Has anyone felt the pace of spring in schools pick up recently? Anyone working longer hours, planning for two years (this year and next), trying to catch you own children’s end-of-year events? Running out of time? Sorry for all the rhetorical questions, but, yes, spring in schools is at its peak energy level. To that end, I thought I’d share an article called Get Happy: Four Well-Being Workouts from the New York Times Education Life section (April 5, 2017). What are the four personal workouts as described in the article?
- Identify Signature Strengths – A study by Dr. Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness, concluded that when people identified strengths they demonstrate when they are at their best self and “deploy one of their signature strengths ‘in a new and different way’ every day for one week…people had on average lower rates of depression and higher life satisfaction.” (See the video below for more of Martin Seligman.)
- Find the Good – “Before you go to bed each night…write down three things that went really well that day. Next to each event answer the question, ‘Why did this good thing happen?’ Seligman contends that this strategy “turns your attention to the good things in life, so it changes what you attend to.”
- Make a Gratitude Visit – pay a visit to someone whom you have not properly thank for their efforts. “It’s common that when people do the gratitude visit both people weep out of joy,” according to Seligman. “It puts you in better touch with other people, with your place in the world.”
- Respond Constructively – When a person shares good news with you, with what Dr. Shelly Gable, a social psychologist at the UC-Santa Barbara, calls an “active constructive response.” Rather than a short, quick response like, “Oh, that’s nice” or not much of a response at all, stay present in the conversation and encourage them to talk more about it with some probing questions or even “encouraging them to tell others or suggest a celebratory activity.”
Check out the 6 minute video below on YouTube with Seligman sharing his view of “Happiness and well-being and how to achieve them.”