How the Action for Happiness course is changing lives

Date: 7 June 2016

Action for Happiness is a rapidly growing social movement, based at The Young Foundation, which promotes action for a happier and kinder world. The movement’s Patron, the Dalai Lama, recently helped launch “Exploring What Matters” a unique 8-week course for local community groups. This article looks at how the course is changing lives across the UK and beyond.

In September 2015, our Patron the Dalai Lama helped us launch our 8-week Exploring What Matters course at a big event in London.

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This article shares an update on the roll-out of the course in communities across the UK and beyond. It’s still very early days, but we’re delighted with how things are going so far. We want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who’s been involved so far, especially all the wonderful volunteer course leaders who have given their time and energy so generously.

Volunteer course leaders

  • 2,500people have signed up to show interest in leading a course
  • 230volunteers have gone on to complete our full Leader Registration process

Courses & participants

  • Over 100 courseshave been submitted (each is run by two co-leaders) – 25 are complete, 26 are in progress/booking and the remainder are being set up
  • Over 750 participantshave taken the course so far (average of 16 per course)

Impact of the course

  • 95%of participants would recommend the course to others
  • 94%say the course has had a Positive impact on their life (vs 5% Neutral, 1% Negative)
  • Participants experience significant increases in Life Satisfaction(+19%), Mental Wellbeing(+12%), Compassion (+9%) and Social Trust (+17%), based on comparing standardised survey measures taken before and after the course.

But perhaps most important of all are the human stories and personal feedback we receive all the time. Here are a few examples:
“The course has been life changing for me I cannot express how thankful I am that I attended thank you”

~ Judy, participant
“Thank you for the course. I felt very disconnected and shut down from people before but I have a sense now that connecting with others is of equal benefit to me and to them. I have greater sense of equality between all people, and feel more open to people in general, and more inclined to relax and trust others. I’m delighted that I did the course and plan to continue meeting with the group in the future”

~ Tina, course participant
“I just wanted to take this opportunity to say how blown away I’ve been by the Action for happiness local programme design and set-up by you and your people. I’m helping to run this in Henley. As a full-time coach I thought I knew quite a lot about happiness. It’s been life-changing! For me and others on the course. The design is superb and I wanted to let you know and thank you and your team. (I used to design training and this means I’m even more impressed)”

~ Joy, volunteer course leader

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And finally here is a lovely list of things people say they’re going to do as a result of the course..

  • “Listen better and invite others views and be considerate of other perspectives”
  • “Keep my work and recharge times in balance, so I can be at my best for myself and others”
  • “Express more gratitude and compassion to myself and others”
  • “Be more mindful in my daily life. Show greater kindness to strangers”
  • “Start volunteering and taking a more active role in my community”
  • “Do more to help others to realise that finding more contentment in life is possible”
  • “Introduce science of happiness into my workplace and run a wellbeing group”
  • “I gave up smoking and alcohol, began actively looking for and applying for new roles, stepped more into myself and who I truly want to be”
  • “Plan to run my own course in the future”
  • “Go out of my way to help others and keep challenging myself”
  • “Definitely have more resilience than when I started the course”
  • “Volunteering a lot more and also taking time to chat to strangers whenever possible”
  • “I am telling others about the course and what I learned on it”
  • “I’m now part of a group from the course who plan to do more for the community”
  • “I have been trying to be more gentle with myself and others”
  • “I feel a stronger sense of responsibility for my own happiness”
  • “I hope to meditate every day and try to see other people’s point of view”
  • “I will continue to act with kindness and compassion towards people, but with more confidence and pride that that is a good way to live”
  • “Notice when I am in a defensive mode and try to open out to others more”
  • “I am changing my career and direction in life. I am doing more things for no financial reward. I am connecting with others in my community more”
  • “Make a conscious effort to lead a more meaningful and happy life”
  • “Spread the word about action for Happiness wherever possible”
  • “Take more notice of the good things in life, less stress over silly things”
  • “Think about how I treat other people”
  • “Try to help others more, have more compassion. Have more courage to face more personal difficult issues”
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