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Dubai happiness festival focuses on positivity and well-being

DUBAI // Positivity and well-being was at the top of the agenda for more than 2,000 people who took part in a happiness festival on Friday.

Visitors of all ages took part in the city’s first Happiness Festival organised by the Happiness Hub, a positive psychology consultancy, held at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club.

“The Happiness Festival is all about making happiness simple and accessible,” said Fiona Baroon, chief executive and founder of the Happiness Hub.

“We have created an event that is focused on building a community of like-minded people, who have the common goal of being their best self as an individual, in relationships and at work.”

The festival was staged with themes involving more than 60 interactive sessions led by experts.

These included positive emotion, relationships, meaning, accomplishment, yoga, children’s wellbeing and the wellbeing of men.

Kate Riley, who attended the festival with her husband, said that such an event should happen more often.

“It’s a fantastic idea and very well organised,” said Ms Riley, a Briton who has been living in Dubai for more than 10 years.

“There is so much to do in the festival. So many people have come and enjoyed it with their friends and families. It is like being a part of a big happy family picnic – we are making new friends and there is a lot of happiness around.”

Joseph Bruce, who conducted a session discussing the male perspective on happiness and how to turn failures into successes, said the festival had given an opportunity to people to explore some great ways to experience more happiness and enhance wellbeing in the UAE and beyond.

“It turned out to be a great day out for families, couples and friends,” said Mr Bruce, who is a psychologist and talent consultant.

“The purpose [of the event] is to share with people different ways to overcome challenges, prevent unnecessary negative thoughts and feelings and enhance our overall wellbeing.”

Dr Jessica Rios-Habib, who conducted a session with children, said that such a festival could bring positive energy among participants as happiness is a process.

“Happiness is a much more ongoing and long-term [process] and therefore requires a greater vision [which includes] reaching multiple goals along the way,” said the clinical psychologist, adding that although residents appreciate the beauty and luxuries of living in Dubai, they still believe that happiness goes further than that.

“Regardless of living within the Dubai lifestyle, at the end of the day, parents will pass on their internal definition of happiness simply through the way they themselves behave and perceive things,” Dr Rios-Habib said.

Food lorries were also available at the event and open to all.

Ms Baroon said she hopes to stage a festival like it every year.

“We will be running this version annually and hope to run a kids’ version later in the year,” she said. “We are also exploring running a Happiness Festival Roadshow across the UAE and the Middle East.”

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The National