Tuesday, 3 July 2012

How important is happiness?

It's hard to strike the balance between presenting a local "Action for Happiness" group as carnival fun and presenting ourselves as an organisation working to ameliorate:
  • isolation
  • depression
  • meaninglessness
  • suicide

 J just emailed me saying:

"This [second] video made me realise what a balancing act it is:
to address/include in your invitations those who both do and those who don't want to go deeper.  
People seeing only this video might conclude you're operating in the same area-ish as the Samaritans ..   you might find desperate people approaching you in some numbers ... that's quite a responsibility.       And people who 'just' want a little more expansiveness and laughter in their lives might feel this is too heavy for them. How to cover the range ? Be all things to all people ??
I felt reasured, imagining myself feeling low in your locale,  I could knock on your door and not  be   given just balloons and jokes and a laughter session .... and wondering how you see your rolewith people who are feeling very low/disturbed? "

Friday, 13 April 2012

FREE Laughter Yoga classes, FREE Laughter Yoga .

FREE Laughter Yoga classes, FREE Laughter Yoga classes with Patsy Solanki at The Bridge Centre Priory Road, Hastings on Wednesday mornings 10.30 - 11.30 also at Hastings Voluntary Action, Jackson Hall, Portland Place Hastings on Wednesday evenings 5-6pm (from 25th April) and WRVS, IBC Centre, 1 South Street St Leonards on Thursday 19th April at 10.30 - 11.30. Wear loose clothes and bring a cushion for comfort. No yoga positions to learn, just breathing exercises so anyone can join in. Come and enjoy, its hilarious and a very good activity for your health! Call Patsy on 07974 330806 for details, , St. Leonards-On-Sea, 07974 330806.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Shifting in the name of harmony, yet aware that my teacher teaches me to "beware of premature synthesis"

Shifting in the name of harmony, yet aware that my teacher teaches me to "beware of premature synthesis"

Dear Friends,

In case you're not yet following/glued to http://twitter.com/paulcrosland

Shifting from "Walking Buddhas of SE England" to "Love Statues of #StLeonards"; a more harmonious conversation opener: http://love-statues.blogspot.com

Thanks Zelly, Caz, Gaye, Sue & Patsy in particular for things said & done that helped this shift.
Reactions please (both initial reactions & more considered)

Kind regards/ Lots of love (whichever you prefer)

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Fwd: Action for Happiness (@actionhappiness) retweeted one of your Tweets!

Dear Sam & Alice at Streetbank

FYI Below a retweet about streetbank went yesterday to 10,000 followers of Action for Happiness.

Now that Freelending CIC have been contracted in to develop timebanking Social Media strateg across the UK I'm carving out some space again for a closer relationship between Streetbank and Freelending CIC again; with places on the Board of directors up for grabs as you can see from
recent tweets on http://twitter.com/paulcrosland 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Twitter 
Date: 28 February 2012 10:36:51 GMT
To: Paul Crosland
Subject: Action for Happiness (@actionhappiness) retweeted one of your tweets

Time Banking Explained

TimeBanking Explained in 53 seconds:

More information and support for timebanking at:

& http://additionalinfo.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Walking Buddhas of SE England, #Hastings


See http://southwatercentre.blogspot.com/2012/02/st-leonards-community-planning-event-on.html?m=1

[Default email template:]


http://additionalinfo. blogspot.com/2012/02/themes-of-my-work.html
How does this strike you?
Or if you want to go deeper:
1) What's new?
2) What's left unresolved from the past?
and/or 3) What's most important now?

Do let me know please if this email has been clear/helpful or not & what you would really like. Is that OK with you?

Tel 0780 70 66 202 for more connection than an e-mail; I'll probably have the spare minutes to call back.

Community Engagement and Community Development in Hastings and St Leonards:
http://additionalinfo.blogspot.com/2012/01/ community-engagement-and-community.html
& http://ethicaloutings.blogspot.com/p/links.html

Thank you for your time reading the whole email and following up what you were moved to do.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Action for Happiness - Caring about the happiness of others

In response to today's piece in the Guardian, which saw Happiness in some way as self-centred, this piece from the Action for Happiness site could easily taken as a pre-prepared response:

Caring about the happiness of others

news rss feed rss logo

06 Feb 2012 | Action for Happiness

This article is a transcript of a conversation between Professor Lord Richard Layard, co-founder of Action for Happiness, and Richard Holloway. It was first broadcast on BBC Radio Scotland on 15 January 2012. Listen to a recording of the conversation


Richard Layard: "I think we ought to agree is that the best state of affairs is one where as many people as possible are happy and as few as possible are miserable, and that therefore the way we should lead our lives is to try and produce as much happiness as we can in the world around us and especially as little misery; I think that should be the central ethic. But it's something that we have to take deep inside ourselves as the basic habit on which we base the way we live. And of course what follows from that is that we are not going to have a happier society if we're each pursuing our own happiness: we're going to have a happier society if we're each pursuing the happiness of other people mainly. The basic source of misery is self and self-absorption and I think we have moved somewhat towards a more self-absorbed society where people have been encouraged to believe that their job in life is to make the most of themselves rather than to contribute to the lives of others, and I think that we've got to get back to a more 'other-oriented' society.

Incidentally, we have founded Action for Happiness, which is a movement of people who are pledging to live in that way. The churches used to perform some of this function of taking people outside themselves, enabling them to form alliances with other people from whom they derived strength. I think we need secular forms within which people can get that strength from others, affirming what they really care about, and from that, taking action to put those principles into effect. We've got a very bad set of values of a very individualistic kind that have crept in over the last 30 years. They've come in partly because there is a vacuum that has been caused by the decline of religion, but we've got to plug that vacuum with a really positive idea that young people can grow up from primary school onwards believing that their job is to create as much happiness as they can in the world around them and as little misery; that's a very powerful idea."

Richard Holloway: "You say that there's a science of happiness, but do you think we can be happy by trying to be happy? Doesn't it come when you're collecting stamps or conducting an orchestra, or climbing a mountain, or helping your next door neighbour? Talk us through this 'science of happiness'."

Richard Layard: "Well one thing which it does show is that one of the surest ways to be happy is to try and contribute to the happiness of other people, rather than just pursuing your own happiness. People who are more concerned with other people's welfare than their own are actually measurably happier. It can also be shown in an experimental sense that if things happen that make people more prone to help others, they do thereby become happier, and this is confirmed also in the neuroscience of the brain.

Of course we have lots more evidence about the factors that make people happy: we know that relationships are the most important set of things, particularly relationships in the family or with close loved ones, relationships in the community (do you feel safe in the place where you live, do you feel warm about the community in which you live)- all of these things are important. But also, there is the inner life, and I think one of the things which has struck me in my research is the huge importance of mental illness. For example, we've got studies where people have been followed right through their life up to their 30s and you try and explain who is in misery and who is happy in their 30s. You find absolutely overwhelming that a person's record of mental illness, indeed right back into their childhood, comes out as the dominant factor affecting a person's happiness, and we have terribly neglected this.

We've neglected developing really good mental habits and strength in our children by focusing so much in our schools on preparation for exams and for success in the 'great race of life', rather than success in a deeper sense: in terms of satisfaction from your lives and what you give to others. And we have not taken advantage of the now very good programmes that are available to help children build resilience, to understand their own emotions, to understand the emotions of others. Of course in the end we need to teach children not only to be good at managing their relations with their fellow children but  to get ready for their relations with the other sex, and to think seriously about what would be involved in having a child."

Richard Holloway: "Isn't there a sense in which we've become an 'instant gratification society' in all sorts of ways. We look for instant fixes; there's an enormous reliance on the chemical approach to mental illness (I know there's a role for it), the kind of celebrity culture kids want to jump immediately into: fame and riches? How do we develop that what you might call a 'social patience' in people; how does your small, quiet voice of sanity get through that babble?"

Richard Layard: "I would put a huge amount of faith and stress in our schools. There's an interesting movement of Values Schools, which I like a lot, in which they pay particular attention to the importance of words, and they have a value for each month; they really concentrate on it and make it real to people. For example they have a month where 'generosity' is the word of the month and then 'honesty' and so on. I think words have more of a power than we give them credit for in our modern, very visual kind of society, and we need to build on that.

But I want to go back to what you said about mental health and chemicals. The great progress in the last 30 years in helping the mentally ill - and I'm talking about at least 1 in 6 of people who are suffering from depression or anxiety conditions - has been in modern, evidence-based psychological therapies, like Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy which we know can 'cure', if that's the right word, at least half of the people who experience these therapies within 4 months. And in the case of these anxiety conditions, people suffering from social phobia, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, just general anxiety, can be totally transformed; they can get rid of all their symptoms for life after something like 16 hours of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.

These should be simply routinely available to the whole population, and the ideas behind them should be a basic part of our culture, which would help to prevent these problems as well as help us to cure them. So we want people to feel in control of their lives. We know that a feeling of being in control of your life is one of the most important elements in a happy life, and that includes being in control of your mental life. You can be taught to be in control of your mental life, and in control of your mood: you're not simply a plaything of either fate or of your emotions. You can manage all of that."

Tags:  Be a Happiness ActivistEducation

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Do let me know please if this email has been clear/helpful or not & what you would really like. Is that OK with you?


With love from

On interacting with others:
1) "Many people like Paul exist; who do things we don't like"

2) Your Needs are Equal to Mine: http://yourneedsequaltomine.wordpress.com/

3) Gateway to harmonising with others (eg through an ApologyPlus!) http://communicatingneeds.org.uk

On the phone: 0780 70 66 202

Community Engagement and Community Development in Hastings and St Leonards: 

Paul is AKA "The Imperfect Idealist" & AKA Lend-It-All Man:
Anything I own you can borrow, & much you can keep as I'm de-cluttering, aledgedly!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Alaistair Campbell has praised David Cameron for "happiness" & related news over 4 days

The praise is for Cameron's adopting happiness as a goal of government policy.
The newspaper article was headlined: "PM's 'happiness plan' could lift Ed's spirits says Campbell" and is based on words within Alaistair Campbell's e-book "The Happy Depressive".
"It is Cameron who is taking up some of the ideas presented to the predecessor on whom he sometimes models himself. There is a certain amount of courafe required to adopt this approach right now, against the current political backdrop of economic turmoil, austerity, cuts and riots," Mr Campbell says.
(Full article in  The Independent on 12th January 2012 here)

A blast to the Happiness Agenda comes from Isabel Oakeshott in the Sunday Times piece on 15th January (page 13), entitled:
"Sorry, PM, money makes us happy"
The debate continued on the "Today programme" on Radio 4 on Monday 16th January 2012, just before 9am. Lord Layard defended the basis for setting up the "Action for Happiness" organisation:


(On the iPlayer, Slide your slider to 2 hours: 54 minutes and 32 seconds to hear the start of this discussion) 

Friday, 13 January 2012

Seven ways to ease your anxiety, without pills | Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Seven ways to ease your anxiety, without pills

Someone recently wrote to me asking about how to deal with anxiety. He didn't say specifically what his anxiety was about, so I offered some general advice, which I repeat here in a slightly modified and expanded form in case it benefits others.

1. Cultivate lovingkindness

I've found that doing lovingkindness practice as I go about my daily affairs has a big effect on my anxiety levels. I find it's impossible to be cultivating lovingkindness toward people and simultaneously be worrying about what they might think of me. I'm talking here not of sitting practice (which helps too) but of cultivating lovingkindness as I walk around, drive, etc. There simply isn't the mental bandwidth available to keep up both activities (loving and worrying), and in any event the two kinds of emotions are so different from each other that it's hard for them to coexist. I find that the anxiety disappears quite quickly, but that may not be true for everyone. But that doesn't matter — just keep wishing yourself and others well, and your anxiety will lessen.

2. Reassure your inner child

Anxiety finds something to be anxious about. Once you start working with your anxiety in order to lessen it, your anxiety will turn to the process itself. You'll start worrying that your anxiety isn't budging, or won't go away, that you're going to be stuck with it for life, etc. This is a primitive part of your brain speaking — your amygdala. It evolved to scan for danger, and sometimes it gets out of control. It's screaming at your neocortex — the more rational part of your brain — and hijacking its functions. What you need to do is to turn the dynamic around so that it's the rational neocortex that's setting the agenda for the amygdala. And you do this by exercising your rationality, reminding yourself that change takes time, and that it isn't always possible to see change happening in real time. Can you see a seed grow into a plant in real time? Of course not. You have to observe the change taking place over a long period of time. It's the same with your emotional habits. Perhaps after 40 minutes of meditation there will be some perceptible change. Perhaps not. Perhaps it may take days or weeks. Engage the neocortex and remind yourself — remind the amygdala — that it's OK, that change takes time. Over time, your neocortex gets better at reassuring the amygdala, so that you experience less anxiety. You'll actually develop new pathways in your brain.

Here are some other suggestions:

3. Breathe into the belly

Make sure that you breathe fully into the belly. It centers our experience and slows the mind. Keep your awareness in the hara, a point just below the navel and just inside the body, throughout the day. This is your physical and emotional center of gravity. Keeping your awareness there helps you stay in balance.

4. Sit up!

Watch your posture. Relax the body, and make sure that your body is in the posture it would have if you felt confident. You remember what it feels like in the body when you're confident? Let your body find its way into that relaxed, upright, open posture. You'll feel different.

5. Acknowledge your suffering

Self-compassion is a vital practice: notice that you're suffering when you're in a state of anxiety. Locate the source of suffering in the body as specifically as you can. Send it thoughts of lovingkindness: "May you be well, may you be happy, etc."

6. Count your blessings

As a meditation practice, these days, I become aware that I am in a building, safe and protected from the elements, and I say (inwardly) to the building, "Thank you." I notice that I have plumbing, and electricity, and internet access around me, and I say (inwardly) to all these things, "Thank you." I notice that my body is whole, and basically functioning, and even if there is illness present I know my body has the resources to heal itself, and I say to my body, "Thank you." I notice that my senses are intact, and I say "Thank you." It's important to actually make the sound of the words in your head. There's something about articulating gratitude in the form of words that makes the emotion of thankfulness more real. By focusing on what's right in our lives, we take our awareness away from the things that we image to be wrong, or that we imagine could go wrong.

7. Head it off at the pass

But there are many forms of anxiety, and sometimes they're very specific and can be addressed with very specific antidotes, so it would help if you could identify your core anxiety. What is it that you most commonly fear? What's your worst-case scenario? I used to suffer anxiety when giving talks. My fear was that people were bored with what I was saying. My worst-case scenario — nightmare scenario, really — was that people would start chatting amongst themselves, or would get up and walk out! It was very useful to connect with what my nightmare scenario was, because it allowed me to find ways to avoid that fear arising. Since I was worried that my audience might be bored, all I had to do was to check that they were engaged. I'd ask them a question, right at the start of the class. And their responses would reassure me they had an interest in the topic. The talk would include further questions that would show me their engagement. (Incidentally, this made the talk more interesting, because people like to have an opportunity to interact).

I also used to suffer anxiety because of being overwhelmed with work. My fear was that I would forget some task that was vitally important. I found that planning tools helped me avoid that fear arising.

So I'd suggest facing your nightmare. Ask yourself what is it that you most fear. Then find creative ways to find reassurance.

Learning to do community justice, process our grievances and harmonise.

Sooner or later we "MUST" learn to do community justice, process our grievances, share our resources and harmonise. I write MUST, but there is an alternative; which is to succumb to the much more painful alternatives in the fight for resources in a world with a large social justice deficit, financial deficit and sustainability deficit. Learning to do community justice, process our grievances and harmonise might well start with the work around Hastings Pier and it was a pleasure for Mediation Support Ltd to receive the HPWRT commissioning of a "harmonisation policy" for how the trustees work together. This policy will be published soon for use within your organisations and your wider contact with others too.

With love from

Tel 0780 70 66 202 for more connection than an e-mail; I'll probably have the spare minutes to call back.


Hopefully someone will find something on a blog of mine that leads them to want to have a conversation and from there we can set the ball rolling no doubt.
& http://ethicaloutings.blogspot.com/p/links.html

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Caring for Burton St Leonards

With love from

St Leonards Sharing TIMEBANK , "Ethical Outings in Hastings" & the 2nd anniversary of the pier fire.

PRESS RELEASE (On the first day of demolition of another UK Pier - Great Yarmouth)

St Leonards Sharing Timebank now enables you to earn credits to go to the local theatre.

Before securing the Timebank deal with The Stables, The Odeon & The Electric Palace, a performance is taking place at Southwater Area Community Centre, followed by a weekend dedicated to establishing & training the Hastings Community Justice Panel. (Being head-hunted for these posts on the Panel are those most concerned about a just outcome for those who were on the pier on 5th October 2010).

So here's the story line for the 5th October 2012 performance of the drama "Ethical Outings in Hastings":

'In Hastings, the town that is the last bastion against the invasion, the pier burns down and, though two individuals who jumped off the burning pier are apprehended, no one is charged. In storms Paul Crosland (like a bull in a china shop) and his angel friends with some wacky ideas about how justice could be done; not to mention his gaggle of blogs like http://sussexcommunity.blogspot.com & http://additionalinfo.blogspot.com

As it says in Hamlet; "the play's the thing wherin we'll catch the conscience of the king".
However, unlike 'decisive Hamlet', my first script writer thinks that this play is "all talk" & I have much dynamic tension still to build in. Thus there will be some action to on the night of the 2nd anniversary relating to the ethics of "outing" people and making life more wonderful for all.'

To see what happened on the first anniversary of the pier fire at the Southwater Centre, facilitated by myself, click here:

Put the second anniversary of the pier fire in your diary now!

In February 2012 a booking form will be in place on http://ethicaloutings.blogspot.com

Admission price of the play is 2 hours timebanked - or equivalent.
http://timebanking.org & http://stleonardssharing.blogspot.com
Cast vacancies continually available as I seem to teeter people over their edges!

Earn more St Leonards Sharing Timebank credits by acting for justice!

With love from

Tel 0780 70 66 202 for more connection than an e-mail; I'll probably have the spare minutes to call back.

Monday, 9 January 2012

The Hastings Amnesty for 5 Pier 'Arsonists' fessing up"

The Hastings Observer Front Page Headline I'm working towards is "Next week will include a 60 Second Amnesty for 5 Pier 'Arsonists' fessing up". (Talk to me or my colleagues for more details, as I will be cautious in putting details on Facebook.) More background info than most people can cope with is at http://ethicaloutings.blogspot.com & http://additionalinfo.blogspot.com

With love from

Tel 0780 70 66 202 for more connection than an e-mail; I'll probably have the spare minutes to call back.


Hopefully someone will find something on a blog of mine that leads them to want to have a conversation and from there we can set the ball rolling no doubt.
& http://ethicaloutings.blogspot.com/p/links.html

Couldn't find my copy of 'Story' before setting out the scen

Robert McKee is it who wrote the definitive book (so far) on screenplay writing? Unfortunately, I couldn't find my copy of 'Story' before setting out the scene plan for: The Walking Buddha / Ethical Outings in Hastings


1) Yvonne and Cosette return "home" to a charred house dripping with water. Cosette calls out for Sammy & Suzie and a fireman goes in to bring out the fish tank.
2) Paul opens pier fire anniversary meeting, attended by Howard et al
3) Dr Ambedkar follows Howard out of the meeting and Howard receives a call from Yvonne about her house being burned down.
4) An Indian Summer in 2010 sees Paul & Dr Ambedkar (who died in 1956) out in a boat by the pier
5) Yvonne and Howard have a row.
6) Dr Ambedkar (Bim) becomes Cosette's "secret friend" at her new school - no one else can see him.
7) Yvonne seeks mediation advice from Paul, who suggests a radical text message to the suspects.
8) Joey gets an ultimatum text and fesses up to being involved.
9) Yvonne and Paul process the reply with the help of Dr Ambedkar.
10) Dr Ambedkar follows Paul home and hears how much it means to Paul's wife, Puja to return to India.
11) Paul buries himself in the setting up the Hastings Community Justice Panel and engages with Howard, who shows signs of jealousy in relation to Yvonne and Paul
11) Paul comes up with a "crazy integration solution" for Puja and proposes bringing India & the caste struggle to Hastings.
12) Yvonne goes through the next stages of communication with Joey & Shane
13) The website opens showing the 3 ideas for the HPWRT competition for a design for the new pier
14) Joey, Will, Josh & Will argue about who grassed-up who?
15) The Hastings Community Justice Panel convenes
16) Puja prepares to leave for India

& http://ethicaloutings.blogspot.com/p/links.html