#280 ‒ Cultivating happiness, emotional self-management, and more | Arthur Brooks Ph.D.

The Peter Attia Drive

27-11-2023 • 2 hrs

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Arthur Brooks is a social scientist, professor at Harvard University, columnist for The Atlantic, and bestselling author. In this episode, Arthur returns to the podcast to discuss his new book, Build the Life You Want. He delves into the nuanced concept of happiness, differentiating between momentary feelings and overall wellbeing. He explains the importance of understanding one’s personality pattern with respect to positive and negative emotions in order to better self-manage emotions. He delves into the three key elements of happiness, offering practical strategies for enhancing those specific domains through methods such as metacognition, transcendent experiences, discipline, minimizing self-focus while directing attention outward, and more. Through personal examples, Arthur demonstrates that one can actively track well-being levels and take intentional steps to cultivate happiness and enhance overall well-being.

We discuss:

  • Happiness vs. happy feelings, and how happiness and unhappiness can coexist [4:30];
  • The six fundamental emotions [8:00];
  • The evolution and heritability of happiness, and the four personality patterns with respect to positive and negative emotions [17:30];
  • Navigating relationships: the power of complementarity over compatibility [23:30];
  • The importance of self-managing your mental habits [25:30];
  • Enjoyment: one of the three macronutrients of happiness [32:00];
  • Satisfaction: one of the three macronutrients of happiness [43:45];
  • The reverse bucket list, metacognition, and other techniques to protect yourself from your limbic system [51:00];
  • Meaning: one of the three macronutrients of happiness [57:30];
  • The four quarters of your life and how that relates to the meaning of your life [1:05:00];
  • Putting metacognition into practice [1:09:00];
  • What might explain the societal downdrift in happiness over the last few decades? [1:17:00];
  • Taking charge of your happiness: discipline, transcendent experiences, and other deliberate actions for happiness [1:30:30];
  • Tracking happiness: biomarkers and micronutrients behind the macronutrients of happiness [1:42:00];
  • The value in minimizing the self and looking outward [1:49:45];
  • How Arthur surprised himself with his ability to improve his happiness [1:54:00]; and
  • More.

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