The elusive state of mind called happiness is like a rare butterfly that is being tracked by governments, non-profits and psychologists in this new Positive Age.
Are we all happy-clappy, and is that what it’s all about? A better term would be wellbeing, or balance, and happiness might just be a catch-all phrase for having achieved equilibrium and an upbeat attitude to one’s life.
Increasingly, it is being quantified, monetized and scrutinized, and not without good reason. Happy citizens commit less crime, get sick less and are more productive. Its preservation, I would argue, is the highest duty of a nation to its people.
Here’s a roundup of the capital’s top-smiling points … cherry-picked from Google’s 57 Million + mentions of happiness and London in the same sentence.
The Happiness Centre in Shepherds Bush offers an Inner Happiness Coaching Program. The three-month course helps clients let go of limiting patterns, recurring problems, frustrations or resistance and get back on track to live an ideal life. Their approach is holistic, as the centre also runs workshops on yoga, pilates, nutrition, Reiki as well as various massage therapies.
New charity Action for Happiness gives away free hugs, organises group meditation and is dedicated to building a happier society. The group believes very much in helping others as a way to create more happiness for both those giving and receiving. They do not sell any service or product, they just want people to smile more. Not bad.
The Happiness Project is a happy-go-lucky blog from a plucky woman named Sasha, and gives advice on where to go and what to do in this great city as well as her own personal musings on how to stay on the sunny side of life. She also does great cartwheels.
How about a little happiness with your drink tonight?
Looking for a fixer elixir to put a smile back on your face? Check out Happiness Forgets, a ‘low rent’ basement cocktail bar in London’s trendy East End. With low lighting, dark wood and hard to find, they might not make you happy but my guess is they can make you forgot you were ever sad.
Not to be outdone by its upstart younger sister, good old West London offers Trailer Happiness, a kitschy ‘white trash’ themed bar in Notting Hill’s Portobello Road. They are also ‘low rent’, and yes, happiness must start in the basement as well … we may be spotting a trend!