6 Jun 2011
Does Transition promote wellbeing and happiness? Seeking your input…
I am writing an article for the moment for an issue of a magazine which focuses on wellbeing and happiness. The question I am trying to answer is whether Transition leads to greater wellbeing and happiness, both in those taking part in it, and also in the wider community. I would love to hear your thoughts, your stories, your research, that might seem to support, or dismiss, the idea that there is a connection between the two. There is some tantalising evidence that this might be the case:
- Following Transition Town Tooting’s ‘Trashcatchers’ Carnival’ last summer, the headteacher of a local primary school wrote “For (the children) the opportunity to meet all these people together in one place, to work with these diverse groups from within the Tooting community on a common venture, was a new and valuable experience. It demonstrated clearly how varied parts of such a community, many with different agendas, can come together for a common purpose. We felt the whole experience demonstrated community cohesion in its most meaningful, creative and imaginative sense. The children experienced a sense of awe and wonder at what could be produced from recyclable materials and we all felt a huge sense of pride in the school playing its part in the community. The school already has its own generous and vibrant community, but this event set it within a far wider one”.
- Dr Janet Richardson Professor of Health Service Research, Faculty of Health of the University of Plymouth recently produced an initial outline of a Health Impact Assessment for Transition Town Totnes’s Transition Streets project, and suggested there may well be a link, but raised the question as to whether people are drawn to Transition because they are happier, or whether they are happier because of having been drawn to Transition
- Also, research conducted at the end of the Transition Streets programme found a significant increase in the percentage of participants who reported feeling positive about the future, who feel connected to and part of their community and who are aware of what can be done and feeling they know what to do about it
- A while ago I asked on this website why it was that people do Transition. Answers included “… it provides a positive, creative and challenging place to apply my energies to those challenges…. and it’s fun” (Hilary Jennings), “if it wasn’t for Transition I would probably still be trying to work out how me and my family could become self-sufficient in some remote ‘safe’ hideout. Transition has given my life a more positive purpose because I now know we are not alone” (Jo Homan), “because it’s the first positive, life-affirming process that I have found” (Judy Skog), and “Transition is a principles-based approach that … seeks to imitate natural systems and allows participants to act joyfully, spontaneously and freely in creating a more life-giving way of being” (Tamara Schwartzentruber)…
But I’d love to hear from you. Have you noticed ways in which your work doing Transition has created significant happiness and wellbeing, either for those involved or in the wider community? This could be based on anecdotes or stories, or on any more tangible research you might have done. All assistance much appreciated! Thanks…. You can post below, or if you want to write in confidence, email me at rob (at) transitionculture.org.