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Student Affairs


The goal of the ThriveRU initiative in Student Affairs is to provide training and resources to Ryerson students, faculty and staff in order to teach the skills associated with resilience, well-being and thriving in both an academic and personal context. Principles of positive psychology underpin all of the programs associated with ThriveRU.

Our purpose is to help students feel a sense of support on campus, to better appreciate the connections between academic success and other elements of a healthy lifestyle, and, primarily, to help students develop capacities for thriving that will serve them throughout their lives.

We developed a 4 session resilience training program designed to teach the five factor model of resilience (mindfulness, gratitude, optimism, self-compassion, and grit).  This program is available separately for students, faculty and staff.

Thriving-in-Action is an 11 week program for students who are languishing (not in crisis, but also not doing as well as they could).  We teach thriving skills and holistic learning strategies, for two hours once a week, each term.

Cultivate Your Happiness: A ThriveRU Weekly Workbook, was designed to anticipate the challenges of each week of each term, and provide an exercise that students can use to increase their capacity to be resilient in the face of the challenge of that week.  This workbook can be downloaded off this website, or a printed copy can be picked up at POD 60 reception.

Additional workshops are available through the Level Up Program on the ConnectRU website:

(1) Let your Strengths Inspire you!

(2) Changing Habits 

(3) Balancing Work and Play

(4) Values Clarification

For more information you can contact the Scholar-in Residence Dr. Diana Brecher at

ThriveRU Workbook

Exercises at a Glance

The exercises in the Weekly Workbook correspond with the academic school-year, and include the following topics:

  • Making new friends and strengthening your connections with old friends
  • Gratitude
  • Cultivating optimism
  • Living in the present moment
  • Coping strategies
  • Growth mindset
  • Practicing acts of kindness and generosity
  • Increasing flow
  • Learning to forgive
  • Committing to your goals
  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Meditation
  • Savouring life's joys (past, present, and future)


Further Resources

Resilience Flash Cards

The ThriveRU Resilience Flash Cards are a resource for students, staff, or faculty to use when addressing a specific problem, situation, or area for development. 

Each card presents a situation and offers strategies to address it, including on-campus resources. Each card belongs to a part of the PERMA-V theory of cultivating happiness and well-being. The ThriveRU Resilience Cards bring you Ryerson-centred resources and tried-and-true strategies for everything from managing a busy schedule to addressing anxiety to building meaningful relationships and more. If you’re handling a particular situation yourself, or are looking for how to help someone, use the cards as a quick way to see effective strategies and connect to Ryerson resources.

ThriveRU in the Media

CBC Metro Morning

Dr. Diana Brecher and a student discuss student mental health, positive psychology, resilience, and the ThriveRU program and workbook.

CBC News

Student discusses Ryerson's Thriving in Action program — a new initiative through ThriveRU that provides supports for students, including workshops that focus on well-being and learning strategies.


National Post

Dr. Diana Brecher discusses the Thriving in Action program and student mental health.

The Psychology Podcast

Dr. Diana Brecher and Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman discuss bringing positive psychology principles into the classroom and her 5 factor model of resilience.

The Flourishing Centre Podcast

Dr. Diana Brecher and Emiliya Zhivotovskaya discuss positive psychology and bringing resilience training to students through ThriveRU.

Ryerson Today

Dr. Diana Brecher and a student discuss the Thriving in Action program, which uses positive psychology to help struggling students.

Alive Magazine

Dr. Diana Brecher talks about Optimism and the optimist's outlook for Alive Magazine.

NOW Magazine

ThriveRU featured as a positive example of universities beginning to offer courses on positive psychology and happiness to improve mental health of students. Dr. Diana Brecher is a featured interview.