Articles by Miriam Akhar
Miriam Akhtar is a positive psychology coach, trainer and writer. She is the author of Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression (2012) and the co-producer of The Happiness Training Plan. She also facilitates the Penn Resilience Program in the UK. Her special areas of interest are positive psychology interventions, depression and positive youth development.
The benefits of physical activity for mental health are well-known, but for some people the word exercise summons up images of sweaty discomfort. Walking is a gentle form of exercise that has the advantage of getting you out into the great outdoors.
Rosalind Turner and I are facilitating a walk for well-being on Sunday 17th May as part of Bristol Walk Fest. Come join us, or perhaps you can get something organized where you live.
This Thursday, March 26, you are invited to a free webinar on Love & Purpose. Why put these two topics together? Read on.
The period between Christmas and New Year is for many a pot of unstructured time that can lapse into a wasteland of mindless eating and slumping in front of the TV. The days are short and energy levels are low. But this time is perfect for reflecting on the year that’s gone and planning the year ahead. Take a life audit of 2014 as a basis to plan for 2015.
It may be easier to advocate for positive psychology when life is on an upward slope, but for me, it has been the tough times that have truly shown me the value of the science. In July less than 24 hours after facilitating the Penn Resilience Program I got a phone call which would plunge me into a test of my own resilience.
Bristol is preparing to green light a range of projects that combine sustainability with well-being. One of these is a free online lecture whose theme is Sustainable Happiness, a topic that I will explore alongside Chris Johnstone, co-author of Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy. You are invited to this free event.
So what is sustainable happiness?
We put together the Happiness Habits program and tested it with groups as diverse as refugee parents in an inner-city school, charity volunteers, and professionals working in health and education. After several iterations we settled on 8 habits of happiness delivered in 8 weekly sessions: habits because it takes practice to make these actions automatic and 8 weeks to allow adequate time for positive changes to occur.
We Just Saw the Olympics
The 2012 Olympic Games gifted the host nation with the feel-good factor and now that they’re over many of us have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms or POD – post-Olympic depression as …
Positive psychology forged its reputation as the study of happiness with a goal of increasing the tonnage of happiness on the planet. Less attention has been paid to the role that positive psychology could play in dealing with the shadow side of life, in reducing the global burden of depression.
A year ago I joined a local gospel choir to put ‘sunshine into the soul’ during the long winter months, and it’s undoubtedly been one of the most powerful interventions in my experience. Every time we sing in harmony I can sense the presence of a bunch of positive emotions feeding into my positivity ratio, and it seems I’m not the only one.
This summer the UK was rocked by riots with young people playing the major role. I came across disaffected young people such as these when I was carrying out my MAPP research working with the charity In-Volve to apply positive psychology with young people abusing alcohol. Given that the motivation to drink is related to wanting to be happy, to change mood, escape from troubles and deal with stress, surely positive psychology is well-placed to help adolescents to alternative routes to happiness, positive emotions, and resilience?