Treat yourself to a break that nurtures mind, body and spirit. A retreat is a wonderful way to take some space, reset and boost your wellbeing.

A positive psychology retreat helps you find what makes you happy, reflect on your sources of meaning, deepen your wellbeing and plan for a positive future.

Positive Psychology Training’s partner in wellbeing retreats is Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking in the Cotswolds near Stroud. Miriam first went there in January 2000 to mark the millennium at a meditation retreat and has been returning there ever since, first as a participant and then to run positive psychology retreats.

The How of Happiness has been hosted at Hawkwood for over a decade and will be joined by a Positive Ageing retreat in 2024 from 21-23 June. Details coming soon.

The How of Happiness: Friday 5 to Sunday 7 January 2024, Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking, Stroud GL6 7QW

An uplifting and inspiring journey into the science of happiness and what it takes to feel good, function well and flourish. The weekend will equip you with a range of practical tools from positive psychology to start 2024 on a positive note. You will come away with your own personal toolbox of happiness boosters, which open the door to a flourishing life.

Across the weekend we will explore some of the key areas of positive psychology with a mix of input, discussion and practical activities in the beautiful surrounds of Hawkwood. All of which is supported by the most delicious, freshly-prepared food using produce from the orchards and the kitchen garden.

The sessions are on:

  • What is Happiness and the pathways to wellbeing
  • Flow: A state of being ‘in the zone’
  • Positive Emotions: The feel-good factor and positivity practices like gratitude and savouring
  • Strengths: The Positive Self. You at your best
  • Positive Relationships: You, me and us. The number one source of wellbeing
  • Meaning & Purpose: The deeper sense of fulfilment
  • Optimism: Developing the glass half full.
  • Positive Directions: Planning the way forward


  • What you will gain:
  • An understanding of the pathways to greater happiness
  • First-hand experience of happiness practices
  • Reflection on your personal wellbeing
  • Connection with a group of kindred spirits
  • Great food!
  • Nature connection


What Is Included: Both residential and non-residential rates are available. Residential options are fully inclusive with all meals provided. Non-residential options include suppers, lunches and all refreshments and exclude B&B.

Additional Activities

• Mindful walking through our woodland trails
• Meditate in our Woodland Sanctuary
• Go on a hike and explore the Cotswolds AONB
• Discover surrounding charming market towns

The How of Happiness, Fri 5 from 4:00pm – Sun 7 January 2024 to 4:00pm

Where: Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking, Painswick Old Rd, Stroud GL6 7QW

Book via the Hawkwood website.


Feedback from previous retreats 









New Year Retreat, January 2023

“Miriam’s course at Hawkwood came at exactly the right time for me. When the new year approaches, it always encourages reflection and re-evaluation and the course offered a supportive environment in which to do this. I’ve studied positive psychology in the past and this weekend reignited my passion for it and gave me valuable insights into myself and what is important. Being around nature and like-minded, interesting people just added to the experience and the food was amazing! Miriam’s delivery was engaging and inspiring: she offered her own experiences and was authentic. It was clear to see that positive psychology has changed her life as she radiates happiness and gratitude. I’d quite happily attend this course every weekend! Thank you.” Mel, Jan 2023

“Miriam provides a safe space in which we can discover who we truly are. There is no judgment or criticism, just understanding. Attending Miriam’s retreat at Hawkwood on The How of Happiness has had such a positive effect on the way I live my life and the tools she gives you are easy to carry and implement on a daily basis. Thank you Miriam for helping me to discover and be comfortable with my place in this world.” Gloria, Jan 2023

“First of all, Hawkwood is a very special place; the only place where I’ve really felt that possibly spiritual feeling and I feel able to switch off from the outside world.  Perched high up on the hills, the views are amazing and the cosiness of the library, hospitality and warmth of the Hawkwood team, make this a perfect venue for the How of Happiness. This retreat gave me the time, space and encouragement to focus on myself positively.  It has helped me understand characteristics that I thought were my weaknesses, are actually strengths and tools to use them to best effect. Miriam has a wealth of knowledge and is an expert in acknowledging the positivity and reflecting that back to the group.  She uses a variety of techniques to make learning about the science of happiness and how to implement it, very interesting.  This retreat has helped me to focus on what I enjoy, realise what my strengths are, and what steps I can take next, so it has given me direction, clarity, understanding of myself, and loads of encouragement, not just from Miriam but from the wonderful people in our small group.  There’s a great deal of thought and reflection needed, so no quick fix and no one telling you what you “should” do, but in my view this investment in myself will help me for many years to come.” Julia, Jan 2023



“I took a week-long ‘how to be happy’ course with Miriam. The course was inspiring with plenty of thought-provoking yet fun interaction. I found myself really able to connect with my strengths, something I’ve been unable to do previously.”

Miriam is a fantastic facilitator and I ended the week with a solid yet surprising resolve. Since returning I’ve found new vigour and purpose, somehow things that might have stressed me, no longer do.  I’d recommend her courses for anyone and everyone….just bring an open mind, a desire to be happy and a playfulness” Ingrid


The How of Happiness, Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking in the Cotswolds

“Hi Miriam,  thank you for a great course. A nice group and I found much to ponder and think about in a positive way of course!  We were so blessed to have been able to have it in such a wonderful place with the added bonus of beautiful weather.”

“Marvellous and inspirational. Tremendous.”… “Excellent. Very good course, well presented.”… “Plenty to inwardly digest. Well thought out and presented.”  “Lovely grounds, lovely food, friendly and approachable tutor, friendly and welcoming staff.”

“Found a woodblock wall plaque with the following  inscription: “BE AWAKE to the songs of singing birds, the warmth of the sun and the small joys that have no words”. Sounds like gratitude & savouring to me! It’s now on my wall as a reminder. Thanks again for a great weekend. See you for the How of Happiness 3.”

How to be Happy and Laugh Your Socks Off, La Roane, France 

This was an uplifting, fun and practical exploration of the how of happiness that delivered the feel-good factor. La Roane in the Dordogne was the venue. Miriam guided participants through the habits of happiness ranging from savouring to gratitude, discovering strengths and learning optimism. Meantime Nigel Shamash, the genial host of La Roane, hosted excursions, led walks and ran sessions of laughter yoga, hatha yoga, chi kung and singing.

“I attended the ‘How to be happy and laugh your socks off’ retreat at La Roane during Summer 2016 and I can honestly say it was the best week of my life! The nature of the course meant that it was very easy to form close relationships with other members of the group and engage in deep and meaningful conversation. The work on strengths enabled us to really get in touch with what we are good at and how best to channel these abilities; it was also interesting to get to know the strengths of others and to see those in action. I was most nervous about the ‘meaning and purpose’ aspect of the course but it really forced us to tap into who we are, our values and what we want from life and has had a long-lasting impact. Overall, the course delivered on its aim – I feel like I went away with a range of strategies to use in my day-to-day life in order to maintain my happiness, well-being and foster resilience for when times are hard. Thank you Miriam!”