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Would you like to be part of creating a happier and more caring society? If so please join our movement, add your pledge and take action - at home, at school, at work or in your community. Together we can make a difference

I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me

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The Action for Happiness Course

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Exploring What Matters

The Action for Happiness course ("Exploring What Matters") is a unique and inspiring 8-week course to explore what matters for a happy and meaningful life.

The course is based on the latest scientific evidence and is intended for people of all backgrounds, particularly those who would like to see a more positive and caring society.

Each session has a theme, based on a 'big question', such as  What really matters in life?  What actually makes us happy? and  How should we treat others?

The course is run over 8 sessions, which take place weekly and last for 2 hours. Each session follows the same format, which has been designed to be inspiring and interactive, including:

  • Tuning in: simple activities that are great for wellbeing (e.g. mindfulness exercise)
  • Expert view: an inspiring 15 minute TED-style video/talk from a leading expert (including Richard Layard, Ed Diener, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Karen Amrstrong, Brene Brown, Shawn Achor)
  • Personal view: a chance for people to reflect on their own experiences
  • Did you know?: fascinating and surprising research findings relating to the theme
  • Group discussion: sharing ideas in groups and listening to each other's perspectives
  • Action ideas: everybody comes away with an action they hope to take as a result

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Afh Course - Bottom 8

The course content has been developed and tested by Action for Happiness, but the course itself is run by local volunteers who believe in our aims and have some relevant experience.

Course Structure

WEEK 1: What really matters in life? Lots of things are important in life, but how should we decide what really matters to us? This session explores whether a greater focus on happiness and wellbeing might be better for all of us.

WEEK 2: What actually makes us happy? We're told that happiness comes from having more and earning more, but is this really true? Does happiness come from our circumstances or our inner attitudes? And can we learn how to be happier?

WEEK 3: Can we find peace of mind? Life can be highly stressful. In this session we'll explore how to deal effectively with life's ups and downs and cope with adversity. And we'll look at some skills which can help us be more resilient.

WEEK 4: How should we treat others? Our society appears increasingly individualistic and competitive. Is this just human nature or are we naturally altruistic too? How should we behave towards others - and can we learn to be more compassionate?.

WEEK 5: What makes for great relationships? We're a social species and most of us know that our connections with others are vitally important. But what really affects our relationships and are there practical things we can do to enhance them?

WEEK 6: Can we be happier at work? Work is a huge part of our lives, but many of us find our work to be stressful and frustrating. Do happier organisations get better results? What makes us happy at work? And what can we do about it?

WEEK 7: Can we build happier communities?What does it mean to live well together - and why are some communities or societies much happier than others? In this session we'll explore how to create communities that are more caring, connected and happy.

WEEK 8: How can we create a happier world? This session brings together everything we've covered during the course. It aims to inspire each of us to live in a way that contributes to a happier world, not just for ourselves but for others too.

Ground Rules

The Action for Happiness course is open to all and designed so that it can be set up and run by local volunteers who support the aims of Action for Happiness.

Because we are using this approach, it is important that all participants agree to some ground rules to respect and support each other. These will help ensure that the course runs smoothly and remains true to its underlying principles.

  1. We welcome different perspectives. The course welcomes people from all backgrounds and points of view. There are no single right answers to these questions and all constructive perspectives are welcome.
  2. We are supportive and friendly. The general spirit of the course is one where we treat each other in a supportive and friendly way. We may not always agree with each other, but we always treat each other the way we would like to be treated ourselves.
  3. We let everyone have a voice. We respect each other by giving everybody the chance to contribute, listening to each other and not dominating or disrupting the conversation.
  4. We use the expertise in the room. Although the course includes expert views and carefully designed materials, the real expertise is here in the room too. Our facilitator's role is to lead the session, not act as the expert. We can all contribute to each others learning and what we get out depends on what we put in.
  5. We share a bit of ourselves. We are each willing to share some of our unique personal perspectives. This is NOT group therapy and no-one should feel under pressure to say anything. But the best conversations tend to happen when we're willing to reveal a bit about ourselves and share how we feel inside, not just our intellectual ideas.
  6. We act with integrity. We respect other people's confidentiality and trust others to do the same for us. We are willing to speak up if we feel other members of the group are not keeping to the spirit of the course or not showing respect for other participants.
  7. We are present. We avoid distractions from phones or other devices so we can stay present in the room and give our whole selves during each session. We try not to derail the conversation and respect each other by allowing sessions to start and end on time.

All participants have a responsibility to ensure these ground rules are observed. If anyone feels they are not, they are encouraged to raise this in the group in a constructive way.

Download the Ground Rules

Thank You to our course supporters

Thanks to all the people who contributed so much to the development and piloting of the course, including Adrian Bethune, Alex Nunn, Jasmine Hodge-Lake, Karen Liebenguth, Lucy Roberts, Mark Trezona, Mourijn Bok, Neda Hormozi, Sam Larner and Tarli Young.

And thank you so much to the hundreds of people who contributed to our #HappierWorld campaign to support the roll-out of the course:

A Cooper, A S Pearse, Aaron Mauracheea, Abbe Bond, Abi, Abi Childs, Abiy Wright, Adam Sutherland, Adrian Bethune, Adrian Rodgers, Aidan Adkins, Aimée Hall, Aiste Miliauskaite, Alain De Botton, Alan Clark, Alan Gladman, Alanna Donaldson, Alessandra Rovera, Alex Burbidge, Alexander Whisker, Alexander Felix Nunn, Alexander Stevenson, Alexandra, Alexis Monville, Ali Braithwaite, Ali Leftwich, Ali Millican, Alice Oldman, Alice Vafi, Alisa Stanton, Alison Mclean, Alison Morgan, Alison Pacey, Alix Royer, Allan Meek, Amanda Willis, Amber Litzroth, Amy Parker, Amy Westwick, Ana Azcárate, Ana Maria Harbottle, Anais Saegesser, Andrea Mcdonald, Andrew Acland, Andrew Bellenie, Andrew Budgen, Andrew Gostelow, Andrew Kinmont, Andrew S Kane, Andrew Tinsley, Andy Campbell , Andy Headley, Andy Mutton, Angela Barney, Angelaamos, Angharad Langley, Anh Ngueyen, Anita C Fonte, Anja Hartung Sfyrla, Ann Rowley, Ann Webster, Anna Jones, Anna Karczewski, Anna Lydford, Annabel Foley, Annalia Farina, Anne Tardy, Anne Mcgrath, Anne Pink, Anne Sennett, Anne-Marie Rodriguez De Killeen, Annie Moreton, Anthony, Anthony Smith, Arabella Chute, Ashley Mccormick, Babette Tegldal, Barbara De Leebeeck, Barbara Kjer, Barbara Mcnaughton-Khattri , Barbara O'shea, Barry Webb, Belinda Rydings, Ben Cooper, Benita Nwulu, Beth Kirkpatrick, Bev Haywood, Bev Morton, Beverley Grant, Beverley Johansson, Beverley Worsley, Bharti Chudasama, Brendan, Brendan Barns, Brian Fisher, Bridgeen Rea, Bridget Appleby, Brigitte Pajonk, Brucell, Bryan Andrews, Bucket Fillers Inc., C Reeves, C Schmidt, Carla Bergen, Carol, Carol Aries, Carol Rutherford, Carole Gordon, Carole Jackson, Carolina Bergoglio, Caroline Anthony, Caroline Pitt, Caroline Taplin , Caroline Tisdall, Carolyn Nunn, Carrie Harris, Cat Walker, Cath Jaschinski, Cath Roddick, Catherine Joyce, Catherine Morris, Catherine Rossi, Catherine Thompson, Catherine West, Cathy Evans, Catrin Palfrey, Catriona Stares, Cecilia Morreau, Chantal Coady, Charlotte de Botton, Charmmilein, Cherry Coombe, Chris Ansell, Chris Dawson, Chris Ridley, Chrissie Tarbitt, Christina Chappell, Christina Crouch, Christine Brooks, Christine Grimshaw, Christine Heardman, Christine L Conroy, Christine Lambert, Christine Whittaker, Christine Boyle, Christopher J Eddie, Claire Crook, Claire Fisher, Claire Fraser, Claire Stone, Claire Wynne Hughes, Clare, Dr Clare Sherriff, Clare Diaper, Clare Hall, Clare Pallett, Clare Waters, Claudia Munn, Clea Alber, Clifford Riordan, Codruta Codrea, Cody Holzhausen, Corina Vladut, Craig James, Curtis Wood, Cydc D Toniolo, Daisy Seale, Dale Marie, Dan Harrison, Daniel Matallana Méndez, Daniel M Whites, Darin Basile, Darren Townsend-Handscomb, David Bowen, David Law, David Middleton, David Moore, David Orrell, David O'Sullivan, David Palmer, David Shindler, David Winborne, David Witcombe, Davide Fissore, David Homfray, Davina Thomas, Dean Francis, Deborah Henderson, Delia Ho, Derek Baker, Devika Unnikrishnan, Diana Baring, Diana C, Diana Chan, Diana Fairfax, Diana Pasek-Atkinson, Diana Solano, Diana Stewart, Diane Meynell, Diane Scurr, Diane Skidmore, Dieter Paulmann, Dijana Aleksic, Djpoate, Donna Gibson, Dorothea, Dorthe Nielsen, Doug Isaacs, Dubby Stemp, Duncan Brown, Dung Vu, Ed Haddon, Ed jeavons, Eileen Fehily, Elaine Noble, Eldon Wethered, Eliane Fierro, Elise Morgan, Elise Goos, Eliza Beattie, Elizabeth Beglin, Elizabeth Masden, Elizabeth Newton, Elizabeth Ware, Elydon, Emily, Emily Mcmullen, Emily Tomalin, Emily Tonkin-Gage, Emma Fisher, Emma Harper, Emma Hickey, Emma Kingscott, Emma L Macpherson, Emma Rodwell, Emma Shakeshaft, Emma Trow, Emma Vickers, Eric Hemmerlin, Esther Villiers, Esthera, Eve Holt, Evleen Mann, Faith Page, Fatima Fernandes, Federica Marra, Ferwa Jaffery, Fiona Cresswell, Fionna O'leary, Fran Stafford, Fran Stone, Frances, Francie Missbach, Francis James Stewart, Frankie Garnons Williams, Franko Figueiredo-Stow, Fransiscus Ismaël Kusters, Fraser Handcock, Gail Stoten, Galen Townson, Galina, Gary Hawker, Gary J Price, Gary Loftus , Gary Williams, Gayle Berry, Gayle Stone, Gemma Perkins, Geraint Ap Dyfed, Gerard Tardy, Gill Claireaux, Gillian, Gillian Duncan, Gillian Eden, Gilyana Serinova, Glenn Luff, Gonzalo León Pacheco, Gordon Ollivere, Grace Smith, Graeme Parker, Graham Collett, Graham Horn, Graham Minnaar, Gwen Clark, Gwenllian Church, Gwynneth S Hewetson, Han Solo, Hana Umezawa, Hanane Ajjour, Harsha Patel, Hayley Stead, Heidy Mader, Heinz-W. Bertelmann, Helen Askey, Helen Child, Helen Frewin, Helen Nisbet, Helen Rockliff, Helen Schoeb, Helen Thevenot, Helen Wheatley, Helena Hird, Helena Jackson, Helena Pavicic, Hilary Diouf , Hilary Evans, Howard Davies, Hugo Reggiani, Ian Clarke, Ian Colin Mccain, Ian Sandham, Ian Yates, Intisar Alsabah, Iona Chamberlain, Irene Childerley, Isabel Wagner, Isabella Clarke, Isabella Mcrae, J Mccartney, J Waterfall, Jackson Lloyd-Hitt, Jacqueline Daniels, Jacqueline Sinnott, Jacqui Wellbrook, Jade Crowden, Jakki Philips, James, James Beevers, James Glasse, Jan Mayor, Jan Stannard, Jane Boyd, Jane Brillante, Jane Coombes, Jane Goodier, Jane Kirk, Jane Offer, Jane Perry, Jane Roberts, Jane Slatter, Jane Steward, Janen, Janice Hargreaves, Janine Chandler, Jasmine Hodge-Lake, Jasraj Hothi, Jayshree Davé, Jean Turner, Jen Gale, Jenni Nelson, Jennifer Dangerfield, Jennifer Napier, Jennifer Riley, Jennifer Wilson, Jenny Avery, Jenny Bettany, Jenny Nabben, Jenny Szewiel, Jeremy Burke, Jeremy Payne, Jessica Gatfield, Jessie, Jeunesse Pearson, Jewels Norburn, Jill Dodd, Jo Evans, Jo Hetherington, Jo Tudor, Joan Woods, Joanna Hunter, Joanna Rudd, Jodie, Jodie Cooper, Joe Holtaway, Joe Telfer, John Beswick, John C Woolgrove, John Garrity, John Hassell, John Heddle, John Hutchinson, John Lawlor, John Naughton, John O'neill, John Sharkey, John Stares, Jon Parker, Jonathan Silver, Jorge Bonilla, Joseph Hopkins, Josh Petzoldt, Joshua, Josie Jacobs, Joss James, Joy Bemrose, Judith Sawyer, Judith Soulsby, Judith Tolhurst, Judith Usiskin, Judy Hillhouse, Julia Hennessey, Julia Poole, Julia Taylor, Julia Tredgett, Julie Chapman-Purchas, Julie Newton, Juliet Lawn, Juline Smit, Justin Varney, Justine Fish, Jyoti Nanda, K, Kanesh Lakhani, Karen Dahlgren, Karen Jones, Karen L, Karen Law, Karen Lerpiniere, Karen O'Kane, Karen Orrock, Karen Salvin, Karen Smith, Karin, Karin Van Maanen, Kate Atkin, Kate Fox Robinson, Kate Gaplevskaja, Kate Harrison, Kate Hodsdon, Kate Jackson-Catalano, Kate Taylor, Katharine Gibson, Katherine Bird, Kathrine Koren Bjertnæs, Kathryn Lovering, Katie Epton, Katie Lloyd-Nunn, Katie Peters, Katie Wood, Katleenconway, Katy Hepburn, Katy Segrove, Kaye Brennan, Kayleigh Teague, Kellee Glass, Kelsey Gryniewicz, Ken Burgess, Ken Ingram, Ken Packer, Ken Petersen, Kerry-Rae, Kim Harty, Kim Macleod, Kim Marchant, Kimann Jones, Kimberley Pearson, Kimberly Middleton, Kirstie Shapiro, Kris Parkinson, Kristen Truempy, Kristi Fish, Kristina Banner, Kumar Kumaraswami, Kylie Bull, L Berry, L Copeland, L Thomas, Laila Datoo, Laura Gunputrav, Laura Holvey, Leah Stuttard, Leann Harris, Leasa Williams, Lee Allan, Leigh Royall, Lesley Cochrane, Lesley-Anne Palmer, Leslie Boydell, Letitia Peek, Liane Ward , Lim Lai Cheng, Linda Yule, Lindi Mcalpine, Lindsey Gibbs, Lindsey Frank, Lindy Connor, Lisa Harle-Ward, Lisa Harris, Lisa James, Lisa Walker, Lisa Bounoure, Liz Peck, Liz Smalley, Liz Stead, Lizzie Carver, Lizzy Davies, Lola Fernández, Loretta Earle, Lorna Macnee, Lorna Rolstone, Louise Briginshaw, Louise Corbett, Lucy Simler, Lucy Titheridge, Lucy Wicks, Lyn Ryden, Lynn Moor, Lynn Murray, Mark Quirk, Maryam Karim, Maarten, Madeinibiza, Maggie Winkworth, Maisie, Manda Lakhani, Mandy Hagan, Manuel, Marco Cortese, Marek Kogan, Marga Rijken, Margaret, Margaret Mccatgie, Margreet Thurkow, María José Font, Maria Nearchou, Maria Sykes, Marian, Marian Dwyer, Marianne Davies, Marie Vincent, Marie Winefield, Marie-Christine Konya-Brummel, Mario Lafond, Marion Greenwood, Marissa Ellis, Marjie Walker, Marjorie Gardner, Mark Jankelson, Mark Mcmanus, Mark Nickell, Mark Palmos, Mark Rasmussen, Mark Stenhoff, Mark Webster, Mark Williamson, Markymark, Martin Brose, Martin Creasey, Martin Evans, Martin Fabian, Martin Hewlett, Martin Kay, Martin Waterhouse, Marty Pierre Olivier, Mary Boardman, Mary Currell, Mary Judson, Mary Stitson, Mary Walker, Mary-Ann, Mary J, Matthew Gregory, Matthew Rodda, Maurizia Moltoni, Maxime Le Floch, Maya Bahoshy, Maz Newland, Meg, Melanie Harper, Melanie Rochelle, Melinda Strudwick, Melissa Shepherd, Michael Aitchison, Michael Chandler, Michael Cole-Fontayn, Michael Lennon, Michael Newgass, Michael Padfield, Michael Plant, Michèle Mensing, Michelle De Young, Mick Lavin, Mike Ashbridge, Mike Dickson, Mike Dixon, Mike Hall, Mike Lawson, Mike Mcgowan, Mike Palmer, Mike Radcliffe, Mike Taylor, Mike White, Miranda, Miriam Mertens, Miriam Swainston, Mollie Dunlop, Morag Ottens, Morag Warrack, Moya Macgregor, N Dunkin, Nadia Chelache, Naomi Moran, Nat Hardwick, Natalie Harper, Natalie Wainwright, Natasha Davie, Natasha Johnston, Natasha Warne, Neil, Neil Millar, Neil Sproul, Nell Freeman, Nelleke Kloet, Neville Eden, Nic Brisbourne, Nic Marks, Nicholas Baring, Nicholas Symons, Nick Ballantine-Drake, Nick Butlin, Nick Durnan, Nick Heap, Nick Westlake, Nicki Howard, Nicky Chapman, Nicky Evans, Nicola Downey, Nigel Minton, Nigel Rose, Nik Domican, Nina Pettersen, Nina Zagoranski, Noel Warnell, Nora Helena Mckenna, Oleg Zaezdny, Oleksii Chuiev, Olivier Eymery, Paddy Byrne, Pam Houghton,Pat Smith, Pat Valian, Patricia Hardwick, Patrick Cheong-See, Patrick Danalet, Patrick Moore Jones, Paul Baldwin, Paul Blundell, Paul Hodgson, Paul Morgan, Paul Setchell, Paul Tofts, Peter A Bruce, Peter Anderton, Peter Bacon Darwin, Peter Fox, Peter Harper, Peter Hutt, Petula Collier, Phil Clothier, Phil Geraghty, Polly, Prab Bajwa, Priya Pickelin, Rachel Anderson, Rachel Councell, Rachel Mills, Rachel Stewart, Rachel Winfield, Rafe Bundy, Ray Hatton, Reb Deacon, Rebecca Barton, Rebecca Brown, Rebecca Gouveia, Rebecca Rose, Rebecca Shaw, Rebecca Taylor, Rene, Ria Dennett, Richard Arthur, Richard Griffiths, Richard Jones, Richard Tri Parton, Rikki Pickelin, Rita Gloria, Rob Aston, Rob Saunders, Robin Crowley, Robin Lannin, Roger Wilson, Ronnie Cowan, Rosaleen Mckee, Ros Boughtflower, Rosemary Hogg, Ruth Pinner, Ruth Harding, Ruth Holmes, S Groves, S John, Sally Bernham, Sally Branch, Sally Ptolomey, Sally Western, Sam Ackland, Sam Meikle, Sam Nanayakkara, Sam Peters, Samantha Thomas, Sam C, Sammy Rubin, Sandie Donnelly, Sapphira Kingfisher, Sarah Colloby, Sarah Cork, Sarah Grossman, Sarah Hamlin, Sarah Jane Daly, Sarah Mack, Sarah Metcalfe, Sarah Neely, Sarah New, Sarah Patterson, Sarah Payne, Sarah Rundle, Sarah Seymour, Sarah Withers, Sarah-Jane Oates, Sean Glass, Sean Wood, Serena Miccolis, Shahru Amiri, Shamash Alidina, Sharon Kimouche, Sharon McMillan, Shelley Hayes, Sheridan Bellingham, Shirli Ender Buyukbay, Siân Cwper, Silvia Montello, Silvia Vizzoni, Simon Fitzgerald, Siobhan Fanning, Sjir Hoeijmakers, Sofia Sanchez-Grant, Somaiyeh, Sonia, Sophia Behling, Sophie Bostock, Sophie Collard, Sophie Curtis, Stan Rosenthal, Stefania Battistella, Steph Forester, Stephanie Sloan, Stephen Aras, Stephen Challis, Stephen Davey, Stephen Fryer, Steve Briddon, Steve Murphy, Steve Reed, Steve Roche, Steven E Bagienski, Stuart Hodgson, Stuart Rimmer, Sue Johne, Sue Black, Sue Conder, Sue Hodnett, Sue Hutchins, Sue Kullai, Sue Saker, Sue Webb, Sue Wilkins, Sue Whitmarsh, Sue C, Dr. Suresh Devnani, Susan Burton, Susan Cottingham, Susan Davidson, Susan Fassberg, Susan George, Susan Taylor, Susie, Susie Gerke, Suzanne Johnson, Suzanne Mckenna, Suzie Barbour-Smith, Tammy Groves, Tammy Trosclair, Tania Plater, Tanya Barrett, Tanya Kutchinsky, Tanya Meschko, Tara Caira, Tatiana Vogel, Terence Lam, Teresa Butler, Terry Conway, Terry Shackleton, Theo Nunn, Theresa Bond, Thorsten Gorny, Tiffany-Jayn, Tim Croker, Tim Drew, Tim Harden, Tim Spear, Tina Campbell, Todd Arnold, Tom Smith, Tomoko, Tomoko Yokoi, Tonia Higgins, Tony Seale, Tony Davis, Tony Maddocks, Tracey Hillard, Tracey Lysaght, Tracy Ampah, Trevor Bell, Trisha Comrie, Tristan Michell, Trudi Kleanthous, Tuesday Mcneill, Tyler Wood, Ursina Wälchli, Val Payne, Valerie Tih, Vanina, Vee Williams, Véronique Burnier, Vicki Hamill, Victoria Cunningham-Downey, Victoria Larsen, Vikki Barrie, Vinay Nair, Vivien Boidron, Vlad Kolzeev, Vonni Du Val, Wendy Duldig, Wendy Vrij, Wendy Zimmerman, Will Tooby, William, William Jolly, Wilson Wong, Winni Schindler, Yelena Stanley, Yolanda Van Wingaarden, Zahra Hussein, Zhivko Juzevski, Zoe Wheddon.

If you contributed to our campaign and your name is incorrect or missing above please email us atinfo@actionforhappiness.org so we can thank you properly!

Join the movement. Be the change


Join The Course

Take part in the course and discover more happiness and meaning in your life.
 

Lead The Course

Put yourself forward to lead the course and make a real difference for others.

HOW THE COURSE IS CHANGING LIVES

Afh Gathering 2

Check out the latest news on the roll-out of our "Exploring What Matters" course in communities across the UK and beyond

Participant feedback

"The course has really had a profoundly positive impact on my life"

"It has been so incredible to be surrounded by such interesting people who share my passion for making the world happier"

"It has become easier to make changes to the way I think and the things I do. I feel very encouraged to have met such interesting, kind people"

"It just gets better and there's a shift from caring for oneself to caring for others"

A Force For Good

Dan Goleman's fantastic new book about the Dalai Lama's vision for our world.

A Force For Good

We are honoured that the work of Action for Happiness features in the book as an example of his ideas being put into practice.

POSTER: GREAT DREAM

Ten Keys to Happier Living

Great Dream 200

See the full set of posters

"We urgently need a change in priorities. So if you believe in a more caring society that puts well-being before wealth, and prioritises the things that really matter, then join us - add your voice and take action. Together we can create a better, happier future".

Mark Williamson

Mark Williamson
Director, Action for Happiness