Building Happiness, Resilience and Motivation in Adolescents: A Positive Psychology Curriculum for Well-Being


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Positive psychology focuses on building strengths and developing creative and positive thinking in order to boost happiness, well-being and achievement. It helps people to be motivated, maintain positive mental health, and to flourish in all areas of their lives. This resource is a fully-formed positive psychology programme designed to promote happiness, resilience and motivation in young people aged 11–18. It introduces the theory and research behind positive psychology, and includes a guidance section for facilitators on how to deliver the programme.

The programme itself is made up of 24 chapters which reflect each of the 24 ‘character strengths’ identified by Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology. These strengths include creative thinking, kindness, fairness, leadership, forgiveness, and teamwork. Activities teach students how to develop these strengths and skills in order to initiate positive change in their lives.

This resource provides teachers, counsellors, psychologists, social workers and others working with young people with a complete programme to promote well-being in young people and help them flourish in their lives


  • Introduction.
  • Part 1. Virtue One: Wisdom and Knowledge.
  • 1. Creativity: Thinking of novel and productive ways to do things.
  • 2. Curiosity: Taking an interest in all of ongoing experience.
  • 3. Open Mindedness: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides.
  • 4. Love of Learning: Mastering new skills, topics and bodies of knowledge.
  • 5. Perspective: Being able to provide wise counsel to others.
  • Part 2. Virtue Two: Courage.
  • 6. Authenticity: Speaking the truth and presenting oneself in a genuine way.
  • 7. Bravery: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty or pain.
  • 8. Persistence: Finishing what ones starts.
  • 9. Zest: Approaching life with excitement and energy.
  • Part 3. Virtue Three: Humanity
  • 10. Kindness: Doing favours and good deeds to others.
  • 11. Love: Valuing close relations with others.
  • 12. Social Intelligence: Being aware of the motives and feelings of self and others.
  • Part 4. Virtue Four: Justice.
  • 13. Fairness: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice.
  • 14. Leadership: Organising group activities and seeing that they happen. 15. Teamwork: Working well as a member of group or team.
  • Part 5. Virtue Five: Temperance.
  • 16. Forgiving those who have Done Wrong.
  • 17. Modesty: Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves.
  • 18. Prudence: Being careful about one’s choices; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted. 19. Self-regulation: Regulating what ones feels and does.
  • Part 6. Virtue Six: Transcendence.
  • 20. Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence: Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence and/or skills performance in all domains of life.
  • 21. Gratitude: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen.
  • 22. Hope: Expecting the best and working to achieve it.
  • 23. Humour: Likely to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people.
  • 24. Religiousness: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of life.

Author Bio:

Ruth MacConville is Head of the Special Educational Needs Services, London Borough of Ealing. She is the author of several books on promoting happiness, resilience and well-being in young people.

Tina Rae is Academic and Professional Tutor for the Doctorate in Educational and Child Psychology, University of East London, UK. She has written several resources that promote well-being and motivation in young people.