Building Student Resilience: THE POSTIVE MINDS PROGRAMME By Dr Paddy Woodman

In Spring 2017 the Student Success & Engagement Team partnered with Positive (and the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT)) to develop and deliver the Positive Minds pilot programme to 150 university students. The programme provided students with evidence-based cognitive and behavioural tools and techniques to manage pressure and build psychological resilience. The programme’s aim was to support students’ transition from school to university, help them to manage the pressures of university life, and develop the skills required to thrive in today’s workplace.

Benefits for students:

  • They learnt a range of adaptive psychological techniques and coping strategies that can help them to fulfil their potential, manage periods of pressure and decrease the likelihood of psychological ill health.
  • They acquired their adaptive life skills that can be used to better manage transitions and uncertainty.
  • They developed their emotional literacy to reduce stigma and shame associated with psychological ill health 
Introduction – This session introduced the importance of psychological wellbeing for sustaining high performance, presenting tools and techniques that could help students manage periods of stress, pressure and change. 500 students attended an introductory talk supported by the Positive App in October 2016. Following this, 150 students volunteered to attend a four-module programme from January to April 2017. 
Focus Deeper – Improving attentional focus is a crucial factor in achieving academic and career success; this session focused on being mindful and separating ‘useful’ and ‘useless’ worries. 
Connect Better – This session introduced the knowledge and tools designed to increase positive emotional contagion and communication, enhancing trust, compassion and understanding. 
Read the detailed outcomes and how students felt before and afterwards here [link to PDF], but some key highlights are:89% of students surveyed said that, as a result of the Positive Minds programme, they had better levels of controlling unnecessary worries. 70% of students surveyed said that their ability to deal with pressure and setbacks at university has improved as a result of the programme.
  • The Student Success & Engagement team are currently exploring how to extend the Positive Programme further, so watch this space
  • 63% of students surveyed said that their ability to focus on their academic work has improved with Positive Minds.
  • Think Brighter – This session demonstrated how adopting a flexible cognitive style can enable more optimistic, positive patterns of thinking and behaviour.
  • See More – This session looked at ‘emotional literacy’ – understanding why and how we react to situations, particularly stressful ones.
  • The Programme Outline:
  • Introduction – This session introduced the importance of psychological wellbeing for sustaining high performance, presenting tools and techniques that could help students manage periods of stress, pressure and change. 500 students attended an introductory talk supported by the Positive App in October 2016. Following this, 150 students volunteered to attend a four-module programme from January to April 2017.See More – This session looked at ‘emotional literacy’ – understanding why and how we react to situations, particularly stressful ones.

    Focus Deeper – Improving attentional focus is a crucial factor in achieving academic and career success; this session focused on being mindful and separating ‘useful’ and ‘useless’ worries.

    Think Brighter – This session demonstrated how adopting a flexible cognitive style can enable more optimistic, positive patterns of thinking and behaviour.

    Connect Better – This session introduced the knowledge and tools designed to increase positive emotional contagion and communication, enhancing trust, compassion and understanding.

    Read the detailed outcomes and how students felt before and afterwards Reading_Evaluation_Report_June2017, but some key highlights are:

    89% of students surveyed said that, as a result of the Positive Minds programme, they had better levels of controlling unnecessary worries.

    63% of students surveyed said that their ability to focus on their academic work has improved with Positive Minds.

  • 70% of students surveyed said that their ability to deal with pressure and setbacks at university has improved as a result of the programme.The Student Success & Engagement team are currently exploring how to extend the Positive Programme further, so watch this space

     

     

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