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Dalai Lama launches new course for a happier and more caring world

20 Sep 2015 | Action for Happiness

* 8-week course proven to leave people happier and more likely to help others *

* Action for Happiness hopes to see courses run in thousands of local communities

On 21 September 2015 (World Peace Day), His Holiness The Dalai Lama is in London to help launch Exploring What Matters, a revolutionary new course which helps people discover how to live a happier and kinder life.

The course has been developed by Action for Happiness, a UK-based movement of people taking action for a happier world, which has over 55,000 members in 160 countries. It is secular, science-based and open to people of all backgrounds.

Commenting on launch, the Dalai Lama said:

"As patron of Action for Happiness I am delighted to see the work being done by members of this movement to create a happier and more caring society. I wholeheartedly support the Exploring What Matters course and hope that many thousands of people will benefit from it and be inspired to take their own action to help create a happier world."

Analysis of the course has found that it leaves people both happier and more pro-social, with participants reporting increases in levels of life satisfaction, mental wellbeing, compassion and social trust. Many say the course is life-changing.

Jasmine Hodge-Lake came to the course having suffered for over a decade with chronic pain which left her unable to work. She describes how it helped her:

"I wouldn't be where I am now without Action for Happiness and that course. I found there were things I could do that would make a big difference and started to feel hopeful about the future. I still have bad days and life certainly isn't perfect. But it has really helped me so much. Now I'm trying to be the change that I want to see."

In Exploring What Matters, local groups meet for eight weeks, with each session exploring a big question. They start with "What really matters in life?" and then "What really makes us happy?". These are followed by sessions on dealing with adversity, having good relationships, caring for others, and creating happier workplaces and communities. They end with "How can we create a happier world?"

The course is delivered by community volunteers, with materials and support provided by Action for Happiness. Over 300 people have already put themselves forward to run the course and it is hoped that many of these courses will be underway by the end of 2015, with many more to follow over the coming years.

Co-founder of Action for Happiness, Professor Lord Richard Layard said:

"A good society is one where as many people as possible are able to live happy, fulfilling lives. We want to see this course happening in thousands of local communities to help like-minded people support each other in taking practical actions which are not only good for their own wellbeing but also contribute to the happiness of others around them too".

The course is being described as a challenge to the promotion of materialism and individual success which is predominant in Western culture.

Director of Action for Happiness, Dr Mark Williamson said:

"In the modern world we are bombarded with false messages about what makes for a happy life. The Exploring What Matters course helps people discover for themselves that real success has much less to do with what we earn or consume - and much more to do with our inner attitudes, our relationships with others and our contribution to society"



  • Lord Richard Layard, Dr Mark Williamson and Jasmine Hodge-Lake are available for interviews.
  • To arrange an interview please email info@actionforhappiness.org.
  • Action for Happiness is funded by its members and has no commercial, political or religious affiliations. It is part of The Young Foundation, Registered Charity (274345) and Company Limited by Guarantee (1319183) in England and Wales. Work to develop and evaluate the Exploring What Matters course has been supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and John Templeton Foundation.
  • His Holiness The Dalai Lama is keynote speaker at the "Creating a Happier World" event organised by Action for Happiness at the Lyceum theatre on the afternoon of Monday 21 September (World Peace Day). Other speakers at that event include Lord Richard Layard, Sir Anthony Seldon, Daniel Goleman, Professor Richard Davidson, Suzy Greaves and Matthieu Ricard. For more information see www.actionforhappiness.org/dalai-lama-event


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