Miriam Akhtar

MiriamH&S2Miriam Akhtar is a positive psychologist and leading practitioner of the science.  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 as a trainer, coach & consultant. She has developed a range of positive psychology programmes from Positive Youth through to Positive Ageing.  These include the Happiness Habits for workplace well-being and as a community intervention. The Happiness Zones, originally created for disadvantaged young people, has been highlighted as an example of best practice in mental well-being by the Academy of Social Sciences. Miriam has also facilitated the Penn Resilience Programme, a renowned course in resilience skills from the University of Pennsylvania, which was piloted in the UK as part of the Local Well-being Project, a government initiative. Miriam is a Happiness Champion in Bristol, where she helped develop two ground-breaking initiatives – Lightbox: the Happiness Project and the Happy City Initiative. Her clients stretch across the public, private and third sectors and have included Unilever, Nuffield Health, Triodos Bank, Skoda, Rolls-Royce, Health Education South West, Kelloggs, 02, Mind, Bristol PCT, Alpro Soya, Skills for Health, Cardiff City Council, Herts County Council, Imperial Healthcare Trust, North Somerset Community Partnership, Barnardos and the Dartington Hall Trust. Miriam is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

“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 is the author of 4 books. Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression is the first self-help guide to using miriamtelegraph2-2the science of happiness to recover well-being. A bibliotherapy study has confirmed that it does help people overcome depression and improve their well-being. It has been recommended for Books on Prescription by the 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 which will be published in 2017. Her latest book What is Post-traumatic Growth shows how it is possible to grow through adversity, the silver lining that emerges from life’s most difficult experiences. It will be out in May 2017 (Watkins).

Miriam holds the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) with Distinction from the University of East London, and is now a visiting lecturer on MAPP programmes training the next generation of positive psychologists. The MAPP was set up by Prof Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania “to make the world a happier place. Miriam is on the faculty of the Executive MAPP at the University of Lisbon and has been invited to lecture at Oxford, Bath, Brunel, UWE and the London College of Fashion, part of the University of the Arts. 

Positive psychology is the science of strengths.  Her top 5 VIA character strengths are Perspective, Social Intelligence, Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Creativity and Humour, which are mostly in the Virtue of Wisdom & Knowledge. In StrengthsFinder her top 5 are Intellection, Input, Strategic, Activator and Futuristic, mainly in 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 mediaMircropglasses. 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. On screen 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 an advocate for Positive Ageing and has worked with the Gulben11223588_10153822516262345_7491565779720283028_nkian Foundation , Dove and the Daily Telegraph to counter the negative stereotyping around later life. In 2015 she was featured in the Sunday Telegraph as one of eight 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