Ep 12. Emma Seppälä: Cultivating Resilience

Ep 12. Emma Seppälä: Cultivating Resilience

“We have this misconception that in order to be successful, you have to sacrifice your happiness. The result is just a lot of burn out.”

-- Emma Seppälä

Emma Seppälä is author of The Happiness Track and Science Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University. She is also Co-Director of the Yale College Emotional Intelligence Project at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a Lecturer at Yale College, where she teaches The Psychology of Happiness. On top of that, Emma is founder and editor-in-chief of “Fulfillment Daily,” a popular news site dedicated to the science of happiness.

Stew and Emma explore misconceptions about success and happiness. Emma describes America’s harmful culture of overwork and its consequences on our bodies and minds. She believes it is possible to cultivate a peaceful lifestyle while having ambitious career goals. They discuss Emma’s happiness research, emphasizing in this conversation steps anyone can take to calm their internal state of mind during stressful times. Emma recommends yoga-based breathing techniques that Stew and Emma explore in depth.

Listen below or on StitcherSoundCloudiTunes, or Google Play

Show Notes (times when new topics start)

3:07. Stress and productivity at work. Our culture values working long hours, but this attitude can result in lost productivity due to stress.

11:25. Boosting inner resilience. Many people have goals that require stressful work. Instead of relying on a stress-free work environment, boost your inner resilience.  Emma describes a breathing technique she used to enhance resilience in Iraq war veterans.

19:30: Alternating tasks. Just like interval training in the gym, research has shown that alternating between high- and low-focus work is better for performance than working on high-focus activities until you burn out.

20:50: Self-compassion. Failure is a part of life but self-criticism is equivalent to self-sabotage.

Selected Links

Read Emma’s book The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success.

Check out Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research.

Go to FulfillmentDaily.com for science-based information on how to live a more fulfilled life.


Share your questions, ideas, and stories by tweeting @StewFriedman.