Miriam Akhtar

Miriam Akhtar MAPP is a leading practitioner of positive psychology and one of 100 global experts invited to contribute to The World Book of Happiness and The World Book of Hope.

Miriam was one of the first positive psychologists in the UK. She graduated with Distinction from the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP), a course set up by Prof Martin Seligman to make the world a happier placeMiriam was a founder member of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP).

Miriam works as a trainer, coach and consultant. She founded Positive Psychology Training to offer short courses in positive psychology combining the essential knowledge and tools in a short format that works for busy lives. The open courses include the highly-regarded Positive Psychology Masterclass which has regular dates throughout the year and the online Positive Psychology Foundations. Other courses are available and delivered in-house.

“Miriam is a real expert in her field. She has trained me and is excellent”. Melanie Franklin, Director of Agile Change Management.

Miriam designs well-being programmes which now range from Positive Youth to Positive Ageing. The Happiness Habits is a workplace well-being programme, which has been delivered to one of the Sunday Times’ Best Small Companies to Work For – ethical bank Triodos. The Happiness Zones  was named as a model of best practice in mental well-being and presented to Parliament by the Academy of Social Sciences. Miriam has trained facilitators of the Penn Resilience Programme  which came to the UK through the Local Wellbeing Project, led by Professor Lord Richard Layard, co-founder of Action for Happiness.

Miriam’s clients range across the health, finance, charity, education, defence and creative sectors. She is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs and a former director of the Happy City Initiative. Miriam is a Happiness Champion in Bristol and contributed to its mission to create happier, healthier cities as the 2015 European Green Capital. 

“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 engaged in training up the next generation of positive psychology practitioners. She is on the faculty of the Executive MAPP at the University of Lisbon and a visiting lecturer in other academic institutions. She has given lectures and spoken at the University of Oxford, the University of Bristol Medical School, the London School of Economics, the University of Bath, the University of Kent at Canterbury, Brunel University, the University of the West of England and the London College of Fashion.

Miriam is the author of 6 books including the ground-breaking Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression, recommended by Books on Prescription founder, Prof Neil Frude. bibliotherapy study conducted at Sheffield Hallam University has shown that the book works as well as CBT, demonstrating the potential of positive psychology to help people recover their wellbeing. What is Post-traumatic Growth tells the story of how we can grow through traumatic experiences and includes resilience tools to support people on the journey from adversity to post-traumatic growth. Her latest work, The Little Book of Happiness, has 12 habits of happiness and is published in July 2019. Miriam has also contributed chapters to The World Book of Happiness, The World Book of Hope and Gratitude, How to Appreciate Life’s Gifts. She is one of the featured experts in PsychologiesReal Calm.  

Positive psychology is the science of strengths. Miriam’s top VIA character strengths are mainly located in the virtue of Wisdom & Knowledge and include Perspective, Creativity, Social Intelligence, Appreciation and Humour. Her top five in StrengthsFinder are Intellection, Input, Strategy, Activator and Futuristic, across the leadership theme of Strategic Thinking.

Miriam is an expert voice on the science of happiness. She is is on the Top Santé list of the ‘100 Names You Need to Know in Health & Well-being.‘ She has a reputation as a highly-engaging keynote speaker and has presented at conferences and events at home and abroad. Her strengths in communication were honed during an earlier career in the media. She has won the Medical Journalists Association Gold Award and a Sony Gold Award while at BBC Radio 4 and the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco Film Festival while working for Channel 4. Miriam has made many appearances across BBC radio including Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Off the Page & Sunday. She was a regular guest with Dr Phil Hammond on BBC Radio Bristol’s Saturday Surgery.

Miriam has appeared on BBC News, ITV News, CTV News in Canada and as a contributor to BBC2′s Secret Life of the Airport. She has been quoted widely across the national press – Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Sunday Times, Sunday Mirror, Daily Mail, Daily Express, Metro, Independent on Sunday and the Sun on Sunday. Magazines include Psychologies, Top Santé, Men’s Health, Coaching Today, Healthy magazine, ES Magazine, Red, Zest, Good Housekeeping, Woman & Home, Woman’s Weekly, Boots’ Health & Beauty, Happiful, Female First, Balance, Saga, Sainsburys, Single Step, Slimming World, Waitrose and Weightwatchers magazines.

Miriam has worked as a wellbeing expert with brands such as Ryvita. She was on a Positivity Panel alongside Davina McCall helping women get more good into life. She is a Positive Ageing campaigner and has worked with the Gulben11223588_10153822516262345_7491565779720283028_nkian Foundation and Dove on later life initiatives. The Daily Telegraph named her as one of the inspirational women who are rewriting the rules on ageing.

Watch video clips below of Miriam talking about the Happiness Habits for the School for Social Entrepreneurs, on BBC Points West and on CTV in Canada.