Obama made her first television appearance since leaving the White House on the talk show host's 60th birthday episode, which was filmed earlier this week and aired this afternoon.
At one point during the interview, DeGeneres said that she feels "the world is a very scary place right now" and asked Obama her take on the current state of affairs.
"Yes, people are afraid. But then there are people who feel good about the direction of the country. So that is what makes this country complicated. It is made up of so many different people from different backgrounds. We are this mosh pit of society," she said.
"Sometimes there is a rub, but the thing that we have to remember, the thing I learned in the eight years that I was in the White House is that what we do every day in our lives, the good things that we do every day ... we show empathy and care for each other. We do have a lot in common. That is what it means to lead with hope and not fear," she said.
Obama encouraged Americans to continue "to love each other, take care of each other, to show empathy."
"You can't do that only when people make you feel good or safe. We've to do it all across the board. We have to be an openhearted nation, and that's who we are, and that's the truth of who we are. We can't lose sight of that. And let's just keep living our lives like that every single day and forget what they are saying in Washington. That's not necessarily who we are," she said.
"Don't you miss her?" DeGeneres said to the cheering audience when Obama initially sat down for the chat.
Obama opened up about her post-White House life, and shared some details about the family's new house, which she said is "in the neighborhood, down the street from the White House."
"We stayed in Washington because Sasha, our youngest, is a junior" in high school, she said.
She said that she picked out the family's house and oversaw the unpacking and decorating because her husband "was being the president when we moved so he didn't really have time to go househunting."
He may be regretting that decision now, apparently.
"He still talks about this. He got so shortchanged on this whole deal. He doesn't have enough closet space -- sorry -- he's got the smallest room for his office, and Sasha actually killed in this house. She has like this two-room suite it's all decked out. She's got like a living room area and a bedroom and she designed it, so he's really hating on her," Obama said.
He's not the only one. Malia, the eldest Obama daughter, is now a freshman at Harvard University, and her mom said that she has "a room up in the attic somewhere. She's away at college -- you don't waste rooms on college kids!"