The Rubber Brain: A toolkit for optimising your study, work, and life!

Sue Morris, Jacquelyn Cranney, Peter Baldwin, Leigh Mellish, Annette Krochmalik

Change your life for the better. Learn how to 'rubberise' your brain, making it more flexible and resilient. Deal with challenges in an optimal way, and 'bounce' back from adversity. 

Whether you've failed an exam, bungled an interview, screwed up a relationship, broken your diet, or stuffed up at work, your brain is the key to getting back on track.

Your brain controls your conscious thoughts and behaviours, like deciding whether to study or party, or whether to get two scoops of gelato or six. And when you find yourself doing things that you wish you hadn't done (like all that gelato), it's likely your brain has indulged in what psychological scientists call suboptimal thinking. 

Essentially, your brain doesn't always deliver the kind of thinking that leads to desired positive outcomes, such as maintaining supportive friendships, and doing well in your work, studies and social life. But you and your brain can do better.

In this book, five leading psychological educators show you simple tools derived from a wide range of solid science covering everything from positive psychology to goal setting, from mindfulness to CBT, and from emotional regulation to moral reasoning, to optimise your thinking.

Using a model they have developed over years of study and application you can discover how resilience and psychological flexibility combine to allow you to choose ways of thinking in response to different situations that will produce the best outcome for you for that situation. 
Read this book and learn how to optimally tackle issues of motivation, stress, time-management, and relationship maintenance. 

Your mind will be clearer and your life better.


Checkout the home of the Rubber Brain at

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About the Author

Dr. Sue Morris has a passion for enhancing students' success and wellbeing, with an emphasis on positive psychology, and resilience. She completed her undergraduate studies and PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), where she has worked as a lecturer in the School of Psychology, as well as in staff development for educators. Over 20 years of undergraduate teaching, she has focused on developing innovative and engaging learning experiences for students, emphasising collaboration and connectedness. She applies psychological literacy in her teaching, with a goal to "optimise the world, one Psychology student at a time". Sue's interest and expertise in enhancing student learning has been recognised through numerous awards, including the UNSW Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence, the UNSW Faculty of Science Staff Excellence Award in Sessional Teaching, and an Australian Office of Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. Her university teaching experience has been complemented by serving as a director on the board of Moriah College for the past decade, which has given her extensive insight into the needs of primary and high school students. However, she has learned the most about wellbeing and positivity from her two teenage children.

Associate Professor Jacky Cranney (UNSW Sydney) has extensive undergraduate teaching experience, for which she has won numerous UNSW, national and international awards. She has published research on student learning and motivation, and on psychology education. She has created local, national and international communities of practice for psychology educators, and has also led and contributed to national committees on psychology education. She has attracted several UNSW and national education Fellowships and grants, through which she has driven nation-wide change in terms of undergraduate students learning to apply evidence-based psychological strategies to meet positive personal, professional and societal outcomes. Jacky is a fervent believer in 'giving psychology away', particularly through providing opportunities to undergraduate students and others, to develop psychological literacy (i.e., the intentional application of psychological science to meet personal, professional and societal needs), a part of which is evidence-based self-management (i.e., the capacity to effectively pursue valued goals, and to be flexible in the face of setbacks).

Dr. Peter Baldwin is an academic psychologist and clinician based at Sydney's Black Dog Institute, where he studies digital health interventions. After completing his undergraduate studies in psychology, Peter went on to complete both a Masters and a PhD in clinical psychology, focusing on novel brain-based models of hoarding disorder. Peter has authored several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters in clinical psychology, and has been privileged to use his expertise in hoarding disorder to train allied health practitioners both in Australia and the UK. Peter has also spent over half a decade educating emerging psychologists and understands that mental wellbeing is crucial to the success of his students. He believes that every person (young and old) deserves to understand their own mind using the principles of cognitive and behavioural science, and in doing so, live a more meaningful life. He hopes this book will help young people do both.

Leigh Mellish is a psychologist (Master Organisational Psychology; UNSW Sydney) working as a career development consultant for university students - focusing on improving their capacity and employability through effective education and practice. At UNSW and USYD he has lectured in psychology, management, and career development across 8 years, and has conducted research and published in psychology and medicine across 12 years. His industry experience has been in organisational development, management consulting, and recruitment. Leigh values scientific thinking, evidence-based decision making, and honest and professional discourse for self-development and global impact.

Dr. Annette Krochmalik obtained her undergraduate degree at UNSW and went on to complete her PhD in the area of anxiety at The University of Sydney. She completed her Post-Doctoral studies at the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University. She then returned to Sydney where, in the School of Psychology UNSW, she has been focusing on student resilience and wellbeing. She enjoys teaching undergraduate students as well as being involved in research in clinical psychology and psychology education.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1 - What's on Your Mind?
  • Chapter 2 - The Imperfect Mind
  • Chapter 3 - Know Thyself
  • Chapter 4 - The Flexible Mind
  • Chapter 5 - Stress
  • Chapter 6 - Positivity
  • Chapter 7 - Getting Motivated and Getting Things Done
  • Chapter 8 - Connecting and Communicating
  • Chapter 9 - The Moral Mind
  • Chapter 10 - Optimising Minds
  • Bibliography