Positive Psychology in Education

Strengths First Approach

I am passionate about what positive psychology can do for students and educators in and out of the classroom.

Link to: VIA Character Strengths Inventory

By first focusing on what is right, before examining what is wrong, students are motivated to move beyond, and in some cases, be transformed by their current limitations, history, and circumstances.

Balance is key

Positive psychology is not about being happy and successful all the time.

Instead, happiness is aspirational like a delicious meal at a 5 star restaurant.

Wonderful but not to be expected, at every meal, all the time.

Otherwise, we set ourselves up for disappointment on the Kraft Dinner days.

Instead, the field of positive psychology helps bring out the best in us.

In a balanced way.

The ebb and flow of life. 

Negativity is to be expected.

The question is – how long do you stay there?


Safe uplifting atmosphere

As a professor, I believe it is paramount to create a safe and uplifting atmosphere in the classroom.

A secure and consistent milieu where students know what to expect class to class, week to week, semester to semester.

A place where students are encouraged to build upon their existing strengths, while feeling supported enough to share their current struggles.

Link to: 
Broaden & Build Theory

As I teach mostly nursing students, it is critical that I practice what I teach in and out of the classroom.

Nursing students will also be responsible for creating an encouraging and safe space for their clients one day.


The yellow t-shirts are from the Yellow Umbrella Project, an Ontario wide college campaign for battling the stigma of mental illness on campus.

Positive psychology and student empowerment

My highest goal is to work with youth in a way that empowers and encourages them to become the best version of themselves.

Cultivating success in a way that is unique to them. I believe that interactive lectures combined with warmth and real-life stories is the best approach for achieving this goal.

Link to: Optimism Bootcamp

Celebrating students every chance I get!

The photo below is from a leadership conference for college students where I discussed the connection between optimism and student success.



Ultimately, I hope to remind students of their gifts.

While encouraging them to embrace their challenges.

For we are the sum total of all that is powerful and vulnerable – within and around us.

And it’s this extraordinary combination of strong and weak, good and bad, light and dark, that makes our world and our classrooms such a fascinating place to live and thrive.

Together we thrive!

32 thoughts on “Positive Psychology in Education

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  1. Loved this post & the notion of positive psychology. Now that is a field that I would love to be in….very powerful. Also loved the quote about us being the sum of all that is powerful and vulnerable. Awesome!!!

  2. “Negativity is to be expected. The question is, how long do you stay there.” I really appreciate this line! Sometimes when I’m struggling with anxiety/depression, which I have to varying degrees much of the time, I feel discouraged. While I try mostly to write with an uplifting outlook for my readers, the truth is, there are moments where it’s hard to be uplifted. The struggle with anxiety and depression is real, and it’s raw, and when I’m in it, it doesn’t feel good. So for me, positive psychology makes sense when it’s balanced like this. I appreciate–and need to hear–that positive psychology isn’t about all happy, all the time. If it were, I wouldn’t fit it very well. But I also appreciate the perspective that when we’re experiencing negative emotions, we have a choice about how to respond. This is what positive psychology says, and I find this really transformative. So thanks for such a thoughtful article Dr. Dinardo 🌟💙

  3. This is great! And so true! I have been recovering from severe mental illness for the last 12 years, but have found it so important to focus on my strengths and my good days! Rather than what the doctors have told me is WRONG with me… Thanks

  4. Positive Psychology has made a major contribution to my well-being. I’m a former engineer and engineering manager, long retired from technology but very involved in insightful personal development topics. What I so love about positive psychology research is the easy availability of research findings in books, articles, and newsletters. I don’t have to be trained in psychology to understand what the researchers discover, nor do I have to hire someone to guide me through the resulting advice. Blessings to Dr. Seligman and the wonderful champions of positive psychology for the directions they’ve established.

  5. It’s great to see psychology that is focused on the positive aspect rather than the problems! I think what you’re doing is awesome. ❤️

    1. Thank you Nicolle! I love working with students.

      The bonus: Positive psychology not only helps my students, it helps me too. Because the more relaxed & upbeat I am in the classroom – the more at peace & positive my students will be too. And the more I highlight my students’ strengths… the more my strengths are highlighted. And so on! Full circle teaching & learning.☀️💫

  6. love the part on balance! i feel like i often forget that negativity will creep in and that’s okay! it’s how I handle that and move forward that is important 🙂

    1. Yes MD to be! Balance is so key. Especially for us Type A overachievers. Negativity comes & goes. As do all the 100+ emotions we experience in the course of a day. Negative emotions aren’t bad. They’re just another sign to rest, take a deep breath, and come back to the here & now.🍃🌿

  7. Wow. Just wow. I am so encouraged by this message, by your teaching these students, balance and attaining positivity! I must repost! This is content I will refer to, a lot! Thank you for this enlighting post! ~Kim

  8. You have such an important role as a teacher, Andrea. Especially teaching nurses, the caregivers for our generations! Thanks for your positive approach and for recognizing we can’t be 100% perky all of the time 😉 Hugs!

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