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Well-being Resources

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Finding Your Voice

John Parsons, Internet Safety and Risk Assessment Consultant, speaks with St Andrew's College students about the importance of using your voice to talk about how you are.


Here is a list of books that we have loved. All these books can be found in The Green Library and Innovation Centre.

Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance.

Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth suggests the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls “grit.”

Frankl, V. (1946) Man’s Search for Meaning.

Man's Search for Meaning is an incredible book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose in life to feel positively about, and then imagining that outcome.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimum experience.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's famous investigations of optimal experience have revealed that what makes an experience genuinely satisfying is a state of consciousness called flow. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity, and a total involvement with life.

Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking Fast and Slow.

Nobel prize winning Kahneman explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman describes the biases involved in using our fast system for making decisions.

Fredrickson, B. (2011). Positivity.

Drawing on more than twenty years of scientific research into positive emotions, world renowned researcher Dr Barbara Fredrickson explains her theory on positive emotions called Broaden and Build Theory. The substance of this theory lies in the notion that positive emotions play an essential role in our survival.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2007). The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want.

This book offers a comprehensive guide to understanding what happiness is, and isn't. Building on her research with 1000’s of people, Lyubomirsky describes strategies that are scientifically proven to build our well-being.

Brown, P. et al (2014). Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.

Drawing on cognitive psychology and other fields, Make It Stick offers techniques for becoming more productive learners, and cautions against study habits and practice routines that turn out to be counterproductive. The book speaks to students, teachers, trainers, athletes, and all those interested in lifelong learning and self-improvement.

Maslow, A. (1962). Towards a psychology of being.

Abraham Maslow's theories of self-actualization and the hierarchy of human needs are the cornerstone of modern humanistic psychology, and no book so well epitomizes those ideas as this classic.

Cain, S. (2012). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.

Cain argues that modern Western culture misunderstands and undervalues the traits and capabilities of introverted people. Cain cites research in biology, psychology, neuroscience and evolution to demonstrate that introversion is both common and normal, noting that many of humankind's most creative individuals and distinguished leaders were introverts. A wonderful read.

Seligman, M. (2018). The Hope Circuit.

This is Martin Seligman’s latest book- a memoir of his psychological career. In the book, Seligman discusses his journey from focusing on pathology and helplessness, to optimism and hope.

Reivich, K. (2002). The Resilience Factor.

Dr Karen Reivich is a leading researcher focusing on the science of resilience. In this book, Reivich explains techniques for enhancing our capacity to build resilience and weather even the cruellest setbacks.

Rogers, C. (1995). On becoming a person.

On Becoming A Person is a collection of pieces Rogers wrote over a decade. The book is the accumulation of wisdom of a career in psychotherapy spanning over thirty years, and while not necessarily an easy read, once you 'get' the ideas it can be a very inspiring read.

Goleman, D. (1985). Emotional Intelligence.

In this book, Goleman posits that emotional intelligence is as important as IQ for success, including in academic, professional, social, and interpersonal aspects of one's life. Goleman says that emotional intelligence is a skill that can be taught and cultivated, and outlines methods for incorporating emotional skills training in school curricula.

Peterson, C. & Seligman, M. (2005). Character Strengths and Virtues.

This is a book by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman (2004) that attempts to classify humanist ideals of virtue in an empirical, rigorously scientific manner. The book describes the virtues and character strengths presented in the Values in Action strengths classification, widely used in schools and organisations.

Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset.

After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, discovered a simple but ground-breaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavour can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.

Waters, L. (2018). The strength switch: How the New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Helps Your Child and Teen to Flourish.

This book reveals the extraordinary results of focusing on our children's strengths rather than always trying to correct their weaknesses. By showing us how to throw the 'strength switch', Dr Lea Waters demonstrates how we can help our children build resilience, optimism and achievement.

Dodge, N. (2008). The Brain that Changes Itself.

This fascinating book explains how the brain is a living organ that can change its own structure and function, even into old age. Dodge is a neuroscientist who shares stories about neuroplasticity.

Sacks, O. (1985). The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.

Oliver Sacks is a neurologist who describes some of his case-histories of his patients. Not only is this book scientifically fascinating but is also written with compassion and insight.

Jensen, F. (2015). The Teenage Brain.

Drawing on her research knowledge and clinical experience, this internationally respected neurologist—and mother of two boys—offers a revolutionary look at the adolescent brain, providing remarkable insights that translate into practical advice for both parents and teenagers.

Pink, D. (2009). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.

Daniel Pink explains the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today's world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.

De Botton, A. (2000). The Constellations of Philosophy.

Alain de Botton (one of my favourites) takes the discipline of logic and the mind back to its philosophical roots. Drawing inspiration from six of the finest minds in history - Socrates, Epicurus, Seneca, Montaigne, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche – De Botton addresses the experience of being a human being.

Medina, J. (2008). Brain Rules.

Brain Rules consists of 12 chapters which try to demonstrate how our brains work. Each chapter demonstrates things scientists already know about the brain, and things we as people do that can affect how our brain will develop. You will discover amazing facts about the brain — such as the brain's need for physical activity for it to work at its maximum potential.

Gladwell, M. (2009). Outliers.

Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success. In this book he notes that "the biggest misconception about success is that we do it solely on our smarts, ambition, hustle and hard work." In Outliers, he hopes to show that there are a lot more variables involved in an individual's success than society cares to admit, and he wants people to "move away from the notion that everything that happens to a person is up to that person".

Neff, K. (2011). Self-Compassion: The proven power of being kind to yourself.

Neff’s research focuses on the power of self-compassion for our well-being. She believes this is an alternative to an emphasis on self-esteem. The research of Dr. Kristin Neff and others strongly suggests that people who are more self-compassionate lead healthier, more productive lives than those who are self-critical.

Coyle, D. (2009). The Talent Code.

Journalist Coyle travels the world to discover the truth about talent in this fascinating account that studies how individuals can unlock their full potential and bring their talents to light. The discoveries put forth by Coyle come down to three main elements: coaching, motivation and practice.

Gilbert, D. (2006). Stumbling on Happiness.

You may not know what makes you happy after all, according to Harvard psychology professor Daniel Gilbert. This book explains how the limitations of our imaginations can get in our way of our ability to know what happiness is.

Fredrickson, B. (2013). Love 2.0

Love can help us live longer and with more meaning, writes Fredrickson, a social psychology scholar and director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory. With her decades of research funded by the National Institutes of Health, she shows us how to look for “micro-moments” when we truly connect with others to foster more love in our lives.

Seligman, M.E.P. (2009). Flourish.

Happiness on its own, doesn’t give life meaning. Martin Seligman shows how the five pillars of positive psychology work together to build a life of meaning and fulfilment. He calls it PERMA or positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment.

TED Talks

TED talks are a great way to learn and find inspiration. Here is a collection of talks about human flourishing and well-being that we have enjoyed and highly recommend.

Martin Seligman on the state of psychology
(University of Pennsylvania)

Martin Seligman talks about psychology – as a field of study and as it works one-on-one with each patient and each practitioner. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?

Alain de Botton on a kinder, gentler philosophy of success
(King’s College, London and The School of Life)

Alain de Botton examines our ideas of success and failure  and questions the assumptions underlying these two judgments. Is success always earned? Is failure? He makes an eloquent, witty case to move beyond snobbery to find true pleasure in our work.

Robert Waldinger on what makes a good life; lessons from the longest study on happiness (Harvard University) 

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.

Angela Duckworth on grit
(University of Pennsylvania)

Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success.

Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation
(Yale University)

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories – and maybe, a way forward.

Susan Cain on the power of introverts
(Princeton University)

In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.

Simon Sinek on how great leaders inspire action
(University of London)

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership  starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers...

Brené Brown on vulnerability
(University of Houston)

Brené Brown studies human connection  our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.

Dan Gilbert asks why are we happy?

Dan Gilbert, author of "Stumbling on Happiness," challenges the idea that we'll be miserable if we don't get what we want. Our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don't go as planned.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow (University of Chicago)

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi asks, "What makes a life worth living?" Noting that money cannot make us happy, he looks to those who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about a state of "flow."

Lea Waters on how positivity is not for the faint hearted
(Melbourne University)

Lea Waters, leading Positive Psychology professor explores how being positive is not for the faint hearted.

Carol Dweck on mindsets
(Stanford University)

In this talk to Google employees, Stanford University’s Professor Dr. Carol S. Dweck discusses her fascinating research into the “self-conceptions (or mindsets) people use to structure the self and guide their behaviour”, and how you can apply a Growth Mindset at home, at school and in your career.

Chade-Meng Tan talks about everyday compassion at Google
(Nanyang Technological University)

Google's "Jolly Good Fellow," Chade-Meng Tan, talks about how the company practices compassion in its everyday business – and its bold side projects.

Lisa Feldman Barret talks about how you are not at the mercy of your emotions, your brain creates them (Northeasten University)

Can you look at someone's face and know what they're feeling? Does everyone experience happiness, sadness and anxiety the same way? What are emotions anyway? For the past 25 years, psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett has mapped facial expressions, scanned brains and analysed hundreds of physiology studies to understand what emotions really are. She shares the results of her exhaustive research -- and explains how we may have more control over our emotions than we think.

Jill Bolte Taylor stroke of insight about the brain
(Harvard University)

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions – motion, speech, self-awareness  shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore on the mysterious workings of the adolescent brain (University College, London)

Why do teenagers seem so much more impulsive, so much less self-aware than grown-ups? Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically "teenage" behaviour is caused by the growing and developing brain.

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang on our social brain
(University of Southern California)

Mary Helen Immordino-Yang is a neuroscientist who studies the psychological and neurobiological bases of social emotion, self-awareness and culture and their implications for learning, development and schools. In this talk she focuses on the impact of inspiration and admiration on our brain.

Daniel Kahneman on the riddle of experience vs memory
(University of California, Berkeley)

Using examples from vacations to colonoscopies, Nobel laureate and founder of behavioural economics Daniel Kahneman reveals how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently. This new insight has profound implications for economics, public policy  and our own self-awareness.

David Steindl-Rast talks about the importance of gratitude
(University of Vienna)

The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.

Matthieu Ricard on the habits of happiness
(Princeton University)

What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfilment.

Richard Burnett on mindfulness in schools
(Mindfulness in Schools Project)

Stop. Breathe. Pay attention. "Our mental health and well-being are profoundly affected by where and how we place our attention". In this enlightening talk, Richard guides through a short mindfulness meditation, and shares his experience of teaching mindfulness in schools.

Marc Brackett on emotional intelligence
(Yale University)

What is emotional intelligence? Marc Brackett is the director of the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence. In this talk he explains the way he teaches emotional intelligence in schools using the RULER programme.

Brian Little on the puzzle of personality
(Cambridge University)

What makes you, you? Psychologists like to talk about our traits, or defined characteristics that make us who we are. But Brian Little is more interested in moments when we transcend those traits -- sometimes because our culture demands it of us, and sometimes because we demand it of ourselves. Join Little as he dissects the surprising differences between introverts and extroverts and explains why your personality may be more malleable than you think.



Articles we have enjoyed.

Anxiety in Children and Teens: How to Find Calm and Courage During Anxiety – What all Parents Need to Know

Click here to view the Hey Sigmund article.

Why It Matters That Teens are Reading Less

An interesting article from Jean Twenge on the impact smartphone use is having on our young people.
Click here to view The Conversation article.

With Teen Mental Health Deteriorating Over Five Years, There’s a Likely Culprit

An article about the link between technology and deteriorating mental health.
Click here to view The Conversation article.

Technology and the Teenage Brain

An article from the Geelong Institute of Positive Education on technology and the teenage brain.
Click here to view the Institute of Positive Education article.

‘Dear Kids, Love From Your Brain.’ What All Kids Need to Know About the Brain

Click here to view the Hey Sigmund article.

‘You Don’t Have to Have it All Figured Out’ – And Other Things I Want My Teen to Know

Click here to view the Hey Sigmund article.

The Value of Failing

A new research centre at Columbia University is committed to figuring out how to turn failure into success.
Click here to view The Atlantic article.

Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness

Click here to view The New York Times article.

You’ll Never Be Famous — And That’s O.K.

Click here to view The New York Times article.

She’s 98. He’s 94. They Met at the Gym.

Click here to view The New York Times article.

How People Learn to Become Resilient

Click here to view The New Yorker article.

Learning About Learning and the Brain

Interview with Neuroscientist Mary-Helen Immordino-Yang
Click here to view Six Seconds article.

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Click here to view The Atlantic article.

The Moral Bucket List

Click here to view The New York Times article.

How Praise Became a Consolation Prize

Helping children confront challenges requires a more nuanced understanding of the “growth mindset.”
Click here to view The Atlantic article.

Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test

Affluence—not willpower—seems to be what’s behind some kids' capacity to delay gratification.
Click here to view The Atlantic article.


Here are a list of websites that provide inspiration and support for cultivating well-being.

Mental Health and Well-being:
The allright campaign was launched in Christchurch after the earthquakes. It is a wonderful site that offers articles, tools and resources for helping Cantabrians live brighter lives.
The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand offers a website with all sorts of information about well-being and mental health. It explains the five ways to well-being model as a framework to think about well-being.
SPARX is a self-help e-therapy tool that teaches young people the key skills needed to help combat depression and anxiety. It was developed by a team of researchers from the University of Auckland, and has been made available for free online through the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project.
The bully free New Zealand website provides resources to students, parents and schools about preventing bullying in Aotearoa.
Beyond Blue is an Australian organisation that focuses on providing information and support for mental health.
Hey Sigmund is a lovely blog – where the science of psychology meets the art of being a human. The adolescent and children section has some excellent articles about parenting.
Action for Happiness is a website where leading experts from diverse fields including psychology, education, economics and social innovation discuss scientific backed ideas for cultivating happiness and well-being.

Emotional Intelligence:
Inspired is an amazing website created through collaboration between the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence and Facebook. On this website there are 100’s of resources that support our young people to cultivate positive emotions in their lives.
6 seconds is an organisation focused on sharing resources and information about the importance of emotional intelligence. The articles on this website are superb.

Headspace is an app that you can use to learn about mindfulness, sleep, self-esteem. The headspace library has 100’s of guided meditations.
Mindfulness Works is New Zealand's largest mindfulness training organisation. They focus on reducing stress and anxiety and increasing happiness. If you were interested in learning more about mindfulness, I recommend this organisation. Mindfulness Works has done training with staff at St Andrew’s College.
Voted best app for 2017, Calm is a wonderful guided meditation app.

Character Strengths:
This is the website of the Values in Action organisation which aims to support the development of character strengths. On this website you can access the free VIA survey to find your character strengths profile.

You can do this survey here:

The Positive Education Schools of Australia Association. St Andrew’s is a member of this organisation.

Positive Psychology Research Centres:
The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), located at the University of California, Berkeley is an interdisciplinary research centre devoted to the scientific understanding of individual happiness, compassion, strong social bonding, and altruistic behaviour. On this website you will find fascinating resources, including videos and articles.
The Emotional Intelligence Centre at Yale University leads the way in research on emotional intelligence. They have established a programme to teach emotional intelligence in schools. Educators at St Andrew’s College have been trained to teach this programme.
The Positive Psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania leads the way with research on well-being, positive psychology and resilience.
Geelong Grammar have established an institute of Positive Education. On this website you will find resources and information about the training opportunities the institute provides.

Global Well-being
The World Happiness Report is a survey of the state of global happiness and well-being. This is a favourite site for our geographers who know the importance of broadening from a focus on economic development indicators.

Online Courses

Online courses are a great way to further your mental health and well-being knowledge. Here are some courses available.

Young People and Mental Health

Some of the topics in this course include:

  • understanding the importance of youth mental health;
  • learning how mental health problems arise;
  • learning from the experts at the University of Groningen and Cambridge University;
  • what mental health is;
  • common mental health problems;
  • causes of mental health problems;
  • what to do when you experience mental health problems;
  • how to boost your own mental health.

This course is available to anyone over the age of 14.

Click here to view the Young People and Mental Health online course.