Our being well – jumping in
‘My, oh my, how hard can this be? Let’s start with the positives: I’ve started. Look – there are words on the page.’
So begins one of our latest OurBeingWell blogs, a blog site which began life in a daring, let’s do this fashion one Friday morning. It was during a meeting of educational psychologists who set up a group to think about applying positive psychology in our schools and communities. We wanted to share our passion for positive psychology and the impact it could have on emotional well-being, not just with each other, but with the whole world. While we are all Tweeters, we felt we could say more using a blog. And so the experiment began.
Different educational psychologists have contributed to the blog, bringing their own experiences (professional and personal), styles and always their lovely character strengths. Engaging with one another, being creative and sharing the positive work we do is Barbara Fredrickson’s ‘Broaden and Build’ in action.
Breathing, Bravery and Mindfulness
Breathing and bravery was the theme of the keystroke blog, with a contributor being brave and sending a wave of positivity through her gratitude and being mindful at a time of change. Her advice to herself and others is to breathe more deeply and practise being brave. And, always, connect with the people around you.
‘My breathing was too fast at first, keenly trying to understand, to connect, to do it all, to do it right (and not allow myself much space for checking out) but I’m settling now and my pace can adapt. With many wonderful people around me, I can breathe more deeply and explore being brave.’ A.N.
Mindfulness was another topical blog. While it might be the buzz word of the day the research evidence supporting its positive impact is growing. Our contributor spoke about the personal influence it has had as being ‘quietly life changing’. Her advice:
‘Mindfulness is a journey and definitely not a quick fix, but the benefits it can have are positive. It is also a lovely way to take some time for you (even just a few minutes) to take care of your emotional well-being and experience some quiet in our ever changing and busy world.’ E.B.
The question, ‘Have you Filled a Bucket Today?’ was posed to share the ideas in the book of the same title by Carol McCloud. We practise bucket filling by regularly bringing a positive psychology check-in to our team meetings. Our bucket filler contributor shared some of the things we’ve been up to. She also advises:
‘Focusing on what works and what helps to fill a bucket and maintain a full bucket, has been much more empowering than focussing on what is not working.’ S.C.
A final taster from our site is the inaugural blog about Flow. This blog thinks about how Flow can enhance well-being and suggests two stages: identify your Flow (notice it and do it more) and then make Flow (try something new). She said:
‘It’s not easy to make Flow. We experience a lot of anxiety as we learn something new. … [but] I can promise you that it is worth it.’ C. L.
Sharing positive psychology
So, to conclude. Mental health is experiencing a high media profile currently and rightly so. In response, a number of tweets, blogs and articles have wondered why Educational psychologists have hardly been mentioned, especially when so much of the discussion relates to schools.
Educational psychologists contribute at a multitude of levels: to the child/young person, school, family, community and society; through assessment, intervention, training, research, consultation and policy development (Greig, Mackay, Roffey and Williams, 2016, pp. 8 – 9); from universal preventative provision through targeted and specialised interventions for the most complex and vulnerable. With specific reference to mental health, Greig et al. (ibid.) state, ‘There is potentially an educational psychologist attached to every school in the UK, and potentially, therefore, on every doorstep of every family in need and at the point of early intervention.’ (p. 7) . Doesn’t that sound just a little bit helpful?
Our small, hopeful endeavour aims to share positive psychology because we love it and we want the world to be a happier place. But we are also educational psychologists. We are using psychology every day to help make lives better. Our work is enough personal recognition for us, but perhaps we need to be braver as a profession and shout about the good that we do. We do, after all, make difference.