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The Happy Teacher Podcast

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Episode twenty seven - Is there a different way?

"Here’s the thing that I’ve been struggling with and slowly accepting: following the rules will only get you so far. If you want to go further, you’ve got to write your own. If you want to truly express yourself creatively, you have to take that leap of faith and you have to ask yourself that most difficult of questions for yourself and by yourself." --------------- It's the first of July, a halfway point in the year. It's a good time to review things and to take stock of where we are in...


Episode twenty six - Being optimistic (part two)

I believe that we can all learn to live happier lives; lives are are more fulfilled, content, and joyous. Most of us instinctively know that being optimistic about our lives is probably a good idea for it helps us to see a more positive future. In part two of a two part mini series, I outline some strategies that we can all use to help us to be more optimistic. These aren't answers, and they are not guarantees. They are steps in the direction of a more optimistic outlook, and as I...


Episode twenty five - Being optimistic (part one)

I believe that we can all learn to live happier lives; lives are are more fulfilled, content, and joyous. Most of us instinctively know that being optimistic about our lives is probably a good idea for it helps us to see a more positive future. In part one of a two part mini series, I outline some research that indicates just how powerful being optimistic can be (part two will outline some of the practical ways that we can adopt a more optimistic approach in our lives). My hope is that...


Episode twenty four - Stop asking for permission

One of the biggest mistakes that we can make on our quest to experience greater happiness is believing that we need to ask the permission of others in order to do so. In this podcast episode I argue for why we should stop asking for permission to be happier.


Episode twenty three - Going round and round

Part of being happier is simply about learning to accept the fact that we can't continue improving at anything indefinitely. There are always periods of time when improvement stalls and falters. Knowing why this is, and knowing what to do when it happens, can help us to be happier when the virtuous circle of improvement temporarily breaks.


Episode twenty one - Minimalism

In this podcast episode I discuss 'minimalism'. Sounds fancy; but it's simple. Minimalism is about thinking carefully about the objects that we own, getting rid of the stuff that we don't need and creating physical and mental space in which happiness can flourish.


Episode eighteen - I know nothing

I've said it before on the podcast, and I'll doubtless say it again: I'm not an expert when it comes to being happier. I'm just a man who once had a moment of clarity and honesty; in that moment I knew that I couldn't carry on living the way that I had been. I write these words not out of any sense of false modesty, but simply as a reminder to myself that even though I've been attempting to live a happier life for the past five years, I still have much to learn. I don't get it right...


Episode seventeen - Why we buy more stuff than we need

There are countless reasons we buy more stuff than we need. Some motivations are pushed upon us by society. I saw this really clearly a few years ago while training for Ironman UK. For those that don't know, Ironman is a long triathlon: 2.4 miles swim, 112 miles on the bike, followed by 26.2 miles of running. It's a crazy event. It's tough, difficult, a worthwhile challenge if you are into that sort of thing. I loved it. I loved the training and I loved the whole experience of the day....


Episode sixteen - Stop making plans, start cultivating opportunities

Most of us would agree that life is messy. Nobody can predict the future; ironically, that much is certain. And yet so many of us draw up our plans and schedules do so under the illusion (or maybe the delusion) that we can predict aspects of the future. We plan as if we know that life will obey our particular set of rules. When things don't quite work out we can become angry. Like last week, we turn our attention to another Chinese philosopher, Mencius, who argued that we should cultivate...


Episode fourteen - Getting your groove back

In this week's podcast we all learn something about getting our groove back from my friend and street photographer Keith Vaughton. It's something that we can all relate to: at some point we lose our groove, things don't quite flow as they should, we run out of steam. Talent won't insulate us from loss of groove, as street photographer Keith Vaughton writes. The question he poses is How do I get myself back into the groove? Whatever our version of losing our groove is, if we listen...


Episode eleven - The beauty of being older

My mum died when she was just 49 - she'd had breast cancer and she'd first been diagnosed with it just over five years earlier. We spent a lot of time talking about living, about being ill, about dying - particularly after she knew that she was terminally ill. It goes without saying that it made a profound impression on me, so much so that it took me a long time, a very long time to come to terms with the enormity of ageing, and of our eventual death. But this is not a sad episode. In this...


Episode ten - Ten things we can all do to be happier

It's episode ten of The Happy Teacher Podcast! In this week's podcast I explore ten different things that we can all implement in our lives in order to increase the level of fulfilment, contentment, and joy that we experience. Some of this is a recap; some of it is new. My hope is that as a seasoned listener to the podcast it will serve as a reminder that the responsibility for improving the quality of our own happiness lies within our own hands. If you're new to the podcast it will help...


Episode nine - Volunteering

The 'hedonic treadmill' is a theory that people return to a relatively stationary level of happiness, sometimes considered a happiness 'set point'. Although efforts or interventions to improve happiness have a transient effect, individuals inevitably return to their original happiness set point after a short period of time. However, in this week's podcast I outline a way to shift our focus way from what we think will bring us happiness (such as greater possessions), towards what will bring...


Episode eight - Happy New Year

The great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy wrote, 'If you want to be happy, be' As it's the start of a new year I want to go back to some basics. If this podcast is about becoming happier, then at the start of this year it might be helpful for us to look at a couple of examples of what is meant by happiness. So, in episode eight I talk about the different forms of happiness we should be aware of in our lives. Knowing what these are can help us to make better decisions, and in turn these...


Episode seven - Faith

Martin Luther King JR said: 'Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.' In this podcast I recall how learning to have a little faith helped my friend to clear her home from a lifetime's accumulation of clutter, free her mind, and become a little happier. When we learn to let go of some of the questions that we desperately seek answers for, we can grow to become more fulfilled, and happier, than we thought possible. Together we can all learn to #BeHappier.


Episode six - The audacity of small

'It's the accumulative effect of the little actions which, over time, can change the world.’ In this week’s podcast I turn my attention to what I like to call the audacity of small. Happiness and fulfilment lie in being able to complete tiny, unremarkable, often boring steps without being distracted by the large goal we have set for ourselves. This episode of the podcast is a plea for us to fall in love with taking the small, seemingly pointless steps that have the capacity within them to...


Episode four - The problem with positive thinking

We are led to believe that positive thinking is the 'go-to' first step in becoming happier or for when we are simply trying to get stuff done. It's not always helpful though, and this week's episode is about why this is the case. As always, I discuss a useful strategy for helping us all to be's much simpler than we might think.


Episode three - Nothing to fear here

In this week’s podcast I don't clown around, but I do talk about what we can learn about anxiety, fear and happiness, and we all remind ourselves to take a step back from what appears to be, in order so focus on what is.


Episode two - The Pygmalion Effect

In this week's podcast I outline some of the science behind why smiling is so effective at raising your level of happiness; I remember a piece of advice that I was once given (spoiler alert, it wasn't very good); and we all discover why we'll want to feel what is called 'The Pygmalion effect' at work in our lives.


Episode one - In which I give myself permission to #BeHappier

In this week's podcast I explain what the Happy Teacher Podcast is; we learn some valuable lessons about life from people who are approaching the end of theirs; and we all make use of a practical way to improve the level of happiness that we feel in our own lives.