The Science of Happiness
The player will show in this paragraph
Watch the full episode above
What makes you happy? And how does it change with age? Everyone says that money can't buy you love, but what about happiness?
Robert Lipsyte asks the experts. Tal Ben-Shahar, who taught a highly popular Harvard course on the nature of happiness, says that taking aging in stride rather than trying to control it makes people happy-as does exercise. "Four times a week is as effective as our strongest psychotropic drugs," says the author of Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. People who have material expectations for happiness rarely end up content, says John Cacioppo, co-author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection. The happiest people, he says, are those who can slow down and savor life and relationships. Dr. Kevin C. Fleming of the Mayo Clinic explains that unhappy people often get the wrong idea about happiness, searching for a constant giddy "high," rather than long-term contentment.
Next, four-time Emmy-award winner David Hyde Pierce of Frasier fame, fresh from his recent Broadway successes, talks about Alzheimer's disease from a very personal perspective, as the son and grandson of Alzheimer's patients. Pierce speaks out against foolishly "closing our eyes" to the epidemic that will sweep millions of baby boomers into Alzheimer's ranks. What we need, Pierce says, is more funding for research and greater awareness about the disease.
Joe Queenan is the middle-aged writer who has it all. Well, almost. He likes his house and kids and not going to the office-and he is happy to be finished with the youth most Boomers still wax nostalgic over. Here, the author of Balsamic Dreams: A Short but Self-Important History of the Baby Boom Generation riffs on what's good about getting old: it starts with not being young.