One of the reasons we think we should take action about climate change is that the costs of doing something about the problem are lower than the stream of future damages if we fail to act. Figuring out what damages from climate change will be 100 or more years into the future is difficult. It … Continue reading »
The best Greater Good articles of 2015
For UC Berkeley’s Greater Good, nuance and controversy defined 2015. Over the course of the year, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center grappled with big public issues like terrorism, racism, and what schools should teach. We tackled “inside baseball” questions about the validity of psychological research and the best ways to measure … Continue reading »
Happy International Day of Happiness!
Today is the International Day of Happiness, launched last year by the United Nations to promote subjective well-being as a legitimate goal of public policy and social progress. That’s a goal we share at the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, and through the years we’ve covered happiness research from every conceivable angle. Here are … Continue reading »
Is your marriage losing its luster?
One of the greatest things about our long-term romantic relationships is that they can provide comfort and predictability in this wild world we live in. But let’s face it: Long-term relationships can get a little boring. Within nine to eighteen months, research suggests, 87 percent of couples lose that knee-quaking excitement they felt when they … Continue reading »
The year’s most popular articles about the “science of a meaningful life”
At a recent retreat for the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, one of our advisors looked at a list of our most popular articles to date. “This is all over the place,” he said, referring to the diversity of topics and approaches. I replied that this is a feature, not a bug. The mission … Continue reading »
Would working less make you happier?
Are you caught in a “Time Bind”— where you feel like you don’t have enough time to get your work done AND spend time with your children and spouse AND take care of your own basic needs? Sociologists have been very excited about a “natural experiment” occurring in Korea. In 2004, the Korean government began … Continue reading »
Working parents, are you maxed out?
I just finished Katrina Alcorn’s gripping memoir, Maxed Out, about her nervous breakdown. Although it is an absorbing, can’t-put-it-down kind of a book, her breakdown — harrowing as it was — struck me as ordinary. Ordinary in that her experience seems so common. Working parents are stressed. Women in particular are really suffering: They report … Continue reading »
My love-hate relationship with Mother’s Day
I hate to admit this, but I’ve come to feel entitled to breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day (complete with gifts and a clean kitchen afterwards), a family hike (no whining, everyone remembers their water bottles and packs their own snack, remembering one for me), and a little downtime with a good book before dinner. … Continue reading »
The past year’s top 10 scientific insights about living a meaningful life
The science we cover on the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center website — aka, “the science of a meaningful life” — has exploded over the past 10 years, with many more studies published each year on gratitude, mindfulness, and our other core themes than we saw a decade ago. 2012 was no exception. In … Continue reading »
Wired to want stuff? Neuroscience can explain kids’ holiday gimmes
I’ll never forget a holiday moment a few years ago, when I found myself in a negotiation with my younger daughter over her gift list. (Which, by the way, I don’t believe in. In theory, I’ve never wanted my kids to make lists of things they want for Christmas and Hanukkah. But we did “go … Continue reading »
The secret to flourishing? Science says it’s in the numbers
When it comes to human flourishing, science is getting pretty specific. Over the course of our daily lives, we have a variety of positive and negative experiences. And I think most of us would agree that we are likely to be happiest when we maximize the positive and minimize the negative. But researchers suggest that … Continue reading »
Essential school supplies that aren’t on your list
Art supplies, a cool thumb-drive, and a new backpack are nothing short of thrilling in my household. We love preparing for school. And like a lot of parents, I assumed for years that success in school would be a safe route to happiness in life. But a new study, which followed nearly 1,000 people over … Continue reading »
The ‘good’ divorce
The title of this post is misleading: Divorce is difficult and painful for everyone involved, especially kids. I’ve never known anyone to have a “good” divorce, in that way you have a good meal or good sex — even when divorce was the right thing to do for everyone, including the kids. Divorce is horrible. … Continue reading »
Occupy parenting, part 2
“I’m only 6. I can’t afford a lobbyist.“ ―sign held by a little girl at Occupy Oakland “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.“ ―Martin Luther King Jr. Although I wish, now, that I’d been more involved in the Children’s Brigade in Oakland, I confess that I don’t … Continue reading »
Sustainability and the pursuit of happiness
There’s a common vision of environmentalism that mostly involves giving things up, the basic image being one of ascetic sacrifice for the benefit of the environment and future generations. Some people actually are ascetics, and most people are willing to make big sacrifices in emergencies. But by and large, people aren’t willing to give up … Continue reading »