Miriam Akhtar is a positive psychologist and leading practitioner of the science of flourishing. She is among 100 global experts invited to contribute to The World Book of Happiness and has been named by Top Santé magazine as one of ‘100 Names You Need to Know in Health & Well-being.‘
Miriam works mainly as a trainer, consultant & coach. She has expertise in creating positive psychology programmes, which range from Positive Youth to Positive Ageing. The Happiness Habits has been delivered for workplace well-being (at one of the Sunday Times’ Best Small Companies to Work For) and in communities. The Happiness Zones, created for disadvantaged young people, was presented to Parliament as an example of best practice in mental well-being by the Academy of Social Sciences. Miriam has facilitated the Penn Resilience Programme, an evidence-based course in resilience skills developed at the University of Pennsylvania and piloted in the UK as part of the Local Well-being Project.
Miriam is a Happiness Champion in Bristol, the 2016 European Green Capital, where she was a director of the ground-breaking Happy City Initiative. Her clients range across the public, private and voluntary sectors. She has a particular interest in working with healthcare providers and the creative industries. Miriam is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and has worked with start-ups including Lightbox, the Happiness Project.
“Miriam is the best positive psychologist in Britain. She is passionate about growth and has a wonderful way of using her knowledge to inspire.” Lucy Barfoot, Director, Lightbox.
Miriam was one of the first handful in Europe to graduate from the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at the University of East London, which she holds with Distinction. The MAPP was set up by Prof Martin Seligman, the co-founder of positive psychology “to make the world a happier place.” Miriam now serves on the faculty of the Executive MAPP at the University of Lisbon and is a visiting lecturer on MAPP programmes training up the next generation of positive psychologists. She has been invited to lecture at Oxford, Bath, Brunel, UWE and at the London College of Fashion, part of the University of the Arts.
Miriam is the author of 5 books including Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression. A bibliotherapy study conducted at Sheffield Hallam University has shown that it does help people overcome depression and improve their well-being. It has been recommended for Books on Prescription by founder, Prof Neil Frude. Miriam has also contributed to the World Book of Happiness, World Book of Hope, Gratitude, How to Appreciate Life’s Gifts and Real Calm, a new book from Psychologies magazine. Her latest book What is Post-traumatic Growth shows how it is possible to grow through adversity. It will be published on May 18 2017 (Watkins).
Positive psychology is the science of strengths. Her top VIA character strengths include Perspective, Social Intelligence, Creativity, Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence and Humour. These are mainly located in the virtue of Wisdom & Knowledge. In StrengthsFinder her top 5 are Intellection, Input, Strategic, Activator and Futuristic, across the leadership theme of Strategic Thinking.
Miriam provides an expert voice on the science of flourishing. She has a reputation as a highly-engaging inspirational speaker and has presented keynotes at conferences and events throughout Europe. Her strengths in communication developed during an earlier career working in the media. She has won the Medical Journalists Association Gold Award and is also an award-winning producer through her work for BBC Radio 4 (Sony Gold Award for Best Magazine Programme) and Channel 4 (the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Film Festival). Miriam is a frequent radio guest and has made many appearances across the BBC radio network including Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Off the Page & Sunday. She has a regular appointment with Dr Phil Hammond on BBC Radio Bristol’s Saturday Surgery. She’s appeared on ITV News and as an expert on BBC2′s Secret Life of the Airport. She has been widely quoted in the media including the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Mirror, Daily Mail, Independent on Sunday, ES Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Top Santé, Men’s Health, Metro, Zest, Good Housekeeping, WebMD, Woman & Home, Women’s Weekly, Boots’ Health & Beauty magazine, Bristol 24/7, Slimming World, Single Step, Weightwatchers and Asda magazines.
Miriam is a champion of Positive Ageing and has collaborated with the Gulbenkian Foundation , Dove and the Daily Telegraph to counter the negative stereotyping around later life. In 2015 she was one of the Sunday Telegraph’s inspirational women who are rewriting the rules on ageing.
Miriam was a founder member of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP).
You can watch a clip of Miriam talking about the Happiness Habits below.
Pictures by kind permission of (c) Malcolm Griffiths www.malcolm.gb.net and (c) Simon Songhurst www. simonsonghurst.com