Friday, February 12, 2016

Wellness: Happiness Habits: Part 2

This post is a continuation from my Happiness Habits: Part 1  post reflecting on Tracy Hutton's keynote at the Snowflake Winter Wellness Festival!  She spoke to us about happiness habits – basically, things we can all do which have scientifically been shown to increase our happiness. 


Ways to Promote Happiness: Part 2

 reflections from Tracy Hutton's keynote at Snowflake Winter Wellness Festival 2016


Use Your Strengths – Do the things you are good at.  Try new things too, but realize that it’s okay if you aren’t good at everything you try!  I think this is relevant for students for a couple of reasons.  (1) We want students to work as a community and a team, taking advantage of each others' strengths.  For example, if someone needs help in our classroom, often another student can help (which is especially important if I'm engaged in teaching a small group lesson or conferencing with another student.)  (2) We want students to be proud of their unique talents and gifts and also recognize and respect others' gifts.  

Serve Others – use your strengths to make a difference in the world.  Every year, my students choose projects to engage in that will make a difference for others or help address a problem.  For example, former students have hosted a Farmer Appreciation Day to recognize our local farmers, organized the Recycle for Good Garage Sale to raise money for people in need and ran a support campaign for Olympic athletes.  I think that it’s vital for students (of any age) to contribute to their local or global community so that they realize that they can have a positive impact.   Plus, interdisciplinary projects are a great way to meaningfully address curriculum.  

Generous Explanations – think positively!  Rather than coming up with a negative explanation for an event or occurrence, be generous and consider another perspective. For example, if another driver cut you off, instead of thinking they are an inconsiderate, reckless drive, consider that maybe they didn’t see you or were in such a rush that they made a mistake.  Similarly, if a child is having a difficult day, instead of being upset that they are choosing to misbehave, consider that maybe they didn’t have a good sleep or missed breakfast or had something unpleasant happen to them that day.   Using generous explanations can make us happier adults, but I think there is also value in teaching students to be compassionate and consider others' perspectives.  

Be social – interact with others.  I think we’ve got this one down pat in Grade 1!  We love to work and play together!   

Set goals – Tracy encouraged us to set micro-goals, so that we are more likely to tackle them.  For example, she shared two of her micro-goals: Meditate for 1 minute every day.  Plank for 1 minute every day.  When considering classroom goal setting, I know that I set many goals for myself and for my students.  We also set goals together (ie: develop our Daily 5 stamina so we can work independently for 20+minutes, write a poem, learn to code).  However, I think I could do a better job of intentionally teaching goal-setting and encouraging students to set micro goals such as writing 5 sentences during Daily 5 writing time or mastering 10 sight words in a given time period.  

As we enter the second half of our school  year, I will be keeping Tracy's happiness habits in mind for both my personal life and my classroom practice!   

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