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Doing Well From the Inside Out

Doing Well from the Inside Out is an exciting new programme developed by Action for Happiness to help build well-being and resilience in organisations. This unique programme...

  • Helps employees learn how to positively impact their own resilience, well-being and performance - and that of others in their teams and the wider organisation
  • Involves evidence-based training, providing essential skills and tools through workshops, peer support and action - focused on things that are within the individual's controL
  • Is applicable at all levels within an organisation, with a delivery format that can be adapted to meet the needs of senior leaders, managers or individual team members.

DWFIO overview

In a recent pilot with a major multi-national organisation, participants immediately applied the skills, both at work and outside work, and reported significant benefits.

Wellbeing and Resilience

Enhancing Well-being and Resilience makes good business sense

  • Well-being has a bottom-line impact. This is more than just avoiding the costs of ill health; employees with high well-being have been shown to be more productive
  • Well-being is about people's minds as well as their bodies. Psychological well-being is central to sustained employee engagement and performance as well as health
  • Leading organisations are taking a preventative approach, by building resilience rather than just treating problems of stress, anxiety or depression when they occur
  • There are evidence-based practical skills that all employees can learn to increase their well-being and resilience and help to create happier, higher-performing teams

A shift in focus: helping people bet at their best, not just fixing problems

The Doing Well from the Inside Out programme helps employees and organisations shift their perspective from focusing just on what's wrong to building on what works - helping people to use their strengths, enhance their relationships and find more meaning and enagement at work.

Shift in focus

This means taking proactive steps to enhance well-being, build resilience and help all employees, teams and the organisation as a whole achieve their true potential.

Core themes

Doing Well from the Inside Out covers a wide range of different areas based on the latest evidence from psychology, neuroscience, economics and other fields. Core themes include:

  • The Case for Wellbeing and Resilience
  • Building High Quality Connections and Relationships
  • Resilient Thinking
  • Focusing on Strengths
  • Motivation and Meaning
Did you know?
  • A recent survey found over half of UK employees are unhappy at work [1].
  • Wellbeing has significant causal effects on labour productivity. In a recent study, one group had an intervention which increased their levels of subjective wellbeing, while those in a control group did not. Treated subjects were found to have 12% greater productivity in a paid task [2].
  • The evidence that positive emotions contribute to better health and longer life is as strong as that linking obesity to reduced longevity [3]. People with high psychological wellbeing are significantly less likely to catch the cold virus [4] or suffer from cardiovascular disease [5].
  • Organisations with satisfied employees outperform their competitors. A study looked at the stock market performance of the "100 Best Workplaces" in the US (based on positive feedback from employees about working there) from 1994 to 2009. The Best Workplaces significantly outperformed the stock market over the same period [6].
  • Four important factors for motivating and satisfying work are: Mastery (doing work which is challenging but which you can accomplish), Relatedness (feeling positively connected to others around you), Autonomy (having enough control in how you do the job) and Purpose (the feeling that what you do is meaningful and worthwhile) [7][8].
  • Our mood influences the people we work with and the people they know. Research shows that the happiness of a close contact increases the chance of us being happy by 15%. The happiness of a 2nd-degree contact (e.g. friend's friend) increases it by 10% and the happiness of a 3rd-degree contact (e.g. friend of a friend of a friend) by 6% [9].



[1] Mercer (2011), "What's Working" survey

[2] Oswald, A.J., Proto, E., Sgroi, D (2009), Happiness and Productivity, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

[3] Diener, E., Chan, M.Y. (2011), Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well-Being Contributes to Health and Longevity, Applied Psychology: Health and Wellbeing

[4] Cohen, S et al (2006), Positive Emotional Style Predicts Resistance to Illness After Experimental Exposure to Rhinovirus or Influenza, Psychosomatic Medicine

[7] Deci, E., Ryan, R. (2008), Self-Determination Theory: A Macrotheory of Human Motivation, Development, and Health, Canadian Psychology

[8] Pink, D. (2009), Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Riverhead.

[9] J.H. Fowler and N.A. Christakis, Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network: longitudinal analysis over 20 years, British Medical Journal, December 2008

Our Team

DWFIO team

Vanessa King

Vanessa is the lead author of the Doing Well From the Inside Out programme. She is a board member of Action for Happiness and was the architect of our 10 keys for happier living framework and the psychology-related content on our website. She is one of a small group people globally to have completed a Masters degree in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, studying under Martin Seligman and other leaders in this field. She is also trained as a facilitator on the Master Resilience Training programme for the US Army, a master practitioner of New Economics Foundation's Happiness at Work diagnostic and is a member of the UK Government's taskforce on employee engagement, Engage for Success.

Vanessa specialises in leadership, talent and organisational development. She combines in-depth knowledge of the science of well-being with this client experience to help people get the most from work and for organisations to get the best from people. She delivers a range of workshops focused on well-being, resilience and workplace creativity as well as working alongside organisations to design bespoke solutions. Prior to consulting Vanessa qualified as a chartered accountant. She has a BSc in Psychology and Zoology and is a member of the International Positive Psychology Association and an affiliate member of the CIPD.

Dr Mark Williamson

Mark is Director of Action for Happiness and has overall strategic and operational responsibility for the organisation. Mark has engaged extensively with organisations in the area of happiness, wellbeing and resilience, from major multi-national companies (for example in retail, investment banking and professional services) to public sector organisations, SMEs and charities. He has overseen the development of all Action for Happiness resources and training and is invited to speak regularly on related topics at events and conferences all around the world.

Mark has a diverse range of experience across private and non-profit sectors, from start-ups through to large multi-national companies. He was previously a Director at the Carbon Trust, a non-executive director of Solar Press, and founder of online initiative What You Can Do. Prior to that, Mark spent nine years as a management consultant at Accenture. He has also worked for Hewlett Packard Labs and Orange. Mark has an MBA from IMD business school in Switzerland and a PhD and first class honours degree in Electronics and Communications from the University of Bristol. He is a member of the Institute of Directors, a Sainsbury Management Fellow and a Chartered Engineer.

Paul Sternberg

Paul specialises in communications, innovation and organisational learning and has been heavily involved in developing and delivering the Doing Well From The Inside Out programme. He is a consultant to leading media, business and not-for-profit organisations and heads the Partnership and Campaigns programme for Action for Happiness.

He was previously Chief Executive of the Peter De Haan Charitable Trust, Head of Incubating Innovation at Nesta, Managing Editor, Education at Channel 4 Television, Managing Director of The Ethical Communications Agency and Director of Communications at Business in the Community.

Paul is currently designing and teaching a Masters Degree on creative leadership for Ravensbourne College and writing a book on strategies for sustainable behaviour in corporations. He is a member of the International Coaching Federation and is an accredited NLP Practitioner. He is also on the Board of Trustees for Citizens UK.

Find out more

To find out more about the Doing Well from the Inside Out programme - and how it could help your organisation create a happier, healthier, more resilient and higher performing workforce - please contact us at: happierworkplaces@actionforhappiness.org

You can also download a flyer for the programme here.


Abp Finalist

Our Doing Well from the Inside Out program is a finalist for awards in: "Excellence in Health & Wellbeing" and "Excellence in Developmental Interventions"

Doing Well From the Inside Out

"The programme is about pro-actively building psychological  well-being and resilience and enhancing engagement through practical skills that have been proven to make a difference"

Vanessa King

Vanessa King, Action for Happiness (Expert in positive psychology and organisational development; Programme Lead, Doing Well From The Inside Out)


Ten Keys to Happier Living

Great Dream 200

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