Action For Happiness in Brighton                meetup

Archive of past events

this gives details of past speakers; often their slides can be downloaded

May 31st  2012
Launch of the Brighton Action for Happiness group
Talk by Mark Williamson (director of UK Action for Happiness) followed by discussion.  
sound on RadioFreeBrighton (including fascinating answers to questions after the talk)      
slides   Mark's talk in Australia

June 17th 2012
"Happy" - the movie
The film features people living lives of happiness and gives lots of ideas on how we can all become happier both personally and as communities.  trailer    

July 9th 2012
How to be happy in the 21st century - a Buddhist perspective
Mokshini - Brighton Buddhist Centre  more

Sept 4th 2012
Measuring happiness and why it matters
Juliet Michaelson    New Economics Foundation  nef  slides

Oct 2nd 2012
Some Strategies for Well-being: Lessons from Making Slough Happy
Dr Richard Stevens, Open University  more  slides  handout

November 6th 2012
Values, Individual Happiness, Planetary Well-being and the role of our Consumer Culture
Wenceslao Unanue, University of Sussex   slides

Dec 4th 2012
Gratitude Event  Anne O'Keife   An evening of developing an attitude of gratitude!
Jan 1st 2013
"Happy" - the movie

Jan 8th2013
An introduction to Positive Psychology  Bridget Grenville-Cleave  book  about Bridget

Feb 5th 2013
Willing to be happy: can willpower and self-control  make you happier?  Dr Andrew Eagle

March 12th 2013
Music and Singing for Happiness    Philip Milburn

April 9th 2013 The neurobiology of happiness - an embodied experience  Dr Harry Witchel
April 30th 2013 Embodying the Great Dream – Dancing the 10 Keys to Happiness  Helen Thatcher
June 4th 2013 Workshop - Ten Keys to Happiness   Vanessa King, Action for Happiness 

July 2nd 2013 Happiness, the choice for us all  Dr Anthony Seldon
August 6th 2013 Workshop on strengths  Alex Bailey
Sept 3rd 2013 Workshop on Love in Action   Lotus Nguyen
October 8th 2013 A playful approach to happiness Joshua French
November 5th 2013 Why isn't everyone happy? Understanding our blocks to happiness   Anne Dale
Dec 3rd 2013Christmas Party


Jan 7th 2014 Happy the movie
Nov 5th 2014 How do you do happiness? Ant Bullock and Ray Richards from Do Something Different
About a year ago, Action for Happiness teamed up with Brighton behaviour change specialists Do Something Different to create 'Do Happiness', a 6-week online programme designed to help people bring more happiness into their lives. To date over 2,000 people in over 40 countries have taken part. How does it work? Are people happier after doing the programme? Ant and Ray will explain the psychology behind the programme and share the latest findings.                    meetup       DSD slides
December 2014 - Christmas party


Jan 7th 2015 - Towards a happier society  Mark Williamson  slides
Feb 4th 2015 - workshop

Wed Mar 4th 2015
Resilience - a key to Happiness
Dr Josh Cameron, School of Health Sciences,University of Brighton
   Resilience is one of the 10 keys to happiness.     In tonight’s talk Josh invites you to: explore the relationship between resilience and happiness; to consider what the two ideas may mean to you personally; and what the fields of happiness and resilience research and practice may learn from each other.   Josh worked as an occupational therapist in adult mental health services before becoming a senior lecturer in occupational therapy at the University of Brighton.  He became interested in resilience while researching the return-to-work experiences of workers with mental health problems for his PhD.     This research found that resilience arose from a combination of internal and external factors and found that this understanding of resilience can help explain how people can be supported to return to work in a sustainable manner that respects their well-being. Consequently, he is now collaborating with the ‘Boing Boing’ network to learn more about resilience and is exploring the relevance of resilience to adults. As part of the Imagine research project he is collaborating with mental health service users and practitioners via the Sussex Recovery College to develop a building resilience programme.  This is currently running in Crawley. It aims to increase participants’ resilience to respond on an individual and collective basis to the adversities they face.  It also aims to help participants find ways to challenge these adversities in line with the emerging concept of emancipatory resilience.
more on Josh Cameron  meetup   SLIDES   chart  BOING BOING

Wed April 1st
TED talks: Ideas about Happiness worth Spreading
Josh French
TED is an organisation that believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately the world. Many of TED's past speakers (including founding members of Action for Happiness) have given fantastic advice about how we can live more meaningful, satisfying lives.   The co-organisers of the Brighton AFH group have found many TED talks to be enjoyable, thought-provoking and inspiring. Hence, we have decided to devote an evening to focusing on two or three relevant talks. We will watch them together, discuss their message and consider how each talk could make a lasting difference to our own and others' happiness.
Joshua French has loved uplifting others since he was little, making funny faces in his high chair. He is a co-organiser of Action for Happiness in his spare time and a committed happiness-spreader at work too. As co-founder and facilitator with Bailey & French, he helps organisations understand how focusing on employees' strengths boosts productivity and engagement.
; more on Josh and more  meetup
Josh's recommended Ted talks

Wed May 6th "Happy" - the movie
The film features people living lives of happiness and gives lots of ideas on how we can all become happier both personally and as communities. Leading academics who have researched Happiness are interviewed. There will be a discussion after the film trailer  meetup
meetup for more on past and on future events.

Wed June 3rd
Speed relating lead by Josh French. How to relate to someone in a deep meaningful way in only 3 minutes. Avoid Trivia and get to the Real Deep Meaningful Stuff!

July 1st
Overcoming Depression with Words
Rachel Kelly
Rachel Kelly is a writer and former journalist on The Times. Her memoir Black Rainbow was published by Hodder & Stoughton in April 2014 and won the Spear’s Best First Book Award in October 2014. more   meetup

Inspiring examples of strengths from movies, by Josh French

Can we be Happy at Work?
Dilys Robinson, Institute of Employment Studies, Brighton

Work is a Relationship that lets us practice Giving, Appreciation, Trying Out, Resilience and Acceptance, and may also give us Direction and Meaning.

There is a lot of evidence that ‘good’ work (well-designed and meaningful jobs, with progression opportunities and good quality line management) is beneficial to people’s health and well-being, whereas ‘bad’ work can be deeply damaging. Since the early 2000s, employee engagement has been high on the management agenda – to the extent that it is seen as the panacea for all organisational ills. What is the link between engagement and happiness? Are engaged employees also happy employees, and can an excessive focus on engagement sometimes be harmful? Bring your own experiences of work to this session, to share in a lively discussion!

Dilys Robinson is a Principal Research Fellow at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) where she has led IES’s research into employee engagement since 2002. This has moved from defining engagement, measuring it and assessing its drivers, to a focus on engaging managerial behaviours and the impact of engaging (and disengaging) managers. To find out more about the work of Dilys and her colleagues, visit IES’s website:
more on Dilys
    slides  meetup

Wed October 7th
Exercise and Happiness
Jörg Huber
Exercising is one the 10 Keys to Happiness.
Professor Huber is at the Centre for Health Research (CHR), University of Brighton
more on Jörg  CHR   meetup

Wed November 4th
How to Love and be Loved; 10 things to do and stop doing to transform your relationship. 
Lilliana Gibbs
Relating is one the 10 Keys to Happiness, and being 'in-love' is a powerful way of Relating.
While most of us desire being in love, we face many hurdles in taking the actions that allow love to flow freely throughout our lives and relationships. We have many ways of defending ourselves against love, and struggle to give and receive love with ease, openness and vulnerability. Lilliana is a counsellor at The Red Couch in Lewes
download Love guide from
redcouch  meetup


Dec 2nd 2015 Christams Party


January 5th 2016
A Rough Guide to a Smooth Life - Jess Stuart

A practical self improvement guide on surviving modern life. Rediscover the art of happiness, find meaning and purpose and create a life you love.
See her Christmas (spoof) video  (watch it to the end!):
and more on her book:
and the Art of Self Care:  meetup

Feb 2nd 2016
Community and Happiness - David Bramwell 
When a long-term girlfriend walked out, citing his ‘selfishness’ as the reason, David Bramwell knew he had to change.  He had read about some extraordinary communities of people who live outside conventional society. Could they teach him about giving? Had they found a better way to live in the modern world? He set out on a year long quest to find out and aimed to spend a month with the residents, learning about their way of life, whatever it entailed – free love, time travel, anarchy, naked bathing, dressing in tie-dye. He didn’t always last but was hugely inspired by his adventures and returned intent on creating a 'quiet revolution' in his home town of Brighton...

Dr Bramwell is a Sony-award winning radio presenter for BBC Radio 3, creator of the Cheeky Guides book series, host of the Catalyst Club and co-host of The Odditorium podcast. He has won 'Best Comedy' and 'Outstanding Theatre' Awards for his one-man shows,  given talks at and hosted TEDx events in the UK and curates the Odditorium Tent at Wilderness Festival. He is a doctor by rumour only and should be approached with caution if he offers to whip out your appendix for a packet of biscuits. 

New series of short films based on David's travels can be found here:


David's recent book

The No.9 Bus to Utopia: How one man's extraordinary journey led to a quiet revolution

Tues Mar 1st

Empathy Workshop with Yehuda Tagar

Yehuda brings practical Empathy tools for improving relating to people, at home and work.

'Relating' is one of the Ten Keys to Happiness and this empathy workshop is designed to improve the quality of relating. It will give an overview on how to see yourself more objectively while seeing the other person more subjectively.  This approach improves listening and communication and can transform emotional and physical blocks.

Yehuda is Director of BECOME - British College of Methodical Empathy. You can follow this on Facebook or Twitter.

see also:

April 5th 2016

Stuffocation - living more with less: James Wallman

Why we have enough of stuff and need experience more than ever.
Memories live longer than things.
Does stuff make us more or less happy?

There are many fascinating aspects to possessions. James Wallman describes himself as 'an author and a futurist'.
His book has received rave reviews

Tuesday May 3rd
Speed relating with Joshua French

"People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. So taking action to strengthen our relationships and build connections is essential for happiness."

This event at the Latest Music bar will be an opportunity to meet lots of people, talk about happiness and have fun. The Action for Happiness meetups are always a great mix of familiar and new faces, so we thought it would be great to dedicate another evening to 'Speed Relating' (i.e. 3 minute one-to-one conversations to get to know each other after which a signal is given and each participant moves on to meet another person).

The event will be hosted by Joshua French, who has loved uplifting others since he was little, making funny faces in his high chair. He is a co-organiser of Action for Happiness in his spare time and a committed happiness-spreader at work too. As co-founder and facilitator with Bailey & French, he helps organisations be happier and more successful by focusing on employees' strengths.  A donation of £2 is appreciated to cover costs for resources.

  Tuesday June 7th

The Brighton Health and Wellbeing centre

Dr Laura Marshall-Andrews.

The Brighton Health and Wellbeing Centre (BHWC) is the first NHS GP practice in the UK to truly integrate complementary therapies and healing arts. It was founded in 2013 as a response to the increasing pressures on the NHS, and in recognition of the fact that conventional medicine does not always hold all the solutions to an person's health concerns. BHWC believes that conventional medicine and other therapies and approaches can work together to support individulas into good health and wellbeing.  More on  BHWC

Alongside their standard medical care, they offer a range of complementary therapies which are integrated into ordinary medical services, and in some cases funded through the practice. In their TEDx talk they spoke of the necessity for doctors and practitioners to relinquish control, and to take the necessary risks involved to reap the huge gains that an be achieved through integrating different approaches to health.

Tuesday September 7th

Ten Keys to Happier Living

Vanessa King

The 10 keys to happiness form the basis of much that we do at Action for Happiness in Brighton. Vanessa's recent book on these makes her a star speaker. This will be our chance to hear the author speaking directly, and to ask her how she came to chose these particular 10. And maybe she will sign your copy of the book!

About the book: 'Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions' The Dalai Lama, patron of Action for Happiness. Vanessa King, positive psychology expert for Action for Happiness has created 10 key evidence-based actions that have been shown to increase happiness and wellbeing - at home, at work and in the world around you. If you have read The Art of Happiness, The Happiness Project or Sane New World, this book will be the perfect complement.

We all want to be happy but what does that actually mean and what can we do in our everyday lives to be happier? Fortunately, psychologists, neuroscientists and other experts now have evidence of what really makes a difference and helps us to be happier and more resilient to life's ups and downs.

In this book, Vanessa King of Action for Happiness has drawn on the latest scientific studies to create a set of evidence-based practical actions. They will help you connect with people, nurture your relationships and find purpose. You'll get ideas for taking care of your body, making the most of what's good and finding new ways to stimulate your mind.

more on meetup

Tuesday October 4th

HAPPINESS - beyond belief

Mike George

We seek it here, we seek it there, we seek happiness in almost every place we go, in almost every thing we buy and from almost everyone in our life!  The search for the ‘holy grail’ of happiness has been happening for thousands of years.  So why does it appear so few have found a lasting and stable happiness in their life?  The deepest reason - belief!  It seems our beliefs and 'belief system' around happiness are fatally flawed. 

Tonight Mike will explore:

·  The true meaning of happiness
·  What most people do to sabotage their happiness
·  The beliefs that we all inherit and lead us away from authentic happiness
·  The three kinds of natural happiness that we all know but tend to ignore.

Mike George is an author of 12 books on self-awareness and spiritual intelligence. He is an international management tutor, an inspirational speaker and retreat leader. In a unique blend of insight, wisdom and humour Mike brings together the three key strands of the 21st century: self-awareness, emotional intelligence and continuous ‘unlearning’.   His books include: The 7 Myths About LOVE; Don’t Get MAD Get Wise and his latest book BEING Beyond Belief.

Mike George: more on meetup


Feb 7th 2017

Tuesday February 7th

Mindfulness workshop

Judy Lewis

Judy teaches mindfulness workshops to the NHS.

You cannot prevent the bird of sorrow from flying over your head

But you can prevent it from nesting in your hair.

 Chinese proverb

She teaches at the Sussex beacon:


more on meetup

Tuesday March 7th
the SMILE project   Louisa Scanlon

Louisa Scanlon  will talk about the SMILE project, which seeks to improve public health in schools in the Brighton and Hove area.

These are the five ways to happiness.:

Speak Move Imagine Learn Enjoy

What will you do to make you smile today?

Watch the video:

more on meetup
Tuesday April 4th Speed Relating      

A return of this popular event.

Find out how to feel the essential energy of a person in 2 minutes! No time to be boring or wear your mask. The most unappealing people turn out to be fascinating when you know how to run the conversation.

more on meetup
Tuesday May 2nd
Compassion    (provisional)  more on meetup


October 2nd 2019

The Psychology of Play by Josh French

“Play is the stick that stirs the drink. It is the basis of all art, games, books, sports, movies, fashion, fun, and wonder—in short, the basis of what we think of as civilization. Play is the vital essence of life. It is what makes life lively.”  ― Dr. Stuart Brown

This workshop will explore the psychology of play and how it connects to our health and wellbeing. We'll consider the reasons why its so important for adults to remain playful and learn ways to keep playing, inside and outside of the workplace.

We'll also find out more about 'infinite games' and 'finite games', originally defined by James Carse and now championed by Simon Sinek.

See this TED talk for more info on the psychology of play:
And for info on infinite games see here:

The workshop will be led by Joshua French from Bailey & French (, a Brighton-based positive psychology consultancy whose wellbeing and performance workshops impact people in organisations as diverse as Nando's, the World Health Organisation and the UK Civil Service.

download slides from Josh

updated October 4th 2019 by Paul Tofts