TEDx Video: Thriving Under Pressure

Good news to share!

I have been working on a TEDx project with the University of Windsor TEDx team since December. And just an hour ago, I received the good news that the finished video was uploaded to the official TEDx site today! So pumped!


In my TEDx Talk I discuss how to THRIVE under pressure using 3 stress resilience tools: challenge, control and commitment.

The purpose of this talk (and my blog) is to help students develop positive coping techniques in fun, interactive, and uplifting ways.

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 stressors, hardships, and adversities.

If you like, please share this TEDx video with friends and family on social media. The wider its reach, the more people I can help thrive under pressure!

May Your North Star Light Your Way. 💫

Be willing to see failure as feedback.


What does failure mean to you?

With time, I have come to realize that failure has always been my greatest teacher. Each failure pointed me in a better direction. Helped me to develop strength and authenticity. Ultimately unveiling who I was and what I was destined to become. 

  • The failing grade I received on my first exam in graduate school taught me how to ask for support when I needed it most. No matter how shameful I felt or embarrassed I was.
  • The end of a long-term relationship taught me how to value my time alone and make tough decisions for myself. No matter how weak I felt or lonesome I was.
  • The lay off from a job I loved taught me how to let go, look forward, and trust in something so much bigger than myself. No matter how scared I was or irrelevant I felt.


What determines our reaction to failure?

Learning from failure is the ultimate goal. That said, not everyone responds to failure in the same way, at the same time.

Our reaction to failure is determined by several factors, including:

  1. The timing of the failure.
  2. The magnitude of the failure.
  3. The attribution attached to the failure.
  4. The level of support during the failure.
  5. The self-efficacy and belief in starting over.

Ask someone how they feel about failure in the midst of it; life as they know it is over. Ask someone how they feel about failure one year later; life as they know it has been transformed.

The key to supporting someone experiencing failure is not to rush them through the healing process. Yes, in the long run, the gifts of failure outweigh the costs.  But we must be sensitive to how dark it feels in the eye of the storm. Only then can move towards the light.


Is it possible to see failure in a positive light?

Under the right conditions, failure strengthens us, adds to our self-knowledge, and enhances the quality of our lives.

  • If it weren’t for failure, I would not have met my husband John.
  • If it weren’t for failure, I would not be a psychology professor.
  • If it weren’t for failure, I would not have written three textbooks.
  • If it weren’t for failure, I would not be the person I am today.

Your turn:

  • If it weren’t for failure _______________.
  • If it weren’t for failure _______________.
  • If it weren’t for failure _______________.
  • If it weren’t for failure _______________.

Resilience Exercise

What lessons have you learned from failure?

TEDx Photos: Diamonds from Pressure.

“Don’t tell people your dreams. Show them.”

I am excited to share an interview, photos, and a short video clip from yesterday’s TEDx Event at the University of Windsor. It was one of the most positive speaking experiences I’ve ever had. Truly magical.

TEDx Dr. Andrea Dinardo


TEDx Videoclip


TEDx Organizers
My Psychology Students 🍏

TEDx Slideshow

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TEDx Dr. Andrea Dinardo

TEDx Dream Team

Team TEDx

Thank you for letting me share my dream of being on the TEDx stage!  The official TEDx video will be posted soon. 🎥

Related Post: How I prepared my TEDx Speech.

TEDx Preparation: Diamonds from Pressure.

I have some exciting news to share! I was recently chosen to be a TEDx speaker for the University of Windsor TEDx Event on Sunday, January 28, 2018.

The theme of the event is “Diamonds from Pressure”.  Which fits in beautifully with my psychology blog — Thriving Under Pressure.

What are TEDx Talks?

“A TEDx event is an independently operated, community driven event. The talks are no more than 18 minutes in length, are idea-focused, and cover a wide range of subjects to foster learning, inspiration and wonder – and provoke conversations that matter.” Source: Ted.com

TEDx Preparation in Six Steps  

The process of preparing a TEDx Talk has been quite different from any other keynote or seminar I have given.  I have maximum 18 minutes to convey an original idea. So I have no choice but to get right to the point. Which is a very good thing!

Step 1: Create an Outline  

In developing my speech, the first thing I did was create a storyboard for my TEDx script. (see below) I set it up like scenes in a movie. 5 scenes. 3-4 minutes per idea. 🎥


The purpose of my TEDx Talk is to help people thrive on their journey from stress to strength.

Step 2: Let Your Ideas Flow

This is where you let your imagination run free. Luckily inspiration flowed in from everywhere! So much so that while at the movies last month, I was struck by an idea with only a movie napkin nearby. So I did what all writers do, I wrote on whatever material I could find. Hoping to capture one fleeting burst of insight.

Step 3: Edit TEDx Script

In case you’re wondering, there are approximately 2500 words in an 18 minute TEDx speech. Thus I have been equally busy downsizing, condensing, and editing my scriptFocus is the goal. Less is more! 

Step 4: Rehearse Rehearse Rehearse

Practice your TEDx speech as often as you can. In the mirror. On your run. In the car. At the mall. In front of anyone who is willing to listen. Stay open to feedback. As much as you can. Record yourself and listen back. This is especially important for hitting the 18 minute time limit. I used an audio to text dictation iPhone app called TEMI that helped tremendously.

Step 5: Take a TEDx Break

Now complete, it’s time to rest and enjoy some”Breathing Space“. As unrelenting work rarely fosters positive energy. Best to gear down before gearing up for the big TEDx day. Sign me up for a movie night, a kickboxing session, and a homemade dinner. Doctor’s orders. ♥

Step 6: Test out TEDx Red Carpet

TEDx Diamonds from Pressure is just 10 days away. The outline, the structure, and the body of TEDx complete. The stories worked out. The edits made. Just one last dress rehearsal on the TEDx stage!


Hope to see you all January 28 2018!

TEDx Tickets + Information

Website: TedxUniversityofWindsor.com

Twitter twitter.com/TEDxUWindsor

Instagram instagram.com/tedxuniversityofwindsor  

Facebook: facebook.com/TEDxUniversityofWindsor

In March, I will post the official  TEDx Video! 🎥

Reigniting Motivation.


I wrote this on the blackboard for my nursing students today.

This is their final week of classes. Which means one final opportunity for me to encourage their success.

This is my favourite part of teaching psychology. Every time I face a challenge, I imagine how I can translate it into a motivating lesson for my students.

Reminding students why they started nursing school is energizing. Staying inspired during final exams is galvanizing. Not giving up is the ultimate test.


Thoughts ⇔ Motivation ⇔ Action

Transforming thought patterns is critical for student motivation and success. As what happens behind our eyes is as powerful as what happens in front of our eyes.

Reframe your thoughts. Reignite your motivation.

Instead of thinking of nursing school as an obstacle to overcome. Reframe it as superhero training. Heros save lives. And so do nurses. Every single day.

Will it be easy? No   ↑   Will it be worth it? Yes!


Related Post: Staying Motivated During a Challenge.

How do you reframe to reignite motivation?

5 Tips to Help Students Focus Better.

This post was inspired by the one question students ask year after year:

“How can I focus better when I study?”

Focus has as much to do with what happens before you study as what happens while you are studying.


1. Remove ALL distractions.

  • Shut off your phone. Better yet — put it awayJust looking at it takes up mental space
  • Research shows the mere presence of a smartphone on your desk impairs intellect and reduces brain power.
  • And if you can’t trust yourself to hit the switch – lock your phone in the trunk of your car and give a trusted friend the key until you are done studying. No kidding!
  • You’ll miss it for the first 20 minutes of your study session, then you’ll forget all about it.
  • Bonus = you’ll get twice as much work done in half the time.

2. Be an ACTIVE studier.

  • Do not passively read the textbook – you will fall asleep, I guarantee it!
  • Instead, engage with the material.
  • Get active. Make the chapter come alive!
  • Have a classmate or friend quiz you.
  • Do end of chapter tests.
  • Read the textbook chapters out loud.
  • Teach the subject to someone, anyone!

3.  Clear out MENTAL CLUTTER.

  • Empty your mind of your to do lists, worries, and what ifs before you study.
  • Write them down and put them in a worry box to be tended to once exams are complete.
  • Repetitive thoughts running through your head could be your biggest distraction.

4. Take frequent MOVEMENT breaks.

  • Burn off pent-up, restless energy during study breaks.
  • Get up. Walk around.
  • Do not grab your phone.
  • Move your body!  Sing a song.
  • Draw a picture. Clap out loud! 
  • Open a window. Smell fresh air.
  • Go outside. Hug a tree!

5. REWARD yourself… eventually!

  • Use the Premack Principle to reward yourself.
  • Delayed gratification can be an excellent tool for sustaining attention and motivation.
  • Make a list of all the things that are distracting you from studying and use them as rewards once all your studying is done.
  • Go to Starbucks as a reward for studying, not as your location to study. (Too many distractions!)
  • Bonus = you’ll get twice as much work done in half the time and you’ll have a special treat to look forward to when all your hard work is done.
  • Your success is worth the wait!


Related Post: I believe in you.

Who motivates you?

Students, past and present, motivate me!

“The future of the world is in my classroom today.”

One of my first year BScN nursing students (Mona on the right) asked if I would sign the psychology textbook that I co-wrote and take a photo with her after class this week.

She said that an encouraging note and a picture with her professor would give her the motivation she needed to stay focused, work hard, and study throughout the semester.

Of course I said yes! It was a full circle moment. For my students are my motivation. And everything I do is with their success in mind.

Also pictured above are Sarah Ryrie (on the left) and Justin Fox (in the middle) – two St. Clair College alumni and former student representative council presidents who continue to inspire me today!

Related Post: Staying motivated in the midst of a challenge.

Your Turn: Who motivates you?

What’s the best thing that happened to you today?


Shifting students positive.

So many students come to class anxious and stressed out. The last thing on their minds is learning. Which is why I start each class by asking students what’s the best thing that’s happened to them today.

Reflection ◊ Connection ◊ Motivation

Their answers fascinate me. And give me insight into what motivates them. From simple to profound. From food to relationships. From money to purpose. From grades to destiny. And everything in between.


Less stress. More learning.

Interacting with students in fun and uplifting ways brings laughter and lightness to the classroom. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Yet it creates a significant shift in student stress and comfort levels.

Students need to feel safe. Students need to feel heard. Showing them you care (while having fun) works every time. Only then can the real learning begin!


 Shifting students from stress to empowerment.

One question. One conversation. One class. At a time.🍎

Back to school!

Today marks my 15th orientation with BScN nursing students at St. Clair College.

No matter how many years I attend Fall orientation, it feels like the first time.

No matter how many times I work with students, it never gets old.

Their first class is my first class.

Their struggle is my struggle.

Their victory is my victory.

Students are my reason why.

And so today marks the beginning of something great.

Another fresh start.

Another set of dreams.

Another opportunity to change (student) lives for the better.

Related Post: Shifting Positive on a Stressful Day.

Staying motivated in the midst of a challenge.


Today’s story begins in the middle of my kickboxing class. The point in time where you feel like giving up the most.

Because the middle is always the hardest. Whether it be the middle of a semester, the middle of a week, or the middle of a dentist appointment. Ugh!

It was thirty minutes into class, and we had just finished a really tough round. I wanted to celebrate how far we’d come, so I began clapping and cheering.

Despite my excitement, my instructor gave me a curious look and said: “Why are you clapping Andrea? We are far from being done.”

She was right. We still had a significant amount of time left in our workout. But I wasn’t clapping because we were finished. I was clapping because we had hit the wall and survived. I was clapping to energize!



A cheering strategy that I often use in my own classroom. Students are geared up at the start of the semester and pumped up at the end. It’s in the middle that their commitment starts to falter.

This is when I clap wholeheartedly simply because students show up to class. A fun gesture underscoring how much I value their commitment to education. And they love it!

Today I am reminded how small gestures energize big time in the midst of a challenge. Be it a high five. A wide smile. A kind word. Or calling students by name.

Because beginnings have their own ticker parades. And endings take care of themselves.

It’s in the middle of a challenge where we need positive energy the most.

What keeps you motivated in the midst of a challenge?

Related Post: What's your why?