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The acronym RAIN can help us remember how to directly open to and work skillfully with these difficult feelings. Here are the steps to doing this practice:. If exploring difficult emotions becomes too hard, you can always practice a little mindful breathing or gratitude, and go back to exploring the emotions later.

Activate High-Arousal Emotions

This will help you to be kind to yourself, while bringing more balance to your emotions. Learn how social connections in childhood lead to happy adults. Discover seven ways to foster gratitude and empathy in kids. Listen to a discussion about raising forgiving kids. Explore the trend of teaching mindfulness in schools.

When working with a difficult experience, the most important thing you can do is to be compassionate and caring toward yourself—to not beat yourself up about it and invoke more pain. Practicing self-compassion involves turning your caring attention toward yourself, remembering that your pain is something everyone experiences.

But being there for them all the time, and not allowing them to experience difficulties and frustrations, can keep them from learning resiliency or the power of handling their emotions with wisdom and compassion. Over-protected children are often more anxious than their peers and have trouble bouncing back from setbacks. To help children navigate difficult times, we still need to encourage joy practices with our kids. Practicing gratitude and mindfulness during the good times gives them the energy to really put in a concentrated effort when things are difficult—sort of like charging a battery.

We want to teach children to express their emotions in healthy ways rather than stuffing them down or exploding. One thing teachers can do in the classroom is to help children find antidotes to negative thinking—often a big source of stress for kids as well as adults. Reframing or correcting distorted thinking is one way to change negative thinking into realistic thinking. One exercise involves giving children a sheet of paper that has been divided in two. Then teachers can ask their students to notice throughout the next day or week when the more positive antidotes run through their minds and encourage them to focus on these when a negative thought arises.

By doing this, you are helping to rewire their brains to pay attention to the positive and make it their natural, default setting. This helps kids to be courageous when things get tough, and to not get bogged down in self-defeating thoughts. Another thing that helps is fostering compassionate action.

When we learn how to help others who are going through hard times, it can help us to strengthen our relationships , an important resource in challenging situations. A new teacher I know recently shared the reason he decided to become an educator: When a student I am working with smiles, the feeling I get is indescribable. When our students feel happy, we feel happy. When our students celebrate a success, we celebrate with them. Empathic joy delights in the good everyone can share.

14 Ways to Squeeze More Joy Out of Every Day

And in the classroom, empathic joy might have academic benefits: Unfortunately, day-to-day workplace challenges can undermine the contagious sense of joy that may have brought you to teaching in the first place: If you are struggling to recall recent experiences of joy, here are five suggestions for nurturing and developing empathic joy in your classroom. But our perception of the reality around us is shaped by many unconscious biases, not the least of which is negativity bias—our tendency to focus on negative events, like the student who is acting out or the parent who criticizes your teaching.

We may also hold biases against our students, unconsciously feeling someone cannot learn due to limitations associated with their race, language, culture, or socioeconomic status. Start by pausing and trying to be present, recognizing quiet moments of triumph in the classroom. This is mindfulness—cultivating moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surroundings.

Condemned to Joy: The Western cult of happiness is a mirthless enterprise. | City Journal

Educator and researcher Patricia Jennings describes how mindfulness helps teachers to slow down, set up a positive learning environment, and strengthen their relationships with students. If we develop skills to foster both open awareness and focused attention over time, then we will become more present and responsive to the range of students in our classrooms.

The daily practice of mindfulness can support a teacher in embodying a more attuned presence throughout the school day.

How to be Happy - The Science of Happiness and Feeling Positive in Life

Can you recall a similar visceral experience that may have enticed you into teaching? A self-contented sigh in a moment of accomplishment? But at its best, self-help captures something uniquely American: Smiles, a Scottish author, urged readers to imitate self-made men of industry.

It sold a quarter of a million copies. Smiles was far from the first person, though, to write a self-help book. The genre had been brewing across the pond for more than a century.


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Essays to Do Good. The genre truly gained steam, though, around the turn of the twentieth century, when a philosophy known as New Thought made self-help more user-friendly by relaxing its fixation on hard work. Attitude is everything; if you believe it, you can achieve it. New Thought achieved an enduring breakthrough when Napoleon Hill, in , advised a bankrupt nation in his Think and Grow Rich. Close your eyes and think about money, he told readers, and soon it will materialize in your lives.

Around the same time, Dale Carnegie, who had grown up poor and made money teaching public speaking, wrote a book with more practical advice on achieving worldly success. People could advance in their careers and become rich by learning from How to Win Friends and Influence People. It was advice your grandmother might spout but packaged for a new managerial class germinating as the modern corporation grew. Abraham Lincoln, frustrated at the escape of Robert E. Lee, elects not to send a critical letter to General Meade. Carnegie knew intuitively that people love stories. S elf-help books, being popular literature, have always mirrored the larger narratives of their eras.

In the s, an interest in Eastern spirituality encouraged by the Beatles and others led to self-help focused on meditation and Zen practices. The wrenching social upheavals of the era were also reflected in self-help literature, with the rise of what Steve Salerno, the author of Sham: There was an explosion of step programs, along with the relabeling of what had once been considered bad behavior alcoholism, for example as disease.

While all victimization books had a solution component, the gist was that your problems were the fault of a broken society or of hang-ups bestowed on you by your backward parents or by someone else. Laura Schlessinger and Dr. Phil McGraw came to prominence in the s preaching that you are responsible for your bad behavior.

As a corollary, you can determine the direction of your life.