5 insightful, classic TED talks about Happiness

June 12, 2015

We can all use a mental pick-me-up sometimes. When work and life feels difficult and demanding, hearing the hopeful, wise words of others can really give us an emotional boost and the energy to keep going.

Here are 5 inspiring, thought-provoking TED talks from the archives, all about the power of motivation, positive psychology and the journey toward happiness and fulfillment. We hope you find these as fascinating as we do.

1. “Flow” – the secret to happiness

Noted author and scholar Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi asks, “What makes a life worth living?” Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of “flow.”

2. The new era of positive psychology

Martin Seligman, founder of the field of positive psychology, talks about psychology — as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?

3. Why are we happy?

Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, author of “Stumbling on Happiness,” challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.

4. What makes us feel good about our work?

What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn’t just money. But it’s not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work.

5. The power of “Thank You”

In this deceptively simple 3-minute talk, counselor and life coach Dr. Laura Trice muses on the power of the magic words “thank you” — to deepen a friendship, to repair a bond, to make sure another person knows what they mean to you. Try it.

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