I’ve been watching an excellent series on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) called This Emotional Life. It’s a three part series that ends this evening. The program is hosted by Daniel Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and best-selling author of Stumbling on Happiness. The series explores the nature of social relationships that are the key to our human happiness, the obstacles to happiness, and the sometimes misguided pursuit of happiness itself. If you miss seeing the program, you can get the DVD of at this PBS page.
According to Professor Gilbert, “Science has revealed three important facts about happiness: You can’t be happy alone; you can’t be happy all the time; you can be happier than you are.” The series is so well produced that it’s both enlightening and entertaining. There are video clips from celebrities like Alanis Morissette, Katie Couric, Richard Gere, Chevy Chase, John Leguizamo, and Larry David, who share their personal experiences. These clips are woven in with everyday people and their stories.
Although the topic of happiness is a key area of the program, it’s really about much more. It covers the gamut of pertinent topics that affect people and families today.
The This Emotional Life Website has a lot of good content, including resources you may want to explore. Click on a topic link from an episode below to learn more. For example, on the topic of depression, did you know that clinical depression is the leading cause of disability for those aged 15 to 44 in the United States? With forgiveness, people who forgive have lower blood pressure and lower rates of heart disease. Or, with happiness, did you know that it’s contagious and it benefits friends through three degrees of acquaintance? The effects can last for a year.
Episode 1 Families, Friends & Lovers
- Grief and Loss
- Postpartum Mood Disorders
- Intimate Relationships
Episode 2 Facing Our Fears
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Stress and Anxiety
Episode 3 Rethinking Happiness
- Connecting with Others
- Creativity and Flow
Lastly, Track Your Happiness
Oh, one more thing, how happy are you right now? If you’d like to help contribute to a greater scientific understanding of happiness, you can do it via your iPhone. Track Your Happiness. org is a new scientific research project that investigates what makes life worth living. Check it out here.