How to Stop Chasing Happiness and Make a Meaningful Life Instead


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By Marshall Poe. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Welcome to The Academic Life. You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. So we reached across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring in an expert about something? Email us at or Find us on Twitter: The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN.

In this episode you’ll hear about: why pursuing happiness won’t make you happy [but pursuing meaning can make you happier], why doing three random acts of kindness improves your mood, and discussion of the book A Wonderful Life: Insights on Finding A Meaningful Existence.

Our guest is: Dr. Frank Martela, a professor at Aalto University in Helsinki. He finds meaning in family life, good conversations, friendships, and being a scholar. He is a philosopher and researcher of psychology specializing in studying the meaning of life, and is the author of A Wonderful Life.

Your host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women, gender, and sexuality. She reinterprets the historical narrative in both traditional and creative forms. She finds meaning in her personal life, her research, and in nature. She supports her work-life balance with long walks and her photography, which you can find here.

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