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International Day of Happiness

March 19, 2015

March 20 is the 2015 International Day of Happiness. Join the movement!

happiness day

Happiness can be taught. Some of us were taught by our parents, a grandparent or even a teacher.  It can be modeled daily in your classroom and in your interactions with students, colleagues, family, acquaintances and even strangers. Life really is what you make of it. (Insert your favorite cliché here.) There’s a body of research to support this and the implications for your classroom are enormous. What can you do daily to foster a safe and positive classroom environment that will encourage more laughter and happiness?

The good news: happiness skills are not hard to learn. It just takes time and practice. Neuroscientist Richard Davidson compares learning happiness to playing tennis. “You won’t end up in Wimbledon the first week, but if you keep on practicing, you absolutely will get better at it.” Though some students just appear to have a happier disposition and outlook, anyone can become happier. According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., a social psychologist at University of California, Riverside, happiness is influenced by our genes, environment, and also by the activities that we engage in.

  • 50% of happiness is influenced by genetic causes
  • 10% is influenced by environmental factors
  • 40% is influenced by intentional activities



What can you do? Plan to do something each day to make those around you (especially your students and colleagues) happier.

5 Ways to spread happiness daily:

  1. Greet colleagues and strangers with a smile. Try it as you walk down the street and the hallway.
  2. Hold the door open at the cafeteria or market and let someone else go first.
  3. Write a thank you note or email to someone to let them know how important they are to you. (Think secretary, custodian, or my principal.)
  4. Use please and thank you in all your social interactions.
  5. Acknowledge the beauty of the world and those around you.

Plan to give your students a daily opportunity to make happy.

5 Ways to model happiness for your students:

  1. Greet your students at the door with a smile!happy face
  2. Begin the day or the class period with a time for students to share. What are you happy about, proud of ….? (Get to know your students.)
  3. Read a book. One of my favorites is Have You Filled a Bucket Today?  Follow up with a journal writing activity. (It works for older kids too. We’re never too old to spread happiness.)
  4. Share a story of students making a difference. Give your students an opportunity to complete a service project for their school or community.
  5. Play music. Invite your students to share their favorite music and add it to your playlist. #HappySoundsLike



Make Friday and everyday HAPPY!

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