We are so preoccupied with happiness that the Declaration of Independence guarantees our right to pursue it. But are we doing it right? Historian Caroline Winterer argues that what the founding fathers meant was public happiness, the need for citizens to work collectively toward a robust democracy. "Only public happiness," she explains, "creates...
Using simple, delightful illustrations, designer Stefan Sagmeister shares his latest thinking on happiness -- both the conscious and unconscious kind. His seven rules for life and design happiness can (with some customizations) apply to everyone seeking more joy.
Can happiness be bought? To find out, author Benjamin Wallace sampled the world's most expensive products, including a bottle of 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc, 8 ounces of Kobe beef and the fabled (notorious) Kopi Luwak coffee. His critique may surprise you.
We all strive for happiness -- but we spend most of our lives learning to be unhappy, says Srikumar Rao. In this practical talk, he teaches how to break free of the "I'd be happy if ..." mental model, and embrace our hard-wired happiness.
What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.
At TEDxCambridge, Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can indeed buy happiness -- when you don't spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.
Eve Ensler, creator of "The Vagina Monologues," shares how a discussion about menopause with her friends led to talking about all sorts of sexual acts onstage, waging a global campaign to end violence toward women and finding her own happiness.
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."
TED Studies, created in collaboration with Wiley, are curated video collections — supplemented by rich educational materials — for students, educators and self-guided learners. In Understanding Happiness, expert explorers of the mind chart our understanding of how happiness is created and cultivated. Their insights challenge our most basic cultu...
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.
What does happiness sound like? What about misery? Musician Mira Calix explores the emotional qualities embedded in music and noise and shares a sound-based spectrum of human sentiments that emerged from her work.
City planners are already busy designing futures full of bike paths and LEED-certified buildings. But are they designing for our happiness? It's hard to define, and even harder to plan for, but urban planner Thomas Madrecki has a simple solution: Ask the public.
How to be happier at work? Start by focusing on happiness -- not, surprisingly, on work. We learned this fun fact from Shawn Achor's TED Talk. So we asked Achor to choose some more talks he loves, about making work and life a happier place.
After watching the collection of talks on Understanding Happiness, read a thoughtful recap of the major points in this TED Study, and learn where experts believe things are headed.
Positive psychology: The wrap-up
The field of positive psychology has already helped us to better understand happiness. As Martin Seligman explained, traditional psyc...
Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there's a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life -- serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you -- gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having mean...