The Psychology of Wellbeing

The Psychology of Wellbeing by Dr Gary Wood
Published by Routledge Books

Questions of how to ‘live the good life’ and to ‘live long and prosper’ have occupied us for thousands of years. But in recent times there’s been a massive boom in wellbeing. It’s a multi-billion-dollar industry, that shows no signs of slowing. More of us now spend more time talking about wellbeing, reading about it, researching it,  and writing about it. From magazines to self-help books, from workplace reports to government papers. And with so much on offer,  it grows ever tougher to sift the science from the ‘snake oil’.

So how DO you decide what works, what doesn’t, and what’s just hype? How do we spot the breakthroughs from the fake news? And crucially, what does wellness mean to you? Is it financial security or good relationships? Is it having a purpose in life and setting goals?  Is it being mindful or grateful?  Is it all down to positive thinking or simply good luck? And fundamentally,  does it really count as wellbeing if it comes at the expense of another?

The Psychology of Wellbeing is a short, accessible book to bridge the gaps between ‘everyday’ ideas, pop psychology, and academic knowledge. But instead of trying to supply all the answers, the book uses self-reflection and storytelling to build critical skills to ask better questions. Written in the middle of a pandemic, and with a few health challenges of my own, the book asks you to look at where you get your knowledge and how you know you can trust it? Who’s got your ear?  Is it scientists, academics & doctors, self-help gurus, journalists or those politicians who tell us not to listen to the experts or trust the evidence of your senses but to take their word for it?  Or maybe it’s ‘friend of a friend’ who ‘knows someone who heard something’.

The book looks at definitions of wellbeing, the self and normality,  the impact of inequality,  the effects of stress and how trends such as mindfulness and positive psychology can shape our happiness, and our view of the world. It also offers a critical review of the self-help industry and a plan to help you choose & use self-help books to best support your wellness goals. But most of all, The Psychology of Wellbeing helps us to understand the wellbeing stories of others and tell better wellbeing stories of our own.

About the author:
Gary W. Wood
is a chartered psychologist, solution-focused life coach, and broadcaster. He is widely quoted in the media for expert analysis, for coaching tips, and as a featured advice columnist (agony uncle). He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has taught psychology, research methods, and learning skills in several UK universities. He also consults on social policy research for government bodies, broadcasting regulators, health organizations, and charities. Gary has published in academic journals on psychology and health and is the author of self-help books. These include Don’t Wait for Your Ship to Come In, Swim Out to Meet It, which has been translated into several languages, and Unlock Your Confidence. He also wrote The Psychology of Gender for the first wave of the Psychology of Everything series, and Letters to a New Student. Gary is in private practice as a life and wellbeing coach, trainer, and research consultant. He is based in Birmingham and Edinburgh, UK.