Hacking Happiness And Getting Headspace!

You may remember a post I wrote a few weeks back about the Hacking Happiness summit taking part in London that I was planning to attend. Well that took place just over a week ago now and after a week of absorbing all of the brilliant information that I took away from the conference I thought I would share some of those really interesting bits and pieces here on the blog as promised!

There was so much to learn that I'm going to spread it out over a few posts. Today I'll begin with a round up of what was on offer and just how the day went down. Over the next week or so I then plan to dig a little deeper into some of the information and ideas offered by the speakers so if you're interested in learning more then please stay tuned.

The entire summit took place over three days but because of other commitments I was only able to take part on the Friday at the main conference. This was held at the LSO St Luke's Conference Hall on Old Street in London. This restored 18th Century Church, which I had never been to before, provided a great setting for the day. I was very impressed with it's facilities and the great atmosphere so thought it deserved an honourable mention here today! If your company or organisation are looking for a unique venue in which to host a conference or event in London then this location is well worth checking out.

The first talk of the day was from Dr. David Cox, Chief Medical Officer at Headspace who provide a unique free online app aimed at making meditation simple providing a 'gym membership for the mind.'

Now I must admit I have downloaded the app but I haven't yet got myself active in using it. It does look really great though and I very much intend to give it a go (I will start today!) So once I've delved into it in more detail then I'll come back to the blog and report my findings for anyone interested in some more information.

Dr. Cox certainly provided us with a lot of food for thought as well as a great insight into the benefits of mindfulness and daily meditation. I know that some people may pull back in uncertainty at the thought of practicing meditation and perhaps aren't so keen on this fairly new idea, to the mainstream at least, of remaining mindful. I hope over the next couple of posts I will be able to demonstrate that this whole way of thinking may not be quite what you expect and that being mindful and spending some time each day taking care of your mind as well as your body is firstly not as hard or scary as it might sound and secondly really quite an easy thing to start doing. I've talked before about the benefits of a decent work-life balance in this post here and I think that a lot of the techniques out there and offered for example by the Headspace app will go a long and useful way to helping us find this sometimes mystical and unreachable 'balance' that we keep on hearing about.

Being mindful and getting 'headspace' has increasingly been shown to have significant and surprising effects on our performance both at work and in our daily lives. You may be surprised at just what can be achieved including improvements in memory, focus and relationships and a reduction in stress, anxiety and depression. The Headspace mission? 'To Improve the Health and Happiness of the World' - sounds like a good plan don't you think?! If you're intrigued then check out their website for a lot of really useful information and to investigate further how you can start putting daily meditation and mindfulness into practice.

As I said above I want to go into some of the other talks in more detail - I have many notes to share with you! So I'll finish off today's post with a few further mentions of some of the other fun things that we got a chance to experience that day. Including a really excellent and truly pretty mind-blowing performance from London based magicians DNA Official

Now this duo were a little bit amazing with their incredible mind-reading magic tricks including completing a Rubik's cube blindfolded amongst other 'hang on a minute what just happened?!' moments. If magic or just generally being really and honestly amazed is your thing then you should really check them out, fantastic and a great pair to have at your event to really wow and intrigue your crowd.

Food also played an important part in the day and again I want to talk about this more in a separate post following a talk from Darya Rose of Summer Tomato where she discussed exactly why your brain won't let your diet work! If like me you have an ongoing up and down relationship with food then this will certainly be something to come back and read.

We were really lucky to have a variety of food and drink on offer and I tried out the Karma Cans caramelised chicken at lunch which was a delicious revelation. Karma Cans provide lunch time delivery and catering within Central London. Believing in sustainability and seasonality all of their food is delivered in re-usable tiffin tins that are collected the following day, or in disposable but completely compostable packaging. The food is freshly made on site and providing you with healthy, high protein meals for a truly delicious office lunch. It isn't about being healthy in the dieting sense but about eating fresh, quality food in the form of a truly well balanced meal. Like I say at the moment they are only London based but look out for them as hopefully they will continue to do many delicious things further afield in the future.

Oh and I washed this down with copious amounts of coconut water as well as my new found very favourite tea Lively English Breakfast Tea - the liveliness comes from the added Ginseng and it certainly perks you right up!

So there we have a round up of the day in brief with much more to come. I also wanted to quickly mention General Assembly for those of you who haven't come across them before (like me). They were one of the sponsors of the day although that has no bearing whatsoever on why I'm mentioning them here. It's just that I had kind of forgotten all about them to be honest until something popped up on my Facebook feed yesterday, completely unrelated to this event. Intrigued I took a look in more detail and have found what they have on offer really interesting. 

They basically offer a number of full and part time courses, both on campus and online, for people looking to learn coding, web design and business skills from other professionals. Originally started in New York City and, I understand, very well known in the US they are now branching out internationally. If you're a coding nightmare like me but are desperate to improve then you may find some of what they have on offer really useful. I've just signed up to learn more about their Dash course where you can learn HTML, CSS, and Javascript through fun projects that you can do in your browser. If I take the course and all goes well I'll certainly let you know more - any advice from anyone who has taken this or a similar course would be really welcome.

So for now I will say farewell for today, thank you as always for reading and join me soon for more Happiness Hacks as well as some seasonal fun and ideas coming soon here on the blog. Happy Tuesday all!