A sad fact of modern times is that we are often too busy with various important projects and goals to remember to be kind and compassionate, to ourselves and others. With all the pressure and stresses of life, it’s really important we take time for ourselves to relax, recharge and top up our happiness levels.

Earlier this year, the Museum of Happiness popped up in Spitalfields Market on the most depressing weekend of the year in January, attracting 7000 people to access their activities, designed to encourage happiness, relaxation and living in the moment.

Meditation at the Museum of Happiness Pop Up in Spitalfields Market on the most depressing weekend of the year, 16-18th January 2016. Photo: Kelly Brown

Meditation at the Museum of Happiness Pop Up in Spitalfields Market on the most depressing weekend of the year, 16-18th January 2016. Photo: Kelly Brown

Co-director of The Museum of Happiness, Victoria Johnson, explains why happiness and community are at the centre of everything the group creates: “It’s important we come together as a community and support each other. At The Museum of Happiness, we strongly believe money shouldn’t be a barrier to happiness, therefore everything we do here is on a pay-it-forward basis – so while our events are free, you’re invited to pay forward to allow future visitors to enjoy our events.

The Museum of Happiness opened this summer at London’s first Happy Café, The Canvas Café just off Brick Lane in East London. Aligned with global happiness charity Action for Happiness, The Canvas Café has been a magnet for good vibes ever since it opened in 2014.

Café owner Ruth Rogers says: “There’s a growing need for a community hub where happiness is the order of the day. The Canvas Café is a magnet for positivity and creativity, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with the Museum of Happiness to offer Londoners and visitors alike free events that will allow them to explore ways to feel calmer, more connected, and less stressed.”

The Museum of Happiness is launching their free nightly events programme on Tuesday 15th November, at their permanent home at London’s first Happy Café, The Canvas Café in Shoreditch.

The Museum of Happiness at The Canvas Cafe, London's first Happy Cafe. Photo: Yelp London

The Museum of Happiness at The Canvas Cafe, London’s first Happy Cafe. Photo: Yelp London

Their newest programme will run regularly each week, and kicks off with Tick the Bucket Tuesdays, connecting and inspiring us to tick off items on our bucket list, achieving our dreams and aspirations.

The weekly events programme continues with:

Well-being Wednesdays: arts and crafts evenings creating compassion cards, Christmas decorations, mindful colouring-in and art therapy;

Feel Good Thursdays where the theme is FUN; high energy events where you can bring your mates to sample delicious chocolate, share a feel-good film, and celebrate being alive;

Free your Mind Fridays: mindfulness and meditation practice run by trained instructors. The perfect way to start your weekend;

Special Guest Saturdays: dedicated to partners who share the venue’s vision, which include global charity Action for Happiness, international movement Service Space, local charity My Mental Health and community group Focal Local.

The weeks will end with Inner Peace Sundays, an event focusing on yoga and self-compassion, that will calm even the stormiest of minds. Aimed at beginners, this class is perfect for anyone who’s never tried yoga before, and everyone is welcome.

The Museum of Happiness Pop Up at the Queen of Hoxton, August 2016 – Laughter Yoga session with Melanie Bloch

The Museum of Happiness Pop Up at the Queen of Hoxton, August 2016 – Laughter Yoga session with Melanie Bloch

Activities will be varied within each session, and visitors can enjoy anything from Motown & Mindful colouring-in and Gratitude Bingo. And if Brexit or Trump have put a frown on your face, Beach Meditation and free Feel Good Movies should turn that frown upside down! (Refugees welcome!)

So determined to offer their community a happy experience, The Canvas Café is offering a hot drink to each event visitor for just £1.50, when they sign up to the events on the Museum of Happiness’ MeetUp page, making this project great for the bank balance as well as the soul!

This free community programme follows close on the heels of the hugely successful Happier World Conference on 5th November, also organized by the Museum of Happiness, where influential changemakers from all over the world gathered together to explore how to create a kinder, more compassionate society. Presenters included Buddhist monk Ajahn Brahm and Neuroscientist Dr. James Doty via video link, plus Nipun Mehta from Service Space and Mark Wiliamson from Action for Happiness.

So, as the days get shorter, why not make an early New Year’s Resolution and choose to do more of what makes you happy. You can sign up to the Museum of Happiness’ programme of events at: http://www.meetup.com/London-Museum-of-Happiness-Meetup-Group/

Find The Museum of Happiness at The Canvas Café, 42 Hanbury St, London, E1 5JL

Julie Brain About Julie Brain
Julie is determined to spread a little positivity in a world that feels in desperate need of it. She prefers a starter to a pudding, enjoys comedy and hugs, and still can't believe she didn't grow up to be Wonder Woman, a Charlie's Angel or Christine Cagney.