* This post was originally featured on The OOHLALA Blog.
I recently took a course on positive psychology, (shout out to my professor, Dr. Colleen Georges!). The focus of positive psychology is on being happy. I’ve found that utilizing the principles of this psychology has helped me to be a more optimistic, empathetic, and grateful person in my daily life.
Positive psychology is great for improving one’s personal life but it’s also a useful application as a student affairs professional. Using the insights of this psychology you can provide students with support and help them succeed in their endeavors.
This psychology is apt for in-person interactions, however as many students spend most of their time online I’m going to talk about how to use positive psychology when engaging with students through social media.
3 Ways to Use Positive Psychology & Social Media to Engage with Students
1. Celebrate positive moments with your students
I enjoy helping to celebrate when my students share an academic or personal success. (Such as getting an internship or membership to a fraternity or sorority). A simple “like” or retweet shows that you’ve taken notice of that student’s post. It makes them feel valued and creates positive feelings.
Pay particular attention to anything related to their college experience. This helps support the value of what they’re choosing to get involved in.This can also be applied to small, simple moments your students share about the good things that happen in their day. The impact of showing that you see, hear, and celebrate the joy of your students is a great way to help spread positivity throughout your campus.
2. Share affirmative messages and quotes
Another simple way to spread positivity throughout your campus is to share brief notes with your students. If you know they have an interview or test coming up, send a quick digital message to wish them luck. You can also share quotes to help motivate and inspire your students. When students are busy and stressed with exams and finals, provide support by sharing helpful videos, articles, or photos to keep students energized.
3. Be helpful everywhere you can
A great way to spread some good energy online is to listen and be helpful to students who have questions or concerns. You’ll surprise and delight your students when you jump in with some advice or resources to solve their problems. They’re often hoping for an solution to their problem but aren’t expecting it since a lot of the time no one responds.
As a student affairs professional, you have the knowledge to get your students help. We do it all the time in person when students stop by our offices. Use that same mindset on social media and your students will feel supported. Even if they don’t need you all the time,they’ll know an answer is only a post away.
If you commit to this digital effort, it will supplement your other work by spreading positive energy and support for your students. Employing positive psychology principles on social media is a direct connection to the work we do in person with students. We want them to feel valued, supported, and celebrated. This is just another way we can do that for our students every day.