which it affected choices I made to be happier (successfully, I’m pleased to report!)
(Shameless plug: Here’s my TED Talk titled “How Pancakes Can Make You Happier and Change The World.” It might make you a little hungry for breakfast, but I think it can also make you happier.)