Is Mental Fitness the Answer to Climbing Canadian Stress?

Is Mental Fitness the Answer to Climbing Canadian Stress?

Inaugural Canadian positive psychology conference co-organizer says yes

Since she began implementing what’s called the positivity ratio in her life several years ago, Louisa Jewell has seen a significant boost in her mood, overall well-being and protection from depression.

Could this be the answer we as increasingly stressed Canadians are looking for, this intentional focus on shifting our negative to positive emotional balance?

If we take it along with the other solutions the relatively new field of positive psychology — from which this ratio hails — quite likely so, says Louisa, a people and organizational specialist with the Toronto-based consultancy Positive Matters.

“We need to start thinking mental fitness,” says Louisa — not just how to manage or deal with mental illness after the fact.

Evidence is overwhelming that many Canadians are not coping well. Whether it’s technology to blame or the greater demands people are placing on themselves, it’s clear we need new paths forward. Louisa refers to studies showing that stress-related illness has become the No. 1 reason for workplace absenteeism.

At the same time, neuroscience is proving the tight connection between our minds and bodies. For instance, more than 84 studies now indicate optimism has a direct impact on cardiovascular health.

Positive psychology adds a different perspective to the traditional psychology approach, which studies mental illness, focusing instead on a study of psychological health, wellbeing and happiness.

While some of its principles and ideas were in play long before, it was 14 years ago that positive psychology founding father Martin Seligman put the language and practices we see around it today. The field has blossomed worldwide since, with thousands of studies completed.

In the last year, a group of Canadian practitioners and researchers has undertaken to amplify its presence and effectiveness in Canada with the creation of a central research, networking and information-sharing body, the Canadian Positive Psychology Association.

Organized by the association, an inaugural Canadian positive psychology conference takes place July 20-21. Coaches, counsellors, organizational consultants, educators, psychologists, psychotherapists, students, researchers and parents interested in learning more about the latest positive psychology research and opportunities for its application should find it relevant.

“Certainly anyone interested in wanting to be more fulfilled, happier and psychologically resilient,” will find it of value, Louisa adds. 

Both the conference and subsequent she’s hoping to see — including a broader network of engaged practitioners and researchers, a new French-speaking community as well as more  educational symposiums geared to different professions — all align with the organization’s larger vision of improving the psychological health of all Canadians.

To learn more about the conference, click here.

Feel free to comment below, or e-mail michelle(at)

Writer Bio

Michelle Strutzenberger's picture
Michelle Strutzenberger

Michelle Strutzenberger has been a Generative Journalist and curator with Axiom News for more than 15 years.

She's most grateful for the incredible people she gets to work with every day at Axiom News, as well as the many other amazing folks she's encountered through this work.

"I have always seen the opportunity to do this work as a gift," she says.

Michelle's writing has also been published by a wide variety of other organizations and publications, including the following:
- Abundant Community, an initiative of authors John McKnight and Peter Block to awaken the power of families and neighbourhoods
- PLAN Institute, a network dedicated to enabling families to create a good life for people with disabilities
-.New Scoop YYC, Calgary's news co-op practicing Generative Journalism
- The Canadian Community Economic Development Network
- Nieuwmakers, a Belgian news agency
- Restore Commons, an initiative of Peter Block and friends
- Academy for Systemic Change

Contact Michelle: 705-741-4421 ext. 27 or michelle(at)

Reprint This Story

Axiom News content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Stories may be reprinted in their entirety with permission and when appropriately credited.

Please contact Axiom News at
1-800-294-0051 for more information.