Action for Happiness – Exploring What Matters Course

March 20th was the International Day of Happiness. Sounds a bit trite? Well, the national mental health and wellbeing charity, Action for Happiness, is doing its bit to help people find happiness, break isolation and build social cohesion – despite life’s difficulties. Take a look at the BBC’s coverage of AfH on the day.

Locally, AfH will be running a new course called Exploring What Matters to help people discover how to live a happier and kinder life. Evaluation surveys from over 1,000 previous course attendees have showed significant improvements in both the personal wellbeing (+20% Life Satisfaction; +13% Mental Wellbeing) and also in the pro-social behaviour (+9% Compassion; +16% Trust) of the course participants, and we could all use a bit of that.

Jasmine Hodge-Lake came to the course having suffered for over a decade with chronic pain which left her unable to work. She describes how it helped her:

“I wouldn’t be where I am now without Action for Happiness and that course. I found there were things I could do that would make a big difference and started to feel hopeful about the future. I still have bad days and life certainly isn’t perfect. But it has really helped me so much. Now I’m trying to be the change that I want to see.”

The course is based on groups of up to 24 people exploring “big questions” together each week. The questions/themes for the 8 sessions are as follows:

  1. What really matters in life?
  2. What actually makes us happy?
  3. Can we find peace of mind?
  4. How should we treat others?
  5. What makes for great relationships?
  6. Can we be happier at work?
  7. Can we build happier communities?
  8. How can we create a happier world?

Each weekly session follows the same structured format, which includes:

  • Tuning In. Starting each session with short mindfulness and gratitude exercises to create a calm and positive atmosphere and to encourage friendly connections.
  • Expert View. Watching a short video relating to the theme, including talks by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Richard Layard, Karen Armstrong, Ed Diener and Brene Brown.
  • Personal View. Reflecting on personal experiences relating to that week’s theme.
  • Did You Know? Learning interesting new ideas based on the latest research.
  • Group Discussion. Having an in-depth discussion in small groups of 3-4 people.
  • Action. Committing to a personal action to take based on what has been discussed.

Participants are asked to make a donation of £90 to attend. However, there is a genuine pay-what-you-can offer if that is too much – no questions, no embarrassment so that the course remains open to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. On the other hand, Participants who are able to donate more help to ensure the course is available for those who have less.

The course will take place at The Viables Community Centre every Thursday for 8 weeks, starting on 2nd May. Please get your tickets now from Eventbrite.

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Steam Trains in and near North Hampshire 2014

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Mr NHM has the life long affliction of being a train spotter. I didn’t know how bad it was until after we got married (that and his Star Trek addiction – no comment).He’s keen to pass this affiliction onto Miss NHM and to be honest, I love going on a steam train too. ( I just don’t need to spend half an hour  after in the train workshop, working out which train is which! Lol).

These are the steam trains in and near North Hampshire that I know about.
Please let me know if I’m missing any!

Steam Trains in and near North Hampshire

Viables Steam Train – Viables in Basingstoke

Exbury gardens and Steam Train – near Southampton

The Watercress Line – Alresford

Lakeside Country Park – near Southampton

Didcot railway line – near Reading

Frimley Lodge Miniature Railway – Frimley near Farnborough

Moors Valley Country Park – near Bournemouth

Princess Parties (Pirates welcome too…!)

I met Sarah through NHM over a year ago and I’ve had several family photo shoots with her since. She takes fantastic photo’s that are very reasonably priced. The parties sound like great fun, and I love the idea of having photo’s to document the whole experience. If you would like more details about Sarah’s studio over at Viables, please see the related posts below.

Princess Parties (Pirates welcome too…!)

Princess Parties are aimed for little ones aged 3 – 7.  At the party, your child can dress up and be made up to feel like a fairytale princess or swashbuckling pirate.  Don’t worry if you don’t have party dresses – we can supply those too!

Hair and Nails will be done at the party.  The thing that makes this party unique is that the whole event has a professional photographer there to record every moment.  The mobile studio will be set up and once the princess or pirate has been made up, professional portraits will be taken. All your party guests will have a mounted photograph to take away with them and, within a few days, the party princess or pirate will be given a memory book and 10 x 8 image of the day

Prices can vary depending on your specific requirements – please contact me for further information!

Modelling Party

The Modelling party is a fun two hours.

Come and be treated like a model with five guests – party invites are included in the price and sent to you with the party booking information. You will be greeted with drinks (mocktails for under 18’s) and party nibbles.

The Shoot is held in a party atmosphere and, if the weather is nice, we go out in the local grounds and do some on-location shots. Bring along your favourite outfits and change as much as you like to work those Top Model poses!

Once the party is over and we have some amazing photographs, I will edit the photos (which is normally a ten-day turn-around) and place them on a CD. There will be a minimum of 5 photos per person, and a letter giving you permission to print will be supplied with each CD – meaning that the images can then be printed anywhere at your convenience.

Parties are normally held at the studio – but if another location is required, this can be discussed.

Please contact Sarah Dutton Photography for more information on the above two parties!

You can also find Sarah’s Facebook page HERE.

13 things to do in Basingstoke in Spring with a three year old

1. Visit PlayDays, JJ’s, Fun House or Gym Tots at the Sports Centre

2. Go to the Aquadrome.

3. Check out nature detectives to see which packs you can use to go on a treasure hunt. Click HERE for a list of nature walks you can do.

4. Play Pooh Sticks on the bridge at Eastrop Park

5. Go Ice Skating at Planet Ice

6. Check out the aquarium’s in the fish shop at Sherfield on Loddon Garden Centre

7. Attend a Toddler Class. Have a look at the Activities Drop down on the tool bar above, to see the Classes available each day.

8. Visit the Old Fashioned Sweet Shop in Milestones

9. Go Bowling at the Leisure Park and play in the new Soft Play area after. (Keep your receipt for softplay as it gets you half price entry the next time you go.)

10. Visit a Pick Your Own Farm

11. Fly a kite on Crabtree Hill

12. Take a ride on the Viables mini steam train when it’s running

13. Go to Basing Lime Pits and play on the Train climbing frame and slide down the extra long slides

What would you recommend in the area for something to do with a three year old?

Related Posts

9 Things to do in Basingstoke with a newborn

15 Different Experiences for Children

7 Cheap or Free Rainy Day Activities in Basingstoke

11 Things to do when you are pregnant

11 Places to Breakfast “out” with Children in North Hampshire