Where there is joy there is learning. Where there is courage there is a willingness to try hard, make mistakes and grow from them.

Our resources have been highly influenced by the research and work of the following people -

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Martin Seligman (Penn University) -

Martin Seligman is the founder of modern day positive psychology (the scientific study of what enables individuals and communities to flourish). He is the recognised authority on interventions that prevent depression, build strengths and wellbeing.

Some of the areas of work that relate strongly to our kits and what we seek to help our children develop are in the following areas.

OPTIMISM - Seligman states that optimism can be a learned behaviour and should be a priority for children, in order to build resilience, prevent poor mental health and extend life.

GRATITUDE - Seligman has highlighted that gratitude is a powerful technique to practice in order to boost long term happiness, in fact it is the key ingredient in all long term studies on people who feel happy for extended periods of their life. It is also a big component of building optimism.

Seligman refers to fascinating research on these topics. He has also written numerous books and carried out his own studies in this area. Please see the below links:

The Optimistic Child

An Introduction to Positive Psychology

Building Resilience

The Penn Resiliency Program


Ted Talk by Martin Seligman

The Nun Study - positive emotions and longevity


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 Dr Barbara FredrickSon (North Carolina)-

Barbara Fredrickson has completed numerous studies on broadening emotions and their impact on our emotional and physical health. In particular she has focused on what joy, kindness, love and gratitude do to our mental health. For more information on these studies see the links below. 

Broaden and Build Theory

Ted Talk - The Positivity Ratio

Positive Emotions

Upward Spiral of Positive Emotions

Garland EL, Fredrickson B, Kring AM, Johnson DP, Meyer PS, Penn DL. Upward Spirals of Positive Emotions Counter Downward Spirals of Negativity: Insights from the Broaden-and-Build Theory and Affective Neuroscience on The Treatment of Emotion Dysfunctions and Deficits in Psychopathology. Clinical psychology review. 2010;

Are you getting enough positivity in your diet? 

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 Dr Carol Dweck  (Stanford UNIVERSITY)-

Carol Dweck is one of the world's leading researchers in the field of motivation. Dweck has focused on mindsets, which are -the beliefs we hold about ourselves and our most basic qualities. Through her work she has highlighted the power of praising effort in children as opposed to talent. Her studies have spotlighted the power of imparting knowledge about Fixed vs Growth mindset to children - that their brains are always growing - that intelligence is not fixed.

For more information on Fixed vs Growth Mindset see the following links. 

Children's mindsets

Ted Talk by Dr Carol Dweck on mindset

Links to resources on growing mindset


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Karen Reivich  (Penn Uni)-  

Karen Reivich has studied and created the 7 habits of growing resilience in people:

1. emotional awareness

2. impulse control

3. realistic optimisim

4. flexible thinking

5. self eficacy

6. empathy

7. reaching out (taking risks)

For more information about her work please click on the following links. 

Bio on Karen

Penn Resilience Program

The Role of Resilience

Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky

 Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., is Professor and Vice Chair of Psychology at the University of California, Lyubomirsky has carried out abundant research on the impact of expressing gratitude, doing acts of kindness, fostering micro-connections, making someone else happier, affirming significant values, visualising a positive future, and savouring positive experiences She has been conducting research on happiness for 29 years and has published widely in the area.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2013). The myths of happiness: What should make you happy, but doesn’t, what shouldn’t make you hoxforappy, but does (X, Trans.). Beijing, China: Cheers Books

Further links to research, organisations and articles we make mention to in the kit:

Effects of mindfulness on psychological health: Clinical Psychology Review

Neurobiology: Rise of resilience. King. Nature 531, S18–S19 (03 March 2016)

Neurobiology of stress. Brand new OPEN ACCESS journal from Elsevier.

Understanding stress resilience. Robert R. Rozeske, Michael V. Baratta, Steven F. Maier (Eds). Frontiers Research Topic Ebook.

Association between physical exercise and mental health in 1·2 million individuals in the USA between 2011 and 2015: a cross-sectional study. Chekroud. 2018. Lancet Psychiatry 2018 5: 739–46  

Exercise for depression. Rimer et al., Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 7, 2012.

Black Dog Institute – Exercise and depression 

Black Dog Institute —The Psychological ToolkitYour

The Role of Physical Activity in the Prevention and Management of Alzheimer’s Disease

The mechanism linking exercise to BDNF – Neurofantastic blog by Shelley Fan

Brain Health: Dr Sarah Mckay

Spark!: How exercise will improve the performance of your brain, by Eric Hagerman & Dr John J. Ratey (2008). Little, Brown and Company.

Development of the social brain from three to 12 years. Richardson et al 2018 NATURE COMMUNICATIONS | (2018) 9:1027 (Saxe lab)

Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Goyal et al., JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174(3):357-368.

Is meditation associated with altered brain structure? A systematic review and meta-analysis of morphometric neuro imaging in meditation practitioners. Fox et al. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 43 (2014) 48–73

The Food and Mood centre

Grant and Glueck Study: Harvard University

PROSPER - a roadmap for thriving. Dr Toni Noble

Nature Deficit Disorder - Richard Louv

Dr George Vaillant - relationships and connections

Dr Tal Ben Shahar on the Science behind happiness

Centre for Positive Psychology: Melbourne University

Dr Robert A.Emmons on Counting blessings vs burdens

Dr Lea Waters - strength based parenting

Angela Duckworth on GRIT

The ‘M’ in PERMA and FINDING your purpose. The Positive Psychology Foundation (explainer)

High Quality Connections: Jane Dutton

Dr Maria Sirois on the Science behind resilience

Kindness makes you happy and happiness makes you kind

Beyond Blue - healthy families

Be You - a brilliant website about promoting mentally healthy school communities Be You supports educators and learning communities at every stage of their journey to grow Australia’s most mentally healthy generation.

Feeling Lonely? You're not alone. Here is Why. By Grace Jennings-Edquist ABC life

Dr Ken Robinson - do schools kit creativity

Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky on gratitude and happiness

The Resilience Project

Jon Kabat-Zinn: defining mindfulness

On flow: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

International Positive Education Network

Brene Brown on vulnerability - Ted Talk

Power Poses - Ted Talk

Power Poses - research

Fruit and Vegetables - mental health

A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial). Jacka et al BMC Medicine 2017 15:23  

You are what you eat: how diet affects mental well-being, by Felice Jacka, The Conversation.

Gregory Bratman: Stanford News nature and mental health

Nature and the Brain

Sleep - John Medina

Sleep - Matthew Walker


Hugh Mackay - leading a meaningful life

Cochrane Review - exercise and mental health

Animals and mental health

Music and Mental health - REACH OUT


Bounce Back

SmilingMind - links to mediations and research on mindfulness

Positive Education Schools Association


Hygge for the soul - Charlotte Abrahams

The Wholebrain Child - Dr. Siegel and Dr. Bryson

Dumbo Feather

Headspace - meditations and resources

Dr. Dan Siegel

Educating for happiness and resilience: Dr Ilona Boniwell

Swimming for mental health study

Rock and Water- psycho-physical social competency training

Stanford Marshmallow Experiment - delayed gratification

Hey Sigmund - Karen Young (latest research in psychology)

Impulse control

Learning new things leads to happiness: HuffPost

The importance of play in maintaining healthy child development

Why play is so important: Raising Children Network

Dr. Vanessa Lapointe on the importance of boredom

Reticular Activating System - Youtube explanation clip

Friendship skills - URSTRONG

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If you would like to find out more about the research or how Grow Your Mind can come to your school, please fill out the enquiry form below.

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