Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.1  Positive Education is an approach to education that blends academic learning with character & well-being. Preparing students with life skills such as: grit, optimism, resilience, growth mindset, engagement, and mindfulness amongst others. Positive education is based on the science of well-being and happiness.

 

Positive Education

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.1  Positive Education is an approach to education that blends academic learning with character & well-being. Preparing students with life skills such as: grit, optimism, resilience, growth mindset, engagement, and mindfulness amongst others. Positive education is based on the science of well-being and happiness.

Examples of well-known Positive Psychology activities:

  • Three Good Things 

  • Using Character Strengths

  • Letters to the Future


 

"Positive education is defined as education for both traditional skills and for happiness. The high prevalence worldwide of depression among young people, the small rise in life satisfaction, and the synergy between learning and positive emotion all argue that the skills for happiness should be taught in school."

 

Seligman, M. et. al. (2009). 

Creativity & the Visual Arts

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play.

Examples of SketchBetter designed activities:

  • Story Spheres - Mindful Drawing Exercise

  • Hats of Confidence - Origami Hats designed to capture Character Strengths

  • Happiness Wall - Daily check in with mood

  • Sound Detectives Meditation - Training the mind to focus on the present moment we listen for sounds.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is defined as the ability to be fully aware and conscious of the present moment and to non-judgmentally and non-critically observe it. Since Kabat-Zinn (2003) first launched the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program in 1979, interest in and the quantity of mindfulness programmes has grown rapidly. Research evidences that mindfulness can help to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression (Kabat- Zinn et al., 1992; Segal et al., 2002) and can increase creativity (Langer, 2005), resilience (Bajaj & Pande, 2015) and emotional intelligence (Schutte & Malouff, 2011).

Evidence also shows that an aspect of building one’s emotional wellbeing is being able to identify and understand yours and others’ emotions (Fredrickson, 2015). “Students who have a strong emotional awareness cope well with distressing situations”, explains Fredrickson (2015), “whereas students who struggle to understand their emotions can be overwhelmed when faced with everyday hassles and challenges”. Furthermore, Gumora and Arsenio (2002) showed that students with well-developed emotional regulation skills thrive in their academic studies.

Examples of SketchBetter designed activities:

  • Story Spheres - Mindful Drawing Exercise

  • Hats of Confidence - Origami Hats designed to capture Character Strengths

  • Happiness Wall - Daily check in with mood

  • Sound Detectives Meditation - Training the mind to focus on the present moment we listen for sounds.

Read more at PENN University's Positive Education initiative.

Seligman, M. E., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2014). Positive psychology: An introduction. In Flow and the foundations of positive psychology (pp. 279-298). Springer Netherlands.

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being

Seligman, M.E.P., Ernst, R.M., Gillham, J., Reivich, K., & Linkins, M. (2009). Positive education: Positive psychology and classroom interventions. Oxford Review of Education (35) 3, 293-311.

Learn More

What is Mindfulness?

"Mindfulness is both a process (mindful practice) and an outcome (mindful awareness)". Shapiro and Carlson, 2009.

“Mindfulness is more akin to an art form that one develops over time”, explains Kabat-Zinn (2003. p. 148), “it is greatly enhanced through regular disciplined practice [...] on a daily basis”.

Research Papers

Andrews, K. (2018). Draw Your Feelings: A qualitative exploration into a new Mindfulness Based Intervention for primary school children. [Dissertation] University of East London.

Seligman, M. et. al. (2009). Positive education: positive psychology and classroom interventions, Oxford Review of Education, 35:3, 293-311,DOI: 10.1080/03054980902934563

Lomas, T. (2016). Positive art: Artistic expression and appreciation as an exemplary vehicle for flourishing. Review of General Psychology, 20(2), 171.

In 2016, Tim Lomas proposed the creation of a Positive Art field within Positive Psychology, as “a field encompassing theory and research concerning the well-being value of art.” Through a vast review of literature he identified four major art forms (visual art, music, literature, and drama) for the field and five major positive outcomes that fall within each of them.