This week The Cottage hosted Andrea Downie; Cofounding Director/Facilitator of “Project Thrive.”

The staff and volunteers were treated to a two day professional development workshop which aimed to inspire and promote well-being and mental health.  Project Thrive advocates the principal that organisations and individuals, provided with the right skills and knowledge, can create conditions for optimal flourishing.

It was alarming to learn the latest research on child and adolescence mental health and the alarming rates of anxiety and depression among our young people.

Positive psychology and its application present an answer.

Centring on the work of Martin Seligman, positive psychology approaches these issues from a proactive stance. Rather than aiming to fix issues once they arise, organisations should be focusing on creating the conditions which are MOST conducive to optimal functioning.

Seligman has developed the PERMAH model of happiness which encompasses the following six elements:

P: positive emotion

E: engagement

R: relationships

M: meaning

A: accomplishments

H: health

When each element is maximised, the individuals is most likely to flourish at an optimal level.

We learned methods for increasing awareness, techniques to practise mindfulness, as well as activities to promote positive feelings and increase engagement.

Collaboration, teamwork, communication and creativity were high on the agenda. Furthermore, we learned valuable lessons in developing positive mental states.  Some important take-away messages included:

“Mindset is paramount”

AND

“Where your attention goes, your energy flows”

We listened to anecdotal evidence that these principles work.  AFL football clubs, sporting teams, schools and major organisations have adopted many ideologies with great success. Dustin Martin credits positive psychology for helping him to reach peak performance when playing with for the mighty Richmond Tigers.

Here at The Cottage, we hope to utilise our newly gained knowledge and appreciate of the science behind flourishing to create a setting conducive to optimal flourishing.

We envisage the future of Cottage By The Sea to be an environment which empowers and positively connects all individuals who visit – children, teenagers, staff, volunteers, management and all stakeholders can look forward to exciting times ahead!

Thanks Andrea! We can wait to have you back!

For more information regarding Project Thrive, click here.