* Understand The Science Of Happiness and be “Simply-Happy” NOW! *
* Accelerate your Parenting Skills, Your Health and your Learning *
* Allow the Science of Happiness to build skill in Work/Life Balance *
* Build a Motivated Workplace with Well Being and Happiness Concepts *
* Help Your Family, Children And Loved Ones Increase Their Happiness *
* Receive Tools To Sustain Happiness For The Rest Of Your Life *
* Understand Latest Scientific Research on Happiness and Money *


Programme at a Glance

Wednesday 16th April – Thursday 17th April 2008

Registration 7.30am


8.30am – 6.00pm

Session 1 - Positive Psychology: The Pursuit of Happiness at Work, at School, and at Home

Session 2 - Positive Psychology: The Pursuit of Happiness at Work, at School, and at Home (cont.)

Session 3 - The How, What, When, and Why of Mental Health: Is it Possible To Become Lastingly Happier and, If Yes, How?

Session 4 - Happiness and the Journey of Life

Session 5 - The Scheherazade Magic: A Singaporean Writer Shares The Joy And Power of Story-Telling


Thursday 17th April


8.30am – 6.00pm

Session 6 - The Science of Happiness and Well-Being: Singapore Perspectives

Session7 - Positive Education: Bringing Well-Being to Parents, Schools And Universities

Session8 - Parenting and Teaching with the Brain in Mind

Session 9 - Positive Psychology and Culture: Pleasure, Domains of Life, and the World of Food

Session 10 - Happiness in a Global Workplace – Culture in your Heart or on your Back?

Session 11 -Question Time

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The New Science of Happiness and Well Being



The New Science of Happiness and Well-Being

DAY ONE, Wednesday 16th April 2008

7.30 am               Registration

8.30 am               Welcome


Philip Merry: Founder and CEO of Conference Organiser Global Leadership Academy

Official Opening

9.00 am  Session 1. KEYNOTE Positive Psychology: The Pursuit of Happiness at Work, at School, and at Home


Dr Martin Seligman - Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, USA

  • What is Happiness?
  • Why Positive Psychology matters to Corporations
  • Positive Psychology Builds Intellectual, Social, and Physical Capital
  • Optimism and Success
  • Positive Interventions
  • Positive Education
  • The Full Life
  • The Politics of Well Being

“Positive Psychology is the study of four modes of “happiness:”

  • The Pleasant Life
  • The Engaged Life
  • The Meaningful Life
  • The Achieving Life.

Each of these modes is separately measurable and each is buildable. A “Full Life” has all these elements although there are serious tensions among them. I suggest that psychology in the coming decade will supplement its focus on healing mental illness with a new focus on understanding and building what makes life worth living. The Positive Workplace will focus on building engagement and meaning at work. Positive education will teach the skills of Positive Psychology in secondary schools, to prevent depression and help to build life-long happiness among young people.”


10.30 am Morning Break
11 am  

Session 2. KEYNOTE Positive Psychology: The Pursuit of
Happiness at Work, at School, and at Home (cont.)

Dr Martin Seligman - Professor of Psychology University of Pennsylvania, USA



12.30 pm


1.30 pm Session 3. The How, What, When, and Why of Mental Health: Is it Possible To Become Lastingly Happier and, if Yes, How?


Sonja Lyubomirsky - Professor of Psychology, University of California, Riverside

    • Folk Wisdom About the Pursuit of Health and Happiness
    • Three Historical Sources of Pessimism About Increasing Happiness
    • How Can Health and Happiness Be Achieved and Sustained?
    • The Three Determinants of Happiness
    • Happiness is Partially Genetically Determined
    • The Influence of Life Circumstances on Happiness
    • The Advantages of Intentional Activities
    • Five Double-Blind Controlled Happiness Interventions
    • Counting Blessings vs. Expressing Gratitude
    • Visualizing One’s Best Possible Self
    • Committing Acts of Kindness
    • 12 uniquely formulated “Happiness Strategies”
    • Secrets to Achieving Health and Happiness: Motivation, “Fit,” and Effort (In Other Words, Happiness Takes Work!)


    “Happy people enjoy countless benefits – not just feeling good, but enhanced productivity and creativity, more fulfilling relationships, superior physical health, and even longer life.  Until recently, however, many scientists were pessimistic about the very notion that happiness can be lastingly increased.  First, happiness is heritable and very stable over the life course, and second, we have a remarkable capacity to adapt to any positive changes in our lives.  I have developed a model suggesting that such pessimism is unwarranted.  I will start by showing how to measure and understand our genetic “happiness set point” and then describe how this set point determines just 50% of happiness, while a mere 10% can be attributed to differences in people’s life circumstances. This leaves a surprising 40% of our capacity for happiness within our power to change.  Drawing on my research with thousands of participants, I will describe a detailed yet easy-to-follow program to increase health and happiness in our day-to-day lives by introducing a dozen uniquely formulated “happiness strategies” – that is, intentional activities, or mindful actions that we can practice on a regular basis.  In particular, I will focus on longitudinal studies – and their implications – of the practice of committing acts of kindness, staying optimistic when imagining the future, and expressing gratitude in optimal ways.  Most important, I will discuss the critical factors that bolster our likelihood of success – for example, how to find the right fit between the happiness activities and our personalities, interests, and goals, as well as how to understand the many obstacles to happiness and how to overcome them.  In sum, emphasizing how much of our health and happiness is within our control, I will address the scientific “how” of my happiness research, demystifying the many myths that unnecessarily complicate its pursuit.”


    2.45 pm Questions
    3.00 am  

    Afternoon Break

    3.30 pm

    Session 4. Happiness and the Journey of Life


    George Vaillant M.D. - Harvard Medical School/ Brigham and Women's Hospital

      • What are positive emotions?
      • What is the difference between happiness and positive emotions?
      • The medical profession’s most powerful tool against stress – the ability of positive emotions to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system
      • Why emotions are as important to the "east" as to the "west"?
      • Why positive emotions matter to corporations?
      • Positive emotions and adult development

      “This session explores the proposal that six positive emotions:1. "parental" love (attachment);2. trust (faith); 3. Compassion;4. Forgiveness; 5. Joy; 6. hope constitute what we mean by spirituality. Until recently these emotions have been grossly ignored by psychology and are yet are just as important to clinicians, family members and employers as they are to religious organizations. The so-called negative emotions of anger, sadness, and fear are present oriented, predominantly self-oriented and activate the sympathetic (stress responsive) nervous system. These are the emotions that preoccupy clinicians and occupational health therapists. In contrast, the positive emotions (listed above) are future oriented, prosocial and often activate the parasympathetic (soothing) nervous system. These emotions have experimentally been demonstrated to enhance leadership, creativity, cognition and tolerance. Translated into psychiatric jargon, negative emotions move us toward narcissism; positive emotions lead us away from narcissism. Until the last 20 years, however, we knew little about the positive emotions. Consider the fact that the leading American text, The Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, half a million lines in length, devotes 100-600 lines each to shame, guilt, terrorism, anger, hate and sin, and, of course, devotes thousands of lines to depression and fear/anxiety.  In contrast the textbook devotes only five lines to hope, one line to joy and not a single line to faith, compassion, forgiveness or love. Our scientific understanding of emotions depends on two new sciences each younger than atomic physics, ethology and neuroscience. Human evolution has created two brains: a "mammalian" brain that can feel, love and trust and empathize and a "Homo sapiens "neocortical” brain that can speak, think and analyze. The session will share the new neuro scientific findings about this emotional "mammalian" brain to the audience more used to only conceptualizing behaviour in terms of the "human" analytical brain.”


      4.45 pm Questions
      5.00 pm           

      Session 5. The Scheherazade Magic: A Singaporean Writer
      Shows The Joy And Power Of Story-Telling


      Dr Catherine Lim

      • The life-saving power of story-telling, as proved by Scheherazade
      • How story-telling has contributed to my happiness both as a writer and as a person
      • Telling stories both to inspire, to entertain and to spread joy
      • The potential in EVERYONE to create their own stories for greater understanding of self and others
      • Some practical tips on writing a short story that will help increase your happiness - anybody can!

      “I will describe how three decades of telling stories based on my childhood experiences and my observations of life in a society where tradition clashes with modernity have brought me much happiness and fulfillment. I will show that, with the help of some writing tips, others too can create simple tales from the rich store of experiences and memories that everyone has. Whether sad or happy, troubling or inspiring, such tales can contribute to a person's sense of self-understanding, identity and rootedness, the ultimate condition for true happiness.” 


      6.00 pm           Close of Day One


      DAY TWO, Thursday 17th April 2008

      8.30 am               Opening Philip Merry - Global Leadership Academy

      8.35 am               Session 6. The Science of Happiness and Well-Being: Singapore Perspectives

      The Science of Happiness and Well-Being: Singapore Perspectives

      Dr David Chan - Professor of Psychology and Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University

      • National Accounts of Well-Being
      • Levels of Analysis in Well-Being – The Nation, the Group, and the Individual
      • Conceptualization and Measurement Issues in Well-Being Research
      • Challenges from Negativity Bias and Defensive Pessimism
      • Practical Intelligence and Well-Being
      • Positive and Negative Effects of Proactive Behaviors on Well-Being
      • The Fuzzy Logic of Happiness – Reconciling East and West in Singapore
      • Happiness and Well-Being – Management in Organizations and Policy Making in Singapore

      In the United Nations reporting system, the two major indicators taken to index a nation’s well being are the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and the HDI (Human Development Index). However, these “objective” well-being indicators may not be adequate as aggregate measures of citizens’ well-being such as their level of life satisfaction and happiness. Indeed, a major part of an individual’s well-being is inherently subjective insofar as it is about how the individual thinks and feels about his or her quality of life. As subjective well-being is correlated with or predictive of the individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, it is important that public policy makers and organizational leaders have a good grasp of the research on happiness and well-being. In this presentation, I will first examine well-being at different levels of analysis (the nation, the group or organization, the individual) and discuss the complexities in the conceptualization and measurement of well-being in scientific research. Next, I will present several recently published studies conducted in Singapore to illustrate important issues on well-being. Drawing on research in social and personality psychology, I will discuss challenges to well-being posed by negativity bias and defensive pessimism. I will then show how the ability to judge and effectively respond to practical situations is key to enhancing well-being. Specifically, this practical intelligence or situational judgment effectiveness will determine whether an individual’s proactive behaviors are adaptive or maladaptive for well-being as well as whether an individual’s thinking style embedded in the tension between Eastern and Western thought may help or hurt well-being. Finally, we will discuss how the science of happiness and well-being can provide us an evidence-based approach towards developing better management in organizations and policy making in Singapore


      9.35 am               Session 7. Positive Education: Bringing well-being to
                                     parents, schools and universities

      Dr Ilona Boniwell - Programme Leader, Europe’s first Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology

      • What is positive education?
      • Positive parenting
      • Well-being in primary schools
      • Positive psychology in secondary schools: from eliminating depression to building the skills of well- being
      • Whole school approach to well-being
      • Higher education in positive psychology: the magic of MAPP


      “Positive education is about developing the skills of flourishing and optimal functioning in children, teenagers and students, as well as parents and educational institutions. This presentation will review the world-wide progress and validation of positive psychology programmes at primary and secondary levels, including the Well-Being Curriculum and Strengths at Schools, (both currently implemented in the UK), the Penn Resilience Programme, run in American and British schools, and the Positive Psychology Programme for the US secondary education system. Moreover, I will discuss how the principles of positive psychology and well-being can be applied to the whole school environment, drawing on the example of Geelong Grammar School in Australia. Finally, we will consider how bringing positive psychology into higher education can have an impact on both students and their subsequent professional choices.”

      10.35 am            Questions

      10.45 am            Morning Break

      11.10 am            Session 8. Parenting and Teaching with the Brain in Mind


      Dr Judy Willis - Neurologist, Researcher, Middle School Teacher, Author

      • Teaching and parenting for responsive and not reflexive children
      • Mindful alertness to increase focused attention, harness mental energy and effort
      • How reducing child/student stress increases neuroplasticity in prefrontal lobe executive function for higher cognitive processing and creative problem solving
      • Strategies to reduces the brain's obstructive filters that block learning
      • Strategies to increase the neurotransmitters that contribute to learning and long-term memory

      “Raising and teaching happier, smarter, more responsive and responsible children using mindful learning and neuro-logical "RAD" strategies. After reviewing current research about how information is processed by the brain to become knowledge, I will describe the strategies for parents and teachers to help children reduce stresses, increase mindful alertness, sustain optimism, increase motivation, build strong long-term memories, develop higher-level thinking, practice creative problem solving, and approach life and learning joyfully. Mindfulness education teaches students to become more aware of their own state of mind and is a critical practice for students to use with RAD strategies to achieve their maximal potential in school and life.”

      12.15               Questions

      12.30               Lunch  

      1.30                 Session 9. Positive Psychology and Culture: Pleasure,
                               Domains of Life, and the World of Food

      Dr Paul Rozin - Psychology Professor, University of Pennsylvania.

      • Asian Versus American Perspectives on the Good Life
      • Collectivism Versus Individualism
      • Harmony and Tradition Versus Agency and Choice
      • Types of Pleasure
      • Positive Psychology, Culture and the Domains of Life
      • Work and Leisure Activities
      • Food, Pleasure and Culture


      “Cultures differ in what they value most, although there is a great deal of variation among people within any culture. Contrasting South, Southeast, and East Asian cultures with Western developed cultures suggests greater emphasis on collectivism, harmony and tradition in the East, and greater emphasis on individualism, individual agency and choice in the West.  Pleasure itself can be viewed from different perspectives, including the basic distinction between experienced, remembered and anticipated pleasure.  Positive approaches to work, leisure activities and particularly food will be discussed.  Food will be considered with respect to the enormous changes in the food environment in the developed world in the last 50 years, and the contrast between eating as a pleasurable act and eating as a worrisome act. Contrasts in attitudes to food between Americans, French, and Indians will be considered.”

      02.45               Questions

      3.00 pm           Afternoon Break

      3.30 pm           Session 10. Happiness in a Global World

      Philip Merry – CEO, Global Leadership Academy, Singapore

      • Global Effectiveness and Happiness
      • Cultural Values – changes in Singapore
      • Mindset and happiness
      • How your Cultural Values make you Happy
      • How your Cultural Values make you Unhappy
      • Influence of Parental Messages
      • How to Unblock Negative Messages
      • Reframing your Mindsets to Accelerate Happiness
      • Flow – Attracting Happiness

      “Global “connection” has had and enormous impact on nations and organisations – not always for the better. Many of us accept blindly our cultural values and do not often consider whether they contribute to our happiness or block our happiness in a global world. From over 30 years of cross cultural consulting in 48 countries I will share in this session real stories of ways in which cultural values have contributed to success or frustration in the lives of Asian and Western executives and organisations. You will apply the lessons to your own life to discover ways in which your cultural values are either in your heart – and working for you – or a burden on your back and working against you.

      4.30 pm               Session 11. Question Time

      5.20 pm            Close of Conference