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Todd Kashdan
Dr. Todd Kashdan is a clinical psychologist, professor of psychology at George Mason University, and author of Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life. He has been active in the positive psychology movement since 2000, when he taught one of the first college courses on the science of happiness. He is devoted to understanding how to make everyday life more enjoyable, engaging, and meaningful and communicating these insights to help others find greater fulfillment.

He regularly gives talks and workshops to business executives, schools, parents, retirees, scholars, and health professionals such as therapists and life coaches. His research has been featured in several popular media outlets including a feature article in the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, PBS, National Public Radio, Oprah Magazine, and The Tavis Smiley Show, among others. Discover more about his book and writing and his research program.

After spending most of his life on Long Island and in New York City, Todd Kashdan currently lives with his wife and twin daughters in Fairfax, Virginia.

Entries by Todd Kashdan

Wear a Costume the Other 364 Days Per Year

(1) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 12:33 PM


One day per year, you and your neighbors turn into courageous creatures devoid of any semblance of self-consciousness. This year, you might have donned a super hero cape, let fake blood ooze out of your doctor scrubs, or danced in a leopard outfit...

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How Will You Teach Your Child Morality Without Religion?

(3) Comments | Posted November 20, 2012 | 4:01 PM

There is something about raising a child that gives people freedom to invade your space. This weekend, returning from Montauk beach, we stopped at a Greek restaurant to nab grilled lamb chops in tzatziki sauce (fast food roadstops don't cut it). My wife Sarah was breastfeeding our 6-week old at...

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Is Parenthood Linked to Greater Joy and Meaning or Misery? Science Speaks

(2) Comments | Posted May 17, 2012 | 6:48 PM

Excerpt from an unprompted conversation with my kids as I put them down to bed the other night:

Raven (5 years old): Dad, we love you, even if you yell at us. Even if you rip out our eyeballs, we still love you.

Chloe (5 years old): Are you going...

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What Qualities Make a Successful Teacher?

(4) Comments | Posted April 4, 2012 | 11:22 AM

Think about teachers that changed your life. What did they do differently than the rest?

When I was 8 years old, I had a crush on Ms. Cafarella. Whoever did the best on her exam was invited to her house to play soccer in her yard, eat dinner, and then...

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Explained: Why Men Have a Harder Time Making Friends

(41) Comments | Posted October 28, 2011 | 1:54 AM

In my college course on the science of well-being, I devote at least three classes to what psychologists have learned about nourishing healthy relationships. Ask school children who their friends are and many list last names close to them in the alphabet. Why? Because most friendships are determined by seating...

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Understanding Rejection's Psychological Sting

(25) Comments | Posted September 16, 2011 | 8:33 AM

Some people think that scientists research their unresolved personal issues. Well, I study rejection and social anxiety, and like everyone else on the planet, I have experienced my share of both.

My first kiss was at age 7 with an older cousin. In the garage, she casually played rocket man...

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4 Ways to Be Creative By Dissecting the World's Greatest Maverick Scientist

(0) Comments | Posted August 9, 2011 | 8:52 AM

Since the embarrassment is long gone, let me tell you something about myself ...

As an adult, I never read a book for pleasure until the summer before my senior year of college. Resting shirtless on the roof of my house, I starting reading "The Scientist" by John...

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3 Ideas to Prevent Killing Creativity, Curiosity, and Critical Thinking in Kids

(3) Comments | Posted May 16, 2011 | 3:39 PM

As a kid, I grew up in an area on Long Island where the bodega across the street was off-limits, too dangerous for travel. My 6-year-old rebellious mind didn't crave midnight motorcycle rides while swigging a bottle of jagermeister. Standing across the street with my twin brother, I could smell...

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Confronting Death with an Open, Mindful Attitude

(91) Comments | Posted March 2, 2011 | 7:44 AM

For three straight months, with the kids asleep, my wife and I snuck downstairs to watch at least one episode of "Six Feet Under." From 2001-2005, "Six Feet Under" was the first show to delve into the muddy, painful issues surrounding death. In the very first scene of the pilot,...

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What Is the Best Measure of Health?

(7) Comments | Posted December 21, 2010 | 9:47 AM

A decade ago, my wife worked as a research assistant for a researcher studying obesity. The research team met once a week to brainstorm ideas. They were planning a study to test the urban myth that the average college student puts on 15 pounds during their first year away from...

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When Gratitude, Death, and Romance Collide on Thanksgiving

(1) Comments | Posted November 23, 2010 | 12:18 PM

After a long bout of cancer, my mother died on Thanksgiving in 1987. I had just turned 13 years old. I don't recall many details before or during this time period. I remember being brought to the hospital only to be told that my mother refused to see me; she...

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Three Clues That CEOs or Politicans Are Lying to You

(12) Comments | Posted October 18, 2010 | 9:20 PM

Living with your grandmother is a recipe for miscommunication. On a random Tuesday, when I was 15, a plan was being hatched to meet up with a few friends at the local 7-11 convenience store to eat a few hot dogs. Unbeknownst to me, my grandma was outside my room...

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The Problem with Happiness

(15) Comments | Posted September 30, 2010 | 12:40 PM

Asked what is the fundamental objective of life, the vast majority of people answer quickly and definitively -- happiness. Their lives are organized around trying to be happy. Sounds good, right? Sounds even better when you read about the scientific benefits linked to happiness. Compared to less happy people...

  • Happy...
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Why Are We Afraid of Having Regrets?

(0) Comments | Posted August 23, 2010 | 7:00 PM

When I give seminars at colleges and corporations, I ask if anyone is living a life without regrets. If so, I ask them to raise their hand. More than 8 out of 10 people look me in the eye and with great pride, shoot their hands into the air. 80%...

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Why Does Religion Persist?

(62) Comments | Posted June 16, 2010 | 11:34 AM

There has been debate about the future of religion. I, for one, believe that religion is going to last for quite a long time. Despite scientific facts and philosophical arguments against the idea of an omnipotent and omniscient creator -- including undeniable evidence for Darwin's evolution theory -- and ridicule,...

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Money and Happiness: Friend or Foe? Depends on How You Spend Your Cash

(6) Comments | Posted May 26, 2010 | 11:51 AM

Science cannot "prove" anything. The word "proven" is a clear sign that you are no longer in the province of science, rather you are in the province of people with an agenda. Be wary! But we can find evidence strongly in favor of one idea compared with another. The idea...

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Consider a Kagan Confirmation Hearing Where Senators Show Strengths and Cojones

(5) Comments | Posted May 17, 2010 | 3:27 PM

Journalists are getting excited about the same talking points concerning Elena Kagan. What would it mean for society to have a trifecta of women on the Supreme Court? Is it good, bad, or relatively irrelevant that Kagan only argued six cases in front of the Supreme Court? Should fashionable Americans...

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What Can Police Officers Learn From Positive Psychology?

(5) Comments | Posted April 30, 2010 | 3:20 PM

Let me know if this comes close to describing police officers in your neighborhood:

Idle on the side of the road is a lone police officer with a laser gun pointing to an endless parade of cars. Their task is simple. Look at the gun and determine if someone is...

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What Republicans, Democrats, and Everyone Else Need to Know About Morality

(15) Comments | Posted April 28, 2010 | 2:39 PM

When we hear gossip that our next door neighbor has been bringing home prostitutes and burying them in the backyard, we don't rush to conclusions. Instead, we carefully collect and evaluate the evidence before reaching a conclusion. Right?

Billions of hours and government dollars have been devoted to protecting the...

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How to Be Happy -- Emotional Pain and the Politics of Rejection

(15) Comments | Posted April 1, 2010 | 1:22 PM

Did you know there is only one single characteristic that separates extremely happy people from "merely" happy people? They aren't more grateful, kind, or compassionate. They aren't more energized when they wake up in the morning (drinking the same amount of coffee as the rest of us). Rather, they possess...

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