Contrary to popular belief, happiness is not just about lung-busting renditions of Pharrell Williams accompanied by enthusiastic hand-clapping. Though we hear that can be fun.
It might seem crazy what we’re about to say but happiness is something that most people feverishly search for in their lives. That quest for the seemingly intangible is the essence of the UAE’s first ever Happiness Festival. Held at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club this Saturday, the free event is designed to open residents’ eyes and minds to what it is that actually makes them happy.
The pursuit of happiness is not just an award-winning Will Smith film but a genuine policy goal of the government of the UAE, which made headlines the world over when Her Excellency Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi was appointed the country’s first Minister of State for Happiness in February, 2016.
The theory goes that a happy society is a better society and it’s a difficult notion to disagree with.
So what’s this got to do with sport?
Put simply, for many it is sport that holds the key to happiness; let’s face it, making a hole-in-one, scoring a winning goal or beating a PB in a race – all are conducive to positive feelings. Fitness and wellness, too, are major tenets of The Happiness Festival, with a focus on nutrition, personal training and group fitness.
“Research has shown a strong correlation between sports, fitness and happiness,” Fiona Barron, founder and CEO of the event’s organisers The Happiness Hub, told Sport360. “It encourages cooperation, creates engagement and flow, increases self-esteem and reduces depression.”
There will be 60 sessions in all at The Happiness Festival, covering the full spectrum wellness and well-being – with a balanced look at both the mental and physical side of happiness.
Introductions to different fitness classes and fun sports challenges will punctuate the day and, in order to ensure an all-encompassing experience, there are even dedicated streams for children and men.
Fit Squad DXB is one of the vendors taking part and for their co-founder Devinder Bains, it was an obvious event with which to partner.
“There is such a strong connection between physical activity and happiness,” Bains explains. “Not only does it make you feel and look better, exercising also releases endorphins which studies have shown can combat depression and cause that euphoric feeling you get at the end of your workout.”
The Happiness Festival gives those who already love sport and fitness a chance to dig deeper into why it helps their mental well-being, while also offering a channel for those who aren’t so active to take positive steps. So to paraphrase Pharrell, come along if you feel like that’s what you want to do.
WHAT: The Happiness Festival
WHEN: Friday, 11:00-18:00
WHERE: Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club