Here's what you can do to promote positive mental health!
- Encourage participation in meaningful and enjoyable activities. Experiences that result in positive emotions (e.g. joy, happiness, contentment) help promote mental health1,2. Engage children in activities that allow for choice and involve a just right challenge3. When a child smiles during an activity and is intently engaged, you know that it is the just right activity;
- Help children develop individual character strengths (e.g. persistence, humor, optimism, kindness). Make a point of helping children identify what makes them unique and help them cultivate and use their strengths and interests;1
- Help create positive environments with caring adults and peers that accept and support each other and tolerate differences;1
- Encourage children to think optimistically, perform acts of kindness and express gratitude.4, 5
Be a Mental Health promoter!
1 Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410–421.
2 Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 359, 1367-77.
3 Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper & Row.
4 Heller, D., Watson, D., & Ilies, R. (2004). The role of person versus situation in life satisfaction: A critical examination. Psychological Bulletin, 130, 574–600.
5 Lyubomirsky, S., King, L. A., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803–855.