There are lots of TED Talks about serious subjects like medical research, natural disasters, and even rocket science. However, some TED Talks are sure to put a smile on your face. Here are five of my favorites.

1. Dan Gilbert: The Surprising Science of Happiness

 

Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, encourages audience members to look past short-term, material, and goal-oriented happiness in order to find a kind of happiness that can be sustained when things don't go according to plan. It's important every now and then to put things in perspective. Remember that although our worries seem pertinent in the moment, they often will blow over easily in the grand scheme of things.

2. Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

Through her heartfelt, touching talk, Brown discusses the importance of opening up to others. Being vulnerable, as hard as it may be in the moment, is ultimately the key to forming solid, important relationships. Learning how to do that, however, is not quite as easy as it seems. Giving your all in everything you do--putting your whole heart into all of your passions--is absolutely necessary for achieving the things we want at the end of the day.

3. Matt Killingsworth: Want to Be Happier? Stay in the Moment

Tech-savvy speaker Killingsworth shares an important aspect of happiness many audience members might miss: Leaving the present often leaves us feeling emptier than we should. When we are not fully alert and receptive in each passing moment, we are unable to glean all from it that we should. So, stay present, and make memories to fill you with joy.

4. Tania Luna: How a Penny Made Me Feel Like a Millionaire

At a very young age, Luna left her home in post-Chernobyl Ukraine to take asylum in a New York City homeless shelter. In her poignant talk, Luna describes the inexplicable happiness she experienced upon finding a penny on the ground of the family's temporary home. For those who had less-than-perfect childhoods, Luna touches on how best to tackle the bittersweet memories that appear after growing up--and how to turn them into something beautiful.

5. Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice

Psychologist Schwartz remarks on the interesting Western predicament of having too many options and how the abundance of choice can actually make us less appreciative of what we do have. When we have fewer things to choose from, we are unable to fully understand what are able to do. Knowing just how lucky we are allows us to unlock a gratitude for simply being alive we may have forgotten in the hectic blur of the mundane.

Published on: Nov 19, 2015