Having just completed my Masters in Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) I wanted to take time to reflect on my MAPP experience. Studying MAPP was one of my ambitions for a long time and now that I have completed the course I feel relieved and proud of my achievements. Many students believe to be part of a MAPP group is very very special. I'm not sure if that is because there are so few institutions currently offering this qualification or whether the content of the course and the people it attracts is special in itself? I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to study MAPP at the University of East London and if you are reading this and considering this as an option I'd highly recommend it. For the past two years I have certainly been on a journey and it is very true what they say, once you push yourself outside your comfort zone there is no going back. You are forever changed and hopefully for the better, that's certainly been the case for me.
I have been an optimist all my life and at the age of 14 my mum bought me a positive thinking poster for my bedroom wall. Since then I developed a passion for this way of life and could see the benefits it would bring to my life and wanted to tell other people about it so much. Maybe that is why I became a teacher. Unlike many other MAPPsters I love self help books and have read everything from Napolean Hill's 'Think and Grow Rich' to Rhonda Byrne's 'The Secret'. This passion for the self help movement pushed me closer towards my MAPP journey and and although many will disagree with me, I see positive psychology in so many of the books I have read over the years, minus the empirical evidence. Nevertheless, what self help books do for me is that the messages motivate me, inspire me and fill me with hope for the future - how could that possibly be a bad thing? The MAPP, however, enabled me to understand the world of research so much more and respect the positive psychology researchers out there desperately trying to show the world that people should flourish in life and strive daily towards a life worth living.
The MAPP has developed me both personally and professionally and has added greatly to my life and work. I practice gratitude on a daily basis and it is true what they say, it does make you happier, it does make you notice the good more than the bad. Some simple ways to incorporate it into your life today is by keeping a gratitude journal and writing down your three best things once a week. I ask my children every night before they go to sleep their three best things about the day and it is a lovely way to end a busy day - actually this is my favourite time of the day. I have also tried mindfulness meditation using headspace and really enjoyed this new experience in my life, although I still struggle to find a spare ten minutes in my day but at least I'm trying. I teach children the importance of finding their strengths and using them every day and the reciprocal joy random acts of kindness can bring to life. Positive psychology enables people to take control of their life, to choose happiness rather than allowing life to just happen to them. There are no victims with positive psychology and that is what I like about it. It teaches you how to be resilient, and cope with adversity to make it better not only for you but also for those around you.
MAPP has given me so much but most importantly I have met some amazing people. The conversations over coffee breaks, in the Indian restaurant on a Friday night and best of all in the pub is where most of my learning took place. So now that one journey is over I look forward to the next - life after MAPP and hope that I can add to world of positive psychology in education and enable our children to learn the power of their minds in achieving success in their lives and improving their wellbeing.