Museum of happiness

Get your happy on with science at the Museum of Happiness

By Kitty Knowles 15 January 2016
The Museum of Happiness pop-up will be at Spitalfields this weekend. Pic: The Museum of Happiness.

Learn how to live a life of content as the Museum of Happiness comes to central London with tips, tech and science aplenty.

Are you feeling downtrodden by the January blues? Don’t worry, the world’s first pop-up Museum of Happiness is coming to central London to teach you the science behind feeling fulfilled.

Founded last year by wellbeing expert Shamash Alidina (the author of Mindfulness for Dummies) alongside youth mentor Vicky Johnson and event designer Kieran Walton, the inaugural event will kick off this weekend and run through Blue Monday.

“We have created a space for people to explore the art and science of happiness in an interactive and experiential way,” Alidina said of the pop-up.

“Different people will have different motivations for coming, ranging from wanted to have a ‘pick up’ from the January blues, to wanting to try out discover new strategies to a happier, healthier and more interesting lifestyle.”

“Parents will bring children to teach them the importance of happiness; teenagers may be looking for a way to have a bit of fun and pick up some tips to destress – there are many more reasons I’m sure!”

The founders at an event at Goldsmiths University. Pic: The Museum of Happiness.
The founders at an event at Goldsmiths University. Pic: The Museum of Happiness.

What will you learn?

The Science of Happiness part of the pop-up will include 11 displays.

You’ll learn about 5 scientifically proven ways to improve your wellbeing, as detailed in this government report.

“At the Museum of Happiness we use the acronym ‘CAN DO’ to make them easier to remember,” Alidina explained: “Connect with others, be Active, be Nice, Discover something new, Observe and be mindful.”

The event will also include workshops on the value of gratitude, using research from Berkeley University, California: According to Alidina, just writing down three things you’re grateful for on paper can make you feel happier.

You’ll learn how to define the meaning of happiness through the teachings of leading positive psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, and you’ll even be able to explore how your happiness levels can affect your bodily odours, using research published in the journal Psychological Science.

Moment tracks how much time you spend on your smartphone. Pic: Moment.
Moment tracks how much time you spend on your smartphone. Pic: Moment.

Happy apps

The Museum of Happiness pop-up will also show how technology can help to improve your mental state.

“Apps like Mindfulness Daily can remind you to stop, breathe and come back to the present moment – a quality shown in studies to raise wellbeing and mental resilience,” explains Alidina.

“Gratitude apps, like Gratitude Journal 365, remind you to jot down three things everyday that you’re grateful for.”

“Others, like Moment, track your phone usage, and block you from using your phone excessively,” he adds. “You need to have a break and meet real people to feel happier!”

Virtual reality for the win

On the weekend, Maneesh Juneja, a leading Digital Health Futurist, will explain how emerging technologies can make the world a happier, healthier place. He’ll also detail how the UN & Amnesty International have been using VR to generate empathy and build support for social causes.

As part of this, visitors will be able to take part in immersive virtual reality experiences themselves, and be transported to everywhere from a sunny beach for guided meditation, to a refugee camp in Jordan.

There’s no excuse not to start a happier life now.

The FREE pop-up Museum of Happiness will take place at Spitalfields Market, London. Saturday 16-Monday 18. 10am-5.30pm.