About Gary Wood

Social Psychologist, solution-life coach, author, broadcaster and podcaster, Dr Gary Wood combines a solid academic background with an engaging style to communicate psychological insights about all aspects of human social life. He runs his own coaching and research practice, specializing in translating evidence-based psychology into workable solutions. Gary is regularly featured in the press and on radio and television. His PsyCentral Blog offers a psychological perspective on human social life including current affairs; sex, gender & relationships plus learning, development and coaching insights and tips. . . the odd acerbic comment and the occasional rant. He is the author of 'The Psychology of Wellbeing, 'Don't Wait For Your Ship to Come In. . . Swim Out to Meet It!' and 'Unlock Your Confidence', 'The Psychology of Gender' and 'Letters to a New Student'. He is based in the UK in Birmingham and Edinburgh. In his spare time he eats, sleeps, reads.. . and occasionally sings. Not Gary Wood the actor, the footballer or the Dr Gary Wood who 'died, went to heaven and came back again'. Not Gary Woods either. The other one.

Endgame: Happiness and Awakenings (Ep. 27 – Season Finale)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9u33s-11d7792

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 Psychology of Wellbeing’ (published by Routledge). For the UK check it out at https://amzn.to/3gmgukd and for the US go to: https://amzn.to/3gmgukd

You might also want to take a peek at ‘Don’t Wait For Your Ship to Come In. . . Swim Out to Meet It’ – for UK see: https://amzn.to/37Je6T4  and for USA see: https://amzn.to/3KYqY68

To offer a little encouragement, please like, subscribe and share, wherever you find your podcasts. And if you’d like to make a small donation to the production coffers of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, please visit Buy Me a Coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/scepticsguide

#psychology #humour

Happiness and Learned Optimism (Ep.26)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-uijyw-11ccb9f

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 summary of ‘Learned Optimism’ check out Gary’s book ‘Don’t Wait For Your Ship to Come In. . . Swim Out to Meet It’ – for UK see: https://amzn.to/37Je6T4  and for USA see: https://amzn.to/3KYqY68

 

To offer a little encouragement, please like, subscribe and share, wherever you find your podcasts. And if you’d like to make a small donation to the production coffers of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, please visit Buy Me a Coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/scepticsguide

Spring into Self-Care with Happiness, a Sceptics Guide (Bonus Ep.25)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9s2jn-11b1261

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 organized. Gary offers the idea that all the little chores we love to hate are really acts of self-care.

For a complete personal development course in a book, to fully spring-clean your life, You check out Gary’s book ‘Don’t Wait For Your Ship to Come In. . . Swim Out to Meet It’ – for UK see: https://amzn.to/37Je6T4 and for USA see: https://amzn.to/3KYqY68

Please like, subscribe and share, wherever you find your podcasts. And if you’d like to make a small donation to the production coffers of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, please visit Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/scepticsguide

 

Happiness and Positive Psychology (Using PERMA) (Ep.24)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-69rqz-11afbb0

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 one (Ep.23) left off and continues the conversation about gratitude. 

PERMA is covered in the penultimate chapter (six) in Gary Wood’s book ‘The Psychology of Wellbeing’ (published by Routledge). To read more about the book, for the UK go to: https://amzn.to/3gmgukd And for the US go to: https://amzn.to/3gmgukd

 

To check out the Tactics for Happier Living quiz visit: https://programs.clearerthinking.org/tactics_for_happier_living.html 

To check out the Daylio App visit: https://daylio.net/

The podcast hosts are not affiliated with either clearthinking.org or Daylio and they offer the links for information and discussion purposes only. 

Please like, subscribe and share, wherever you find your podcasts. And if you’d like to make a small donation to the production coffers of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, please visit Buy Me a Coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/scepticsguide

Happiness and Gratitude (Ep.23)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-cqyb9-11ade2c

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 download to take part in the experiment: https://psycentral.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/gratitude-attitude-optimis-free-pdf-diary-sheet/

And, you can read more about gratitude in Gary’s book ‘Don’t Wait For Your Ship to Come In. . . Swim Out to Meet It’.  For the UK see: https://amzn.to/3t9xMXp and for the USA see: https://amzn.to/3LIg1Xk

To offer a little encouragement, please like, subscribe and share, wherever you find your podcasts. And if you’d like to make a small donation to the production coffers of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, please visit Buy Me a Coffee at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/scepticsguide

We’d be most grateful.

Happiness, Love and Relationships (Ep.22)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-zjr4f-119a5f1

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 Psychology of Gender’. published by Routledge. For Uk see: https://amzn.to/34hR0BA and for US see: https://amzn.to/3BbW8mZ (It’s available as a paperback, e-book and audio book).

‘How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.’ – Elisabeth Barrett Browning.

Happiness, A Sceptics Guide Review – The Story So Far Part Three (Bonus Ep.21)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-g53zb-117921b

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 Tips (Ep16). Bonus Episode
  • Happiness, Goals and Resolutions (Ep17)
  • Happiness, and Trust and Truth and Blue Monday (Ep.18)
  • Happiness and Best Future Selves and Bucket Lists (Ep,19)

The present episode concludes with ideas from Paul of what the podcast should discuss next to keep the narrative moving in a worthwhile direction.

Please like, subscribe and share, wherever you find your podcasts. And if you’d like to make a small donation to the production coffers of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, please visit  BuyMeACoffee or Auphonic.

 

Happy Lunar New Year: Happiness Is Coming (Bonus Ep.20)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-u3vpa-117382f

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-host Paul Flower to action, explains how the themes in this tale relate to the themes in the podcast’s pursuit of a personalized programme of the pursuit of happiness and psychological wellbeing.

Please like, subscribe and share, wherever you find your podcasts. And if you’d like to make a small donation to the production coffers of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, please visit  BuyMeACoffee or Auphonic.

Happiness, Best Future Selves and Bucket Lists (Ep.19)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-buzgj-1160f01

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/future-self-letter-goals-dr-gary-wood-life-coach-birmingham/

 

And for more on ‘best future self’ for retirement planning, see: https://psycentral.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/planning-for-retirement-meaning-and-happiness-goals/

 

If you’d like to make a small donation to the production coffers of Happiness, A Sceptics Guide, please visit  BuyMeACoffee or Auphonic.

 

 

Happiness, Trust, and the Truth about Blue Monday (Ep.18)

In this episode (Ep18) 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. Based on Gary Wood’s book ‘The Psychology of Wellbeing’ (published by Routledge). To read more about the book, for the UK go to: https://amzn.to/3gmgukd. And for the US go to: https://amzn.to/3gmgukd

Head over to Podbean to check out the epiosde Happiness and Trust and Truth and Blue Monday, or stick around, read on, and check out the handy video presentation below.

I’ve talked about Blue Monday a lot of the years, but perhaps biggest regret is tallking to Ben Goldacre ‘off the record’ for his demolition of the whole Blue Monday PR Stunt, in his Bad Science article for the Guardian in 2006, the provocatively titled MS = media slut, but CW = corporate whore.  I was the ‘academic in psychology’ who had been offered the equation, mentioned by Goldacre. Although it never got to the money stage. In December 2004 I was with a media agent (on a trial basis) when the offer came through. And when Goldacre wrote his article I was still with them, so I wasn’t entirely sure hoiw I stood legally. I probably did the right thing, but part of me wishes I’d my name published and be damned. As I’ve discuused in another blog post apart from the obvious fakeness of the equation, I wasn’t impressed by the PR company’s insistence that a male psychologist would be better for PR – along the lines that men are better at mathematics. For a brilliant dissection of the equation see Goldacre’s Guardian article.

Invariably each year I’m asked about Blue Monday by journalists or on Twitter and I have to confess that I have taken vain pleasure in the idea of being the first psychologist to turn down the Blue Monday campaign. But I’ve come to the realisation that maybe I’m part of the problem in perpetrating the myth. And in a recent interview for ITV News I offered the conclusion that the best way to deal with Blue Monday is to stop talking about it! Instead, we should promote initaitives that encourage us to talk about mental health all year round. Time to take my own advice. See links below the video.

The ITV News article gives links to the follow organisations if you or someone you know needs mental health support or advice:

  • Samaritans operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year, by calling 116 123. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at jo@samaritans.org

  • Papyrus offer support for children and young people under the age of 35 over the phone on 0800 068 41 41 between 9am – midnight every day of the year. If you would rather text you can do so on 07786 209697 or send an email to pat@papyrus-uk.org

  • Rethink Mental Illness offer practical advice and information for anyone affected by mental health problems on a wide range of topics including treatment, support and care. Phone 0300 5000 927 (Mon-Fri 9.30am-4pm) or visit rethink.org

  • Campaign Against Living Miserably’s (CALM) helpline and webchat are open from 5pm until midnight, 365 days a year. Call CALM on 0800 58 58 58 or chat to their trained helpline staff online. No matter who you are or what you’re going through, it’s free, anonymous and confidential.

Links: