6 Must-Watch TED Talks About Happiness
When I’m getting ready in the morning or commuting to work, I always love to pop on a TED Talk. Why not learn how artificial intelligence is improving my memory while I'm eating my cereal? Why not learn about what it’s like to see Earth from outerspace when my train is running behind schedule?
TED, a non-profit media company, started in 1984 as a conference to help brilliant minds share great ideas. Today, anyone with Wi-Fi can now bring these ideas right into their living room, car, subway, or flight.
TED Talks started with a focus on technology, education, and design, but they've since expanded to touch on all types of topics. My favorites: The talks that delve into emotional wellbeing and happiness.
A quick search on TED’s website for "happiness" brings up 76 videos. There are videos about how relationships affect our happiness, how we can raise happier kids—the list goes on and on.
It's hard to know where to start with 76 genius talks on joy. Thankfully, we’ve taken the work out of the search for you.
Here are six TED Talks on happiness that are a must-watch for anyone looking to feel a bit brighter:
1. "There's More to Life Than Being Happy"
In this talk, author and researcher Emily Esfahani Smith discusses the difference between happiness and meaning in life. She argues that having a meaningful life is more important than having a happy one. She offers an interesting take on happiness, especially since she doesn’t put joy on a pedestal like our culture tends to do.
2. "Want to Be Happy? Be Grateful"
Take it from a monk and interfaith scholar: Happiness can't exist without gratitude. Brother David Steindl-Rast argues that if you want to be happy, you have to practice being grateful. In his talk, he touches on ways to slow down, have a vision of your future, and appreciate what you have.
3. "The Habits of Happiness"
When your nickname is “the happiest man in the world,” you most likely know a thing or two on how to live a satisfied, joyful life. Matthieu Ricard is a biochemist turned Buddhist monk, and his talk explores how we can train our minds to feel greater fulfillment and serenity.
4. "My Year of Saying Yes to Everything"
Shonda Rhimes, the force behind Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder, spent an entire year saying yes to the things that scare her. In this talk, she explains how that journey taught her to say "yes" to what makes her happiest.
5. "Less Stuff, More Happiness"
In less than six minutes, Graham Hill makes a solid case for minimalism and why having less gives us more out of life. Bonus: It might spark you to finally clean out that closet.
6. "Older People Are Happier"
To psychologist and researcher Laura Carstensen, the idea that life gets less rewarding as we get older is nothing but a myth. In her research, she’s found that as people age, they become happier and more positive. In her talk, she discusses the research and talks about the longevity of wellbeing.