Topic:  Happiness: finding it and sharing it – Suzanne O’Hara and Tom Bourner

Session Summary: The basic rationale for this workshop is to help participants to become happier and to share that happiness with others. Knowledge about how people can live happier lives has been growing rapidly over the last decade. This workshop will share some of the fruits of this research. It will do so mostly by using experiential methods to enable participants to discover evidence-based practices to find more happiness in their own lives and in the lives of people they care about.

Positive feelings contribute to greater resilience in various ways. Whereas negative emotions tend to narrow attention to the source of the negative feelings, positive emotions do the reverse, broadening people’s ideas about options for actions, they build hope and other personal resources that support resilience.

It is our intention to write up this workshop afterwards and then make it, and the processes it uses, freely available on-line as a resource for others. We hope that by so doing, it will be used as a fund-raising or team-building event for charities and other not-for-profit organisations.

The workshop will give the participants an opportunity to:

1. Gather evidence-based ideas for what they can do to increase their own happiness
2. Explore ways of applying what they learn to their own lives
3. Acquire ideas about how to share more happiness with those they care about
4. Develop a clearer commitment to taking action to support their own happiness and the happiness of those they care about
5. Meet other people with an interest in finding and sharing happiness
6. Enjoy the workshop.


Suzanne O’Hara -Suzanne was previously a principal lecturer at Brighton University where she led the Management and Organisational Development Unit. She has designed and delivered a number of action-learning based personal and professional development programmes for the public, private and voluntary sectors. She also won the university’s teaching excellence award. Recently, Suzanne delivered two action learning programmes for an organisation supporting managers of volunteers. These programmes received very positive feedback from the participants.

Tom Bourner – Until he took early retirement from the university, Tom was Head of Research at Brighton Business School. He was also a committed and successful teacher being featured in the Times Higher Education Supplement’s ‘Star Turn’ series. He was a founder-member of the ‘Action for Happiness in Brighton’ group and has recently co-authored the book ‘101 Activities for Happiness Workshops’.

Who might be most interested: Practitioners, parents, carers, community workers, volunteers, public sector workers, service users and people working in charities and other not-for-profit organisations seeking a fund-raising or team-building event.

Key Reading:  Frederickson, B. (2009) Positivity: Groundbreaking Research to Release your Inner Optimist and Thrive, particularly chapter 6 titled ‘Bounce Back from Life’s Challenges’, Oxford: Oneworld Publications
Layard, R., (2011) Happiness: Lessons from a New Science (Second Edition). London: Penguin
Lyubomirsky, S., (2010) The How Of Happiness: A Practical Guide to Getting The Life You Want. London: Piatkus Books
Bourner, T., Grenville-Cleave, B., Rospigliosi, A., (2014) 101 Activities for Happiness Workshops. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Resilience Forums are FREE to attend but the workshop leaders, Tom and Sue, are asking people, if they can afford it, to make a £15 donation to Crisis (the charity for homeless single people) as part of the workshop. One of the consistent findings of happiness research is that doing nice things (like donating to Crisis) makes people happier and so making a donation is an experiential part of the workshop.

This event took place on Monday 21 September 2015.

The Resilience Forum is for ANYBODY (with a pulse!) involved with or interested in resilience research!

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