A is for The Action For Happiness Movement

Action For Happiness was founded in 2011 by Richard Layard, Geoff Mulgan and Anthony Seldon.

The movement aims to achieve positive social change. It brings together people from all walks of life who want to play a part in creating a happier society for everyone.

Action For Happiness provides scientific background, practical strategies and opportunities for people to take action. Here are some further excerpts from the site.

What we believe

Our movement is about an idea, which if implemented, could uplift the quality of life in our societies.

The idea is that what we want for our society is as much happiness as is possible and, above all, as little misery.

And the implication for each of us is that we should aim to create more happiness in the world around us and less misery.

If each of us made this our goal, this would radically improve our societies.

To do it, we can use the new scientific knowledge about the causes of happiness and misery, which adds significantly to ancient wisdom.

We should use this knowledge in whatever way we can to create more happiness in our homes, our workplaces and in our communities.

It should influence how we approach our personal lives, how we bring up our children, how we behave at work and how public policy is made. And we should always consider the happiness of future generations, as well as our own.

Doing Good Feels Good

Our fundamental values and what underpins them

1. We can each affect our happiness and the happiness of those around us

There is a wide range of proven actions we can take to boost happiness, both for ourselves and others.

Although partly determined by factors outside our control – such as our genes and circumstances – our happiness is significantly affected by the conscious choices we make and the way we choose to react to what happens to us.

Happiness is also contagious, so when we feel good we help make others around us happier too.

2. We need to prioritise the things that cause happiness

Positive relationships are the most important ‘external’ contributors to happiness.

We need to put people first and do everything we can to create positive, loving and collaborative relationships in our families, organisations and communities.

Good mental health is the most important ‘internal’ contributor to happiness.

We need to take care of our emotional and psychological health as well as our physical health and give much greater support to those struggling with anxiety and depression.

3. Helping others is essential for a happier society

Self-centred individualism is not the route to happiness.

Helping others is of course good for their happiness, but it also makes us ourselves happier and healthier too.

Giving connects us together, provides us with a sense of meaning and makes us more accepting of ourselves and others.

It creates stronger communities and helps to build a happier society for everyone.

Great Dream

 What would a happier society look like?

A genuinely happier society will involve positive changes in all aspects of our lives. For example:

In our homes, more families will be loving, stable and well equipped to raise happy children. And more of us will be leading balanced lives, allowing us to spend more time with the people we care about, doing the things we love.

In our schools, we will have a more balanced education system which helps children to develop self-awareness and emotional resilience rather than just teaching them how to pass exams.

In our workplaces, we will see employers creating positive working environments and having staff that are happy, engaged and creative.

In our healthcare system, we will have a greater focus on emotional and psychological well-being, not just on physical health.

In our communities, we will find higher levels of trust, lower levels of crime and more people giving time and energy to be actively involved in their communities.

In our government policy, we will see priorities realigned not only to measure our happiness but also to take account of this when making policy decisions.

And finally, in our inner lives, more of us will be able to find peace and contentment and fewer of us will be struggling with stress and depression.

All of these changes are possible, but only if millions of people see a compelling case for change and have the resources, inspiration and support needed to help them take positive action in their lives.

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