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Positively Smarter


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Table of Contents

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

About the Author

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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