How to be More Awesome was developed in response to feedback on our Food for Thought journal and from participants on our training courses. We designed it with the help of young people, creating a bespoke resilience journal for them that can:
Build confidence and wellbeing
Develop strengths and ‘bounce-back-ability’ (resilience)
Encourage people to value and enjoy their friends and environment
Support people to think about and design the future they want
Positive Psychology research indicates that encouraging positive emotions, wellbeing and gratitude promotes creativity, achievement, and builds personal resilience, improving your ability to deal with difficult times.
The workbook draws from Positive Psychology and Appreciative Inquiry (AI), to offer a personal development tool that increases personal resilience, confidence and wellbeing. It supports positive reflection and awareness, helping young people identify and build on their strengths and skills. The text includes material on resilience, mental toughness, appreciative living, gratitude and the benefits of ‘reframing’.
How to be More Awesome is more than a journal – it is a structured resilience course undertaken individually, in groups or as a facilitated programme. It was co- designed with World Merit participants and students from the Studio School, Northern Schools Trust, and includes:
- Advice on journaling and its benefits
- Helpful hints, useful information and case studies
- 20-day starter programme followed by a menu of exercises to pick from
- Tasks and exercises to support learning
- Exercises that can be used for external review
A practical journal to support your resilience and grit, alongside a handy academic diary, helpful ‘to do’ lists and exercises
How to be More Awesome: the student planner edition, is a revision of our original journal. It now includes a 28-day starter wellbeing programme; a week-to-view student planner and a structured 38-week resilience and strength-focused support programme.
All human beings are ‘awesome’ at some level – we all have talents, skills and strengths. The challenge for all of us is to maximise their use and build on their foundations. Positive psychology research indicates that positive emotions, encouraging wellbeing and gratitude promotes creativity, achievement, and builds personal resilience – which helps your ability to deal with the tough times. This journal draws from Positive Psychology and it cousin Appreciative Inquiry, creating a personal development tool.
The word ‘journaling’ comes from the word ‘journey’. Writing and using a journal is a personal endeavour and a confidential process. Sharing information about the experience (rather than the content) is a great educational and learning opportunity. Many of the exercises and tasks can be shared and used to chart people’s progress. The important thing is that this needs be part of a personal decision, and you can ask for support/encouragement on the journey from a friend or mentor.
Journaling is an ancient tradition. Throughout history, people have kept journals and diaries, and these have made a rich contribution to our understanding of history. There is increasing research to support the idea that journaling has a positive effect on personal wellbeing and provides a range of unexpected benefits.
The act of writing accesses the left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, be intuitive and feel. Recording things in your journal can help remove mental blocks. It allows you to use all your brain power and strengths to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. Journaling has a number of benefits:
1. It helps you to clarify your thoughts – taking a few moments to write down ideas can help you sort out the jumble of thoughts inside your brain.
2. It helps you to know yourself better – observing and writing regularly helps you get to know what makes you feel happy and confident, appreciate yourself, connect with your strengths, provide a clear view on situations and actions you’re thinking of taking, and people you may have to deal with, all of which are important for your emotional wellbeing.
3. Journaling helps to reduce stress – writing about things that upset and challenge you helps to release these feelings, so you’ll feel calmer and better able to cope.
4. It helps solve problems more effectively – typically we solve problems via a left brain analytical perspective, but sometimes the problem can only be solved by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing and recording thoughts (including drawing and sketching them) unlocks those abilities, providing the opportunity for unexpected solutions to arise.
5. It also helps you to resolve disagreements with others. Writing and recording about misunderstandings, concerns and issues can help you avoid stewing. It will help you to understand different views and contribute to a resolution.
6. Journaling allows you to track patterns, trends, improvements, and personal development over a period of time.
* Purcell, M. (2006): The Health Benefits of Journaling in Psych Central. Retrieved on June 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/thehealthbenefits-of-journaling/000721
Appreciative journaling adds another dimension to the journaling experience. It’s about actively seeking the good side of a situation and seeing how we can expand on that. We’re not asking you to ignore or whitewash difficult situations or experiences – but rather than wasting energy on things which increase your negative emotions, search out and focus on positive ones.