Positively Smarter: Science and Strategies for Increasing Happiness, Achievement, and Well-Being

Positively Smarter: Science and Strategies for Increasing Happiness, Achievement, and Well-Being

by Marcus Conyers, Donna Wilson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781118926109
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 07/27/2015
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Marcus Conyers and Donna Wilson are codevelopers of curriculum for the master’s and educational specialist degrees with majors in brain-based teaching and a doctoral minor in brain-based leadership with Nova Southeastern University. They are authors of numerous books including, Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice, (2013).

Marcus Conyers is founder of the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention and an international speaker on increasing higher-order thinking skills, achievement, and well-being.

Donna Wilson, PhD, is an educational psychologist and teacher educator who completed postdoctoral studies in structural cognitive modifiability. Former chair of education of the University of Detroit Mercy, she is an adjunct professor at NSU.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Appreciating Brain Plasticity: The Key to Redefining Potential 4

The Path to Positively Smarter 4

Our Personal Introductions to the Science That Supports Ways for Becoming Positively Smarter 8

1 Building a Smarter Brain 11

Neuroplasticity in Action 12

Your Brain at Work: A Continual Construction Zone 14

Beyond Conventional Wisdom: Harnessing Your Neurocognitive Synergy 21

Intelligence Takes Many Forms 21

People of All Ages Have the Capacity to Improve Their Knowledge and Abilities 23

What We Do Has a Greater Influence on How We Age Than Genetics 24

How We Think Can Influence Our Health 24

We Can Build Muscle and Become Stronger Well into Our Eighties 25

It’s Hard to Identify the Children Who Are “Destined for Greatness” 25

Perceptions about Malleable vs. Fixed Intelligence Matter—a Lot 26

Plasticity as a Path to Becoming Positively Smarter 29

A New Positive Paradigm 35

The Innate Talent (IT) Paradigm 35

The Untapped Potential (UP) Paradigm 36

2 Why Happiness Matters 41

Reaping the Many Benefits of Happiness 42

I’ll Be Happy When . . . 45

What Is This Thing Called Happiness? 47

Spirituality and Religion as Sources of Happiness 51

Tapping into the Science of Happiness 51

Achieving Greater Happiness Through Practical Metacognition 54

Applying the CIA Model 55

CIA in Action: Happiness and Subjective Well-Being 57

3 Stop Daydreaming and Start Thinking Your Way to Higher Levels of Happiness 60

Connecting Thinking and Feeling 63

The Focused Fifteen 67

1. Savor the Wow of Now 67

2. Work at Maintaining an Upbeat Attitude with Positive Self-Talk 69

3. Picture a Positive Future 73

4. Kindness the Killer App 74

5. Active Appreciation: Create and Tune into Your Appreciation Station 76

6. Give It a Break: Hang Your Problems Away for a While 77

7. Treat Your Relationships Like a Treasure (Because They Are) 78

8. Pursue Flow 80

9. Pursue Smarter Goals 80

10. Enhance Your Resilience: Build Your Own Palmetto Fort 82

11. Untie the Knots That Bind: Free Yourself with Forgiveness 83

12. Move Your Body, Boost Your Mood 84

13. Smile, and Your Brain Smiles with You 85

14. Play to Your Peak Strengths 85

15. Practice the Art of Treasuring 86

How to Be Less HappyMore of the Time 87

Maintain Your Positive Focus by Playing Your ACE 88

4 Working Toward Achieving Your Goals 92

Realizing Our Potential 93

“Natural” Talent vs. Deliberate Practice 95

Motivation to Take Positive Risks 98

Finding “Flow” 101

Putting Your Will to Work 102

Getting Gritty as a Path to Achievement 106

Build Your “Memory Muscle” to Make the Most of Your Work 108

A Personal Perspective on the Payoff for Hard Work 111

5 Working Smarter with Practical Metacognition 117

The Input–Processing–Output Model of Learning 121

Cognitive Assets You Can Develop to Work Smarter 123

Clear Intent 124

Appropriate Courage 125

Systematic Search and Planning 126

Understanding and Managing Time 127

Cognitive Flexibility 128

Learning from Experience 129

Finishing Power 129

Pacing on the Path to Positively Smarter 131

Practical Metacognition in Action: Lessons from the Grameen Bank 133

6 Better Together 136

Born to Be Social: Impact on Health and Well-Being 139

Anatomy of the Social Brain 141

Getting “Socially Smarter” 143

Accentuate the Positive 144

Polish Your Listening Skills 146

Consider Others’ Points of View 147

Establish Rapport 148

Learn Together 149

Become a Great Encourager 150

Contribute to the “Social Capital” of Your Community 152

Being Social in a High-Tech World 153

7 Building a Smarter Body–Brain System Through Exercise 159

Work Out the Body to Keep the Brain Young 161

New Muscle Is Young Muscle 163

The Body–Brain System Inside and Outside the Classroom 166

Reward Your Body with Adequate Rest 168

Find What You Love 169

Making Exercise Part of Your Routine 170

Putting the Research on Exercise into Personal Practice 171

Low Heart Rate Route to Runners’ High 173

Winning Our Blades: A Positive Payoff 173

8 Fuel Your Body–Brain System for Peak Performance 177

The Brain Benefits of “Going Mediterranean” 179

What’s on Your Plate? 181

Why and How to Eat Smarter 182

Better by the Dozen: Twelve Power Foods to Fuel Well-Being 188

Educational Implications of Becoming “HealthWise” 191

9 Bringing It All Together, Putting It into Practice 197

Forging a New Foundation Grounded in Neuroplasticity 199

Examples of the UP Paradigm in Practice 201

Seven Principles of the Positively Smarter Approach 202

Principle 1: Keep Neuroplasticity Front of Mind 203

Principle 2: Build the Skills of Optimism and Happiness 203

Principle 3: Appreciate Your Potential to Become Smarter 203

Principle 4: Apply Practical Metacognition and Cognitive Assets 204

Principle 5: Use Your Social Brain to Enhance Well-Being and Achievement 204

Principle 6: Get Moving to Grow Your Brain (and Become Fitter, Stronger, Smarter, and Happier) 205

Principle 7: Fuel Your Body–Brain System to Enhance Productivity and Learning 205

Capitalize on Your Neurocognitive Synergy 206

The Practical Metacognition Process for Pursuing Important Goals 206

Thanks for Joining Us on a Journey to Becoming Positively Smarter 209

Appendix 212

Index 219

About the Authors 229

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A fine book that authoritatively communicates the increasing scientific base to empower educators with solid evidence to improve their professional practice and enhance their own well-being. Former works appropriately had to add perhaps and maybes to much of the text."
Robert Sylwester, EdD, University of Oregon

“This book is a captivating read that contains definitive and clear steps to guide the reader on the path to becoming ‘positively smarter.’ More than a typical ‘self-help’ book, Positively Smarter provides real, attainable direction for every reader!”

Lisa Holder Lohmann, EdD, University of Central Oklahoma

Positively Smarter supports parents as they seek strategies that will support their children in an environment that is changing at record speed.”
Kelly Rose, EdD, The Out-of-Door Academy

Positively Smarter is a wonderful resource and thoughtful compilation of ground-breaking research and discoveries into the complex phenomenon of personal success. The integration of scientific data, personal vignettes, and practical suggestions for making positive changes in one’s life drives home the idea that with effort, perseverance, hope, and setting realistic goals, we can all succeed.”
Carol Mikulka, MD Psychiatrist, Founder and President, Walden School

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