The 3rd Annual Leadership and Positive Psychology Conference
A conference on the intersection of resilience, well-being, leadership, and character strengths.
The Center for Consciousness and Transformation and MasonLeads hosted the 3rd annual leadership and positive psychology conference on April 13, 2012. The conference attracted 350 faculty, higher education administrators, students, community leaders, industry leaders, professional coaches, and local and federal government leaders. And it sold out a month prior to the event. Next year’s conference falls on April 12, 2013.
Fifty-one percent of the population is flourishing by the year 2051. This bold vision is what Conference Chairs Nance Lucas (NCC dean) and Pam Patterson (Dean of Students) say is the underlying force for this year’s and future conferences. The vision, originally set forth by Dr. Martin Seligman at last year’s conference, is one the Center for Consciousness and Transformation and MasonLeads equally embrace and hope will become a worldwide movement.
Building Resilience into the Brain through Positive Psychology
The morning keynote began with Dr. Rick Hanson, neuropsychologist and author of Buddha’s Brain, illuminating the concept of self-directed neuro-plasticity, in which he said, “you can use your mind to change your brain to change your mind for the better.” He explained an evolutionary negativity bias in the brain and used the analogy of negative experiences sticking like Velcro firmly into the human mind whereas positive experiences are more like Teflon resisting an egg. The key to correcting this negative brain bias is a technique he calls, “Taking in the Good.”
- Presence-Based Coaching Originator Doug Silsbee facilitated a session on Presence-Based Resilience: The Power of the Soma. According to Silsbee, “For those people who say well-being is just about feeling good, that’s true, but it’s insufficient because I also think well-being is inextricably linked with our capacity to make a contribution in the world. And it’s a little self-indulgent if we don’t.”
- Dr. Karen Silien, a clinical psychologist, offered cognitive, emotional, and physical practices such as yogic breathing techniques for everyday resilience and full-capacity living.
- Dr. Kim Camerson, co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship at the University of Michigan, presented on fostering positive leadership for resilient organizations.
- Dr. Sarah Pressman, researcher at Gallup, demonstrated how positive psychological factors encourage stress resilience and better physical health.
- Dr. Beth Cabrera, organizational psychologist and wife of future Mason president Angel Cabrera, offered positive leadership strategies for enhancing team success.
- UPenn MAPP graduate and fellow at the Center for Consciousness and Transformation, Louis Alloro, facilitated conversation on using social-emotional leadership as a call-to-action for city well-being.
- Dr. Christopher Peterson and Dr. Nansook Park, positive psychology researchers at University of Michigan, defined resilience in their lunch keynote presentation as “struggling well.”
- Dr. Todd Kashdan, clinical psychologist and researcher, in his closing keynote addressed cultivating well-being towards greater resilience. He argued that defensive pessimism can be a healthy resilience skill and that sex can “operate as natural short-term” resilience with social anxiety. The third resilience strategy Kashdan offered is uncovering and following a purpose in life. Doing so, he said, guarantees “valued living.”
May 01, 2012