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Up close and personal on the “Simply Happy” conference in Singapore

Blogs are now an increasingly simple and easy method of obtaining information up close and personal! That, indeed, makes me tingle with happiness!

On the theme of happiness, I had the privilege of being at the Simply Happy conference (with the compliments of John, Philip and Normala. Thank you!) organised in Singapore by Philip’s Global Leadership Academy. It was a conference with a mitochondria of knowledge-infused speakers! It was indeed a power-packed two days of sharing ideas and research in this field of Psychology.

It was an impressive start with Marty Seligman’s keynote speech on “Positive Psychology: The pursuit of happiness at work, at school, and at home”. Hearing Positive Psychology (PP) spoken out loud reinforced my belief in PP, and I see a great potential for PP to be used in the various facets of our lives! Thank you Marty for setting a wonderful foundation for PP to flourish! Definitely plausible, life satisfaction may be predicted by our positive emotions, our engagement in activities, as well as our perspective on making our lives meaningful.

Two wonderful speakers got me thinking about how we could create and implement a PP module or course for our local children, and in particular, to Northlight School‘s character education curriculum.  Firstly, coming from the European perspective, Ilona Boniwell’s “Positive education: Bringing well-being to parents, schools and universities” brought to light the importance of well-being to our children’s psychological health. Secondly, building on Ilona’s speech was Judy Willis’ “Parenting and teaching with the brain in mind”.  Judy’s speech appealed very much to me as I am a great fan of neurology.  It was a fantastic blend of practical insights and feasible exercises wedded with the technicalities of brainworks!  Literally, I can imagine the prefrontal cortex firing up with the floodgates of the reticular activating system and amygdala opening, and dopamine transporting all the happy stuff right into us!  Just liken it to an expressway.  Dopamine is the car.  To get into the expressway, we drive and enter a side exit (reticular activating system), pass through the electronic road pricing system check (amygdala), before getting to our destination (prefrontal cortex).

Other noteworthy bits included master storyteller Catherine Lim’s speech on “The Scheherazade magic: A Singaporean writer shows the joy and power of story-telling”, which got me fired up on writing my own fiction stories!  Definitely full of substance, David Chan’s “The science of happiness and well-being: Singapore perspectives”, got me intrigued over the idea of negativity bias.  Did you know that giving a compliment (a positive) and a criticism (a negative) resulted in a net result of negativity?  Food connoisseur Paul Rozin’s “Positive Psychology and culture: Pleasure, domains of life, and the world of food” stayed close to my heart, especially the research on food!  I learnt that we spent over 13% of our life concerned with food, third to sleep and work!

I was especially tickled by Avi Liran’s “Laughter Yoga: Experiential session”. Avi is an Optimism and Yoga teacher and he guided us through various exercises on laughing, the yoga style. It still gets my funny bone tickling when I recall the “Ho! Ho! Ha! Ha! Ha!” and the “Very good! Very good! Yay!” exclamations, led by our charismatic teacher, Avi. It has given me inspiration for one of my next speeches!

The PP conference culminated in the awarding of Singapore’s Happiest Person, Andy Goh!  All in all, it was an interesting eye-opening experience as well as a deeper insight into the field of Positive Psychology.  An awesome first in Asian and Singapore’s Positive Psychology book!  I am eagerly anticipating more!

Happiness and well-being, the way to go!!!


1 Philip { 04.20.08 at 7:24 }

Hi Peishan – what a great article – you really do have a way with words – well done – philip

2 peishan { 04.20.08 at 11:36 }

Hi Philip!

Thank you! I could not have written it without you (^.^)

3 Caution: Laughing is a serious matter — … Smile! Are you shining yet? { 04.24.08 at 13:45 }

[…] article is inspired by my experiential session on Laughter Yoga with Avi Liran.  Thanks to Avi’s highly entertaining and energetic session, I have a germ of […]

4 avi ha ha LIRAN { 07.28.08 at 23:02 }

Ho Ho PeiShan.
I was looking for my name on the net, guess where I was happy to find it?
Many thanks for the nice compliment.
Miles of Smiles, Avi

5 peishan { 07.29.08 at 12:01 }

Ho ho Avi!

The pleasure’s all mine!
Sent you an email, have a look;D

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