Dr Ivan Zwart is the founder and facilitator of Happy Ground Wellbeing. Ivan works across all areas of the business but focuses on curriculum development and delivery.
Prior to creating Happy Ground Wellbeing in 2013, Ivan had gained over twenty years experience as a trainer, facilitator, problem solver and researcher. His professional career began as a social scientist, with his doctorate evaluating the impact of small group processes (and group psychology) on decision making in government. Following this he worked in academia, state and local government, and consulting, where he gained further training and experience in:
- Behaviour change
- Group facilitation
- Community engagement
- Strategic planning
- Social research
While Ivan’s professional career has been very successful, since 1998 he has had many battles with his mental health. He has struggled at various times with illnesses including chronic fatigue, depression, and anxiety, as well as experiencing high levels of stress and unhappiness due to both his parents having terminal illnesses which lasted for well over a decade. This impacted his personal and professional life. Soon after the death of his father in 2010, Ivan was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which has been his life’s biggest curse as well as one of his biggest gifts.
In order to improve his wellbeing and make better decisions in life, Ivan visited counsellors and psychologists, read a large number of self-help and psychology books, and learnt to meditate. But one of the most significant changes to his life came in 2010, when he first learnt about heart meditation, which has not only helped him to feel lighter, happier and more peaceful, but also assisted his relationships and general outlook on life. He has practiced heart meditation on a daily basis since 2013, and loves the many positive feelings that come with improving the heart. Ivan has also received wonderful support for his mental illnesses from his friends, family and wife Danielle.
Developing Happy Ground
Drawing on the many techniques he learnt from a wide variety of sources, by 2013 Ivan had obtained excellent mental health, and had learnt much from his experiences. It was then he decided to start helping others, using his professional training, research and lived experience to create a group of cutting edge wellbeing programs. These programs combine well established concepts from psychology and mindfulness designed to improve our minds, with highly innovative and effective exercises to improve the heart. The services include training for businesses and members of the community, including stress management, a meditation program, and the highly successful ‘Happy Heart Peaceful Mind Program’. Ivan is also a speaker and gives presentations about mental health and illness, meditation, and happiness.
Ivan’s dream is to continue to help people to become happier through improving their minds and their hearts. He is passionate about helping people, and has developed programs with his wife Danielle, that are making a real difference in people’s lives.
Want to know more about the team?
In 2014 Ivan and Dani were interviewed on ABC radio, during which they discussed their personal histories, happiness, heart meditation, the Happy Ground Program, and their dog Frank. So, to find out more about the team, take a listen to the interview below.