Teaching a way to wellness

John Doran

For over 25 years, John has worked in the Patrician Secondary School, Newbridge as a Teacher and now as a Guidance Counsellor. He is the author of the acclaimed book ‘Ways to Well-being’ which is being taught in over 140 schools in Ireland and Europe. It focuses on teaching young people how to manage their emotions, change, relationships – everything to ensure they thrive no matter the challenge.

John is also a Founding Chairman of the Network of School Planners and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Ireland.

He is passionate about the transformative power of education to disrupt lives for the better and is dedicated to helping young people do everything they can with all that they have in the time that they’re given.

John is a prolific public speaker on the topics of well-being, resilience, stress management and maximising performance, both nationally and internationally. His events have included a TEDx Talk in 2018 called ‘Positive Education for the 21st Century: Helping Young People to Thrive in a World of Busy’. He has given talks to management bodies, education trusts, teachers, parents and students.

In a world where our attention and our time are scarce, we are delighted to have John on the podcast to talk about his experiences and research into performing in what is an increasingly busy and complex world.


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2:47 How schools and students have coped with Covid-19 so far

3:45 What does it look like for students to be the “best version of themselves”?

4:45 As adults, do we develop skills that simply can’t be learned as young people?

6:43 The meaning behind well-being

8:35 Remaining curious throughout your life

11:15 Why workplace well-being has become a priority in recent years

12:43 Well-being at a government level in Ireland

14:22 Sustainably improving well-being

15:27 Mind your MEDS acronym

20:07 Advice to being more present 

22:17 1% improvements

24:07 The story of a woman brought up in Soviet occupied Hungary

27:35 Breaking the ‘hedonic treadmill’

30:33 Can happiness be reliably measured?

33:05 Fulfilling the potential of young people

37:23 Lessons from Brother Colm O’Connell

41:37 Ideas for current Transition year students

46:27 Key fundamentals from John’s programme for wellness in schools

51:26 Is the modern education system facilitating well-being properly?

53:22 Judging institutions on how well they promote happiness

55:16 Healthy reference points that protect our well-being in a society geared towards individual gain and competition

57:48 The impact of practising daily gratitude 

1:01:17 Teaching altruism at school

1:04:23 Can empathy be taught amongst young adults?

1:10:26 Is screen-time harmful or harmless for young people?

1:15:21 How we can practise John’s lessons day-to-day