Practice Happiness

February and March can be stressful months in schools. It’s cold outside and indoor recess can make everyone feel a little crazy. Students and staff are fighting off sickness. Some teachers are juggling the demands of work and caring for their own sick children at home. The standardized testing season is suddenly upon us, etc.

On the flip side, this time of the school year can be seen in a very positive light. The students know the classroom routines and are demonstrating academic stamina. Many of our students are fully engaged in science (e.g., 4th grade renewal energy) or social studies (e.g., 3rd grade Chicago history) units of study. We just finished a terrific Spirit Week (the students were so invested). Our library is launching Book Madness in honor of the NCAA tournament, etc.

It’s all about choosing your attitude and how you will respond. Our brains are designed to notice threats or things that are not working. This builds stress in our bodies. We have to combat that by noticing all the tiny positive… or neutral things in our day. We need to practice positive thinking. 

Have you visited UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center website – Greater Good in Action: Science-Based Practices for a Meaningful Life? I recently discovered this web resource in a Family Service Center flier and made a connection to the Willowbrook teaching staff’s work on mindfulness + resilience. There is a collection of science‐based practices for integrating social‐emotional learning, mindfulness, and character education into classrooms and schools. There are also some pretty terrific practices for the home/family.

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