Authored by Chanel Worsteling, Child Protection and Wellbeing Programme Manager, Association of International Schools in Africa
The keynote address of the AISA 2020 Virtual Conference was by Suzy Green of the Positivity Institute. Her topic, the Power of Positivity in the Face of Adversity, could not be more relevant than now, so if you missed it, or want to watch it again with your school team, go to our website here.
So, what is positivity, how can it support our mental health and wellbeing, and how do we foster more positivity?
What is positivity?
Positivity is about consciously cultivating positive emotions. Positive emotions are vital for our sense of wellbeing, but they don’t just make us feel good, they have the power to transform our minds, our bodies and our ability to bounce back from difficult times.
Research by Barbara Fredrickson of the Positive Emotions and Psychology Lab at the University of North Carolina has found that positive emotions open our awareness which help us see more possibilities. This has lots of benefits including:
What positivity is not?
Positivity and the positive psychology movement can get a bad wrap as it is sometimes misunderstood as focusing or aiming solely on experiencing positive emotions 100% of the time. This is of course completely unrealistic, and not at all what positivity is about. Trying to be positive, all of the time, is likely to lead to more suffering as denying or ignoring painful emotions is corrosive to our bodies and mental health. In fact, to foster good mental health and wellbeing, it is important that we experience the full range of human emotions, which means we will experience times of sadness, fear, anger, shame, and frustration, as well as joy and happiness.
How to foster positivity.
There are many ways that we can foster more positivity in our lives, here are just a few:
At the close of Suzy’s keynote, she encouraged us all to consider just one thing, one small change, we might implement in our daily life to purposefully foster more positivity. This is the challenge I leave with you today: What’s one small thing you can do to foster more positivity?
The Association of International Schools in Africa is dedicated to serving its members throughout Africa during this challenging time. Please let us know if you require additional or specific information, resources and or support, and we will endeavour to assist you as soon as possible.