The power of positive thinking is being quantified by the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre in Adelaide's South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) centre.
The team is working with over 200 schools in South Australia to develop modern teaching and research principles for young people to develop positive mental health habits.
By focusing on changing thinking attitudes before the likes of anxiety and depression take hold, the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre staff hope to lessen the impact of the isolating conditions.
"It's not to say that this positive psychology approach can prevent everyone from catastrophic illness," director Gabrielle Kelly told 891 ABC Adelaide's drive program.
"But there is a whole bunch of other people that, if they are trained to think in a more effective way, may be able to prevent themselves from falling into some of the thinking traps that head people down towards the mental illness curve."
Ms Kelly said neuroplasticity studies were revealing a person could change the way they thought at any time during their life.The basics of the PERMA theory
By promoting a 'theory of PERMA', Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment, developed by Professor Martin Seligman, the centre hopes to build resilience and positive habits in students.
"It's a dashboard of indicators," Ms Kelly said.
"If your PERMA is better, you are more likely to be able to cope with life's challenges."
Dunja Nedic was introduced to the PERMA model when she was training year 10 students in positive thinking concepts.
She discovered the theory of 'negativity bias' where people automatically qualify negative responses as objectivity.
"That really forced me to reflect a lot," said Ms Nedic, co-ordinator at the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre.
"You can find positives if you are looking for them."
If she had been able to reduce negativity, particularly peer group negativity through her high school years, Ms Nedic believed the turmoil of the years would have been much easier.
"I think that it is really important to realise that you are influenced by the people that are closest to you."
Ms Kelly said fitness, sleep and nutrition also played a large role in providing the right basis for positive mental health and resilience.
"Things do go wrong ... it's a question of what you do about it when normal life-challenges hit you."