The Psychology of Wellbeing is the third book in my ‘Routledge triptych’. The first was The Psychology of Gender, and in the final chapter, I began to explore the idea of storytelling in psychology. And in the third book, I develop this idea and team it with the self-reflection. This gives the book a subtle nod to self-help books. It also connects it to the second book in the trio is Letters to a New Student. It’s a strong study skills book with a strong emphasis on wellbeing. And, after writing it, I developed the idea of study skills as life skills, for a workshop.
In the following short video, I introduce the main themes in The Psychology of Wellbeing and pose the questions it attempts to answer. And a transcript of the video follows.
Transcript for The Psychology of Wellbeing introductory video:
Questions of how to ‘live the good life’ & 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?
I’m Gary Wood author of The Psychology of Wellbeing. It’s 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
Dr Gary Wood is a Chartered psychologist, solution-focused life coach, advice columnist and broadcaster. He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has more than 20 years’ experience teaching and applying psychology, in universities, in corporate settings and in the media for magazines, radio and television. He is based in Birmingham and Edinburgh, UK.
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