Happiness

  • 12/04/17 - RADIO: Owning Colour: Green (15 mins) Designer Wayne Hemingway looks at five colours that have been at the centre of ownership and trademark battles, revealing the complex status of colours in our society - their artistic, commercial and cultural impact and our response to colour. Green is so ubiquitous that even the word has environmental, political and health meanings. It's used without limitation to boost the environmental credentials of businesses such as energy companies - notably BP. It's part of what some environmentalists calls "green-washing", as green symbolises vegetation - grass, fields, farmlands. A current Royal Horticultural Society campaign, Greening of the Grey, aims to bring more green spaces to our towns and cities. Wayne visits RHS Wisley to meet Science Director Alistair Griffiths, gardeners and visitors to discover more about the power of green.
  • 21/11/16 - RADIO: The Power of Negative Thinking (5 x 15 mins) In the first of 5 programmes on The Power of Negative Thinking, psychology writer and proud curmudgeon Oliver Burkeman explores the positivity 'backfire effect', and finds that people are often more successful - as are organisations, armies and governments - when they focus on reasons they are likely to fail.
  • 06/06/16  - RADIO: The Science of Resilience (28 mins) Confucius said "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." Some people, however, are just better at getting back up when the most challenging life events knock them down. Today there is a growing body of research into mental resilience; where it comes from, why it matters and how it can be nurtured. Journalist Sian Williams explores the science of resilience; she meets Dr Michael Pluess from Queen Mary University of London who is testing for the resilience gene, and Professor Toni Bifulco who, along with her colleague Dr David Westley at Middlesex University, has developed an online test for those at risk of resilience failure. Nobel laureate Professor Daniel Kahneman and science journalist and psychologist Daniel Goleman offer expert insight into resilience. Professor Martin Seligman who founded the Penn Resiliency Program, and David Clark, Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford, describe the psychological background to mental strength and how it can be developed. Professor Lord Richard Layard from the LSE explains the economic benefits of building resilience into society. Sian visits Icknield Community College in Watlington in Oxfordshire where resilience is on the curriculum and watches a lesson in which children are taught to bounce back. She meets students, Headmaster Mat Hunter, teacher Claire Foster, and Lucy Bailey and Emma Judge from the resilience-building organisation How To Thrive.
  • 24/11/15 - RADIO: Shared Experience: Living with Addiction (28 mins) People who are being treated for an addiction receive the support of professional organisations as well as family and friends. Many of them say they could not have beaten it without their partner's help. But who recognises the role of close family members in getting an addict through tough times? Fi Glover hears from three people living with partners in various stages of addiction about how they have coped.
  • 04/11/15 - RADIO: Woman's Hour: Brené Brown (9 mins) Brené Brown talks about her latest book, Rising Strong  and why she believes we should all have the courage to be vulnerable and tackle our self-doubt.
  • 11/01/15 - RADIO: The City on the Couch (28 mins) Psychoanalyst Mary Bradbury investigates why a growing number of big businesses in the financial sector are taking more care of their employees' mental health.
  • 05/01/14 - RADIO: Mindfullness: Panacea or Fad? (28 mins) In little more than a few decades mindfulness has gone from being a specialist element of Buddhist teaching to the front cover of Time magazine. It's the must have app for the stars, courses in it are advertised in the back of all the glossies, businesses use it to reduce staff stress and boost productivity. It's even prescribed on the NHS for anxiety and depression. This is the story of "mindfulness" - from its roots in the Buddhist practice of meditation to today's multi-billion dollar, worldwide industry. Devoted followers hail it as a cure-all for the ills of modern life. Or is this just another health fad, destined for disparagement, like homeopathy? And what do Buddhists feel about their heritage being westernised, secularised and commercialised?
  • 10/12/14 - Nearly 50% take prescription drugs Half of women and 43% of men in England are now regularly taking prescription drugs, according to the comprehensive Health Survey for England. Cholesterol-lowering statins, pain relief and anti-depressants were among the most prescribed medicines.
  • 10/06/14 -Tim Harford The four lessons of happynomics 'Happiness is surely important, but the case for letting economists loose on the subject is less clear’.
  • 21/05/13 - RADIO: One to One: Ritula Shah talks to Dr Michael Irwin (15 mins). In the third of her interviews on the concept of renunciation, Ritula Shah talks to Dr Michael Irwin about the idea of renouncing life in old age or when faced with a terminal illness. Dr Irwin is a retired GP who campaigns for voluntary euthanasia and has accompanied people to the Swiss clinic Dignitas when they have chosen to end their lives. He talks to Ritula about his belief that people should have a choice as to when and how to die and about his thoughts on the end of his own life
  • 14/05/13 - RADIO: One to One: Ritula Shah talks to Mark Boyle(15 mins). Ritula Shah was brought up as a Jain, which has renunciation as one of its central tenets. Ritula has always been fascinated by this idea and in this series she wants to explore what it means to give up something that still has value to those around you. Why do it? Where does it leave your relationships with those people whose choices you will have contradicted or undermined by your own? What happens when you waver (as surely you must)? In this second episode in a series of three programmes, she talks to Mark Boyle who lived without money for almost three years. What did he think it could achieve?
  • 07/05/13 - RADIO: One to One: Ritula Shah talks to Satish Kumar (15 mins). In this first programme she explores the theory with ex-Jain monk, Satish Kumar. He explains his own personal journey to renunciation of both the material and the spiritual while still a young man and why he ultimately rejected it as a way of improving the world.
  • 16/03/13 - Acupuncture Relieves Stress: New Understanding Of Why The Ancient Practice Eases Anxiety

  • 13/12/11 - Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. An outstandingly clear and precise study of the 'dual-process' model of the brain and our embedded self-delusions. We now know that we apprehend the world in two radically opposed ways, employing two fundamentally different modes of thought: "System 1" and "System 2". System 1 is fast; it's intuitive, associative, metaphorical, automatic, impressionistic, and it can't be switched off. Its operations involve no sense of intentional control, but it's the "secret author of many of the choices and judgments you make" and it's the hero of Daniel Kahneman's alarming, intellectually aerobic book Thinking, Fast and Slow. System 2 is slow, deliberate, effortful. Its operations require attention.
  • Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability (20 mins)  Brené Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

  • Tali Sharot: The optimism bias. Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side - and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.Tali Sharot studies why our brains are biased toward optimism

  • VIDEO: Our Brains: Predictably irrational (11 talks) The 3 pounds of jelly in our skulls allow us to reflect on our own consciousness - and to make counterintuitive, irrational decisions. These TED talks explore why.

  • Matthieu Ricard a French biochemist turned Buddhist monk talks about the pursuit of happiness, the fleeting nature of happiness from materialism and the more lasting happiness as a state of mind. As Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche put it: "Those who seek happiness in pleasure, wealth, glory, power, and heroics are as naïve as a child who tries to catch a rainbow and wear it as a coat."

  • Neal Lawson's Book All Consuming describes how we have become "turbo-consumers". Shopping is no longer functional, but our primary leisure pursuit. We are no longer buying the things we need to live, but living to buy things we don't need. "We could live as we did in 1948 and have an additional six months off a year to do whatever we wanted, or strike some better balance between time and more things. But this is never the choice presented to us. The option is never more time, it's always buying more," complains Lawson. Instead, individuals should seize back control by considering working fewer hours and buying less; from businesses with good records on the environment, animal welfare and workers' rights, and by joining grassroots networks like book-swapping schemes and freecycle, which offers free unwanted items. Book Review

  • 07/06/04 - The secrets of long life revealed? - Why do some people live longer than others? Sir Michael Marmot, professor of epidemiology and public health at University College London, has been gathering evidence that offers the possibility of transforming our understanding of health, happiness and how to make a good society.
  • 01/02/04 - Dan Gilbert, author of "Stumbling on Happiness," challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned.