Miriam Akhtar

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Biographical Information

"Miriam is one of the UK’s leading practitioners of positive psychology and one of the first positive psychologists in Europe. She holds the MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) with Distinction from the University of East London, to where she now returns as an associate lecturer. UEL was the first UK university to partner with the MAPP established by Prof Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania. Miriam is also on the faculty of the Executive Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (EMAPP) at the University of Lisbon, an associate lecturer at UWE and a visiting lecturer elsewhere. She is a highly engaging speaker and has delivered keynotes at conferences and festivals throughout Europe. Miriam is a Bristol Happiness Champion and one of Top Santé magazine’s ‘100 names you need to know in health & well-being‘.

"Miriam applies the science of flourishing for both personal and professional development as a consultant, coach, trainer and facilitator. Her particular strength is in taking the science and turning it into practical tools. Her clients include Nuffield Health, Rolls-Royce, Triodos Bank, Kelloggs, 02, Bristol PCT, Skills for Health, the Legal Ombudsman, Alpro Soya, Cardiff City Council, Herts County Council, Bristol Mind, Dartington, POW (Positive Opportunities for Well-being) and Lightbox: the Happiness Project. Miriam works as a personal and executive coach, is a director of the ground-breaking Happy City Initiative and a fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs.

"Miriam has created a variety of well-being programmes which include the Happiness Habits and Happiness Zones. She is one of the UK facilitators of the Penn Resiliency Program from the University of Pennsylvania, which was originally developed for young people and is now being rolled out across the US military as the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Programme. It was piloted in UK schools through the Local Well-being Project, set up by Lord Professor Richard Layard alongside the IAPT service.

"Positive psychology is also known as the science of strengths. According MiriamJCJulycrop2013to StrengthsFinder, which measures performance strengths, Miriam’s top 5 are Intellection, Input, Strategic, Activator and Futuristic, predominantly in the leadership theme of Strategic Thinking. In the VIA classification of character strengths her top 5 are Curiosity, Emotional, Social & Personal Intelligence, Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Creativity and Love of Learning, which mainly occupy the Virtue of Wisdom & Knowledge. Strengths provide a sense of purpose and in her case Miriam’s life purpose is to put people on the path to happiness. It is immensely rewarding to witness clients recovering their well-being and moving into a state of flourishing.

"Miriam is the author of 4 books and one of the 100 ‘happiness professors from around the world’ who contributed to The World Book of Happiness, sent to 200 world leaders by the President of the EU. She is writing a chapter for the follow-up – The World Book of Hope. Miriam has strengths in communication, which developed when she worked in the media, where she first investigated the science of optimal functioning. She was an award-winning producer at BBC Radio 4 and Channel 4 and a recipient of the Medical Journalists Association Gold Award. She brings these strengths to positive psychology through the audio CD The Happiness Training Plan, co-presented with Dr Chris Johnstone and her book – Positive Psychology for Overcoming Depression, Self-Help Strategies for Happiness, Inner Strength & Well-being. Miriam has moved in front of the microphone and appeared on programmes including BBC Radio 4′s Woman’s Hour, Off the Page & Sunday. She has a regular slot on Dr Phil Hammond’s Saturday Surgery on BBC Radio Bristol and has been interviewed on Bristol’s other radio stations – Heart FM, BCFM and Ujima. On TV she’s appeared on BBC2′s Secret Life of the Airport and ITV West. She is widely quoted in the press such as in the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Independent on Sunday, Cosmopolitan, Top Santé, Men’s Health, Zest, Single Step, Woman & Home, Women’s Weekly, Boots’ Health & Beauty magazine, Slimming World, Weightwatchers magazine, Asda magazine and Good Housekeeping. Miriam also combines her positive psychology expertise with her editorial skills in working with communications agencies such as on this New Year campaign for Special K. “Miriam is a skilful brand ambassador and a real pleasure to work with. Expertly combining best-in-field knowledge and experience of positive psychology, with an experienced editorial nous and strong knowledge of how the communications industry works – she hits key campaign messaging and delivers genuine help for consumers. I am definitely looking forward to working with Miriam again in the future.” Laura Dodgson, Account Exec, Edelman PR

"Miriam is a founder member of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) and the Centre for Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP). She is a Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Hear Miriam speak about the Happiness Habits below."[1]


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch

  • Consults for the Practice Rooms [1]


  1. positivepsychologytraining Miriam Akhtar, organizational web page, accessed March 27, 2014.