I heard about Action for Happiness through my former workplace, and a friend who volunteers with them. This seemed worth looking into. Essentially Action for Happiness helps people take practical action for a happier and more caring world. Their patron is The Dalai Lama. They have thousands of members taking action to increase wellbeing in their homes, workplaces, schools and local communities. The vision is; a happier world, with far fewer people suffering with mental health problems, and far more people feeling good, functioning well and helping others.
They concluded a successful crowd funding campaign to bring the Action for Happiness courses to more places around the world. I have signed up to the web site, (or you can like them on Facebook), to find out when the next course is happening near me. It is two hours a week for eight weeks, and has been getting amazing results. The courses are all based on the science of happiness and are run by volunteers.
I don’t have to wait for the next course as they have lots of resources on the web site for me to download and work through at my own pace. Remember changes in thinking and habits take time to form. If I try and change too many things at once it will be harder, and may not work.
Cafe community spaces
To engage with like minded positive people there is a network of Happiness Cafe’s. The idea is simple and inspiring: a friendly and welcoming place to meet other people with a shared interest in promoting happiness and wellbeing. Having visited the East London one in Brick Lane, the Canvas Cafe I can agree with this.
When we give to others it activates the areas of the brain associated with pleasure, social connection and trust. Altruistic behaviour releases endorphins in the brain and boosts happiness for us as well as the people we help. Studies have shown that giving money away tends to make people happier than spending it on themselves.
What will you try?
Even if you are generally quite a positive person there are always new things you can try. I am trying to make more time for the things I enjoy most and building exercise into my day. What will you try?