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4th Annual Happiness & Its Causes Conference – Australia

written by Amanda Horne 11 June 2009

Amanda Horne is an executive coach and facilitator whose business theme is "Thriving People and Workplaces." She is an Authentic Happiness Coaching graduate and a founding member of Positive Workplace International. Full bio.

Amanda's articles are here.

Sydney Opera House in Daylight

Sydney Opera House in Daylight

The 4th Annual Australian Happiness & Its Causes conference was held in Sydney on 14-15 May, 2009.

As in previous years, this was a conference that appealed to people of all backgrounds, and so it attracted a large audience of over 2,000 participants. Credible, high-profile and respected speakers and forum moderators presented their material in ways that were accessible to all.

We heard from both international and local speakers from diverse and distinguished areas, including some familiar names: Sonja Lyubomirsky, Venerable Robina Courtin, Dr. Norman Doidge, Marva Collins, Dr. Daniel Goleman, Dr. Daniel Siegel, M.D, Professor Irving Kirsch, Dr. Brian Rosner, Morris Gleitzman, Professor Ian Hickie, Dr. Suzy Green, Tony Buzan, and Dr. John Gottman.


John Gottman

John Gottman

As was the case in previous years the excellent presentations spanned East, West, science, and experience. Both days comprised only plenary sessions. We all enjoyed going with the flow and enjoying the experience together.


In addition there were pre and post conference workshops. I was faced with a tough choice between two one-day pre-conference workshops: John Gottman or Dan Siegel (of ‘Mindful Brain’ fame). I chose Gottman’s. It was a sell-out and a fantastic workshop.

“Relationships have to be a rich climate of positivity.”
(John Gottman)

Highlights, Comments and Quotations

“Slowly, slowly then, you’re becoming your own therapist. You talk to yourself, you literally change the story. This is practice. This is the point. It’s up to us. It’s possible to be our own therapist; to heal ourselves. The words are simple, like I said. To do it – I can tell you from my own experience – is the most difficult job on this early, but it’s the most worthwhile.” (Venerable Robina Courtin)

“The more you are angry, the better you get at it. The more you are kind, the better you get at it. We all innately have the potential to develop happiness.” (Venerable Robina Courtin)

“I am still a hedonist, I just look for pleasure in different places” (Geraldine Cox)

“Resilience is not avoiding negative emotions, it’s allowing yourself to experience the negative emotions and to come back up and out of them.” (Ingrid Poulson)

“Responsibility gives me control, just as control gives me responsibility.” (Ingrid Poulson)

“Support is what carries you to where you need to go.” (Ingrid Poulson)

Marva Collins

Marva Collins

“This is what it’s all about: who I am; what I am here to do, and what the most important thing is to do.” (Marva Collins)

“Happiness is found through the good we do.” (Marva Collins)

“We need to help children talk about how to be human.” (Marva Collins)

“Compassionate action: the more we have the better our society. It requires us to think less of us and more of others.” (Daniel Goleman)

“The basis of self awareness and self management – both of which are important for our happiness – is mindfulness. Empathy and relationship skills/social skills are the key to spreading happiness.” (Daniel Goleman)


Dan Siegel

Dan Siegel

“The basis of great relationships is that we love and accept. If we are not comfortable with this idea of love, acceptance, friendship, and compassion, then we need to accept the problems we will inevitable have.” (Renate Ogilvy)

“Mindfulness results in the integration of all regions of the brain. Without integration we have rigidity or chaos.” (Dan Siegel)

“Healing is a form of neural integration.”
(Dan Siegel)

“We can mold the brains of others through how we behave with others.” (Norman Doidge)

“Our brains are not infinitely plastic. It’s just that they are more plastic than we used to think.” (Norman Doidge)


Sydney Opera House at Night

Sydney Opera House at Night

A final thought:

What did you do or learn today which makes you a better person and the world a better place?

The 5th Annual conference will be held on 5-6 May, 2010: /index.stm and they have confirmed that Barbara Fredrickson will be a keynote speaker.

Related link: Happiness and Its Causes London UK, 2008 is reviewed here in a previous Positive Psychology News Daily report by Timothy So: Traveling to Happiness.

All courtesy of Amanda Horne

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