Happiness & its Causes Conference – lessons from the last 2 days

Happiness & its Causes Conference – lessons from the last 2 days

I’ve just had a fantastic two days listening to and talking to some amazing people (not all of whom were up on the big stage!). I won’t try to summarise everything I heard or learned, although I will be posting more articles and blogs inspired by the conference in coming weeks, but what I thought I would do today is just sum up some of the key messages and themes that ran through the presentations and discussions. I hope you find this as helpful and as inspiring as I found the conference…

  • Dame Jane Goodall suggested we might find more happiness if we treated animals with the same compassion we treat other humans

  • Matthieu Ricard reminded us that one of the quickest paths to happiness will almost certainly be via cultivating altruism

  • Robert Biswas-Deiner encouraged us to think how different cultures value different aspects of and define happiness differently

  • Russ Harris invited us to think that happiness doesn’t necessarily come from “fighting” negative emotions or thoughts but rather, on accepting them and moving on despite them

  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama shared his wisdom and again, reinforced the importance of compassion and cultivating a warm heart for happiness

  • Prof. Marco Iacoboni, the discoverer of mirror neurons, put forward a strong argument for believing that we’re hard wired for empathy (which is a great thing)

  • Wally Lewis and Chief Dan Daly (who was the head of the NY City Fire Department during 9/11) reminded us that adversity can be overcome and that through hardships can come hope and ultimately, happiness

  • And then finally, a number of experts from various disciplines (including me!) emphasised the importance of healthy eating for happiness and wellbeing

Taking all of this under consideration, then, what can we all do for more happiness?

Quite simply…just dedicate time each and every day to eating well, exercising, resting and meditating, doing good to and for others, cultivate compassion and kindness, build hope and share your positive expectations for the future.

If we all do what we can to practice these strategies each and every day, in our own way, then I’m sure we can all enjoy a better life and a better world!