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What is happiness? Is it something that we earn? Something that is dependent on outside circumstances? Is it something that we can experience even in the midst of mental health struggles? This week I had the incredible honor of connecting with someone that I have looked up to for a long time,  the co-founder of Happiness Studies Academyauthor, and Harvard lecturer Dr. Tal Ben Shahar.

Dr. Tal shares with us about what research has found out about happiness and what we can do to add more of it into our lives. He shares with us the importance of healthy relationships and how the quality of these connections matter more to our happiness than outward success and achievement. He shares that the happiest countries in the world have been found to place more emphasis on relationships and how we can use this information to draw closer to the people in our lives.

He also shares with us his own story of struggling with unhappiness and how his deep inward journey led him into his life’s work. Dr. Tal has concluded that happiness is not a destination, rather it is a journey that we are all on and states that we can live in it no matter what our circumstances are. He also lets us in on what the five elements of happiness are and why goals are simply the “means to the end”.

We also talk about happiness through the lens of mental health struggles and Dr. Tal gives a compelling case of why some level of ‘crisis” is needed for “significant growth”. He shares with us the difference between sadness and depression and why the first step to happiness is “embracing unhappiness”.  Dr. Tal also gives a few practices that we can implement daily to increase our happiness.

I learned so much in this interview and I am so excited to get to share it with you. What do you think about the topic of happiness? What stood out to you about the research that Dr. Shahar shared? We would love to hear from you! Find us in our private Facebook group Hope to Recharge because as always- together is better!

Connect with Dr. Tal:

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Resources mentioned: 

Dr. Tal Ben Shahar’s books:

Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn:

Topics Discussed:

  • There is almost a need for crisis for significant growth
  • Why we need to disconnect in order to connect
  • The difference between joy and happiness

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