Positively mental: Dubai to organise 'festival of happiness'

Positively mental: Dubai to organise 'festival of happiness'
In keeping with the recent trend in Dubai to emphasise the importance of a positive mental attitude, a festival for happiness will exhort the citizenry to be happy.
2 min read
09 Feb, 2017
A Dubai citizen conforms to the happiness agenda [Getty]

Dubai is set to host its inaugural happiness festival next weekend, giving those in need of a pick-me-up the chance to contemplate all things positive.

The free event will offer attendees a range of workshops and seminars, run by experts in diverse fields - from yoga to mindfulness to women's empowerment.  

The aim of the festival is, according its website, "to focus on building a community of like-minded people, who have the common goal of being their best self as an individual, in relationships and at work."

While that goal may seem a bit vague, the presence of focussed speakers, such as world champion skydiver Omar Al-Hegelan is sure to bring order to proceedings.

The concept of the festival is by no means all woolly thinking and happy thoughts. Festival organisers point out that there are real economic advantages to happiness, indeed they appeal to employers to imagine how much more they could achieve with a happy workforce.

Their figures show that a happy employee will "live up to seven years longer, be 12 percent more productive, and 52 percent more likely to succeed". So a productive worker is a happy worker.

The festival will take place at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, on 17 February, and anyone interested in attending is encouraged to register online.

Happiness is a growth industry in Dubai, and the emirate is warming to a theme of full-on positivity. Last year saw the installation of a dedicated Minister for Happiness, Ohood Al Roumi and since then she has been relentless in her pursuit of total unadulterated happiness for all - including through the medium of Twitter. 

All this is guided by the emirate's extraordinary Happiness Agenda, which contends that "The most important job for a city is to ensure the happiness of its residents and visitors".

Critics, however, point out the UAE's poor human rights record and its draconian laws that could land people in prison or get them deported over a simple Facebook post that doesn't toe the government's line, as evidence of the Emirates' grumpier side.