WELL BEING & POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR LEA WATERS UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

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1 WELL BEING & POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR LEA WATERS UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

2 KEYNOTE AIMS What is positive psychology? Positive psychology programs and evidence How can you support the well-being of your child?

3 WHAT IS POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY? Positive psychology is a relatively new branch of psychology that conducts scientific inquiry into the factors that help individuals, communities and organisations thrive by building on their strengths and virtues (Peterson, 2008)

4 PROFESSOR COREY KEYS: MENTAL HEALTH MODEL Removing negative states Depression Anxiety Insecurity Addiction Violence Promoting positive states Hope Optimism Empathy Courage Gratitude TAKING AWAY OBSTACLES BRINGING IN ENABLERS

5 2 FACTOR THEORY: BEYOND WELL-BEING Resistance to change Workplace bullying Bad leadership Unethical workplaces Support for change Respectful relationship Inspiring leadership Virtuous workplaces Low employee morale Engaged and passionate employees Removing Enabling

6 POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY MYTHS Myth Busted!!! Positive psychology ignores the negatives in life. Positive psychology studies the positive processes that can be used during negative and challenging times in our lives. You have to be happy 100% of the time Flourishing ratio 3:1 Positive psychology is all about positive thinking Positive psychology is about resilient thinking (not positive thinking)

7 BENEFITS OF CULTIVATING POSITIVE STATES AND VIRTUES Supports our psychological wellbeing Supports out immune system Helps us think clearly and learn more effectively Assist out ability to cope with stress Is positively related to academic achievement

8 POSITIVE EMOTIONS AND COPING BENEFITS A research study by Frederickson, B., & Joiner, T (2002) Broad minded coping Broad minded coping Positive emotions through their effect on broadening thinking predict future increases in positive emotions. Positive emotions Hence, positive emotions and broadminded coping (BMC) serially influence each other, creating an upward spiral. Positive emotions

9 Hope & academic performance at in U.K university students A research study by Day, Hanson, Maltby, Proctor & Wood (2010) A longitudinal study of x 129 university students 1) Prior academic performance 2) Personality 3) Divergent thinking 3 years Grade point average 4) Hope Start of University End of University degree

10 POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY & ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT Research study by Professor Joseph Durlak and Professor Roger Weissberg (2005) A meta-analysis of 213 studies 270,034 student from kindergarten to high school Students enrolled in a social and emotional learning programs ranked 11% points higher on achievement tests

11 HAPPINESS PAYS OFF Research study by Professor Judge and Professor Durlack (2007) High school students (14-17 years) tested for happiness. Tracked over 35 years. High GPA + negative self evaluation = US$49,389 High GPA + positive self evaluation = $100,764.

12 JUDGE AND HURST (2007)

13 JUDGE AND HURST (2007)

14 POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY & PARENTING POSITIVE EMOTIONS CHARACTER STRENGTHS MINDFULNESS POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS

15 FOCUSING ON THE POSITIVE What Went Well (WWW) Ask your child What went well for you today? Share with your child what went well in your day WWW rituals at the dinner table or just before bed When you notice something that makes you feel happy say it out loud (e.g., clouds) Celebrate the small things

16 GRATITUDE Verbalizing when you appreciate something your child did or a quality they have Write a gratitude letter to your children Encourage your child to keep a gratitude journal Have a gratitude whiteboard in your kitchen Gratitude art projects Rent DVD s that have the theme of gratitude in them (e.g Patch Adams, In pursuit of Happiness, Driving miss Daisy)

17 GRATITUDE APPS i-gratitude Gratitude journal Growing gratitude The gratitude habit

18 CHARACTER STRENGTHS (PETERSON AND SELIGMAN, 2004) Copyright. Lea Waters. 2010

19 STRENGTH SPOTTING Aim to spot strengths in Your children Your partner Yourself Significant others (e.g relations, friends, teachers, sports couches etc..) Famous people, icons, heroes

20 VIA CHARACTER STRENGTHS SURVEY Value in Action Institute of Character Free Survey Adults Youth (over 10 years)

21 MINDFULNESS Mindfulness refers to being completely in touch with and aware of the present moment.

22 MINDFULNESS IS NOT EASY!!!!

23 MINDFULNESS TECHNIQUES STOP technique Cleaning meditation Eating meditation Teeth-brushing meditation 23

24 MINDFULNESS APPS Meditator Mindfulness Happy App Mindfulness for beginners Meditation for optimum health Headspace mindfulness

25 POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS: GRADE 5 STUDENTS

26 USEFUL WEBSITES Shenghai American School Authentic happiness website The centre for confidence and well being Meaning and happiness All about psychology

27 FURTHER READING Parenting from the inside out by Daniel Siegal The optimistic child by Martin Seligman The secret of happy children by Steve Biddulph

28 POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY READING Seigal, D., & Payne-Bryson, T. (2011). The Whole-Brained Child. New York: Delocorte Press. Kavelin Popov, L., Popov, D., & Kavelin, J (1997). The family virtues guide: simple ways to bring out the best in our children. New York: The Penguin Group. Lantieri, L., Goleman, D. (2008) Building emotional intelligence: Techniques to cultivate inner strengths in children. Boulder: Sounds True Medina, J. (2010). Brain rules for baby: How to raise a smart happy child from 0-5. Seattle: Pear Press.

29 POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY READING Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier by Robert Emmons Positivity by Barbara Frederickson The how of happiness by Sonia Lubomirksy Authentic happiness by Martin Seligman

30 USEFUL WEBSITES Authentic happiness website The centre for confidence and well being Meaning and happiness All about psychology

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