How to be More Awesome
is more than a journal – it is a structured resilience programme that can be undertaken individually, in groups, or as a facilitated programme, 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
How To Be More Awesome has been co-designed with the help of young people from the Studio School (part of the Northern Schools Trust) and World Merit fellows and interns. The result is a bespoke resilience journal and workbook 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
Written by Tim Slack and Suzanne Quinney, the journal builds on the work and expertise developed by Appreciating People – leading UK experts in the organisation development philosophy Appreciative Inquiry.
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 identifies and builds on their strengths and skills.
The text includes material on resilience, mental toughness, appreciative living, gratitude and the benefits of ‘reframing’.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Text taken from Reflections Journal
Click here to download the Awesome programme resources – How to be More Awesome – guidance for use.
You can also listen to Suzanne talking about appreciating journaling on the Positivity Strategist podcast here.