Argentinian psychologist Javier Labourt has kick-started a new series of “Happiness Workshops” in Greece. Having studied and practiced psychology for over 15 years in Argentina and the United States, and known as the fun-loving psychologist on Greek TV show World Party, Javier has now set his sights on Greece with one mission: to help people build happier lives.
The “40% solution”
For those of us who think that a happy life is out of our control or based purely on our surroundings, many researchers suggest otherwise, according to Labourt. “There are psychological studies which show that our degree of happiness is made up of three factors. Firstly, 50% of our happiness levels are determined by our genes. Secondly, our life circumstances account for just 10% of our happiness degree and are more short-term, which is why when people buy new clothes or change their environment, it doesn’t make a huge impact on their long-term happiness. Interestingly, the remaining 40% of our happiness levels is the part we can work on through our behaviour.” This “40% solution” is what Javier’s Happiness Workshops focus on.
Javier shares, “One of my goals is to empower the wonderful people of Greece with the tools to build a happier life. I find that in Greece, psychology is not widely considered a discipline that can help the everyday person. My goal is to create a more open view of psychology and give people the skills that can be applied in building a happier everyday life”.
Putting on your optimism glasses
Javier’s first workshop recently held in Athens was an interactive class where people of all ages signed up to learn more about the happiness-building approach. “We had people of all ages from 19 to 60 in the workshop, and it was great to have people interact in the different exercises, which included exercises on mindful eating, how to stop yourself from over-thinking and the popular Optimism Glasses experiment”. When people leave the workshop, they are equipped with information, tools and even given homework to practice at home and in everyday life.
Not only are the classes educational, they are a lot of fun. Javier’s infectious positive energy creates a comfortable atmosphere where the sometimes-heavy subject matter is presented in a way that is relatable, real and enjoyable. Javier shares, “I embrace the idea that life is amazing, and every day is unique - this is how I live life. However, it can be easy to lose this perspective if you don't work on it “.
Fun aside, Javier places a lot of emphasis on the effort required by each individual to work on building a happier life. The key to building a happier life, he says, is consistency. “Once a person becomes aware of their behaviour and has the knowledge and tools in place to make changes, the opportunities to improve your life keep opening up, not only in your personal life but also professionally and creatively. The key is to keep practising.”
Upcoming Happiness Workshops
Javier’s next Happiness Workshop is being held in Thessaloniki on Sunday 2 December, soon to be followed by Larissa and other major cities around Greece. With plans to create workshops for companies and schools too (while he continues to learn Greek), there's no end in sight to Javier’s plan to help build a happier Greece.