How I Work

Happiness Professor Elizabeth Dunn on how to buy happiness

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Episode notes

My guest today is Dr. Elizabeth Dunn. Elizabeth is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Elizabeth’s research looks at how time, money, and technology shape human happiness. She is the co-author of “Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending” with Dr. Michael Norton. Her research has been featured in hundreds of media outlets around the world, including The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, The London Times, Maclean’s, Time, and CNN.

I connected with Elizabeth at TED2019 in Vancouver recently where she gave one of my favourite talks of the week on how helping others makes us happier. In this chat with Elizabeth, we talk about how she has applied a lot of her own research to lead a happier life. And as well as sharing some great insights on how to spend money to be happier, she also has some also tips around making the act of saying no to people much easier.

We cover:
  • How to use money to increase happiness
  • How Elizabeth uses money to buy time
  • How to avoid feeling guilty when hiring someone to do jobs that you could be doing yourself
  • How changing the way you check your email can reduce stress levels
  • Elizabeth’s research into how smart phones are impacting our social interactions
  • Where Elizabeth’s ideas for research experiments come from
  • Elizabeth’s rules for deciding which projects to take on
  • How Elizabeth is trying to be more proactive with saying no

To consume more of Elizabeth's work, you can watch her TED talk, grab a copy of Happy Money, follow her on Twitter, or visit her website.

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