Oliver Burkeman – Slightly Happy

I regularly read Oliver Burkeman’s column in The Guardian.

In this 30 minute video, he talks about his exploration of the self-help industry. It’s a humorous talk.

In the video he mentions that the following practices did work for him or that at least there is scientific proof that they make a positive impact on people’s lives:

  • Mindfulness meditation.
  • Writing things down / gratitude journal.
  • Embracing “randomness”. New experiences.
  • Small goals (i.e. work for 2 mins, run for 30 secs).
  • Trying to be medicore. Mentally let yourself function at 60%.
  • Forgetting the self. Think about something else.

I love the way he discusses how as a skeptical person it is hard to accept the cheeziness of these ideas that do actually work (a little). That it is hard to accept that the uncool is right.

He also discusses his theory on why some of the most common suggestions in the self-help industry just don’t work – i.e. thinking positive.

Oliver Burkeman has a few books out. I read the first one “Help! How to Become Slightly Happier and Get a Bit More Done” but haven’t yet read “The Antidote..” his most recent book. Here’s a link to a radio interview with him this month for the latest book (ABC Radio National).


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