Happiness & Health
The next Kingston Action for Happiness Get-Together's will be held on Monday 29 October and Monday 26 November - so please put these in your diary. The venue is The Norbiton Pub, 1st Floor, 16 Clifton Road, Kingston KT2 6PW. Please email Mark Williamson, Director, Action for Happiness for an invitation email@example.com
Following the Exploring What Matters Course, hosted at Gilpin House in 2016 the monthly Action for Happiness New Malden meetings were started. These were held for two years at 20:00 on the first Thursday of each month, following the weekly 18:30 Mindfulness Practice meeting. From September 2018 these were merged with the new Kingston upon Thames Action for Happiness Get-Togethers, hosted by the National Director of Action for Happiness. Mark Williamson.
LIVE LIFE MINDFULLY
Ever felt there must be more to life? Well good news, there is! And it's right here in front of us. We just need to stop and take notice.
Learning to be more mindful and aware can do wonders for our well-being in all areas of life - like our walk to work, the way we eat or our relationships. It helps us get in tune with our feelings and stops us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future - so we get more out of the day-to-day. Read more
Both spiritual traditions and science now agree - happiness is a skill we can develop through conscious choice.
The IBM Community Grants program has donated £2,100 to the Action for Happiness charity. This supports IBM employees and retirees actively volunteering for the Weekly Mindfulness Practice and the Exploring What Matters Course.
This volunteerism opportunity is recorded on the IBM Volunteers Site along with an average 3,400 hours, donated every day worldwide ,through IBM Volunteers.
BOOK: TEN KEYS TO HAPPIER LIVING
Action for Happiness stall at the New Malden Community Fair
on Saturday 14th July along with the 5th of July Get-Together.
With Jo, the Marquee owner being away on holiday, the challenge of the missing number labels from the Marquee poles proved too much. Fortunately, in true New Malden spirit, we were saved by the combined teamwork of three voluntary police constables!
Police Special Constables, come from all walks of life - they are teachers, taxi drivers, accountants and secretaries, or any number of other careers - and they all volunteer a minimum of four hours a week to their local police force!
New attractions for 2018 were a jar of ‘Mindfulness Quotations - multi-coloured thoughtful and happy life quotations to bring a smile to your day.’ Complemented, with a second bottle of ‘Mum, thank you notes - Proof that You're Most Definitely the Greatest Mum the World Has Ever Known.’
Special thanks to the parents of Nicholas for the loan, delivery and collection of the two tables and chairs and Bill for collecting and delivering the Marquee from Jo and bags of other items and two more chairs from Gilpin with help from Oliver.
With the Marquee erected and set up completed the creative decoration and activities supplied by Bertha with support from Caroline went well. On display, we had a range of Happiness activities with copies of last years productive ‘Gratitude
Ribbons’, lots of ‘Ten Keys to Happier Living’ postcards to share and hand out to the public. The postcard has a summary of our Ten Keys (which together spell out GREAT DREAM) on one side and some encouragement to join Action for Happiness on the
other, side. Like last year a key attraction for our younger visitors was the plate of ‘Happiness Buttons.’
A nice aspect of this year's Fair was that support was less centralised than last year, that was mainly run by the attendees of our 2016 New Malden AfH Course. For example, this is a photo of Joanna, one of the Surbiton April 2018, AFH course leaders. Joanna teaches Psychology and has a Two-Year contract to work in Dubai starting in September. Good luck and thank you for your backing!
In the afternoon we were also supported by Cecilia one of the Kingston January 2018, AFH course leaders along with her friend Natalia. Thank you Joanna, Cecilia and Natalia for sharing your enthusiasm with the New Malden community. Later in the day Ed, James, Brian, Pauline and Mo (Happy Café) came along. Mo kindly sent this photo of Joanna with these comments “I believe today's event was pretty successful. Quite a few people showed interest in the weekly mindfulness meetings. Not sure how many will actually attend the meetings. A couple of people showed interest in the Happy Cafe. Plan to meet them in the next week or so.”
POSTER #4: AWARENESS
Awareness. Live mindfully
POSTER: GREAT DREAM
Ten Keys to Happier Living
Elected at the May 2018 Local Elections our new Liberal Democrat Councilor Tim Cobbett, (2nd on the left side of the photo) Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee visited our stand and was interested to hear about Mindfulness and Action for Happiness, New Malden Hub activities.
Thanks again to Bill and Nicholas for managing the ‘Take Down’ activities at the end of the day and all our volunteers who shared their time and community spirit in supporting us at the wonderful New Malden Community Fair.
For 2019 I feel we will have to put our thinking caps on, with ‘Mindfulness’ and ‘Sustainable Development is the path to Happiness’ focus a whole new stall style is required! See this page for more information on the Global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity.
The Action for Happiness 6th of June Get-Together
gave Mohsen (Mo) Miirza the opportunity to share his
vision for a Kingston Happy Café!
We are planning to start a self-supporting and sustainable Happy Cafe in or around Kingston. The key objectives of the Cafe are:
• To hold regular meetings in a easily accessible central location.
• The ultimate goal is to create a supportive community to enhance the quality of life of the attendees.
• The meetings will be informal allowing attendees to interact and connect with each other and to have fun.
• Learn the skills for happier living and share their approach of adopting them as part of their daily routine.
• Local organisation will be invited to discuss their initiatives providing opportunities for the attendee to participate in local events and community projects.
The two locations currently being considered for the Cafe are: Shiraz Persian Grill (20 Eden St, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1BB) and New Malden Methodist Church (49 High St, New Malden KT3 4BY). Any suggestions for a more suitable location will be much appreciated.
To ensure sustainability of the initiative, the plan is to establish a core team to organise and manage the cafe. The team members will take turns to coordinate and facilitate the meetings.
Please contact Mo if you are interested in participating, promoting
or supporting the cafe.
Name – Mohsen (Mo) Miirza
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel – 07483 830483
The focus for the AFH 3rd of May Meeting was Mindfulness in Schools.
Caroline Leahy a teacher at St Francis Xavier 6th Form College talked about her experience of launching the .b Mindfulness in Schools Project at her college. She briefly touched upon the logistics: training, time and timetabling implications, costs and the promotion of the course to staff and students. She shared that a positive 'spin-off' of the student course was demand from teaching staff for something for them; thus Mindful Mondays an after school session for staff was 'born'.
Attendees also got the opportunity to participate in an actual .b lesson to get a real sense of the value of the programme. Caroline guided attendees through Lesson Three - Recognising Worry which involved an interactive activity called the 'hot cross bun' informed by Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). The session ended with a guided 'beditation'.
Earth Day 2018
As part of our actions to celebrate the Earth Day 2018 theme to End Plastic Pollution, we, along with Kingston Environment Centre, wrote to the CEOs of six local supermarkets. The speed and depth of response are reassuring, and copies of the correspondence can be seen on this page.
Click on above image to see materials with links to
Earth Day Resources discussed at this meeting.
Since this meeting we become aware of the excellent "European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, adopted on 16 January 2018, that aims to transform the way plastic products are designed, produced, used and recycled in the EU" with the goal of ensuring that all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030.
The 5th April 2018 Action for Happiness meeting explored the idea of running occasional 'Flash Events' like the following one - our first - on World Happiness, that took place on 22 March @ 18:00.
Click on above image to see materials with links to
Global Happiness Resources discussed at this meeting.
The 1st March 2018 Action for Happiness meeting covered the subject of 'Volunteering' with Bertha Beltran-Leon.
Giving (do things for others), is the first of the Ten Keys to Happier Living. We can do things for others in many different ways, for example by volunteering. It is important to mention that Giving connects with the second, fourth, ninth and tenth Keys to Happier Living ie Relating (connecting with people), Awareness (live life mindfully), Acceptance (be comfortable with what you are) and Meaning (be part of something bigger) respectively.
Volunteering is more than just rendering the hours needed for a task. It is a way to show others they matter. As long as you have the right attitude, skills, commitment and drive to do the work You Can Make The Difference.
‘We make a living by what we get
We make a life by what we give’
~ Winston Churchill
Volunteering is related to increased happiness. Helping others can make us happier. Happier people tend to help others more. There is scientific evidence that suggests that happiness makes us likely to give more, and giving can help us to be happier, which leads to a greater tendency to give. This is known as the Virtuous Circle.
The benefits and positives of volunteering for both volunteers and recipients are numerous and are well documented. However, on this occasion, I will concentrate on the Seven Myths that exist about volunteering.
1. You Don’t Need Any Qualifications or Skills to Volunteer.
Contrary to this, most volunteering opportunities need people who have a particular skill or experience in order to help more efficiently.
2. You Know The Needs Of The Community.
Despite researching an organisation beforehand, there is nothing like experiencing their mission first hand. One should have the right attitude to respect their own ways of doing things and accept your own ideas might not be the best solution.
3. You Can Only Volunteer If You Are A Student Or A Fresh Graduate.
Demographic data from the Corporation for National and Community Services (CNCS) found that in 2015, 19.2 million volunteers were baby boomers, 4.8million were veterans and 11million were 65+. You can never be too old or too young to help.
4. You Can’t Afford The Time Off Work.
You can be a volunteer while being at work. Doing it on evenings or weekends on for instance a monthly basis. Being a volunteer not only will broaden your knowledge, make you feel more confident but expand your network.
5. You Don’t Need to Work Hard Because You Are Just There To Help.
Volunteering for a good case could be an inspiring experience but only if you are committed and passionate about it. You are not really helping if you are unreliable.
6. You Will Change The World.
You will only make a small contribution but it will impact the big picture. By volunteering you will be able to help make at least one person’s life a little better. That is a reward in itself.
7. You Have To Be Selfless To Volunteer.
When you enjoy helping good causes, you feel happier, healthier and confident. Improved mental and physical health are two great reasons to volunteer.if you are eager to learn a new professional skill or flex an existing one by putting it into practice, skill volunteering can help you do that.
VolunteerMatch.Org recruit highly qualified volunteers.
The 1st February 2018 Action for Happiness meeting covered the subject of 'Habits.'
This was a follow up on Januarys meeting “Happiness and New Year Resolutions. Those who did the "Four Tendencies" quiz online, started off by sharing which type they came out as. The most common of the four tendencies people were categorised as was probably ‘Obligers’ (those who meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet self-imposed expectations).
There seemed to be some agreement that various techniques and strategies designed to overcome negative habits didn’t always work in the long term due to the unpredictability of life in general. People openly shared their experiences of habits and addictions and highlighted the significance of mindfulness and awareness. 12 step groups also seemed to play a major part in positive change for those at the meeting. As well as the importance of being compassionate to one’s self, the message of the evening was to ‘get out of your own way’ so you can be guided by your wise intuition.
The evening was run by Tim, who volunteers for Kingston Wellbeing, a service that offers drug and alcohol support. Tel: 020 3317 7900,
Click here if you’d like to hear a talk with Gretchen about the principles detailed in her newest book, The Four Tendencies and how to discover which of the book's four archetypes you embody—whether you're an Upholder, Rebel, Questioner, or Obliger—as well as the challenges and advantages each type faces. Gretchen also discusses what it takes to start changing an entrenched habit. Finally, Gretchen explains why it's so important that you keep personal spaces uncluttered. (61 minutes).
The 4th January 2018 Action for Happiness meeting focused on “Happiness and New Year Resolutions”.
Caroline writes: "My New Year intentions include trying to build more joyful activities into my life including lots more being in nature which I find so rejuvenating. I also intend to make much more effort to connect with friends and family. I have a couple of exciting projects to look forward to: I will be launching the .b mindfulness in schools programme at my college and Mindful Monday’s for teachers. Lastly, I am going to try and reinvigorate my actions for happiness by keeping a happy journal🤗🙏". Caroline
Bertha added "I enjoyed attending the group last night and as always learned from everyone's contributions. Very inspiring.
Reflections with regards to New Year's resolutions/intentions:
To focus on the process rather than on results when setting our resolutions and intentions for growth and improvement. Have a good and healthy week." Bertha
The 7th December 2017 - Christmas and 1st Birthday New Malden Hub Party
Action for Happiness Director, Mark Williamson - 2 November 2017
We heard from the Action for Happiness Director, Mark Williamson who talked about his personal journey, his corporate background, Mindfulness and his introduction to Lord Layard that led him to this incredible charity. Mark breaks down what Action for Happiness is, its mission, the courses, the goals, and also reflected on the results and success so far.
Creating a happier world with Jeffrey Sachs - 5 October 2017
We attended the inspiring national event with Professor Jeffrey Sachs as he explored the causes of happiness and unhappiness in modern Western culture and shared his vision for a better culture and a happier world.
Jeff is a world-renowned professor of economics, a leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by Time Magazine “the world’s best-known economist.”
You can access the Facebook Live video from the night's live stream.
Self Compassion with Joanna Barker - 7 September 2017
Click here for a copy of the Self Compassion PDF of Jo's excellent presentation. This includes the video reference for an Expert introduction by Dr. Kristin Neff. Jo helps us understand that “by making this choice to move out of judgment and into compassion for yourself and others” can change everything in our lives for the better! Further Reading and references are also included.
Can we be happier at work? - 3 August 2017
This was the theme for this months discussion. In this fast-moving and entertaining TED Bloomington talk from psychologist Shawn Achor he argues that actually happiness inspires productivity. We believe that we should work to be happy, but could that be backwards?
Work is a huge part of our lives. Most of us spend more of our waking hours working than doing anything else, so it’s obviously good if we can enjoy our work. But sadly, many of us find our working lives to be stressful, frustrating, confrontational or uninspiring.
In this session, we explored how we feel at work and how this relates to our performance. Are happy workers just laid-back underachievers or are they actually more creative and productive? Do happier organisations get better results? What really affects happiness at work? And are there things we can do to make our workplaces and working lives better?
Renowned author and Emotional Intelligence expert Dan Goleman
Explores the latest scientific research about Mindfulness and how we can apply this to live wiser lives and contribute to a happier world.
This talk is available at our weekly Mindfulness Group Meeting from 6th July until 10th August 2017
In May, on Thursday 4 the evening meeting was on ‘Gratitude’ led by Andy Sinclair. Click here for a copy of the Gratitude PDF of Andy’s excellent presentation. This includes the video reference for the introduction by Professor Brene Brown on the relationship between joy and gratitude "one of the most important things she found in 12 years of research!" Further Reading and Film references are also included.
We are inspired to be a hub where people can connect and share inspiration together. As Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness, says "These local connections hold the key to happier lives and a happier society".
This is an open group with new attendees encouraged and welcomed. Or visit us at the Action for Happiness Stall at the New Malden Craft Fair in the High Street on Saturday 8th July 2017.
For the second-time Oliver Bowers is running the London Marathon collecting for the Mental Health Foundation and new this year, the London Marathon Charity Heads Together. This mental health campaign is spearheaded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Their Royal Foundation is working in partnership with seven inspiring charities to change the national conversation on mental wellbeing. It would be great if you could add your support. The details of where your money will go are on this donation link: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/OliverBowers
Please share amongst family and friends.
For info: tel 079 3201 1848 or email email@example.com
2017 Meeting Dates and Themes
(First Thursday of the Month)
March 20th has been established, since 2013 as the annual International Day of Happiness.
Sign up at www.dayofhappiness.net to receive a free Happiness Guidebook, a wonderful new Happiness Pack for use with children and access to the new
2017 World Happiness Report which is being published on the same day.
Graduates of the New Malden 2016 eight week September - October
"Action for Happiness Course ~ Exploring What Matters?"