SamTastic Weekly Tip: 5/4/15 - Practice Happiness
This week’s SAMtastic tip is: practice happiness. Psychologist and best-selling author Shawn Achor has made a career studying the science of happiness. “Scientifically, happiness is a choice,” Achor says. He explains that research has shown you can rewire your brain to make yourself happy by practicing simple happiness exercises every day.
Research supports Shawn’s premise . Take a look at his suggestions from a recent Canadian Broadcasting Corporation story:
1. Gratitude Exercises. Write down three things you’re grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours. They don’t have to be profound. It could be a really good cup of coffee or the warmth of a sunny day.
2. The Doubler. Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint.
3. The Fun Fifteen. Do 15 minutes of a fun cardio activity, like gardening or walking the dog, every day. The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant.
4. Meditation. Every day take two minutes to stop whatever you’re doing and concentrate on breathing. Even a short mindful break can result in a calmer, happier you.
5. Conscious act of kindness. At the start of every day, send a short email or text praising someone you know. Our brains become addicted to feeling good by making others feel good.
6. Deepen Social Connections. Spend time with family and friends. Our social connections are one of the best predictors for success and health, and even life expectancy.
Consider scheduling in TimeTrack one of Shawn’s activities each day. A happier, more centered, present and focused school leader is far more effective in driving improved teacher practice and student learning. Some of Shawn’s ideas could easily be incorporated in your SAM Daily Meeting.
You can see a CBC video featuring Shawn Achor by clicking this link: http://goo.gl/Y2zuFM
NSIP founder and director Mark Shellinger has incorporated positive psychology in SAM process work since its inception in 2002. He will feature several mindfulness speakers at upcoming state and national conferences.
PS: We made an error in the April 20 SAMtastic Weekly Tip. The amazing Georgia principal who is featured in a New York Times editorial is Clayborn Knight. We erred on his first name. Sorry Clayborn! You can see Clayborn, and his SAM Susan, in action at this link: http://goo.gl/4fmieL