We all want to be happier, but we tend to misunderstand what happiness is – and how to find it.
That's the consensus, at least, of these five TED Talks that each offer a different perspective on our quest for inner well-being.
Watch on to learn what pleasure actually does to our brains, how you can train yourself to feel more upbeat and what effect money really has on our happiness.
1 | The Habits Of Happiness – Matthieu Ricard
Buddhist monk – and all-time favourite Esquire interviewee – Matthieu Ricard talks about the distinction between pleasure derived from external factors and true inner well being, which can only be achieved through mind training. Watch this and you'll find yourself booking a flight to Tibet, or at least a few meditation classes.
2 | Happiness And Its Surprises – Nancy Etcoff
The first step towards achieving anything is understanding it. In this talk, cognitive researcher Nancy Etcoff explains the science behind happiness and answers some of the big questions: are we made to feel happy? Can money get us there? And how do we remain happy with each other?
3 | The Surprising Science Of Happiness – Dan Gilbert
Winning the lottery or becoming a paraplegic: you'd think these two experiences would impact a person's happiness in very different ways. In fact, data shows the make very little difference at. Psychologist and Harvard professor Dan Gilbert turns your idea of what makes us happy upside down.
4 | How To Buy Happiness – Michael Norton
"If you think money can't buy happiness, you're not spending it right," says Harvard Business School professor Michael Norton in this TED Talk that reminds you that giving feels better recieving.
5 | What To Be Happy? Be Grateful – David Steindl-Rast
Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast has a simple but powerful message about viewing any given moment as a gift. Tricky to practise, but good to have pointed out – particularly by a man who looks as serene as this guy.