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

  • ID: 3148812
  • Book
  • 244 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Positively Smarter brings together seven principles for connecting the science of neuroplasticity to practical strategies for enhancing the synergy of happiness, achievement, and physical well–being. Moving beyond common myths and misconceptions that these three areas of life are largely driven by innate talent, genes, and external circumstances, the text builds an evidence–based paradigm so readers can take practical steps to improve cognitive function. The authors have drawn their research from a broad range of fields in order to maximize the positive impact of a synergistic approach.

This pioneering book explores research on the big ideas that can have a positive influence on and even transform our lives by focusing on practical learning strategies. The text provides the science, structures, and strategies for creating a more effective system, so that learners are equipped to achieve goals and realize more of their unique potential across the learning life span.
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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
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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.
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