Happiness - A Sceptics Guide

Happiness - A Sceptics Guide

We all want to be happier but how do we achieve it? And do we even recognise what makes us happy? With an overwhelming rise in mental health issues ‘Happiness, A Sceptics Guide’ seeks to address a vital issue: understanding and improving your wellbeing. Join your hosts, serial self-help-abuser and professional sceptic Paul Flower and psychologist and author Dr Gary Wood on an epic quest, to navigate the vagaries of the world of wellness, in pursuit of happiness and how to hold on to it. In fortnightly short bursts, ‘Happiness, A Sceptics Guide‘ aims to sift the ‘science from the snake-oil‘ and sort the breakthroughs from the fake news to find out what works, what doesn‘t and what‘s just hype. Is happiness about the journey or the destination? Is it about the good life or finding meaning in life? What are the short-cuts and hacks? And should it really have taken a pandemic to get these two to work together? ‘Happiness, A Sceptics‘ guide aims to inform, entertain and bring you happiness whatever your objections!

Episodes

April 10, 2022 24 mins

In episode 27, the season's finale of Happiness, a Sceptics guide, your hosts Paul Flower and Dr Gary Wood explore the topic of awakenings or personal transformations from the unlikely source of a story by Friedrich Nietzsche - a name not usually associated with happiness and wellbeing. As well as the usual tangents and asides, this episode continues the twin themes of self-reflection and storytelling as used in Gary's book The Psy...

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In Episode 26 of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, your hosts Dr Gary Wood and Paul Flower looked at whether optimism and pessimism are personality types or just ways of explaining the world. This episode brings together ideas from Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Positive Psychology.

Check out Martin Seligman's book 'Learned Optimism. For the UK see https://amzn.to/3tmlk7K and for the USA see https://amzn.to/3N5FH0M

 

For a summ...

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In this special bonus episode (Ep.25), your podcast hosts Paul Flower and psychologist Dr Gary Wood invite you to 'Spring into self-care. The podcast offers the season of 'green-shoots' as a time to do a bit of spring cleaning to sweep in some happiness related changes and sweep out what's not lifting you up. Gary introduces his idea of 'Zen Ironing' as a way to both change attitudes for unpleasant tasks, and as a model for getting...

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In Episode 24 of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, your hosts Dr Gary Wood and Paul Flower continue to build on themes from earlier episodes. This time it takes a deeper dive into Positive Psychology, and the model of flourishing called PERMA, first mentioned in Episode 04 on Happiness and meaning.  PERMA is an acronym for Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement.

This episode also carries on where the last...

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February 27, 2022 21 mins

In Episode 23 of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide your hosts Paul Flower and Dr Gary Wood take a look at the link between gratitude and happiness. The episode also draws together themes from previous episodes on Stress (Eps 05 and 06), and Mindfulness (Ep.10).

To try the Gratitude and Anticipation Experiment, check out Gary's video: https://youtu.be/gJ4mnO_Ynjk and supporting blog post 'Getting the Gratitude Attitude that includes a PDF...

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February 13, 2022 21 mins

In Episode 22 of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, your hosts Dr Gary Wood and Paul Flower look at the many splendoured thing called love.  They look at the different styles of love, and how passion, intimacy and commitment combine to form different types of love, and how this relates to happiness. The proceedings are punctuated by the usual 'colourful' asides.

For more on gender and relationships check out Gary Wood's book 'The Psychol...

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In this bonus review episode (Ep.21), Paul Flower and Dr Gary Wood look back over the previous five episodes of the Happiness, A Sceptics Guide podcast on the theme of making the happiness insights stick, to formulate a personalised happiness development programme.  In the four (of the five) episodes, the podcast explores the theme of storytelling:

  • Telling Better Happiness Stories (Ep15)
  • Happiness and Christmastime Survival Tip...
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In this bonus episode (Ep.20), Happiness, A Sceptics Guide takes a moment to drive home the point that there's more to goal setting than January 1st. Instead, you can use another arbitrary day like the Lunar New Year.  Podcast host and psychologist Dr Gary Wood tells the story of how the Chinese character of 'Fu' symbolising happiness came to be upside down on Lunar New Year decorations. And in an effort to inspire sceptical co-hos...

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In Episode 19 of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, your hosts Paul Flower and Dr Gary Wood look at some techniques for creating happier endings for your happiness stories. And for a podcast that aims to make you happier whatever we encounter more than a little resistance to these techniques.

For more information on the 'letter from a future self' technique, check our Gary Wood's blog post: https://psycentral.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/fut...

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Ep.18. In this episode of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, psychologist Dr Gary Wood and 'sceptic on the street' Paul Flower use the PR stunt of Blue Monday - the so-called unhappiest day of the year - to explore the links between trust, truth and wellbeing.  To find out more about why Gary turned down the Blue Monday campaign, check out his blog post:  https://psycentral.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/psychobabble-blue-monday-psychology/

Ba...

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January 1, 2022 25 mins

Ep.17. In this episode of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, your hosts Paul Flower and Dr Gary Wood compare goals and New Year's resolutions and tell you how to set your goals for positive outcomes.  As usual, there are the usual tangents, anecdotes and colourful turns of phrase all in pursuit of the podcast's overarching goal 'to find the things that could actually make you happier'.

Based on Gary Wood's book 'Don't Wait For Your Ship ...

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Ep. 16. Another bonus festive episode of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide with Dr Gary Wood and Paul Flower. This time your hosts offer 'twelve' tips to survive and thrive over Christmas and the festive period, which would also help any time of the year. A festive survival tip is not just for Christmas! Not all of the tips might apply to you, your needs and your experience, so pick the ones you are able to apply to give yourself a seaso...

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December 19, 2021 20 mins

Ep,15. In this episode of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, your hosts Paul Flower and Dr Gary Wood consider the question of how to make happiness insights stick.  This time we look at 'storytelling' and the way we tell our life stories, even on a day-to-day basis, help to shape how we view the world.

Based on Gary's book 'The Psychology of Wellbeing' (published by Routledge). To read more about the book, for the UK go to: https://amzn....

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Ep.14. In this bonus seasonal episode of Happiness, a Sceptics Guide, your hosts Dr Gary Wood and Paul Flower look at Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and offer 12 tips to help you combat it, and indeed any bout of lowered mood whatever the season. 

None of the tips offered in this podcast is intended as a prescription but offered for information and entertainment purposes. Neither do the tips replace medical advice or psychologic...

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Ep 13: The second in a series of review episodes of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, in which your hosts take a pause to take stock of the story so far. In this bonus episode, Paul Flower and Dr Gary Wood look back on episodes 8 to 12 to recap on the takeaway points from 'Happiness and Mindfulness (08)'; 'Talking Cures for Unhappiness (09)'; 'Happiness and the Self-Help Industry (10)'; Happiness, Self-Help and Toxic Positivity (11); an...

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Ep.12. In the third part of the self-help trilogy, podcast hosts Dr Gary Wood and Paul Flower look at practical tips on how to get the most out of a self-help book. The answer is to treat it like a personal development course. This episode of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide offers an 'active reading formula' to help you do just that. 

Based on Gary's book 'The Psychology of Wellbeing' (published by Routledge). To read more about the bo...

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Ep.11  Part two of three looking at the self-help industry, your hosts Dr Gary Wood and Paul Flower discuss whether self-help advice encourages toxic positivity. The episode also looks at the general theory of meritocracy, are we all equal and therefore all capable of getting the same results from our reading? Is there an over-emphasis on dramatic results? 

Based on Gary's book 'The Psychology of Wellbeing' (published by Routledge)...

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Ep.10. In the first of a three-part look at the self-help industry, your hosts Dr Gary Wood and Paul Flower discuss book therapy - or bibliotherapy if you prefer. Learn all the secrets of the self-help book formula and how to read the warning signs of what to avoid. And how to find a self-help book that's right for you.

Based on Gary's book 'The Psychology of Wellbeing' (published by Routledge). To read more about the book, for the...

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Ep.09. When we talk about happiness, inevitably, we must talk about unhappiness. In this episode of Happiness, a Sceptics Guide your hosts Paul Flower and psychologist Dr Gary Wood look at 'talking cures'. How do you know if you need help? Where do you find help, and which therapy works best? Is cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT), the panacea for all ills? This episode answers these questions and more.

Based on Gary's book 'The Psyc...

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Ep08. In this episode of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide your hosts Dr Gary Wood and Paul Flower tackle the subject of mindfulness. What is it, and can it make us happier? What are the benefits of paying attention 'on purpose', in a non-judgemental way? Not always as easy as it sounds - even in a 20-minute podcast. Should mindfulness (and happiness) be about liberation from conditioning or adjustment to conditioning? 

Based on Gary's...

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