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ELSA positive psychology

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Tim Conroy-Stocker

on 25 November 2016

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Transcript of ELSA positive psychology

To flourish is to be able to enjoy life, to cope with life’s difficulties, to believe in others, to feel you have a place in the world and to believe that you have something you can give to others.
Character Strengths
'We change the world by tiny individual acts of honesty, courage, kindness and integrity, by celebrating our own strengths, just a little more each day, and helping others to do the same' Jenny Fox Eades
The evidence suggests that these types of aspirations are linked together...
i.e. you cant really have one without the other...
You're probably doing some of this already...
As parents and people working with children, our lives are often pretty hectic. The last thing we want is to be given even more things that we need to teach our child or children! That’s not what this talk is about.

Most of the ideas and tools are just to do with our everyday lives – they are about ways to think about yourself and the children in your life. There are also some helpful ideas for things to say and do as you go about your everyday activities.
First, a quick question

In one or two words, what do you most want for your children in their lives?
Positive psychology and Mindfulness interventions for children
So what are some of the arguments for this?
Positive approaches
a child who:
• believes in their own ability to do things
• has a genuine sense of their own worth
• takes responsibility for their actions
• feels optimistic about life.

Small effects translate to big impacts – recent summary of results of 207 SEL programmes:

-11% improvement in achievement tests
-25% improvement in social and emotional skills
-10% decrease in anxiety and depression
Durlac 2010
Shek and Yu (2012)

>30% self harm over the previous year

12% seriously considered suicide

4.9% plans

>4% made an attempt
Semple and Lee (2011) A teacher led mindfulness programme showed signigicant improvements in peer relations, emotional symptoms and pro social behaviour... Just from deep breathing...
For most parents the response would be a mixture of some or all of the following....
“Happiness,” “Confidence,” “Contentment,” “Fulfillment,” “Balance,” “Good stuff,” “Kindness,” “Health,” “Satisfaction,” “Love,” “Being civilized,” “Meaning,” "wellbeing."

or... in Hong Kong...

“Achievement,” “Thinking skills,” “Success,” “Conformity,” “Literacy,” “Math,” "Mandarin skills," “Work,” “Test taking,” “Discipline,”
SO...what can help support both wellbeing and achievement?
Positive Psychology
Well-being has five measurable elements (PERMA):
positive emotion, of which happiness and life satisfaction are aspects
Emotional Balance
Good Relationships
Sense of Purpose/ Meaning
To flourish an individual needs the three core features of well-being:
positive emotion (or happiness)
engagement and interest
meaning and purpose

and three of these six additional features:
positive relationships.
• Creativity
• Curiosity
• Open-Mindedness
• Love of Learning/
• Perspective (Wisdom)
• Bravery
• Persistence (Perseverance, Grit)
• Integrity (Authenticity, /Honesty)
• Vitality (Zest, Enthusiasm, Energy)
• Love
• Kindness (Generosity, Care, Compassion)
• Social Intelligence (emotional intelligence, personal intelligence)
• Citizenship (Social Responsibility, Loyalty, Teamwork)
• Fairness
• Leadership/Temperance
• Forgiveness and Mercy
• Humility (Modesty)
• Prudence
• Self-Regulation (Self Control)
• Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence (Awe, Wonder)
• Gratitude
• Hope (Optimism)
• Humour (Playfulness)
• Spirituality (Faith, Purpose)
(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Values_in_Action_Inventory_of_Strengths for history)
What is one of your top strengths?
What do you focus on?
Character strengths
For you...
Go to the Authentic happiness website and take the VIA strengths survey http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/questionnaires.aspx
Share your character strengths with your children
With your children
Get them to do the VIA Youth questionnaire
get everyone in your group/class/family to compare their strengths!
'Adults face the critical challenge of making the positive self beliefs of youngsters automatic and habitual as early as possible. After all good habits are as hard to break as bad habits' Frank Pajares
Impoving childrens...
help children to reframe experience
spot catastrophising and present exceptions
Exception questions
Tell me about the times that it doesn’t happen or it happens less.
When are the times that it doesn’t last as long?
When are the times it bothers you least?
When are the times that you resist the urge to…?
What was it like before?
What are you doing differently at those times?
What are others around you doing differently at those times?
What have you been doing to stop things getting worse?
So tell me about your successes
Tell me about the times that it doesn’t happen or it happens less.

Always the same?
When are the times that it doesn’t last as long?
When are the times it bothers you least?

Do you always do the same things?
What are you doing differently at those times?
What are others around you doing differently at those times?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
So on a scale of 1-10...
How good a parent/EA were you last week?
So... what were you doing well that made you score a ? and not a 0?
What would it looked like if it was a 10?
What would you notice?
What would your relatives notice?
What would your children notice?
Think of the original number you gave yourself?
What would it look like one higher?
Young and Holdorf (2003) Bullying-92% of pupils exposed to the approach said the situation had improved enough that they could manage it themselves
Solution focused impact?
King and Kellock (2002) found that 67% families felt a problem had either ended or improved a lot following solution focused brief therapy and 92% would reccomend it to others
The 'Sparkle' of good feelings!‘

Positivity’ triggers the sparkle of good feelings that awakens an individual’s inspiration and motivation to change.

Positivity refers to the whole range of positive emotions to include joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, awe, inspiration and love.

Building a robust ratio (i.e. having more positive thoughts than negative thoughts) and having positive emotions more frequently than negative emotions builds psychological and social capital.

Positive Emotions
Laughing or smiling at something unusual that is not serious, dangerous or threatening.
A feeling of being transfixed and overwhelmed by greatness or goodness on a grand scale, whether it is by nature or humanity, compelling us to see ourselves as part of something greater than ourselves.
The heartfelt appreciation of something in our lives, like someone who has helped us or having a comfortable place to rest.
A belief that things will change and get better.
A feeling of being riveted by human nature at its best and wanting to express yourself at your best because of it.
A feeling of being fascinated or challenged by something new.
A feeling of playfulness and delight in things or people.
A feeling of taking credit for an achievement that is valued by others.
An afterglow feeling of inner calm and contentment when things are going well for you.
A feeling encompassing all or most of the above positive emotions within the context of a safe, often close relationship.
Fredrickson, B.L. (2009). Positivity. New York: Crown Publishers.

Negative Emotions
A feeling of displeasure, hostility or antagonism towards someone or something.
A feeling of disrespect for a person or thing.
A feeling of repulsion.
A feeling of shame when your inadequacy or guilt is made public.
A feeling of anxiety or apprehension about a possible or probable situation or event.
A feeling of annoyance at being hindered or criticised.
A feeling of remorse caused by feeling responsible for some offence.
A feeling of disadvantage, loss and helplessness.
A feeling resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt.
A feeling of strain when demand is greater than your capacity.

Most people = 2:1
Flourishing = 3:1
Effective teams= 5:1
Personal relationship
flourishing= 6:1!
Managing negative emotions
express your own emotions honestly
acknowledge their efforts to manage their feelings
Distract, Distract, Distract!
Don't lie. 'The injection wont hurt a bit!'
Encourage positive emotions
Biscuits before homework. Chocolate before tests
Mindful attention on the positive
'Let no one come near you without leaving better and happier' Mother Theresa
Whether the relationship is between friends, family members, partners, a teacher and a pupil, work colleagues, etc. there are four key elements of any good relationship:

• Trusting each other
• Effective communication
• Mutual respect and mutual benefit
• Valuing differences.

Better Relationships with children. (Try to):
Check understanding
side by side conversations
Dont Rush in!
Respect what they think is important
Reasons for Rules
Family discussions
Help Children build better relationships
Encourage friendships
Different is good!

Mindfulness is paying attention here and now with kindness and curiosity

Association for Mindfulness in Education

Mindfulness is often confused with relaxation. Although you may become more relaxed when you are mindful, this is not the goal of mindfulness. The goal is to be aware of and accept whatever way your body and mind feel at this moment in time.
Mindfulness has been shown to be associated with energy, optimism, higher independence, competence and higher life satisfaction, which may indicate why it has been found to be an effective tool in business.

In education, studies of mindfulness training suggest that mindfulness has the potential benefit of improving children’s attention and social skills, reducing test anxiety and improving a sense of calm.
There have been many other positive outcomes associated with mindfulness training. To name a few, research suggests that practicing mindfulness can:
• Improve immune function
• Increase empathy
• Enhance relationships
• Improve academic performance
• Reduce symptoms of hyperactivity in young people
• Increase satisfaction with parenting skills.

'Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. '

Melody Beattie

Research has shown that adults who feel and express gratitude are more likely to flourish – they are more contented with their lives, they have better relationships and also report better physical health.
How to foster gratitude
Show gratitude yourself
notice children's gratitude
Silver lining searches
share gratitude daily
5 grateful things diary
What is a resilient child?
A resilient child can be described as:
A child who works well, plays well, loves well and expects well.

Research has shown that resilient children:
• Have good relationships because they are caring, flexible, can understand others’ feelings and can laugh at themselves and situations.
• Are independent, active and confident that they can get things done.
• Have a sense of purpose and hope for the future.
• Feel that they are worthwhile and can make a difference.
• Have support from their families and communities.
• Are expected to do well by their families and communities.

Helping to promote resilience
• Be resilient yourself. Don’t pretend you don’t have problems
• Don’t try to protect children from problems and difficulties.
• When they have a problem, help them to remember what they have done well in the past or how they were able to solve a problem.

• Help them to make friends with other children and adults. Encourage them to be friendly in order to make friends and to try to really understand other people. The social support that comes from having good relationships is really important for resilience.
• Help them to realise that not everyone has to like them for them to be a worthwhile person.
When a child is worried about something, help them to think about what they can do to reduce the worry, and not to focus too much on what they can’t do.
Show them you care about their friendships. Friendships are very important to children and young people – often more than some adults realise.

Sometimes your mum and dad thinks it’s having a little argument, but it’s bad, really sad, and they don’t understand
Jenny, aged 10
SO... what are you going to do with your life?
Purpose is very important for our happiness and wellbeing
Young people need to find their purpose.
Identity vs role confusion
Finding our purpose involves:
• Thinking about the people that are really important to us and how we want them to think and feel about us.
• Knowing what our talents and strengths are.
• Thinking about what we truly love to do at work and in our leisure time.
• Thinking about what we believe we can do for others.

You can’t tell young people who they are or who they are to become. However you can support them to recognise and fulfil their highest potential which will help them find their purpose in life.
Helping young people find their meaning/purpose:
Think about your own purpose
Talk to children about what is important to you
Give young people opportunities to develop their own own unique strengths
Ask questions about their dreams
• What are your hopes and dreams?
• Which one is most important to you just now?
• What can you do now to make that dream a little closer?

• What do you love doing most?
• What do you do that makes you feel really good about yourself?
• Who do you really admire and why?

The newspaper article!
SO... what we've talked about today is how to help children get...
“Happiness,” “Confidence,” “Contentment,” “Fulfillment,” “Balance,” “Good stuff,” “Kindness,” “Health,” “Satisfaction,” “Love,” “Being civilized,” “Meaning,” "wellbeing."

and by extension....

“Achievement,” “Thinking skills,” “Success,” “Conformity,” “Literacy,” “Math,” "Mandarin skills," “Work,” “Test taking,” “Discipline,”
No gimmicks, no purchases necessary, just a lot of practice and maybe a few changes in how you do things for yourself and your families!
Find out more?

So... time to give it a try...
The Computer issue:
Can be a focus for discord in the family
again important to look at listening and co creating actions to go forward
A family media agreement, with agreed boundaries, time and sanctions is the best way forward
The rule of thirds is also helpful as is the idea of a 'digital sabbath'
Larry Rosen- 'Parenting the Net generation', ' Understanding the I generation and the way they learn'
Need to be proactive parents
Things you can do to highlight and develop character strengths
Greater good Science of Happiness online course http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/news_events/event/the_science_of_happiness

My Blog http://wellbeinghk.blogspot.hk/

Google+ Social and Emotional Wellbeing
Building in happiness and resilience to schools!

Read the books!
the 'Tractor' talk!
Who were you at the school disco?
Which victims and perpetrators can you see from children you know?
Which one have you been at work?
Who would you like to be?
Which blob do you feel like now?
What Went Well?
Balloon Break!
Happy Jelly babies activity!
Letters of gratitude!
More gratitude activities for classes/ families
So how does it feel when someone acknowledges one of your character strengths?
Are you grateful or entitled?
Last man standing...
Often there are things we do or strengths we have that help us when we have problems or face tough times

What are some of Steve Bradbury's strengths?
Think of when something upsetting has happened in your life, or when you have faced a tough problem

In pairs discuss what things you have done that have helped you work through it and maybe make things better?
#Activity I want you each to have a really good think about a strength someone in your class or family has that deserves a trophy. Now think what the trophy might look like?

E.g Perhaps a ball would make a trophy for the best footballer, a smiley face for the happiest person, or a small notebook for the best storyteller.

• Make sure the trophies are for positive strengths (like ‘best peacemaker’) and not for negative qualities (like the ‘messiest person’).

• Draw pictures of your trophy design in your booklet

Celebrating positive strengths: Trophy Hunt...
How can character strengths be used in schools?
Your character strengths
What do you think might be your top 5 strengths?
Chat to someone on your table about yours and their strengths?
Go to www.letitripple.org/character_strengths Choose a strengths and discuss some of the materials used to illustrate the strength
Can you think of any other good exmples for the strength?
How Gritty are you?
How do you encourage GRIT in your students?
Emotional Literacy Support Assistant training

Tim Conroy-Stocker

Positive psychology is an umbrella term for the study of positive emotions and positive character traits. It is concerned with what makes people flourish, that is, become happier, more connected to others and engaged in purposeful, meaningful activity.

It was launched as a new discipline in 1998 by Martin Seligman, the then president of the American Psychological Association.

Research findings from positive psychology are not meant to replace traditional psychology and what is known about human suffering, weakness and disorder. The aim is to have a complete and balanced understanding of the human experience.

‘Subjective Well-being’ is the Scientific Term for Happiness
The task of positive psychology is to describe not prescribe what people can do to get well-being.

The findings can be neatly summarised as:

Increasing positive emotions.
Reducing the impact of negative emotions.
Changing the subject: thinking about others rather than ourselves and engaging in purposeful activity.
Finding meaning in one’s life
theory of positive emotions developed by Barbara Fredrickson shows that positive emotions are ‘resource builders’ and have a long-lasting effect on our personal growth and development.

Positive emotions have the capacity to broaden and build our psychological and social resources, promote our physical health, connect us to others and build our intellectual and psychological reserves.

They increase our capacity to be outward looking and pay attention and notice what is happening around us, and increase our working memory, verbal fluency and openness to information.

Characteristics of signature strengths:

They represent the real you.
They bring a feeling of excitement when they are used.
A person excels in their signature strengths quickly.
A person longs to put them into action.
A person feels energised and intrinsically motivated when using them.
They can be applied to learning, work, relationships and play.

Think of a student or group of student you would like to try out one of the techniques/ ideas with.

When you have thought about it, share with the person next to you what you intend to do
Before you do it What questions do you need to ask? and what preparation do you need to do?
Full transcript