Need a lift? Get on course for happiness
Eight-week course will give lessons in happiness
The appointment of Ohoud Al Roumi as UAE Minister of Happiness earlier this year made global headlines. Although the bold appointment came out of the blue, the UAE is not alone in looking for a new approach in our modern world.
The United Nations has also been celebrating World Day for Happiness (March 20) since 2013, in a bid to create a more positive world.
And there’s a movement happening at grassroots level too.
A new eight-week course getting under way in Dubai next week, aims to help residents discover how to live a happier and kinder life.
The course, called Exploring What Matters, has been developed by Action for Happiness, a UKbased movement that launched in 2011 and uses a science-based approach to create a happier world.
More than 1,500 volunteers have already put themselves forward to run the course around the UK and elsewhere, and participants have reported increases in levels of life satisfaction, mental wellbeing, compassion and social trust.
Lisa Harter is running the course along with Aida Laubach at the Illuminations Wellbeing Centre in JLT. She explains: “Often if you ask people what they want from life, they say they want to be happy. It is a term that is thrown around a lot but I don’t think everyone understands what it is.
“Part of this course is to understand what we mean by the concept of happiness, and what contributes to this feeling and sense of wellbeing. We will be tapping into scientific research into the topic of wellbeing and sense of happiness.”
There may be sceptics out there who want to pour scorn on a course designed to help us live a kinder and happier life. But they might want to take note of the fascinating findings uncovered last year in a comprehensive 75-year study carried out by Harvard. The survey, which began way back in 1938 and followed 268 Harvard undergraduate men from all walks of life, found that meaningful relationships, connections and love really counted, while more money and more power didn’t relate to more happiness.
More importantly, the study found that it is never too late to change.
The eight-week course includes Ted talks, discussion and exercises to help individuals grow and learn. Lisa says: “They say that when we over reflect on the past, it can take us down and create a sense of depression. When our minds race ahead of us, that’s when we can create anxiety over something that hasn’t taken place.
“Everything that happens with the individual gets reflected into the outside world. So if we are unhappy within ourselves, we will be unhappy within relationships and that will have a knock-on effect with work and the world at large. We want to find actions we can take away and put into practice. We can learn things but if we read a book and put it down and don’t take anything into our daily lives it is not going to serve us.”
Everything that happens with the individual gets reflected into the outside world. – Life coach Lisa Harter