The Happiness Retreat


The Happiness Retreat: 12-17 February 2019, Sauternes, France

 A tranquil setting amongst the vineyards of SW France, delicious food to nourish your body and to feed your mind – a course in happiness. 

A retreat is a wonderful way to boost your wellness. A chance to discover what really makes you happy, reflect on what gives your life meaning and plan for a positive future. This one is unique – based entirely on the science of happiness. Discover the real ingredients of a good life, how to savour the positives, find meaning and build your well-being.

You’ll return relaxed, refreshed and revving to go. Immerse yourself in positive psychology, the science of well-being. We’ll give you the ingredients to live a life of authentic happiness from the peak moments of joy to the deeper meaning and purpose. A break that nurtures mind, body and spirit.

Discover your joie de vivre and how to feel good, function well and flourish

Join two of the UK’s leading positive psychologists Miriam Akhtar MAPP and Jen Rolfe MAPP as they join forces for the first time to launch the Happiness Retreat in the wine-growing village of Sauternes, SW France from 12-17 February 2019.

Miriam and Jen are both positive psychologists. They were two of the first pioneers to graduate from the Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP), set up by Prof Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness, to train ‘positive psychologists to make the world a happier place.Miriam is one of 100 global experts invited to contribute to the World Book of Happiness and has written 5 other books. She runs courses in Happiness Habits for workplace well-being and personal development.

Jen started her positive psychology career with MindGym and now runs Practically Positive. Positive Psychology isn’t just the foundation of her business, but the basis of her relationships, approach to adversity and general attitude towards life. Her positivity is contagious and she’s passionate about sharing it.

Miriam and Jen have been practitioners of Positive Psychology for over 10 years. Pioneers in the field, by day they deliver training in the corporate world to a wide range of clients. In the world of fashion, for example, their clients include both Stella McCartney and Sweaty Betty. Read more about the Happiness Retreat.

Who is the Happiness Retreat for? Anyone who wants to invest in their health and happiness

  • Maybe you don’t have time to look after your happiness
  • Or would like to optimise your well-being
  • Or you’d like to explore positive psychology in the best of company and most relaxed of settings
  • Or simply have a holiday with the science of happiness on the side

What happens: Over the course of 5 days you can experience as many of the following workshops as you would like to with our in-depth retreat programme:

  • Introduction to happiness – what does the science say and what does it mean for you
  • Exploring emotions – what’s your emotional landscape and how can it become more helpful for you
  • You at your best – what are your strengths and how can you apply them
  • Positive relationships – which connections can you cherish and strengthen
  • Silver linings – how can you build resilience when you need it most
  • Building positive habits – the small things that make the biggest difference: optimism, gratitude and savouring
  • What matters to me – a focus on meaning and purpose, what’s your legacy
  • A positive future – setting goals for your best possible self to go forward
  • (Optional) – savouring practice with a local wine tasting tour!

The retreat runs from Tuesday 12th in the afternoon to Sunday 17th after breakfast. Nearest airport is Bordeaux (35 mins away) served by EasyJet, British Airways, Flybe and Ryanair. Book your flight early and it can be cheaper than travelling around the UK.

Places are limited and are on a first come first served basis. The early bird rates apply below with a discount of £50 until 14th December 2018.
£895: Residential includes full board at Hotel le 23.
£495: Non-residential if you prefer to stay elsewhere such as booking a gite.
£99: Deposit to hold your place with the balance due by 14th December 2018.

To book your place please complete the bookingform  You can pay by bank transfer (please email Miriam for the details) or use the PayPal button below.

“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

Scenes from previous retreats:  

The How of HappinessHawkwood College  a stunning holistic venue in the Cotswolds. We have run several wellness breaks there.


“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, playing to 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!”

Do you run a spa or hotel? If you have a serene and special space then we have the wellness break for you.