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Rainn Wilson Is Exploring the Key to Happiness

Rainn wilson in the geography of happiness

I asked Wilson about what inspired the show in the first place and he was open about his own personal journey. “It’s a really important journey for me,” he said. “Mental health is something that I’ve struggled with throughout the years. So I’ve been in therapy for like 20 years. I read books about happiness. I do meditation apps. I’m always looking to improve myself and my relationship to my anxiety. So I was thrilled. I jumped at the opportunity to get to travel the world and talk to people about wellbeing from all of these different beautiful cultures. I was ecstatic to engage in this mission. I’m also really a believer that humanity needs this message now more than ever. Humanity needs connection, purpose, meaning community and tools for finding inspiration. The mental health epidemic is horrific among young people. And our systems and our politics is more fractured than ever. So the healing message of the show is one that I’m a passionate advocate for.”

Wilson goes to many different countries in the show and so I asked him what was one of the places he visited that was the most surprising to him. “I was shocked and inspired by many of the places that I went to, but it was very interesting to go to Bulgaria, a country that ranks among the most unhappy in the world and whose corruption is through the roof,” he said. “And to find incredible pockets of joy there and connection. So in Bulgaria, there’s very little trust in government and very little trust in kind of neighbors, but people create their own kind of community on a very small level. It could just be family or a local friend or a small group of people and find great joy and satisfaction in those connections that it’s usually in a very small group away from the public eye. And public people are very scowling and distrustful. But I was really impressed finding the amount of joy exaltation and connection that Bulgarian still managed to find in their very difficult lives.”

But through all these travels and the countries he went to, I asked Wilson if it changed how he looked at the United States as a country as a whole and where we are mentally versus other countries he visited. “Well, if there’s one takeaway from my travels, it’s that happiness is found in human connection,” he said. “In groups, in families, in churches, in communities at the grassroots. So this is often something that’s very missing in contemporary American life. Finding those groups and communities that we can connect with on a deep level, intimate level, on a vulnerable level that we can meditate together, we can be in nature together, celebrate together, pray together, sing together, serve together. So those communities exist. You just have to look for them a little bit harder in the United States. And I think if we focus more on community building and community nurturing, then we would be much better off as a country culturally.”

You can watch Rainn Wilson and the Geography of Bliss on Peacock now.

(featured image: Peacock)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.