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5 Little Bites from a Massive Meal at IPPA

I literally don’t know where to start when considering how to share my experience from the International Positive Psychology Association’s 6th world congress in Melbourne that I have just attended.

So much so, that I am on the plane back to Dubai and I can’t settle down to flick through the movies until I at least type up a little of the exhilarating event. (I know... I think I could be overusing my strength of love of learning too). All I can say is I’m excited – I am excited to hear what the 1600 delegates do in the world on the back of this event, and I’m excited to see what I can offer children, colleagues and friends in Dubai and beyond. Here goes…

  • The late, and greatly missed scientist, Professor Christopher Peterson from the field of positive psychology (PP) championed the movement as being at the heart of being human; ‘other people matter’. There are many PP interventions that are conducive to the flourishing of the individual. However, the world will truly benefit when the transition of ‘me’ turns to ‘we’ and humanity flourishes collectively; when doing good for others comes before the hedonic self.

  • Character Strengths are here to stay; a common language that if globally spoken - could surely begin to band aid and heal some of the bits that need it most. But, lets start small-and small is all it needs. Take the VIA character strengths survey yourself. Find out your signature strengths. Be aware of them and use them in everyday life. Then, ‘SEA’ strengths in others; Spot, Explain and Appreciate. Spot the strengths in a colleague, friend, child, then explain what you have seen in them before expressing your appreciation for this. Trust me, the ripple effect of this enables a positive contagion worth its weight in gold.

  • Seligman – ‘We are living in an age of material prosperity but emotional poverty’. The age of progress has given us a drop in global poverty, hunger, death from battle, smallpox. There are global improvements in literacy, the ozone layer, protected nature; however, paradoxically, depression, anxiety, anger and suicidal thinking are at an all time high for human beings. Deeper relationships, connectivity and transitioning from ‘I’ to ‘we’ can begin the reversal of emotional poverty in our world.

  • Coaching in Education is invaluable. Think of coaching psychology and positive psychology in a Venn diagram. They have shared outcomes and children (and staff) having the opportunity to experience both can experience optimal performance, unlock potential and increase overall subjective wellbeing. We have counsellors on hand to support our communities when people need help and guidance to navigate a variety of issues, disorders or ‘ill-being'. Counsellors play a huge role in guiding people back to being well. Think of an organisation that also has an educational coach on hand to empower people, impacting both their academic/professional success AND their wellbeing.

  • Barbara Fredrickson is a beautiful giant in the PP world, her work on positive emotions during the last 30 years is at the heart of PP and her theories are still every bit as relevant today. Positive resonance, and the vast research on this, is at the core of being and much too great to discuss properly in this short synopsis so I repeat these words; positive resonance is forever renewable, can be deepened by micro interventions and a focus on small, day to day connections, can help us get closer to where we would like to be internally.

You may have spotted now that the main theme permeating my meagre offering of this extensive, gorgeous few days is simple; relationships. Using PP, both first and second waves, having a conscious awareness of our relationships, with all other beings we encounter, can help us flourish. And, who doesn’t want that for ourselves and as a collective human race.

More posts to follow when I come down from the sky and my feet are on the ground, ready to offer what I can to the world using PP.

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