Last week was a particularly good one in a spell of good weeks. On Monday and Tuesday I attended the first two days of the Vanguard Programme, the brainchild of Dr. Carol Craig of the Scottish Centre for Confidence and Wellbeing. We had the privilege of five lectures from Dr. Martin Seligman, leader of the Positive Psychology movement. Dr Craig is critical, I think unfairly at times, of the so-called motivational gurus like Watt Nicol, Jack Black and Anthony Robbins. But where Dr Seligman is different is that he is not a “happy-clappy” type of motivator. He is, first and foremost a scientist. A self-confessed “grouch,” he has developed a number of interventions and tested them rigourously so that, when he says such and such an exercise, if practised over time will increase your general level of happiness, he has years of research to back this.

Anyone intereseted in pursuing this further can look at www.authentichappiness.com and take some of the measures there. Also read Dr Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness, which has shorter versions of the tests. I am really looking forward to the rest of the Vanguard Programme which will be delivered online and by telephone until the final session in the Scottish Parliament in December.

A simple but effective exercise from Dr Seligman is the 3 Blessings. At the end of every day write down three good things which happened to you. Keep that up for three weeks, 21 days, and you will almost certainly notice a difference. I have practised it for years and can testify to its effectiveness.

On Saturday I attended a Scotland Unltd event where I was awarded a certificate as a Level 1 Awardee. See the Recycling blog for more. I met some very interesting people and enjoyed a calm and inspiring workshop led by Rob Underwood. The day opened with a thought-provoking presentation by Gerry Hassan with whom I had shared a table during the Vanguard Programme. The sparks during the following discussion were a great cure for any hangovers lurking from the night before.

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