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“The more literate a nation becomes, the better our chances are of moving individuals
and society toward a state of optimum health and wellbeing. I call this thrival.

– Sheree Fitch

It’s one thing to survive, but how much better to exist in a state of thrival, flourishing in spite of and in response to our rapidly changing world?

Should we seek to achieve thrival by increasing our resilience, to fend off adversity and be more stress-resistant?

That can help, but on its own resilience isn’t enough.

What’s more useful is to add in greater adaptability and resourcefulness.

What do you consider more effective? Being mentally tough, or having the capacity to draw on your reserves when needed by ensuring they are kept topped up at all times?

All that energy spent ‘fighting the good fight’ makes me feel tired just thinking about it. The problem is, it’s become the norm. We keep spinning our wheels hoping to keep our heads above water as we attempt to cope with our increasing challenge of time pressure and overwhelm.

It doesn’t work.

If endurance isn’t your game and you would rather play to your strengths while elevating your cognition, it’s time to choose to THRIVE.

Thrival is based on smarter thinking underpinned by better brain health.

Because a fit and healthy brain that is in optimal shape will boost your mental performance, helping you to make consistently good decisions, solve problems faster and retain the clarity of thought needed to tackle the day’s agenda effectively.

Think first

According to Merriam Webster, thinking is the action of using your mind to produce thoughts.

What is a thought? You can’t touch or hold one in your hand, but you can hold one in your mind. It’s an electrochemical event capable of influencing your cells and genes and it is your choice of focus that shapes your brain and your thoughts.

Being able to critically challenge your thoughts and ideas, allows you to connect to your past experiences while imagining our future, enabling you to plan, organize and determine your next best step.

Naturally, there are a few thinking hazards that can trip us up badly, which is why building greater self-awareness is so important.

Conscious choice is your superpower. It determines your response to the experience of your emotions and thoughts and shapes your behaviour.

For example, it has been shown how choosing to practice gratitude for 21 days by writing down three things you are grateful for will help you to feel more optimistic for the next six months.

In his TED talk Shawn Achor author of the Happiness Advantage shares the idea that happiness inspires greater productivity, which is why your level of optimism is so important for your future success.

Conversely, limiting self-beliefs, unconscious bias, intense emotion and severe chronic negative stress can blindside us, narrowing the bandwidth of our perspective and veer us towards greater negativity bias.

Healthy habits

It’s not that we don’t know, it’s we don’t do.

It was revealed recently that over half of Australians don’t brush their teeth twice a day. We know it’s important, so how does this happen, because you probably didn’t deliberately choose not to?

Often, it’s because we get caught up in other things, too busy to press pause and check, have I done those things I know will help keep me healthy, happy and wise?

Our challenge is how to make our non-negotiables happen, starting with conscious choice and placing a high value on achieving them consistently.


It’s a sad reality but for some, enjoying the material trappings of success so highly prized in our society can lead to the loss of something far more precious along the way.

The time we remember just how important our relationships are to us is brought into sharp relief when we’re sick or in need of support.

Being hard-wired to connect with others, we flourish when our interpersonal relationships are strong and happy. It boosts our wellbeing, our resilience and ability to think well, even when working hard.


Focusing hard for too long denies your brain the breathing space needed to uncouple from your focused attention and create greater insight.

That’s why putting in too many hours can limit innovation and creativity. Taking time out to rest and refresh leads to a greater number of “Ahas!” experienced. We can achieve more by doing less.


If times are tough, and life’s daily challenges are wearing you down, tapping into your core values and beliefs will help keep you in touch with your passion and sense of purpose.

Every challenge is an opportunity for conscious choice. Staying curious to what really matters can provide you with the solution to what you need to stay motivated and moving forward.


If you’ve ever felt sorry for battery hens, spare a thought for those condemned to work in those ghastly open-plan cubicles. Soulless, bland and beige, at best they do little to engender enthusiasm for our work. At worst they reduce productivity and performance.

Why? Because our physical environment; the amount of natural light we are exposed to, our proximity to a window, the colour of our surroundings and the amount of space we have to work in affects our mood and ability to think.

If you’re ready for thrival over survival, now is the time to tap into your superpower of conscious choice and take your thinking to the next level.

That’s smarter thinking by design.

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.


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