Notes from the Happier World Conference
At the weekend I had the opportunity to head over to the second Happier World Conference, organised and hosted by The Museum of Happiness in Camden. It was a very interesting two day event with all kinds of speakers and activities, and it was a chance to find out more about a very broad subject area.
It included positive psychology, neuroplasticity, organic chemistry and all kinds of other scientific research, and there were also social movements, charities, meditation experts and some faith-based speakers. In short, there was something there for just about everyone who might be interested in living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
In particular, there were speakers who touched upon consumerism (which can contribute to the ‘hedonic’ side of happiness, but not the deeper and more lasting elements of it), and ways to improve our relationship with money, so those were especially useful and I’m sure I’ll be writing a lot more about those in the days and weeks to come.
If you weren’t able to attend, here are a few of the speakers that caught my attention, plus links to some of their projects in case you’d like to find out more.
- Shamash Alidina – Co-founder of the Museum of Happiness. He’s also author of the book Mindfulness for Dummies, and founder of Teach Mindfulness and the Happier World Conference.
- David Hamilton – Started out as a scientist within the pharmaceutical industry, developing drugs for cardiovascular disease and cancer, now writes books and educates on how we can harness our minds and emotions for better health.
- Satish Kumar – A former Jain monk and long-term peace and environment activist, and longstanding editor of Resurgence and Ecologist magazine.
- Vanessa King (pictured above) – Board member of Action for Happiness (AfH) who leads the translation of psychological research into practical action for individuals, organisations and communities as well as Action for Happiness’ consulting work with organisations. She is also the architect of the evidence-based 10 Keys for Happier Living.
- Nic Marks – Has written over 20 publications and authored one of the three original TED books, A Happiness Manifesto, and has a background in applied statistics.
- Yvonne Fuchs – A coach, mentor, business adviser and speaker on leadership, branding and creativity in commercial and social enterprises. Co-founder of The Zen of Business.
- Jamie Thurston – Founder and CEO of 52 Lives – a charity with almost 100,000 supporters that aims to change someone’s life every week of the year and spread kindness. The charity also runs kindness workshops in schools.
- Nipun Mehta – The founder of ServiceSpace, an incubator of projects that works at the intersection of volunteerism, technology and gift-economy.
- Emma Slade – Had a successful career in international finance, but became a Buddhist nun after her priorities changed. She’s also founded a charity for disabled children in Bhutan and written a book about her experiences.
- Maya Mehta – A lawyer and keen advocate of social intrapreneurship, where employees are encouraged to volunteer and employers are encouraged to launch socially responsible initiatives. Involved with Kindness Cafes.
- Eashan Thakrar – Started his own charity four years ago at the age of 16. His organisation, The Youth Project Foundation (TYP), now has over 1500 volunteers in 14 different countries.
There was also a choice of different workshops to explore ideas in greater depth, so I attended Sarah Weiler’s session on creating a ‘loving relationship’ with money. This was very entertaining and playful, and worth going along to.
One of the most interesting things we tried was role playing what our own money would say about us if it could talk. What would yours say about you? Have a think about that, and try to work out whether there’s anything you could change for the better. There’s more information about Sarah on her business website, including a recording of her TEDx talk.
If you want a nice place to jump into the whole subject of happiness and wellbeing, you might like to try AfH’s 10 Keys to Happier Living for some practical actions and evidence-based research.
Want to find out more about some of the latest happiness and wellbeing research and ideas? Let me know and I’ll post plenty of extra goodies.