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Promote 'psychological well-being' of students, urges a national conference
Two-day national conference on 'psychological well-being' held at Government PG College in Chandigarh, last weekend concluded with a release of a book of abstracts with over 400 abstract along with oral and poster presentations of research papers with this citizen journalist presenting two papers on positive educational psychology related to classroom instruction.

PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-being is a term often used to describe the mental state of serenity and inner happiness or hauora. According to Ivan Robertson, psychological well-being (PWB) refers to positive mental states, such as happiness, satisfaction or positive emotions. "If I say that I’m happy, or very satisfied with my life you can be pretty sure that my psychological well-being is quite high!," says Robertson.

Thus, to really feel good one needs to experience purpose and meaning of all life activities in addition to positive emotions. In the classroom, an environment of PWB of students is to be created by the teacher consisting of self-worth and acceptance, enabling environment, mutuality in relationships, respect for diversity, purpose of life and autonomy.

In a way, PWB is more of a positive psycho-social process that depends both on internal mental processes including thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions and meaning making, and external social processes like supportive social networks, community, family and interactional environment.

Basically, the physical-materialistic (resources), bio-physical, psycho-social and spiritual aspects of well-being are integrally related, and it is not helpful to try to separate them in any educational programme development.

If the classroom environment is does not uphold PWB, the following psychosocial harms are caused to students - the community of learners - loss of inclusivity of diverse students; loss of self-esteem amongst the community members; loss of dignity amongst learners; a loss of cohesion amongst members; creation of an atmosphere of mistrust, stigma or conflict in a community; and drop-outs or push-outs of members of the learning community.

The lesson from the conference is that our institutions and classrooms need to be revamped to make a shift towards PWB-promoting learning environment to create students who are happy human beings and better professionals.

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