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  • Stop Looking For Your Passion. Unlock It17 Oct 2014 | Susanna Halonen

    We're often told that in order to live a happy and fulfilling life, we must follow our "one passion" and build our whole life around doing what we love. But living life with passion isn't about pursuing one thing; its about finding love in everything we do.

  • The Science of Happiness05 Aug 2014 | Bridget Glenville-Cleave

    Positive psychology isn't the same as self-help, positive thinking or Pollyanna-ism. It's not about sticking our heads in the sand and ignoring the bad stuff going on in the world, or denying our negative emotions or the other difficulties we experience in life - it's about seeing life as it really is, the downsides and the upsides. The problem is that often the downsides get our fullest attention, whereas we let the upsides slip by unnoticed.

  • From losing everything to finding happiness23 May 2014 | Sharon Bull

    After years suffering from depression and a shopping addiction which led her to losing everything, Sharon Bull is now helping others to transform their lives.

  • The Politics of Happiness21 May 2014 | Peter Kolarz

    Action for happiness is extremely important. But action must also involve political action alongside lifestyle action. There are many things we know about happiness and unhappiness at the wider social and political level. This article covers a selection of the most important points, drawn together from several key studies and reports, which together might be termed ‘the politics of happiness’.

  • National happiness matters more than national wealth19 Mar 2014 | Action for Happiness

    In a week that includes both the UK Budget and the United Nations International Day of Happiness, a new survey has found that the vast majority of people think levels of happiness and wellbeing matter more than the size of the economy.

  • Self-acceptance could be the key to a happier life05 Mar 2014 | Action for Happiness

    Happiness is more than just a feeling; it is something we can all practise on a daily basis. But people are better at some ‘happy habits’ than others. In fact, the one habit that corresponds most closely with us being satisfied with our lives overall – self-acceptance – is often the one we practise least.

  • Action for Happiness - Key Achievements20 Dec 2013 | Action for Happiness

    Action for Happiness has made a great deal of positive progress since its launch in April 2011

  • Life is short, don’t delay happiness26 Aug 2013 | Laurence McCahill

    Life is short and we spend most of our waking lives at work. It's a big part of who we are, so it's important that however we earn a living, we also enjoy what we do, ideally in a role that complements important priorities in our lives like family and relationships. No-one on their deathbed looks back wishing they'd spent more time in the office.

  • Good news, we're slightly happier. But why?31 Jul 2013 | Mark Williamson

    Yesterday we saw something rather remarkable on two counts. Firstly, the publication of the very first official year-on-year comparisons of UK wellbeing, a landmark moment in this new era of measuring what matters. And secondly, we had the unexpected news that, as a nation, we've actually become happier and less anxious over the last 12 months. Not hugely happier, but a statistically significant step in the right direction nonetheless.

  • Breaking free from our negativity bias05 Jul 2013 | Nick Begley

    Our built-in negativity bias served our ancestors well when facing daily threats on the Savannah. But now it poses serious risks to our wellbeing, especially when combined with a relentless diet of negativity in our media. But all is not lost. We can counter the negativity bias by actively focusing on the good things happening around us, by doing kind acts to help others and by inspiring others to do the same.

  • Mindfulness changed my life03 Jul 2013 | Gareth Walker

    I was diagnosed with MS a few years ago which was an extremely stressful and anxious time for me. I had heard that meditation was good for stress relief, so I picked up a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I have now been practising mindfulness for about three years and the feelings of peace and happiness in my life are unparalleled. It seems quite unbelievable that this is as a result of a practice which is so simple and is free of charge for any human being.

  • How to be happy and save the world29 May 2013 | Stan Rosenthal

    Living a happier life isn't just good for people, it could also hold the key to saving our planet - by encouraging us to focus less on excessive material consumption and more on the things that really make us happy. If we can switch the goal of modern society away from just maximising material prosperity towards maximising all-round human well-being, we not only improve people's lives, we can also help preserve our planet for future generations.

  • Happiness for vulnerable people01 May 2013 | Carwyn Gravell

    Caring about happiness isn't some luxury just for the privileged few. Happiness is a basic human need and we should take it into account when thinking about the way we support vulnerable people. There are practical ways we can help people make the most of their present circumstances, however challenging. This can help provide energy and motivation for people to address problems, set goals, be resilient to set backs and to progress in life. This focus needs to run alongside the traditional model of support, not follow on afterwards.

  • United Nations International Day of Happiness08 Mar 2013 | Action for Happiness

    20 March 2013 is the very first United Nations International Day of Happiness. To celebrate the day, Action for Happiness is working in partnership a network of amazing, like-minded organisations who share our vision for a flourishing world. We're encouraging people all around the world to ACT and bring happiness to others.

  • Happiness or Success - which comes first?16 Feb 2013 | Action for Happiness

    Many believe that happiness comes with "success", which we're often told means a glittering career, huge salary, beautiful house, expensive car and so on. But actually research is showing that the more important relationship between success and happiness is likely to be the other way around. People who are happy tend to be more successful at whatever it is they're doing

  • Developing good character matters more than passing exams04 Feb 2013 | Anthony Seldon

    The purpose of schools should not just be to maximise the exam performance of their students. They should seek to maximise the chances of their students leading happy, successful and healthy lives. Developing good character is essential to prepare young people for university, for work, for family life and for society. Good character strengths are a far greater predictor of success in life than mere exam passes.

  • People want a more caring and compassionate society24 Jan 2013 | Barrett Values Centre

    The first assessment of UK values finds that people living in the UK want a more caring and compassionate society, with greater accountability and honesty and more effective governance. But there is a major disconnect between what matters most to people and how they feel UK society is currently operating. Caring for the elderly and disadvantaged, affordable housing and employment opportunities come top of British citizens’ wish lists.

  • Spreading happiness with sofas22 Jan 2013 | Action for Happiness

    At the end of last year we ran a competition to win one of two fabulous bespoke sofas. To enter, people had to tell us how they would use their sofa to spread more happiness in the world. We had a phenomenal response and shortlisted entries included people wanting to give the sofa to a local library, a pregnant friend, a community cafe, their dad, a children's nursery, an NHS staff area, an ashram, a university, a retreat house, a school and a charity helping the homeless. Eventually we decided on two extremely worthy and inspiring winners.

  • Startups choosing happiness before profits15 Jan 2013 | Laurence McCahill

    A new breed of entrepreneur is discovering that the secret to building a successful company may be putting happiness before profits. Study after study proves that happy teams are more productive and effective. These new entrepreneurs are choosing business models that are not only successful, but also allow them to spend more time doing what they love and making a positive contribution to society.

  • Don’t be afraid of being the person you have become08 Jan 2013 | Albert Espinosa

    The world would run more smoothly if we all accepted that we make mistakes, that we have made mistakes, that we're not perfect. Lots of people try to find excuses for their mistakes, look for someone else to blame, shift liability on to other people; they never know the joy of accepting responsibility. We have to acknowledge that we make mistakes in order to see where the mistakes are and not make them any more.

  • Resolve to make your workplace happier in 201303 Jan 2013 | Action for Happiness

    Many people going back to work this week will be feeling miserable. The holidays are over, predictions of more economic turmoil abound, and many people will be returning to jobs that they don't enjoy at the best of times. Action for Happiness is proposing a New Year 'resolution' with a difference. Rather than going back to work feeling fed up, people are being asked to commit to make their workplace a happier one in 2013 - and to encourage their employers and colleagues to do the same.

  • Resolutions for a happier 201301 Jan 2013 | Action for Happiness

    As we begin the new year and people plan their 'resolutions' for 2013, Action for Happiness is encouraging a different approach from the usual, dull self-improvement list. Instead, people are being encouraged to do things to make themselves and others around them happier. Evidence shows that how happy we are has a greater impact on our health and how long we live than stopping smoking or losing weight.

  • Keep track of your mood and beat the New Year blues31 Dec 2012 | Moodscope

    People who measured and tracked their mood last year were much more likely to beat the New Year Blues, and researchers expect the same to be true in 2013. Statistics released by online mood-tracking service Moodscope show that the daily 'happiness scores' of those who began recording them in the first four days of January 2012 started at an average of 34% but had risen to 51% by month-end, while the scores of those who had not used the service rose from 34% to just 38%.

  • Accepting who we are and wanting what we have23 Nov 2012 | Paul Sternberg

    Paul Sternberg reflects on how faith traditions and modern science both show us the importance of inner wisdom and outer generosity. They suggest that we should let go of trying to always get what we want or feeding the appetites and desires that we are encouraged to think we need. Instead they point us towards a life which is lived with intention and meaning in spite of, rather than because of, the trappings of mainstream culture.

  • Scotland’s Happiness Day: sharing happiness and hope 09 Nov 2012 | Kim Macleod

    Saturday 10th November 2012 is Scotland's Happiness Day, a unique and inspiring day of activities organised by Action for Happiness supporter Kim Macleod. In this inspiring article she explains what motivated her to put on the event and why she believes we all deserve to be happy - even when things go wrong in life - and how we can all do things to make others around us happier too.

  • Getting the balance right26 Sep 2012 | Nina Grunfeld

    Why do some of us let our work dominate our lives? Why do we so often seem to find it hard to get the balance right? To celebrate National Work-Life Week, Nina Grunfeld looks at practical ways to get a better balance in our lives.

  • You don't have to be ruthless to succeed in life14 Sep 2012 | Molly Aldam

    If success is defined by the amount of money made, perhaps an attitude of ruthlessness is necessary. But if instead we are compassionate, not only does it make us feel happy but it also benefits the people around us. While succeeding at the expense of others may mean people admire us, this is not as valuable as friendship. People who live with compassion naturally tend to invite more respect, fuelled by love rather than fear.

  • Olympics 2012: The Optimism Legacy31 Aug 2012 | Bridget Grenville-Cleave

    During the recent Olympic Games in London an unparalleled mood of optimism and hope swept across the UK. It was without doubt an extraordinary few weeks. The question now is whether we can maintain and capitalize on that amazing sense of optimism now that the games are over and life is settling back to normal.

  • Can you learn how to be happier in one weekend?29 Aug 2012 | Lucy Roberts

    Lucy Roberts explains how spending a weekend learning about the "science of happiness", and practical ways to apply it, left her happier, more fulfilled and still feeling the positive effects in her life six months later.

  • A call for greater focus on children's wellbeing24 Aug 2012 | Wendy Ellyatt

    A whole host of recent research reports have shown that children in the UK are some of the most pressurised and unhappy in the world. The Save Childhood Movement has been launched in response to the increasing level of concern about the erosion of childhood and the declining health and wellbeing of children in the UK.

  • Huge opportunity to improve the nation's wellbeing 24 Jul 2012 | Action for Happiness

    Today sees the publication of the first annual subjective wellbeing data from the UK Office for National Statistics. For the first time, official data shows how people's perceived quality of life varies with key factors such as health, work situation, geographic region, relationships and ethnic group. Many commentators are focusing on the variations in wellbeing across these factors. However, the much more important finding from today's publication is that the variation in subjective well-being within any particular population grouping is generally much greater than the variation between such groupings.

  • People-powered happiness in Bristol19 Jul 2012 | Happy City Initiative

    In just 18 days and with a very low budget the Happy City Initiative has created an entire programme of events at the amphitheatre in Bristol this weekend to inspire, involve and delight, and to showcase how great feats can be accomplished by many people doing small things.

  • Shocking discrimination against mental illness in the health service18 Jun 2012 | Centre for Economic Performance, LSE

    A report published today by the London School of Economics reveals the horrific scale of mental illness in Britain – and how little the NHS does about it. Mental illness is now nearly a half of all ill health suffered by people under 65 – and it is more disabling than most chronic physical disease. Yet only a quarter of those involved are in any form of treatment.

  • Children find happiness at summer camps31 May 2012 | Chris Green

    Summer camps can be a truly life-changing positive experience for youngsters from both well-off and disadvantaged families. Not only do they have a great time, they make new friends, discover new things they can do, contribute to a happy community and feel the joy that comes from being part of something good.

  • Towards a more generous life16 May 2012 | Mike Dickson

    Each of us feels better about ourselves when we help other people. A generous life is a life well lived, and a happier life. The challenge is to find a way to lead a more generous life in the real world. Generosity isn't just about money; giving of ourselves is the greatest act of generosity. We can all become leaders and authors of change, by living more generous, proactive lives, by inspiring each other and by setting an example to our friends and to our children.

  • First World Happiness Report launched at United Nations29 Mar 2012 | Action for Happiness

    On 2 April 2012, the first ever United Nations conference on happiness and wellbeing is taking place at the UN Headquarters in New York. It builds on a UN General Assembly resolution agreed in July 2011 encouraging countries to promote the happiness of their citizens. To mark the conference, a new World Happiness Report is being released, edited by John Helliwell, Jeffrey Sachs and Action for Happiness co-founder Richard Layard.

  • A vital shift in priorities19 Mar 2012 | Mark Williamson

    In recent decades our lives have become increasingly orientated in the service of the economy, rather than the other way around. Yet economic growth is really just a means to an end; it only matters if it contributes to social progress and human wellbeing. Mark Williamson explains why a happier society requires both requires both policy and social change and responds to the first results of the UK government’s initiative to measure our levels of wellbeing.

  • Britain needs a cabinet minister for mental health05 Mar 2012 | Richard Layard

    Mental health should be the sixth pillar of the welfare state says Lord Layard. Mental health lies at the root of so many of our social problems and yet it is shockingly neglected by our policy-makers. This will only change if there is a minister for mental health within the cabinet.

  • Overcoming Depression with the Science of Happiness 04 Mar 2012 | Miriam Akhtar

    Positive psychology is the scientific study of happiness which, in the dozen or so years of its existence, has generated a number of tools that have been scientifically proven to increase positivity, happiness and well-being. Not so well known is that a delightful consequence of these evidence-based techniques is that they also alleviate depression.

  • We're starting to measure what really matters28 Feb 2012 | Action for Happiness

    Today sees publication of new findings and updates from the Office for National Statistics work to measure UK national wellbeing. Welcoming today's report, Action for Happiness' director Mark Williamson said: "The publication of this latest wellbeing data is another very welcome step towards the UK measuring what really matters most - people's quality of life as they experience it"

  • Shifting sands: a changing working landscape?24 Feb 2012 | Ben Moss and Sophie Armond

    Well-Being is an enormous, multi-faceted topic that is starting to drive some seismic changes in our working lives. Keeping track of the impact of health, finance, education and day-to-day working life on our well-being – and then taking action to make improvement – is certainly a challenge, but we’ve made huge progress. Now we need to keep the momentum going and make sure the benefits can be consistently and sustainably reaped by all.

  • Today is World Happy Day11 Feb 2012 | Action for Happiness

    Today is World Happy Day and thousands of people are joining together in communities all over the world to watch the film Happy. Screenings are taking place at over 600 locations in 60 countries across all 7 continents. Happy is an inspiring documentary from Academy Award nominated director Roko Belic (Genghis Blues) that aims to discover what really makes us happy.

  • Caring about the happiness of others06 Feb 2012 | Action for Happiness

    Professor Lord Richard Layard, co-founder of Action for Happiness, discusses happiness, cultural values, mental health, schools and cognitive behavioural therapy with Richard Holloway in a recent interview on BBC radio.

  • January blues? Or as good a month as any other?16 Jan 2012 | Sarah Dale

    It's a popular myth that the third Monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. But "Blue Monday" has no real scientific basis and was dreamt up as a marketing idea. Although January may feel a bit of an anti-climax it doesn't need to be a gloomy month. As the saying goes, "There's no such thing as the wrong weather, just the wrong clothes". So with that mindset let's ignore the gloom-mongers and embrace what January brings.

  • Government has vital role in creating a happier society16 Jan 2012 | Action for Happiness

    Today's report from the Institute of Economic Affairs - which claims that it is wrong for governments to measure or attempt to improve people's wellbeing - is misleading and wrong. Although individuals have the greatest ability to affect their happiness, government nevertheless has a vital role in creating the conditions for people to lead happy lives.

  • 25 Universities Pledge To Promote Mental Wealth In 201213 Jan 2012 | Mental Wealth UK

    A mental health campaign launched last October, and supported by Action for Happiness, has led to the creation of student-led advocacy groups at 25 universities. The campaign, led by Mental Wealth UK, was in response to a report highlighting the threats to student wellbeing. The groups will work to promote good mental health and wellbeing on their campuses throughout 2012.

  • Simple things in life make us happiest, research shows06 Jan 2012 | Emma Reynolds

    The simple things in life - like spending time with family - make us the happiest, a survey has revealed. More than a quarter of us say that just having someone be nice to us puts us in a good mood, according to the Feel Good Factor index published by PruHealth. Although squeezed households still love a bargain, most of the things that made us happiest cost nothing.

  • Oldspeak happiness: a review of the film Happy05 Jan 2012 | Ben Irvine

    Roko Belic’s Happy is a hugely inspiring film. Its cast of characters is anything but stereotypical. We meet pensioners from Okinawa, Danish co-housing inhabitants, Namibian Bushmen, a disfigured former debutante from America, a surfer from Brazil, an Indian rickshaw driver, an amateur crab fisherman from Louisiana, and some unusually down-to-earth academics. The film reminds us of some simple truths about happiness - which many of us tend to forget amid the distracting sensory bombardment of modern life

  • New Year Resolution to make your workplace happier03 Jan 2012 | Action for Happiness

    Many people going back to work today will be feeling miserable. The holidays are over, predictions of more economic turmoil abound, and many people will be returning to jobs that they don't enjoy at the best of times. Action for Happiness is proposing a New Year 'resolution' with a difference. Rather than going back to work feeling fed up, people are being asked to commit to make their workplace a happier one in 2012 - and to encourage their employers and colleagues to do the same.

  • Feel-Good Resolutions for the new year31 Dec 2011 | Action for Happiness

    As a new year approaches and people plan their 'resolutions' for the year ahead, Action for Happiness is encouraging a different approach from the usual, dull self-improvement list. Instead, people are being asked to take the Action for Happiness pledge and do things to make themselves and others happier. Evidence shows that how happy you are can have a greater impact on your health and how long you live than stopping smoking or losing weight.

  • Action for Happiness: our highlights of 201122 Dec 2011 | Action for Happiness

    Wow, what a year 2011 has been. So many happy memories! This is just the beginning of the journey towards a happier society - and we still need huge changes right across our society - but there has been a lot of encouraging progress during the year. Here are some of the highlights.

  • A happier society is both desirable and possible15 Dec 2011 | Mark Williamson

    Creating a happier society is not just desirable, it's possible. Yes, we need some big changes in our politics, workplaces, schools and beyond - but there are significant potential benefits from getting this right. We can each contribute to the much-needed shift in values which is already underway, by choosing to live in a way that prioritises the happiness of those around us.

  • Happiness: a message to world leaders05 Dec 2011 | Action for Happiness

    Today our movement has gained a huge boost. The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, has written to the leaders of all countries calling for them to make people’s happiness and wellbeing the political priority for 2012. The letter specifically mentions and supports the work of Action for Happiness as a global movement for positive social change.

  • A momentous day for a happier UK01 Dec 2011 | Mark Williamson

    Today is a momentous day. The Office for National Statistics has published the very first official results from its new programme to measure our national wellbeing. This is a groundbreaking development and will hopefully provide the basis for a profound shift in government policy-making.

  • Happier workplaces are better for people and for business21 Nov 2011 | Action for Happiness

    Today sees a call for radical change in the way we treat people at work, as we launch a new Manifesto for happier workplaces. A happy, fulfilling work environment isn't just great for staff, it also delivers huge benefits to business in terms of a more motivated workforce, improved productivity and ultimately better long-term financial performance.

  • Happiness in the library, the cinema and the pub07 Nov 2011 | Rainbow Wilcox

    A new member of Action for Happiness explains how she heard about the movement and why she decided to get involved.

  • Putting happiness before growth05 Nov 2011 | The Times

    People are right to be indignant about the malfunctionings of our economic system. But this only helps if linked to some clear principle to guide our priorities. Action for Happiness believes the aim should be a society in which there is the most happiness and above all the least misery.

  • The Summer of our Discontent31 Oct 2011 | Miriam Akhtar

    This summer the UK was rocked by riots with young people playing the major role in the looting of shops. Mariam Akhtar asks whether the use of positive psychology can connect with disaffected adolescents and help them to be more resilient and find better routes to happiness and positive emotions?

  • Pursuit of happiness20 Sep 2011 | The Guardian

    The path to inner joy is simple – do acts of kindness, relax and be thankful for what you've got. According to Action for Happiness, little things like this can really improve our lives. But can they really work? Hannah Booth spent a week putting them to the test.

  • Newsletter 11: Be part of something bigger06 Sep 2011 | Action for Happiness

    This summer saw a very encouraging UN declaration calling on countries to give more importance to happiness. It's great to see people across the world starting to recognise that although economic progress matters, improving our overall well-being is more important than growing our wealth.

  • Jeffrey Sachs on the Pursuit of Happiness30 Aug 2011 | Huffington Post

    Jeffrey Sachs explains why the time has come to reconsider the basic sources of happiness in economic life, not just for a better distribution of income and wealth, but also for a better distribution of values, ethics, and goals. Economic progress is important and can greatly improve the quality of life, but only if it is pursued sensibly in line with other goals in the society.

  • Happiness Tends to Deter Crime24 Aug 2011 | PsychCentral

    A new study reports that a happy teen is less likely to be involved in criminal activities or use drugs. The researchers evaluated results from the largest, most comprehensive survey of adolescents ever undertaken.

  • Newsletter 10: Riots, schools and measuring happiness12 Aug 2011 | Action for Happiness

    It's been a traumatic week here in the UK, with riots showing the worst side of human nature. But it's also been inspiring to see communities uniting to clean up and find positive ways forward. We're pleased that the government is committed to measuring well-being, but it needs to take action too. We're also planning a new schools initiative.

  • Well-Being and Action for Happiness11 Aug 2011 | Richard Layard

    A fundamental cultural change is underway in Britain: we are beginning to think that the purpose of life and of government might be the well-being of the people rather than the creation of wealth. Similar subversive ideas are growing in other rich countries, but they are more advanced in Britain than elsewhere.

  • Riots show why the happiness agenda is vital09 Aug 2011 | Mark Williamson

    In the aftermath of last night's riots in London and other UK cities people are shocked and angry. Happiness seems almost irrelevant. Yet if we stop to look at what might be the underlying drivers of this behaviour, many of these lead back to important issues at the heart of the happiness agenda.

  • Restoring Happiness in People with Depression28 Jul 2011 | UC Riverside

    Practicing positive activities may serve as an effective, low-cost treatment for people suffering from depression, according to researchers at the University of California, Riverside and Duke University Medical Center.

  • Counting isn't action, and it's action that counts25 Jul 2011 | Action for Happiness

    Action for Happiness calls for government action to improve well-being not just measure it. As the government today confirms its plans to measure national well-being, Action for Happiness is calling on the government to start reshaping policy to increase well-being. It is urging much greater priority for mental health, life skills education and support for the most disadvantaged.

  • What does "flourishing" look like?19 Jul 2011 | Lindsay Doran

    In September 2010, an eclectic group was brought together by Martin Seligman, founder of the Positive Psychology movement, to share thoughts on the subject of "flourishing". Attendees included headmasters, a doctor, a psychiatrist, a poet, an economist, a neuroscientist, authors, professors, students, philanthropists, game inventors and a movie producer. Lindsay Doran shares what she learnt.

  • Happiness and public policy12 Jul 2011 | Richard Layard

    Happiness is now on the agenda, and about time too. But is this just a trendy fad, or should there be a permanent change in the way we think about the purposes of politics?

  • Laughter has serious benefits10 Jul 2011 | Joe Hoare

    Do we laugh enough or should we learn to laugh more? Joyful, good-natured laughter is a tonic for our body, mind, emotions and spirit and can bring serious health benefits. In many ways it is the ultimate drug, with no harmful side-effects.

  • Happier together: the secrets of authentic relationships07 Jul 2011 | Sarah Abell

    Building strong and authentic relationships with others is one of the most rewarding adventures we can undertake. But it takes time and energy and we need to be prepared to risk being rejected and hurt. Sarah Abell shares ten ways we can invest in better relationships.

  • A positive approach to chronic illness and disability05 Jul 2011 | Antonella Delle Fave

    Chronic illnesses and disabilities have a dramatic impact on individuals and their families. But research shows that people can successfully achieve a good quality of life despite these severe constraints. We need a more positive and rounded approach to support their well-being.

  • Why good conversations matter23 Jun 2011 | Alain de Botton

    It is striking how bad most of us are at having a conversation. We get scared of opening our souls because we falsely exaggerate the difference between ourselves and others. We imagine that others don’t share in our vulnerabilities or interests. We display only our strengths and become boring.

  • Crisis? What crisis?20 Jun 2011 | Sarah Dale

    In planes we are urged to put our own oxygen masks on first before trying to help others, even our own children, in the event of an emergency. I believe we need to treat our own physical and mental well-being in the same way.

  • Newsletter 9: A Good Week10 Jun 2011 | Action for Happiness

    Is this the beginning of a big cultural shift? We think it's fantastic that so many people are now talking about happiness. They're starting to recognise that it comes less from money or material things and more from great relationships, peace of mind and being part of something bigger.

  • 5 Beneficial Side Effects of Kindness02 Jun 2011 | Huffington Post

    When we think of side effects, the first thing that springs to mind are the side effects of drugs. But who'd have thought that kindness could have side effects, too? Well, it does! And positive ones at that. It makes us happier and healthier; it also helps us live longer and have better relationships.

  • Collective happiness: balancing desires and needs31 May 2011 | David Puttnam

    Film director David Puttnam considers areas where we can contribute to our collective happiness. He argues that the key is to put our longer-term needs - such as living sustainably and having a deeper commitment to our communities - ahead of our short-term individual desires.

  • Enterprises should focus on wellbeing rather than growth24 May 2011 | The Guardian

    After 2008, we entered a 'beyond-growth' economy, argues Jules Peck. Today, we need enterprises that aim to deliver wellbeing

  • OECD looks to compare happiness across nations24 May 2011 | The Wall Street Journal

    The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is turning to private citizens, not economists or think tanks, to help it figure out how to measure happiness.

  • Cultural activities good for men's health and happiness23 May 2011 | The Telegraph

    Simply observing culture improves the physical health and mental wellbeing of men more than attempting to be creative, it is claimed. Women seem to benefit more from taking part in artistic activities than just watching them, however. Researchers suggest that doctors and policymakers should therefore promote cultural activities as a simple way to lower stress.

  • Understanding unhappiness20 May 2011 | Lewis Wolpert

    Professor Lewis Wolpert explains how depression is more widespread than many of us realise and why it's so important that we take action to combat the stigma associated with depression and find better ways to help those at risk, particularly young people.

  • Flourish 5116 May 2011 | Martin Seligman

    Martin Seligman lays out his vision for 51% of the world's population to be "flourishing" by 2051

  • 'Five-a-day-for-the-mind' to be trialled by NHS16 May 2011 | The Telegraph

    A new campaign to make everyone feel more cheerful will be trialled by the NHS. Taking as its template the “five-a-day” campaign to get us eating more fruit and vegetables, Mindapples is a “five-a-day for your mind” programme to benefit mental well-being.

  • Afterglow, Altruism and Adventure09 May 2011 | Dr Chris Johnstone

    Action for Happiness member Dr Chris Johnstone is a specialist in the psychology of resilience, happiness and positive change. In this article he explains why the deepest satisfactions tend not to be those that come most easily. There’s often a journey involved.

  • 'Happiness gene' discovered06 May 2011 | The Telegraph

    A "happiness gene" which has a strong influence on how satisfied people are with their lives, has been discovered. But experts confirm that other genes and especially experience throughout the course of life will continue to explain the majority of variation in individual happiness.

  • Newsletter 8: Building a happier society together05 May 2011 | Action for Happiness

    It's been an incredible few weeks for our movement. We officially launched on April 12 and created a huge buzz across television, radio, newspapers and online. Over 12,000 of us have now joined from more than 100 countries which is a fantastic start!

  • Life satisfaction and state intervention05 May 2011 | Baylor University

    People living in countries with governments that have a greater number of social services report being more satisfied with life, according to a study by a Baylor University researcher.

  • Happiness is looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses04 May 2011 | The Telegraph

    Remembering the good times and forgetting about the bad are the keys to happiness, claims a new study. Researchers found that people with personality traits that allow them to be nostalgic about the past have higher life satisfaction than those who exaggerate or mull over their failures.

  • Switch off, chip in, be happy, say activists27 Apr 2011 | LA Times

    If you want to be happy, elect your boss, take a break from your mobile phone and give to charity — that's the advice from a new global movement for happiness whose members include the Dalai Lama.

  • Five things I have learned23 Apr 2011 | BBC News

    Anthony Seldon reveals the five most important things he has learned in his life. As the head of Wellington College, he threw out GCSEs and established his own curriculum - which includes lessons in happiness.

  • Friends, family and birthdays 'make children happiest'16 Apr 2011 | BBC News

    Friends, family and birthdays top the list of things that UK children say make them happy, a survey suggests. Computer games came in above chocolate, while social networking websites languished below both, in the survey of 1,000 children aged up to 16. Children rated their happiness, on average, at 8.5 out of 10, compared to only 6.5 for adults.

  • Action for Happiness14 Apr 2011 | Psychology Today

    An exciting thing happened in London, on Tuesday. Action for Happiness, a new charity, celebrated its launch. Action for Happiness' mission is to encourage people to increase the happiness of others. Because doing good feels good. They have already connected with a wide range of charities, companies, and community organizations which promote happiness, and are looking to expand their already global network.

  • Movement launches with free hugs and love13 Apr 2011 | Guardian

    As drivers angrily beeped their horns and cyclists weaved impatiently through London's traffic, Amandeep Hothi stood cheerily on the pavement holding aloft a sign offering, in pink letters, "Free Hugs". Hothi is part of a new group called Action for Happiness, whose members aim to boost the net amount of joy in the world by being kind to others and countering "an epidemic of loneliness and isolation".

  • Action for Happiness movement launches13 Apr 2011 | BBC News

    The world's first membership organisation dedicated to spreading happiness has been officially launched. Action for Happiness, which claims to have 4,500 members in more than 60 countries, says it prioritises healthy relationships and meaningful activities as a means to happier living. It has ambitions to become what it calls "a global mass movement for fundamental cultural change".

  • New mass movement for a happier society launches with rallying call to action12 Apr 2011 | Action for Happiness

    A new mass movement to create a happier society launches today (Tuesday 12 April 2011). Action for Happiness aims at a fundamentally different culture, where people care more for the happiness of others. The initiative is calling for people to pledge to create more happiness in the world and take positive action to promote happiness in whatever way they can - at home, at work or in the community.

  • Britons becoming 'increasingly miserable'12 Apr 2011 | The Telegraph

    Research suggests that despite having much more materially than previous generations, the country is no happier than it was half a century ago. Experts warn that unless we undergo a “radical cultural change”, Britain will slide into unprecedented depths of despair blighted by rising rates of suicide and depression. A group of eminent British thinkers from the worlds of education, economics and politics – backed by the Dalai Lama – yesterday launched a campaign to halt the nation’s psychological decline.

  • Getting our priorities right12 Apr 2011 | Mark Williamson

    Today sees the launch of Action for Happiness - a new mass movement for social change founded by three pioneering thinkers, Richard Layard, Geoff Mulgan and Anthony Seldon. It is based on one simple idea – that if we want a happier society, we've got to approach our own lives in a way that prioritises the things that really matter, including the happiness of those around us.

  • Is a happier society possible?11 Apr 2011 | Richard Layard

    Lord Richard Layard discusses what we can do to create a happier society. This lecture was presented on 10 March 2011. Lord Layard, Emeritus Professor of Economics at LSE explores four critical areas of our lives that can be optimised to increase happiness: income, human relationships, altruism and work. He goes on to discuss the Action for Happiness movement, which launches on 12 April 2011 and aims to encourage a mass movement of people pursuing a better way of life.

  • Happy now?09 Apr 2011 | Financial Times

    Do you agree that your life has a sense of purpose? Would you say that, overall, you have a lot to be proud of? Do you wish you lived somewhere else? Coming out of the blue, these are tricky questions to answer. Yet they aren’t aimed at adults. They come from a questionnaire for children aged 11 to 16.

  • The pursuit of happiness06 Apr 2011 | The Guardian

    How do people "bounce back" after a period of adversity in their lives? It's a question hundreds of women in community centres across London have been grappling with in recent months. In all, 320 women in 20 boroughs volunteered to take part in a series of eight workshops with the alluring title of "DIY Happiness".

  • Happiness – and how to find it03 Apr 2011 | Geoff Mulgan

    Low taxes, freedom of speech, equality... the government can provide or withhold many of the things that make life better. Now a new organisation called Action for Happiness wants to spread the message of how we can change the world for the better

  • The philosophy of happiness03 Apr 2011 | Richard Layard

    The idea that happiness matters is very British in its modern origins. In the mid-18th century, the Scottish philosopher Frances Hutcheson was the first to describe the best society as the one that had "the greatest happiness of the greatest number". Similar ideas were held by his friends Adam Smith and David Hume. But the genius who carried the idea much further was Jeremy Bentham, the English lawyer who inspired so many of the legal and social reforms of the early 19th century. Later in the 19th century the idea was powerfully restated by John Stuart Mill.

  • Happiness peaks in our eighties28 Mar 2011 | Daily Telegraph

    Traditional wisdom states that our younger years are the best of our lives, with the milestone of 40 meaning we are "over the hill" and already on the wane. But in fact satisfaction and optimism steadily increase after middle age, easily eclipsing the earlier years and peaking as late as the eighties, according to research.

  • Raise Happy Children26 Mar 2011 | Huffington Post

    One of the most frequent comments I get from parents is, "I just want my kid to be happy." Though an admirable and common objective, happiness is one of the most neglected family values in 21st century America. Few parents grasp the essential meaning of happiness for their children and fewer still understand how they can help their children to find it.

  • Cuts directly impacting on children’s well-being17 Mar 2011 | The Children's Society

    The Children's Society today warns that the current economic situation is having a major impact on children's well-being. In the run-up to next week's budget, the leading children’s charity has released a new report, which found that a decrease in family income is directly related to lower well-being for children.

  • Six Ways to Boost Your “Habits of Helping"15 Mar 2011 | Greater Good Science Centre

    Whether we are looking at studies of older adults, middle-aged women, or preteens, we see that altruistic behavior casts a halo effect over people’s lives, giving them greater longevity, lower rates of heart disease, and better mental health. This article provides six suggestions for how to expand your habits of helping.

  • Moving towards a happier society14 Mar 2011 | Positive News

    We can all take positive steps to increase our wellbeing, and a new organisation, Action for Happiness, is here to help. Most of us would agree that this vision looks highly admirable and if we embrace it and see where we find ourselves in ten years’ time, it could be an enlightening, and hopefully a happier, decade.

  • Newsletter 7: Ten keys to Happier Living04 Mar 2011 | Mark Williamson

    In recent years lots of new scientific evidence has emerged about the things that make life happy and fulfilling. Yet very little of this knowledge is communicated in a way that's useful in our daily lives. We've undertaken a review of the latest evidence and distilled the findings into ten simple themes. Before making these more widely available, we wanted to get your reactions.

  • Happiness 'helps you live longer'03 Mar 2011 | Daily Telegraph

    Researchers found "clear and compelling evidence" that happiness paves the way to better health and longer lifespans. The review of more than 160 studies found the evidence connecting an upbeat outlook to a healthier life was even stronger than that linking obesity to reduced longevity. It backed previous studies that found a “glass half full” approach was good for your health.

  • ONS happiness survey questions revealed24 Feb 2011 | BBC News

    UK households are to be asked how satisfied they are with their lives in survey measuring happiness. The Office for National Statistics has published questions it is adding to an existing nationwide poll from April. People will be asked to rank from nought to 10 how "satisfied" they are, and how "anxious" they felt yesterday.

  • Can a gratitude journal improve your outlook on life?22 Feb 2011 | Healthzone

    “If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” This quote by children’s author Mary Engelbreit summarizes the past few years of Faisal Sethi’s life. It’s a path that led the creative director to create a website called Happyrambles that encourages users to write down things they’re grateful for every day.

  • Positive emotions enhance mental health and life satisfaction14 Feb 2011 | PsychCentral

    If negative emotions lead to a narrow view of problem solving and coping, and when chronic, tend to prompt a downward spiral in mood, could there also be an upward spiral that expands thinking and problem solving capabilities from experiencing positive emotions? Some of the most fascinating research in positive psychology has come from Barbara Fredrickson in examining this concept.

  • Action for Happiness partners with ICEP Europe11 Feb 2011 | Action for Happiness

    The Institute of Child Education and Psychology, Europe (ICEP Europe) is offering members of Action for Happiness free scholarships for the online course, Teaching Happiness: Positive Psychology for behaviour and learning.

  • Newsletter 6: Launch event and 'Teaching Happiness'10 Feb 2011 | Mark Williamson

    It's been great hearing from so many of our members recently. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas and sorry if you're still waiting for a reply. We're planning an event for our official launch in April. We hope to bring lots of members together to talk about the movement and share ideas. We would love your views on the event

  • The science of happiness: happier people are healthier02 Feb 2011 | Kaiser Permanente

    A study of nearly 10,000 people found that, 2 years later, those with higher rates of happiness and life satisfaction reported 50 percent better health and less long-term, limiting health conditions. Another long-term study of nuns discovered that those who wrote autobiographies reflecting happiness, love, and hope at a young age had a 2.5 times lower risk of dying early than their gloomier young counterparts.

  • Happiness: Do we have a choice?28 Jan 2011 | Scienceline

    The concept of happiness is universally understood, yet escapes all comprehension. Can someone really be both unhappy everyday and happy over a lifetime? Does the notion of happiness change throughout the world, between communities, between people? Most importantly, do we have any choice in the matter? Recent research in psychology, economics and public policy may help unravel this tangled knot of questions.

  • Newsletter 5: BBC coverage and Headspace tickets27 Jan 2011 | Mark Williamson

    It's an exciting week for those involved with Action for Happiness, with TV coverage and event appearances taking our message to a wider audience. A very warm welcome to everyone who's joined us this month - we're now over 3,000 strong and growing rapidly, with 60 countries represented.

  • Mindfulness Changes Brain Structure in Eight Weeks21 Jan 2011 | Science Daily

    Participating in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program appears to make measurable changes in brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. In a study that will appear in the January 30 issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, a team led by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) researchers report the results of their study, the first to document meditation-produced changes over time in the brain's grey matter.

  • Happiness Challenge on BBC Breakfast 11 Jan 2011 | Action for Happiness

    Action for Happiness has partnered with BBC Breakfast to run a week-long Happiness Challenge all this week (24-29 Jan). The aim is to get members of the public trying out simple actions to improve their happiness, based on the latest scientific research.

  • The Happy Marriage Is the ‘Me’ Marriage31 Dec 2010 | The New York Times

    A lasting marriage does not always signal a happy marriage. Plenty of miserable couples have stayed together for children, religion or other practical reasons. But for many couples, it’s just not enough to stay together. They want a relationship that is meaningful and satisfying.

  • Newsletter 4: Christmas update23 Dec 2010 | Mark Williamson

    Hello from snowy London and welcome to the final update of the year for all supporters of Action for Happiness. It's wonderful that people from 59 different countries are now involved. Huge thanks once again for all your support.

  • Money really doesn't buy happiness - in the long term at least13 Dec 2010 | The Telegraph

    "Money doesn't buy happiness." It's an old adage that many of us like to quote but few of us really believe. However, now a new study by an economist dubbed the 'father of happiness studies' has found it to be true.

  • 5 Ways Giving Is Good for You13 Dec 2010 | Greater Good Science Centre

    Holiday shopping can be terrifying, yes. But research suggests it’s worth it: New studies attest to the benefits of giving—not just for the recipients but for the givers’ health and happiness, and for the strength of entire communities.

  • Give the Gift of Happiness03 Dec 2010 | Psychology Today

    Studies show that wanting more than we have is a recipe for misery. On the other hand, wanting what we already have predicts happiness. Once our basic needs are met, experiences actually make us happier than any "thing" money can buy.

  • Why happiness is elusive02 Dec 2010 | Press.co.nz

    Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard, get the big promotion, meet the right person, win the lottery we'll be successful and therefore happy. Yet recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have found that's not the case. Happiness itself is the precursor to success and fulfilment, not the other way around.

  • Newsletter 3: Movement for Happiness is changing01 Dec 2010 | Mark Williamson

    It's been a fascinating couple of weeks for those of us who care about building a happier society. The UK government's decision to officially measure people's well-being has generated lots of debate and discussion, both here and abroad. If nothing else, it seems clear that happiness is a topic that sparks passionate views and touches every aspect of our lives. In this newsletter I'll share some of our latest progress in building a movement for positive social change, starting with some big news…

  • Gratitude: The Secret to Happiness30 Nov 2010 | The Huffington Post

    Maybe you thought it was money, sex or food, but experts are saying that the key to happiness is something entirely different. It's something that anyone can have at any time. It's simple and it's vital. It's gratitude. Recent research shows that a daily gratitude practice can lead to increased concentration, enthusiasm, optimism and satisfaction -- not to mention improved sleep quality and a greater sense of connection to others.

  • Giving and Your Community Wellbeing30 Nov 2010 | Gallup

    "Give blood. All you'll feel is good." As this campaign slogan illustrates, giving is good for both the recipient and the donor. Psychologists have conducted experiments to determine if this claim is true and it turns out that this is one slogan that passes the truth-in-advertising test. People reported experiencing increased moods before and after they donated blood.

  • Want Happiness? Invest in Relationships, Not Just Markets28 Nov 2010 | CNBC

    New report reveals that once you reach a certain level, money does not really bring happiness. “Our research shows that having an intimate relationship is the most important thing. If you’ve got one solid intimate, emotional relationship, then you’re very well off”.

  • An index of happiness is at least a worthwhile endeavour26 Nov 2010 | Independent

    Recently, the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, asked two Nobel economists, Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, to come up with a way to measure well-being. Now David Cameron has asked the Office for National Statistics to do the same.

  • Lord Layard speech at Wellbeing Conference, HM Treasury25 Nov 2010 | Richard Layard

    Speech by Lord Layard at the HM Treasury conference to mark launch of the ONS wellbeing consultation. "This is a wonderful day for the cause of happiness. For the first time in British history, well-being is accepted as a proper objective of government policy, and therefore worth measuring as accurately as possible"

  • For better or worse, happiness is hitched to your spouse25 Nov 2010 | MSNBC.com

    For years, people have assumed their happiness was tied to things like personal success, good health, inner peace, or perhaps the ability to finally fit into a pair of size 4 jeans. Now new research suggests a person’s happiness — or lack thereof — may actually depend on something else entirely: their spouse.

  • Prioritising the things that really matter24 Nov 2010 | Mark Williamson

    Mark Williamson wrote this article for our friends at Do The Green Thing in support of their campaign for international Buy Nothing day. "Let’s stop aiming for lives filled with riches and focus instead on helping people lead richer lives".

  • Thank You. No, Thank You23 Nov 2010 | Wall Street Journal

    It turns out, giving thanks is good for your health. A growing body of research suggests that maintaining an attitude of gratitude can improve psychological, emotional and physical well-being.

  • Newsletter 2: Latest news from the Movement17 Nov 2010 | Mark Williamson

    I'm writing as the new director of the Movement for Happiness. It's fantastic that you've signed up to join the thousands of us who want to help create a happier society. In this newsletter I'll share some of our latest ideas and also give you a brief update on progress so far. But before any of that… we want your views!

  • Want Happiness? Practice Kindness09 Nov 2010 | Psychology Today

    Can we be truly, lastingly happy if we are not also kind, generous and compassionate? I tend to believe His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."

  • Newsletter 1: Thanks for all your support27 Oct 2010 | Richard Layard, Geoff Mulgan, Anthony Seldon

    Thank you so much for signing up to join the Movement for Happiness earlier this year. This is a long overdue update on what's been going on. As a reminder, we’re bringing together people who want to see a greater focus on happiness and well-being across society.

  • Britons say key to happiness is helping others10 Oct 2010 | Theos

    More than half of Britons believe helping others in the UK and abroad is important to achieving happiness, a new poll has revealed. On the eve of a new report into human wellbeing, the survey found that 75% of those asked believe helping people in the UK is key to happiness, with 54% citing helping those abroad as important to happiness.

  • Don't Worry: Happiness Levels Not Set in Stone05 Oct 2010 | Fox News

    "Don't worry, be happy" may be more than just a wishful mantra. A new study finds that people's happiness levels can change substantially over their lifetimes, suggesting that happiness isn't predetermined by genes or personality.

  • Wellington College extends 'happiness lessons' to parents20 Sep 2010 | Daily Telegraph

    Wellington College, the boarding school that introduced lessons in wellbeing and positive psychology four years ago, is extending happiness classes to parents, too.

  • The secret of happiness: Family, friends and your environment15 Aug 2010 | The Independent

    A growing school of thought believes that we have actually gained something from the last few years of economic gloom; that we are starting to value the things that matter: our friends, homes and the world we live in. Even more remarkably, they suggest that these things are making us happier than the conspicuous consumption and hedonism of the boom years.

  • The business case for happiness at work28 Jul 2010 | Psychology Today

    Last week I met someone I'd coached a few years ago for a catch-up dinner. Her face was glowing and she was radiating enthusiasm and energy. Her organization had been through a very tough time with job losses, new management, high levels of uncertainty. And she had been given lots of new challenges to deal with, responsibilities and in areas she'd had little knowledge of. She was loving it all and told me that she was incredibly happy at work. But what is the general effect that supposedly post-recessionary times are having on happiness and productivity?

  • Why Happiness Matters28 Mar 2010 | Richard Layard

    What if it really is possible for individuals and whole societies to shape and boost their happiness? This simple but extraordinarily powerful idea lies behind Action for Happiness - a movement for positive social change.

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I give to charity, I sponsor an orphan in Uganda, Im involved in a community housing project and also in a community fruit harvesting project, I campaign for social and environmental justice, I try to be a good friend to people, I try to have a positve can-do attiutude in life (at work and at home), I am friendly to strangers/neighbours/random people on the bus etc, I try not to live my life in a way that compromises other peoples abil;ity to live theirs (now and in the future).

Amanda, Leeds, UK

10 Apr 2011, 05:42

Small and big things whenever I have the opportunity. I left a corporate job to start my own company Emergency Happiness so I could dedicate my career and life to helping others find happiness and success. I also take pleasure in helping others in small ways such as a smile or a hug

Genevieve, Berkshire, UK

10 Apr 2011, 06:26

I am a nurse and although I get paid for my job I feel in that momnet of caring for my patient I try to give so much comfort and kindness.

Tracey, Bangor, UK

10 Apr 2011, 06:26
One of the big dilemmas people face is what's best to do for their family: work as hard as possible to provide for them - or be there as much as possible, even if that means putting work as a lower priority. I've got a young family and I'm definitely in the latter camp - love, time and support are much more important for a family than a bigger house, expensive holiday or more new stuff.

Mark, Kingston, Surrey

24 Feb 2011, 02:48

At 69, to explore something new and to create something new; I am creating a laughter and happiness club - launches on 2nd April. What happens if only one person attends? Make sure the next session has at least two people attending!

Keith, Carlisle, UK

10 Apr 2011, 06:26

I tend to go in cycles when it comes to exercising, but I definitely notice I am calm when I do exercise. The older I get, the harder it is to stay in shape, so I like to do group classes; I used to run a lot, but now I need more effort on every bit of me - not just calorie burning. When I am exercising consistently, I do it about twice a week. I also walk every where, and occassionally ride my bike - I don't own a car so I get lots of opportunity to do this. It gives me plenty of time to tick over my thoughts!

Charlotte, Bristol, UK

10 Apr 2011, 05:45

I love beauty and people. I stop and look at gardens, people interacting, animals living in our environment, birds, etc. clouds in the sky, changing colours of the light during the day, I stop and pay attention to myself, how I am feeling, thinking. I listen, I love to stop and listen to all the sounds, bells tinkling in the distance... I like to notice the breeze, or the air everyday and breathe in the sunshine or the greyness of the skies, the stars at night, the glow of the moon...

Patricia, Paris, France

10 Apr 2011, 05:57

I allow time to process sadness, grief, loss - knowing I can't move on until I have done so. I remind myself of the successful things I have achieved, including 4 great, balanced and successful children. I always have a number of projects on the go, so if one doesn't work out there are always other things to move on to. I breathe to calm anxiety; I meditate (not necessarily sitting); I talk to supportive friends and family; I write

Lucy, Norwich, UK

10 Apr 2011, 06:00

My life! I am in a good place. I have wonderful family and friends around me. Trying to share the happiness and spread the Positive Psychology with others feels good too. Seeing the ripples of positivity spread outwards.

Miranda, Norfolk, UK

10 Apr 2011, 06:01
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