If You're Happy & You Know It... Where in the world can you find a Museum of Happiness!? What in the world is the happiest place on Earth? How in the world can we pump up the jam on our own happiness? Happiness Week continues as Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz discover big joy in the latest who, what, when, where, why, how, and Wow in the World!
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If You're Happy & You Know It...

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If You're Happy & You Know It...

If You're Happy & You Know It...

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE")

THE POP UPS: (Singing) I don't know what you've been told, but we're in a golden age. So many discoveries about jumping off the page. Wow in the World. Wow in the World. Wow in the World. Wow in the World. Wow in the World. Wow in the World. Wow in the World. Wow in the World. Wow in the World. Guy and Mindy.

MINDY THOMAS, HOST:

See you later, ironing board I never use.

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Ah.

THOMAS: You can take the iron, too. Just - done with it.

(SOUNDBITE OF GLASS BREAKING)

RAZ: Huh.

THOMAS: (Groaning) Adios, bird cage that doesn't fit me anymore. Wait a minute. That still fits me.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAGE RATTLING)

RAZ: Oh, what?

THOMAS: Bon voyage, dirty laundry.

RAZ: Ah.

THOMAS: You can take the washing machine, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF CRASHING)

RAZ: Ah.

THOMAS: Get out of here, electric bill - done with you.

RAZ: Whoa, whoa. Hey, Mindy. Why are you throwing all your stuff out of the window?

THOMAS: Oh, hey, Guy Raz. I'm just getting rid of everything I own that doesn't bring me joy.

RAZ: Like your electric bill?

THOMAS: Yeah. It really bums me out. I mean - (groaning).

(SOUNDBITE OF GLASS BREAKING)

THOMAS: Do you have any idea how it costs to air condition a life-size gingerbread house? It's crazy.

RAZ: Uh, no, I never really considered it.

THOMAS: Here, catch.

(SOUNDBITE OF TEETH CHATTERING)

RAZ: Ah, whose teeth are these?

THOMAS: You can keep them if you want. They no longer bring me joy.

RAZ: Mindy, I do not want any of your gross, old stuff except for...

(SOUNDBITE OF BOTTLE SPINNING)

RAZ: Hey, hey, is that the bottle with homemade almond milk I gave you?

THOMAS: Sorry, Guy Raz. It was just sitting in my refrigerator, stressing me out.

RAZ: Mindy, I don't understand. I mean why this sudden urge to purge all of these things?

THOMAS: Well, I do have a good explanation. So hang on a sec. I'll come down and give you the scoop.

RAZ: Speaking of scoops, why is her ice cream all over the lawn?

THOMAS: Oh, no.

RAZ: Oh, right, she doesn't like pistachio.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING)

THOMAS: OK, all right.

RAZ: Are you OK?

THOMAS: Yeah. The - it's just that the stairs are made out of cookies, and they crumbled under my weight. I'm fine.

RAZ: What?

THOMAS: OK. So you were wondering why I was tossing everything out the window that didn't bring me joy, right?

RAZ: Yeah.

THOMAS: Well, I was inspired by the news of the world's first Museum of Happiness that's set to open in London this fall.

RAZ: Happiness, huh? I mean I've been to museums of ancient history and art, air and space, natural history. I've even been to the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. - but a Museum of Happiness?

THOMAS: Guy Raz, the Museum of Happiness in the United Kingdom will celebrate the one thing that most all of us want more than anything else in the world.

RAZ: You mean the power of time travel?

THOMAS: No. Then it would be called the Museum of the Power of Travel.

RAZ: Oh.

THOMAS: Guy Raz, the answer is happiness. Happiness is the one thing that we all want the most...

RAZ: Oh.

THOMAS: ...Right?

RAZ: Right, right, of course, sure. So what happens at the Museum of Happiness?

THOMAS: Well, for one, they'll have awesome workshops on things like mindfulness, origami and ukulele lessons, plus dancing and art and even something that we were talking about just a couple of days ago, laughing yoga.

RAZ: (Laughter).

THOMAS: Oh, boy, here we go again.

RAZ: (Laughter).

THOMAS: Guy Raz, you OK, buddy?

RAZ: Oh, yeah. I'm good.

THOMAS: OK. So after we discovered how laughter can spread from one person to the next, I decided to dig a little deeper into the science of laughter.

RAZ: What did you find?

THOMAS: Well, for starters, it turns out that laughter really is good for our bodies and our brains.

RAZ: So is that why there's that old saying, laughter is the best medicine?

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: Yup. Laughter helps to boost our immune system so that we don't get sick as easily. Plus, it helps us to relieve stress when we're freaking out. And it even releases all of these feel-good chemicals in our bods.

RAZ: Right. We learned about those chemicals a few days ago - things like dopamine and serotonin, right?

THOMAS: You got it.

RAZ: So what happens in the laughing yoga class at the museum?

THOMAS: Well, besides laughing, there is a lot of eye contact and playing around and jokes.

RAZ: Ah.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMAS: I know, right? Can you believe this is a form of exercise?

RAZ: So Mindy, tell me more about the Museum of Happiness.

THOMAS: OK. So according to the museum team, the whole purpose of the museum is to create sort of a one-of-a-kind sanctuary where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together to feel safe and peaceful and happy.

RAZ: And maybe learn how to carry those feelings into their lives outside of the museum?

THOMAS: You know it.

RAZ: So what kinds of things are going to be on display at the Museum of Happiness?

THOMAS: Well, they're putting in a lot of interactive exhibits - so things that you can actually touch with your sticky, little fingers and not get in trouble or things that you can experience instead of just look at.

RAZ: Interesting.

THOMAS: And this museum focuses on the science of happiness.

RAZ: Well, you know how much I love science.

THOMAS: Oh, yeah. And I will test you on that love in just a couple of minutes. But first, you should know that the science of happiness is all about studying what makes us humans flourish.

RAZ: So what are some of the findings?

THOMAS: Well, for one, there was this study published in the journal Emotion where these scientists found that prosocial behavior, which is really just a fancy-pants way of saying doing nice or altruistic things for other people - that it can actually add to our happiness.

RAZ: Oh, like all those times I surprised you by fixing the roof on your melting gingerbread house.

THOMAS: Exactly, so these scientific studies show that doing nice things for other people makes us a lot happier than just doing nice things for ourselves.

RAZ: Yeah, and my friend Professor Robert Waldinger at Harvard University - he oversees a team of researchers that just completed a study on happiness, Mindy.

THOMAS: What?

RAZ: And they found that the happiest people are people who spend more time with friends and loved ones.

THOMAS: Yes, which is why I took the liberty of handcuffing our ankles together in a pair of buddy bracelets so that we can hang out all the time.

RAZ: Ah.

THOMAS: Also, I threw away the key.

RAZ: Bah.

THOMAS: Anywho, there's also a World Happiness Report where scientists and researchers get together to measure levels of happiness and well-being from all across the globe.

RAZ: Wow.

THOMAS: And can you guess which country was crowned 2017's happiest country on earth?

RAZ: Ooh, ooh, ooh, is it....

THOMAS: I'll tell you.

RAZ: What?

THOMAS: And the winner is Norway.

(CHEERING)

RAZ: Norway?

THOMAS: Let's give it up for Norway. Isn't she lovely, folks?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So happy...

THOMAS: Let's give her a big round of applause.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORD SCRATCH)

RAZ: Norway?

THOMAS: Yup. And the runners up are Denmark, Iceland and Switzerland.

RAZ: And what are some of the things that happen in these happiest countries?

THOMAS: Well, one of the main things that all of these countries have in common are higher levels of income - so the ability for the people who live there to earn enough money to live on - buy things that they need and maybe even a little extra.

RAZ: Huh.

THOMAS: Oh, also, in Norway and these other happy countries, their citizens are generally living long, healthy lives.

RAZ: Interesting.

THOMAS: And they also ranked high in terms of having someone to count on when things aren't going so well - so close friends and family.

RAZ: And what about kindness?

THOMAS: Oh, glad you asked - so the studies that led to these happiness rankings found that the people living in these countries are really pretty generous. They share well with others.

RAZ: These countries sound like they're on to something big.

THOMAS: I know, right? And the final thing that these top four happy countries have in common is that the people living there feel a sense of freedom. And they have trust in their businesses and governments.

RAZ: So, Mindy, if we go to London and want to visit the Museum of Happiness, where will we find it?

THOMAS: Oh, so, that's actually one of the most interesting parts about it. So the Museum of Happiness is being put in a place called Arlington House, which is in Camden, London. And Arlington House is the U.K.'s largest homeless shelter.

RAZ: You mean, a place where people who don't have homes can spend the night and get a warm meal. I mean, I never thought of shelters as particularly happy places.

THOMAS: Well, that's kind of the point, Guy Raz. The founders of the Museum of Happiness want to bring joy to the places that need it the most. And the people building the museum want to inspire other people around the world to think of homeless shelters, or hospitals or nursing homes for older people as places where people can find happiness.

RAZ: ...Places where you could open a museum of happiness.

THOMAS: Yeah, and just imagine if little mini museums of happiness started popping up in schools or youth centers. I mean, the idea is to spread joy, to bring people together and to help everyone find the tools that they need to create their own happiness in their own lives.

RAZ: Mindy, does this possibly have anything to do with why you were tossing all that stuff out the window?

THOMAS: You know it - because there are also studies that show that a simpler life is a happier life.

RAZ: ...So, like, having fewer things.

THOMAS: Yeah, well, I'm just trying to focus on the few things that I really love or need.

RAZ: Huh.

THOMAS: Which reminds me - now that I've cleared out my entire gingerbread house, there's a ton of room for laughing yoga classes. You ready, Guy Raz?

RAZ: Well, I am wearing my pink flamingo suit under my tweed suit, so...

THOMAS: What? OK, now let's begin with a little lion laughter warmup, OK?

RAZ: Oh - how - OK...

THOMAS: Now just stick your tongue all the way out, and keep your mouth wide open.

RAZ: Ah...

THOMAS: Beautiful - you look like a little newborn lion cub.

RAZ: What?

THOMAS: Now stretch your hands out like the paws of a lion, and roar.

RAZ: Ah, like this?

THOMAS: Yeah, now give me a big roar.

RAZ: OK, I'm getting it.

THOMAS: Come on, you can do it. You're a little lion, Guy Raz.

RAZ: (Roaring).

THOMAS: Beautiful. Now laugh from your belly.

RAZ: (Laughter).

THOMAS: You're doing great, Guy Raz. You should start to feel a nice stretch in your facial muscles. Feel it in your tongue. Feel it in your throat - amazing. Now just keep on laughing until you feel as good as Norway.

RAZ: (Laughter).

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: WOW IN THE WORLD will be right back. Grown-ups, this message is for you.

That's it. Back to the show.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE")

THE POP UPS: (Singing) Wow in the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF DIALING PHONE)

THOMAS: Hi. Thanks for calling WOW IN THE WORLD. After the beep, get ready to record.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

ROWAN: Hi, Guy Raz. Hi, Mindy. My name is Rowan (ph), and I am 7 years old. I'm from Montgomery, Ala. My wow in the world is black holes. They can suck up anything. An event horizon is a line between the black hole and the debris around it. If the planet is not past the event horizon, then it can still escape if it's fast enough. Bye, and tell Reggie I said hi.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

SARAPHINA: Hi, my name's Saraphina (ph), and I'm 6 years old. I live in Berlin, Pa. My wow in the world is that frogs have teeth.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

JUDA: Hi, my name is Juda (ph). I am 7 years old. I live in Chapel Hill, N.C. My wow in the world is that humans share more than 50 percent of their DNA with bananas. Thank you, Mindy. Thank you, Guy Raz. Bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

PENNY: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Penny (ph), and I am 8 years old. I am from Sonoma, Calif., and a big wow in my world is that for my birthday, I got a pet bunny. And I named her Sylvia Snowflake. And a big wow about her is that she sweats through her ears, and we call it ear conditioning. Thanks again. I love your show, Mindy and Guy Raz. Bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

LAUREN: Hey, WOW IN THE WORLD. My name is Lauren (ph).

AVERY: And my name is Avery (ph). We are from Katy, Texas.

LAUREN: Our wow in the world is that we recently learned that it takes a sloth more than three months to digest the meal.

AVERY: That's slow. We love your show. Bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

LUKE: Hi, I'm Luke (ph) from Austin, Texas. And my wow in my world is that there's such thing as a tsunami but with ice.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

GEORGIA: Hi, Mindy. Hi, Guy Raz. My name is Georgia (ph), and I live in Tulsa, Okla. My wow in the world is outer space. There's so many things to discover, maybe even my life. Bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

ANDREW: Hi, Mindy and Guy Raz. My name is Andrew (ph), and my twin brother name is...

NATHAN: Nathan (ph). We're from Shorewood, Wis. And we are 10 years old.

ANDREW: Our wow in the world is when we went to the Redwood Forest in California.

NATHAN: We saw trees 200 times as tall as us.

ANDREW: Bye.

NATHAN: Bye, Mindy and Guy Raz.

(SOUNDBITE OF BEEP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: End of messages.

(SOUNDBITE OF THE POP UPS SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE")

THOMAS: Hey, guys. Thank you so much for checking out this Thursday edition of WOW IN THE WORLD. Grown-ups, to keep the conversation going, we've posted some fun questions on our website, wowintheworld.com. And we love hearing from you. Grown-ups, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at Wow In The World, and our email address is hello@wowintheworld.com Today's show was written by me and Guy Raz and produced by Jed Anderson. Say hello, Jed.

JED ANDERSON, BYLINE: Hello.

THOMAS: Our theme song is written and performed by The Pop Ups. You can find more of their awesome music at the thepopups.com. Finally, we've loved hearing what's been wowing you. Thanks so much for sending in your voicemails. We listen to each and every one of them. For a chance to be featured on an upcoming episode, have your grown-ups help you share something that's recently wowed you by dialing 1-888-7-wow-wow. That's it. We'll be back on Monday with a brand new episode. Until then, go forth and find your own wow in the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GOLDEN AGE")

THE POP UPS: (Singing) Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world. Wow in the world.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: WOW IN THE WORLD was made by Tinkercast and sent to you by NPR.

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