How to be happy in Doha

Simple ideas and tips to give you a happiness boost in Doha

How to be happy in Doha
The Therapeutic…

Colour therapy
Walaa Alkadi is a firm believer in the power of colour to make positive change. As she explains on her website, “our skin and eyes absorb light, and the nature of that light affects how we feel on all levels.” She describes The Color Recipe – which she founded – as a lifestyle brand that promotes living through colour and combines meditation, workshops, interiors and yoga.

Colour yoga helps with relaxation and boosts your mood, while the workshops teach you how to use colour in home and everyday life as well as, specifically, how colour can increase your happiness. Sound interesting? Take part in the 42-day “life-changing” programme which combines weekly colour transformation techniques – like meditation – with dietary plans and colour reading sessions. Walaa also runs weekly colour meditation sessions at the Four Seasons Spa every Sunday at 7pm.
Prices vary.,

Energy and vibrational healing

Whether you’ve been feeling emotional stress or physical discomfort, trying an alternative form of therapy can be the answer. Doris Delessard is trained in therapies such as Tibetan Singing Bowls, energy healing (like chakra and aura cleansing), reiki and more. She conducts private sessions as well as therapies at Six Senses Spa where she offers sound and vibration or flow therapies (which use magnets to release the mind of stress and soothe physical pain) upon request.
Price on request. Various locations including Six Senses Spa, Sharq Village & Spa. and, (7076 9306).

Need to kick a smoking habit that even Allen Carr can’t break? Maybe it’s time to give hypnotherapy a go. Studies have shown that quitters have experienced lower levels of stress and anxiety and an overall more positive outlook on life.

Many people rely on the habit to relax and reduce stress, however, smoking actually has the opposite effect and can be a serious barrier to happiness and not just health. Hypnotherapy works by subconsciously training your mind to make alternative associations. In the case of smoking, for example, re-enforcing negative associations that you have with the habit.

But hypnosis can help you deal with any number of difficulties from the common to the unusual.It can help with trouble sleeping, social anxiety, phobias, emotional eating – if you’re struggling with a difficult loss or want to boost your confidence, hypnotherapy can help. Experience crippling levels of nerves before exams or presentations? It could fix that, too. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worth a try, and Gabrielle Turner of Oasis Hypnosis will even run the sessions in the comfort of your own home.
Quotes are provided on request, via e-mail. Oasis Hypnosis,

Niya Yoga
This beautiful new studio on The Pearl is ideal for getting away from it all and their schedule of classes suits everyone from beginner to more experienced yogis. They run classes in styles such as Qigong which focus on meditation and re-balancing energy, and Tibetan Singing Bowls, which is a meditative session that harnesses sound to calm both body and mind (run by Doris Delessard).

Otherwise, sign up for a pure and simple meditation session where you will learn to relax, focus inwardly and “reach a deeper level of peace”. New joiners can take advantage of a discounted membership, too, of QR800 for the first month.
QR120 (single class), QR1,250 (monthly unlimited), QR6,500 (six months unlimited). Mercato Palazzo 1, Qanat Quartier, The Pearl-Qatar, (4468 2562).

Yama yoga studios
There’s plenty going on here to help you mentally as well as physically. Head to their website to find out more about the benefits of each type of yoga before signing up for a class. The Jivamukti method, for example, combines Vinyasa yoga with music and meditation. Yin Yoga is a meditative class which is perfect for relaxation while mindful yoga is meant to calm your nervous system to help you achieve a more balanced state of mind. Yoga newbies can also enjoy two weeks of unlimited classes for just QR300 – perfect for trying a few styles to see what works for you.

The studio also offers yoga, wellness and meditation retreats to their own centre in the beautiful village of Pchelishte, just outside of Veliko Tarnovo, the former capital of Bulgaria.
QR80 (drop-in), QR750 (10 classes). Asas Towers, West Bay (5572 1728) and Al Waab (6617 5802).

Positive podcasts

Magic Lessons
Author of Eat Pray Love Elizabeth Gilbert chats to guest experts in this joyful podcast with episode titles like The Pure Pleasure of Making Stuff, You Have a Screaming, Not a Calling and Who Gets to Decide if You’re a Legitimate Artist? As the cynical bunch of editors we are, our personal favourite is Living the Dream and Facing the Nightmare. It’s all about creativity and inspiration with plenty of feel good advice to get started on that idea or project.

TED Radio Hour
With a focus on a different theme for each episode, this podcast brings together the highlights of some of the best TED Talks from around the world. As genuinely fascinating as it is inspirational, this is a great download to get you through your daily commute.

The Happier Podcast
The Author of The Happiness Project followed up her best-selling book with a series of uplifting podcasts on myriad topics from handling criticism to pursuing things that you’re not good at.

The Lively Show
This podcast from Jess Lively touches on almost every aspect of everyday life: careers, food, money, style, relationships and more. It tackles common anxieties and concerns as well as issues of entrepreneurship and businesses in – as the name suggests – an upbeat way. Woman-focussed, each episode features a different guest who speaks about their own personal growth, with plenty of practical tips to help you live a more positive life.

The New Yorker: Fiction
Published authors choose a short story previously published in The New Yorker, read it aloud and discuss it with the magazine’s fiction editor Deborah Treisman. Though not always uplifting, this is a wonderfully soothing alternative to reading before bed – it's basically bedtime stories for grown-ups. Try Lioner Shriver reads T.C. Boyle from the podcast's archives.

The Practical…

Eat better
You don’t have to revolutionise your diet, but increasing your intake of certain foods while cutting down on others will improve your mood significantly. Spinach and bananas, for example? Ideal for aiding the production of serotonin (a neurotransmitter widely believed to stabilise and improve your mood).

Foods high in carbohydrate but low in protein and fat (think sweet potato, whole grain rice and quinoa) have also been linked to higher levels of serotonin which the body creates from an amino acid they contain called tryptophan.

Mustafawi Organic Farm delivers boxes of fresh veg for QR250 every week and can contain kale, parsley, cucumber and spinach to name just a few.

Fill your diet with these foods while cutting out sugar and processed food as much as possible. We already know that too many takeaways are bad for your health, but foods which make your blood sugar fluctuate can also make you feel tired, irritable and moody. Avoiding caffeine will also help, plus make you more likely to get a good night’s sleep, which leads us on to our next point…

Get a good night’s sleep
Everyone is different. Some people need more sleep than others, but it’s universally accepted that a good night’s sleep will put you on a path to feeling better physically and mentally. Try to stay away from electronic screens for an hour before bed and read a book instead to give your brain a chance to wind down. Alternatively, download a podcast to nod off to.

Start a new hobby
Make some time for yourself, whether that means signing up for something totally new that you’ve always meant to try or getting back into an old hobby. Websites like Meetup and Internations are perfect for connecting with like-minded people, and where you can find groups on everything from film clubs or cultural groups to foodie meet-ups and language exchanges, or just for finding new friends. There’s even a Doha branch of the famous tech meet-up Hacker Nest ( Whatever your interests, there’s bound to be a group for you. and

Re-do your home
Sometimes all you need is a little change of scenery. Re-shuffling your furniture (even going full feng shui) or splashing a new shade of paint on the walls can have you feeling brand new. Head to Home Centre for home décor that won't break the bank, with its mix of quirky and practical pieces to suit all budgets ( For paint and wallpaper, Colour Gallerya on Salwa Road has a huge collection to browse through ( If you want to make more of a statement, Takiwall will custom-create a wall-sized sticker of almost anything for you to jazz up an empty room (

Work out more
You don’t have to spend anything to get active. Souq Waqif Boutqiue hotels have just launched a free bootcamp that runs on Saturday mornings from 8am-9am (to sign up, call 4433 6666), while Lululemon also offer free community yoga classes at their new store in Mall of Qatar every week (more about that on page 79).
Joining a free club is also a great way to motivate yourself to get up and out. Doha Bay Running Club is a friendly, sociable group that meets on weekends ( New runners are just as welcome as those training for long distances, and it’s a great start for beginners who are looking to increase their distances gradually.

Happiness-improvement books

Do Less: A Minimalist Guide to a Simplified, Organised and Happy Life, by Rachel Jonat

This short, easy guide to de-cluttering your home and life covers finances, possessions, commitments and more. Perfect if you’re craving a more straightforward existence.

The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin

Rubin dedicated a year of her life to trying to be happier. She chronicles her quest to try all the tips and tricks for herself, from scientific research to widely-accepted wisdom. An uplifting read about small changes that make a big difference.

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country, by Helen Russell

According to the UN, Denmark is the world’s happiest country. When Russell relocates there for her husband’s job, she enthusiastically applies Danish customs, traditions and day-to-day living to her own life and rounds up everything she learns. An interesting reflection on re-evaluating the way you live your life.

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