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MindUP and Values: Optimism

With February coming to a close, classes continue to develop their understanding of the Core Value of Resilience and linked value of Optimism for Key Stage 2 pupils.

But what is the neuroscience behind optimistic thinking and can we really choose our attitude?

Optimism is a way of seeing life hopefully and having the expectation of success and wellbeing. We are not born optimistic or pessimistic. In fact, thinking optimistically is a skill we can all develop and the more we practise it, the better we become at it. This is because of neuroplasticity: the ability of our brain to change and develop.

When we think optimistically, the thinking and learning part of the brain (the pre-frontal cortex) focuses on being positive and hopeful, and our brain releases dopamine which is our feel-good neurotransmitter. This makes us feel relaxed, happy and also helps us to learn. Reminding children about the benefits of thinking optimistically, helps them to develop a positive and resilient attitude towards learning and life.

Pupils will continue to deepen their understanding of optimism through MindUP lessons. Please encourage your child to talk about the neuroplasticity of the brain and the benefits of thinking positively.

Optimism tips to try at home:

  1. Start your day by saying three things that you are grateful for, even if it is something small
  2. When you come across a challenge or obstacle, focus on the benefits. For example, if you’re stuck in traffic, at least you can to listen to your favourite music for longer
  3. If you make a mistake, focus on what you are going to do next time rather than  why you have failed

Please see our MindUP page and the Reading List for Key Stage 1 and Reading List for Key Stage 2 then go to lesson 11: Choosing Optimism.


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