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Bristol’s ‘Science of Happiness’ course re-packaged as a BBC podcast

The Science of Happiness was the first university course of its kind in the UK and is now available as a BBC podcast.

Press release issued: 29 September 2020

A new BBC podcast will bring the University of Bristol’s ground-breaking Science of Happiness course to a much wider audience.

Using the latest peer-reviewed studies in psychology and neuroscience, The Happiness Half Hour gives listeners an evidence-based path to happiness – over 10 weekly episodes.

The Science of Happiness is the first university course of its kind in the UK, launched in 2018 by the University of Bristol Professor and Developmental Psychologist, Bruce Hood. It has been a proven success, with hundreds of students taking the course and reporting a significant increase in their wellbeing and a decrease in feelings of loneliness.

“I started the course because I was increasingly concerned about the rise in mental health problems among my students and I wanted to do something to help.

“In the first term we had 150 students sign up, almost doubling to 250 the following term. We found the students who participated reported significantly increased levels of mental well-being and reduced score on loneliness compared with those who hadn’t taken the course,” said Professor Hood.

Due to its popularity it was accredited as an official degree-level module by the University the next year – the only one that is not assessed and is undertaken purely for the beneficial outcomes.

“It was so successful, that I wanted to bring it to national attention with the help of the BBC so that everyone could benefit,” said Professor Hood.

Together with BBC radio presenter Emma Britton, Professor Hood will bring the best of the course to BBC Sounds, starting with episode one on Tuesday, September 29.

Emma, known for her bubbly on air personality, said: “I can be up, I can be down, and some days I just can’t explain why. And if I’m honest, I’m down a lot more than people around me would realise. Does that sound familiar? Right now it feels harder than ever to feel positive all of the time.

“I thought: I can’t be the only one right? And that’s when I met Bruce and we decided to make this podcast, to take what science has proven really works so I can finally dispense with the self-help books.”

Each week Bruce and Emma tackle a different topic to find out what the science says is the best path to long-term well-being.

They are joined by ‘Happiness Hackers’ Jason Clarkson and Lillie-Mae Stubbs who will try out Bruce and Emma’s recommendations and give their verdict during the next episode.

“At the heart of this podcast is the message that happiness is not something we automatically know how to achieve, many of us have to learn it – and this is course is your guide,” said Emma.

The first episode of the Happiness Half Hour is available on BBC Sounds from this Tuesday. New episodes will be released each Tuesday: 



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