X
JOIN US

Do you want to help create a happier and kinder world? If so, please join our movement, add your pledge and we'll send you practical action ideas to make a difference. By choosing to Join, you trust Action for Happiness to take care of your personal information and agree to our Privacy Policy.

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

join

news

news rss feed rss logo

Happiness at Halow

12 Jun 2015 | Izzy McRae

Halow Project

I just had an amazing experience running a workshop for young adults with learning disabilities at the brilliant Halow Project in Surrey.

I was slightly nervous about doing it.  So much of my energy has gone into explaining the intellectual side of happiness - what the research is saying, what scientists see in the brain functions etc.  I figured this crowd would need a much more hands-on experience rather than an esoteric discussion.

So I started off by asking the group what good things had happened over the weekend.  This is a great way to put yourself in a positive train of thought (even if you've had a terrible weekend!).  Two of the young men couldn't come up with anything.  It made my heart ache.

I chatted to one of them who was sitting next to me.  We came up with three good things eventually, and he seemed to perk up at the evidence in front of him that his weekend hadn't been all bad.  Then, not to be out-done, the other guy suddenly volunteered that he'd had a haircut which had made him feel "fresh".

But the real surprise was still to come.  I led a three minute guided meditation, focusing attention on the breath. When I stopped, I looked round the room.  It was incredible the way the calm had come over all of us.  Haircut Man's eyes were clear and bright.  He said he couldn't describe the feeling, but a weight had gone from his shoulders. 

I'd always assumed the people most in need of meditation and positive psychology were stressed out city executives.  But this experience renewed my faith in the power of these easy interventions to help all kinds of people, and reminded me that everybody suffers.

Having a learning disability and being aware of your dependence on your loved ones, aware of finding things difficult that others found easy, it must be hard not to get down. 

They also brought up the suffering in the world - the unhappiness from the war in Syria and Iraq, and from parents not looking after their children.  I could see that they felt the pain out there and it weighed on them.

But there was one woman who seemed nothing but joyful - the "happiness mascot" of the group.  When we nominated her this she squealed with delight and clapped with glee.

As I got on the train back to gloomy rush-hour London I felt truly blessed to have had such a wonderful experience.  I will treasure it.

Thank you to the Halow Project for giving me the opportunity!

 

Izzy Mc Rae

Izzy McRae has been part of the Action for Happiness team since January 2015. Her background is in foreign affairs and economics and she is currently completing an Executive MBA at Oxford's Said Business School. Follow her on Twitter @izzymcrae1

tags

click to view

Happiness is contagious

Our happiness influences the people we know and the people they know.

Research shows that the happiness of a close contact increases the chance of being happy by 15%. The happiness of a 2nd-degree contact (e.g. friend's spouse) by 10% and the happiness of a 3rd-degree contact (e.g. friend of a friend of a friend) by 6%.

POSTER #1: GIVING

Do things for others

Giving 200

Action for Happiness

131966 followers

  • Joyful June - Day 20: Do something deliberately playful today, just for the fun of it https://t.co/JdO2NA1Ak5 https://t.co/OJC9Ollv4Z

    today 9:17am

  • Your self worth is not determined by others https://t.co/B4wvfyHX29

    yesterday 10:55am

  • We can let go of hurt feelings, resentment and anger by learning to forgive ourselves first https://t.co/MMbcxp3KiU

    yesterday 2:47am

  • Joyful June - Day 19: Look for something to be thankful for where you least expect it https://t.co/JdO2NA1Ak5 https://…

    yesterday 10:05am

  • @beingbrilliant: GCSE Wellbeing anyone? https://t.co/lxnyAXmcjX @field_education @thetimes @tes @StartupPRella @Number10press @mentalh…

    yesterday 9:08am

  • Baggage you don’t need to carry: your past, negativity, others’ mistakes, guilt & expectations https://t.co/b4EdFgc0SG

    yesterday 9:07am

  • Joyful June - Day 19: Look for something to be thankful for where you least expect it https://t.co/JdO2NA1Ak5 https://t.co/OYcvBDVjJf

    yesterday 9:07am

  • Baggage you don’t need to carry: your past, negativity, others’ mistakes, guilt & expectations https://t.co/b4EdFgc0SG

    monday 18 jun 11:14am

  • @mfjarrells: Is THIS the key to happiness: "...happiness is more about living a reserved, balanced and resilient life.” (https://t.co/R…

    monday 18 jun 5:36am

follow us on twitter