The underlying philosophy of the Good Vibes Experiment


By now you might have had some exposure to the Good Vibes Experiment campaign.

  • Maybe it was on launch day.
  • Maybe it was the posters and boards around the campus.
  • Maybe you got the activity book.
  • Maybe you were lucky enough to score some merch.
  • Maybe you’ve seen some of my early mini workshop videos (warning: high dork factor).

If you haven’t heard of it, a brief visit to will get you up to scratch. 

In short – the Good Vibes Experiment (GVE for short) is a Flinders University mental health campaign that was built on top of student feedback and brainstorming. Students wanted a more open discussion of mental health, one that was fun and engaging, but also meaningful and strategic, and inclusive of everyone – regardless of their mental health status.  

The Good Vibes Experiment was the result of that. 

At the core of the GVE campaign are wellbeing tactics – everyday strategies you can use to build, maintain and even start to repair your mental health. We found 20 such tactics when we went to the literature. The GVE campaign invites you to experiment with adding some of these to your life. 

In this context, it is worth acknowledging that these tactics and their presence in the campaign reflect a core philosophy about mental health and wellbeing that is worth articulating. 

That philosophy is one of taking deliberate and intentional steps to bring more positive emotion into your life as a core building block of good mental health.

Over the past 14 years (since I graduated), I’ve seen great progress in how we talk about mental health. We don’t just talk about how to alleviate distress/suffering, we also talk about how to grow and get better. GVE sits in the latter. 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the discussion about how to alleviate the suffering of those with mental ill health to stop. Mental ill health is common and debilitating and we should always be talking about it, sharing advances in treatment, encouraging people to seek help. 

But I am pleased to see that the discussion of mental health can also include discussing the ingredients of a ‘good life’. What should we add to our lives to enrich them. How do I build a happier version of myself?

The wellbeing tactics in the GVE are about how to bring things into your life – meaning and purpose, compassion, kindness, gratitude, competence, caring, knowledge and skill. 

And we can’t take for granted that those things will be delivered to us automagically. Instead, we need to take deliberate and intentional steps to try and make those things a part of our life. 

The GVE campaign is that invitation – to experiment with the types of activities and exercises that have been shown to bring these things into our life, find the ones that work and keep them as part of your daily or weekly repertoire. Build the life you want incrementally over time. 

And if we do it as a community, rather than just individuals, then we’ll all feel supported in the process. In most cases, it is much more enjoyable and motivating to take positive steps in life, with others doing the same around us. 

The GVE team (of which I am a part) are here to support you in that process and are active participants in it as well. I’ve started making videos on the kinds of exercises you can do to strengthen the mind. Our communications and design team are creating a social media environment in which we feel part of a community taking collective action. 

I hope you’ll join me in taking little moments out of the day and week to invest in your mental health. 

Got questions –

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Good Vibes Experiment

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