Students, past and present, motivate me!
“The future of the world is in my classroom today.”
Related Post: Students First
Related Post: Students First
I write it on my bathroom mirror. I post it on my refrigerator door. I tape it to my office wall. I speak of it every time I teach.
These 4 words remind me to focus on what’s good, what’s working, what’s infinitely possible. Even (especially) when everything is going wrong.
Because if I can find one good thing in the course of a day, I have found my reason to live, to love, and to lead.
Sometimes the blessings are obvious. Sometimes they’re hidden. Sometimes it’s simply breathing. Other times “it’s the moments that take my breath away”.
Mantras work because they wake us up. Snap us out of it. They carry us from the perpetual loop of our worries to the equanimity of present time.
For we all need a gentle nudge in the right direction. A loving reminder to come back to reality.
Or we’ll all be too busy looking down that we miss the beauty of what’s right in front of us. Life itself. 💙
Related Post: Happiness in one word.
Have you ever wondered why some people remain upbeat and positive despite the chaos that surrounds them while others are utterly miserable even in good times? What explains the difference between these two groups of individuals?
Are happy people just lucky people born happy? And unhappy people born miserable? Or is happiness a choice we make day by day, moment to moment?
The answer to this question is twofold. On one hand, 50% of happiness is predetermined by biology (e.g., inborn temperament) while the remaining 50% is influenced by life circumstances and intentional activities.
As shown above, research indicates that approximately 40% of happiness is intentional activities (e.g., daily exercise, meditation, forgiveness), 10% is life circumstances (e.g., income), and 50% is genetic (e.g., temperament),
Though we may have little control over genetics and/or life circumstances — we do have personal agency when it comes to intentional activities. Be it a walk around the block, gardening in the backyard, or simply relaxing by the fire.
Even though you might not be the happiest (or healthiest, or richest, or most zen) person in the room, you (like me) have room (potential) to grow and expand – no matter your life circumstances or genetic make up.
In the presentation below, I explore the happiness formula (genetics vs. environment) in more detail. Including: 1) the developmental origins of happiness, 2) how individual differences in personality affect happiness, and 3) the paradoxical relationship between traumatic life experiences and happiness (posttraumatic growth).
Click on Is Happiness a Choice to learn more. The video is in webcast format so it requires Adobe software. It will run on your computer, but might not work on your phone.
Special note: I take medical conditions such as clinical depression and anxiety into account when discussing “Is Happiness a Choice?” in my webcast. I underscore that intentional activities such as meditation, exercise, and proper nutrition will not cure mental illness, though they will help tremendously.
For example, medical research has demonstrated that exercise (an intentional activity) improves mood in individuals with anxiety and depression. And in turn, enhances personal agency and locus of control ⇐ the number one (environmental) contributor to happiness.
Related Post: You hold the key.
I value positivity and a sense of security in the classroom, above all else.
For it is only when students feel safe, supported, and uplifted are they motivated to learn.
Creating a harmonious classroom atmosphere happens long before the school bell rings.
Which is why my preparation for teaching psychology includes both physical and mental preparation.
Ultimately, the more relaxed and happy I am, the more calm and content my students will be.
I am grateful for every student I teach and I want to make sure that they get the best of me.
How do you prepare for your job each day?
As a psychology professor (and former school psychologist), I talk about mental health issues with students every single day.
My classroom is a safe place for students to be themselves.
Which is critical when working with youth (18-24) who represent the highest proportion of individuals with mental illness.
Education helps bridge the gap between fear and freedom.
And so does an open heart. And an open mind.
I believe in my students. In their potential. In their dreams.
I believe in their ability to overcome challenge, adversity, and self-stigma.
Students need my support and encouragement.
And an educational community that truly cares.
Because self-stigma is real.
And often more silencing than social stigma.
Because sharing our story is one of the scariest and most liberating things we’ll ever do.
Be it about mental illness or another vulnerable part of our lives.
Which is why the best place to open up the conversation about mental illness is to meet students where they are.
These are their words.
Ontario student mental health helpline ⇒ Visit Good2Talk.ca