Tag Archives: learning potential

Have Fun, Learn, and Grow

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I recently watched a speaker explain that sometimes we don’t follow through with ideas because they seem too “easy”.  That is how I feel about my blog. I am simply a messenger posting what is all around us.  It is my way of doing the work for my readers by organizing important information which can improve lives. This is my fun, learning and growth. I have been posting about ways to feel happier (according to the latest research) and retweeting real life examples of the information I share. I would like my readers to find the information easy to understand and use in their lives, because that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

The following video explains the difference between having a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.  Carol Dweck (Stanford University psychologist), Christine Carter (sociologist, happiness expert, author) and Kelly Corrigan (author, speaker) discuss mindset and motivation.

To learn more please visit their websites at:

http://www.mindsetonline.com

http://www.christinecarter.com

http://www.kellycorrigan.com

 

 

 

 

 

Social and Emotional Learning

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This video, 5 Keys to Social-Emotional Learning Success, was shared from Edutopia’s YouTube channel. I thought this video would be helpful in understanding SEL.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is happening in the U.S.,  China, the UK, and Singapore! Some of my friends get excited about new technology, some get excited about new fashion trends, others get excited about the latest music…I get excited about social-emotional learning!!!

Validated by research, social-emotional learning is shown to enhance academic success as it actually reduces stress levels in that pursuit. It prevents negative behaviors and gives students the “soft skills” they will need to flourish in today’s work environments.  It also promotes positive relationships and attitudes about school, and in general.

Studies with toddlers show that we really are “born to be good”.  In his book Born to Be Good, UC Berkeley professor (and Greater Good Science Center Director) Dacher Keltner discusses our natural tendency to be good.  Keltner makes the case based on research in psychology, sociology, and neuroscience that we are also wired for good. More specifically, he looks at the science of emotions and how positive emotions such as compassion and awe are contagious—and help to bring out the good not only in ourselves, but in others as well. (Taken from:  Social-Emotional Learning: Why Now?  by: Vicki Zakrzewski Ph.D.)

SEL cultivates our self-awareness.  Focusing on understanding our emotions, positive and negative, to help us navigate the classroom, workplace, our relationships and the decisions we make in life.

Again (if you are a regular here at “My Happy”), positive emotions such as gratitude, tranquility, love and joy expand our hearts and minds which helps us to share and connect with the people in our lives and increase our learning potential. Also, as I have previously mentioned, there are times everyone experiences negative emotions and difficult experiences, however, our children will be better equipped to handle those times with this kind of learning.

I have created an SEL page where I have taken information from various sources to explain what SEL is and why it should be a priority in our homes, schools and communities. I also included websites where you can find more information. Take a look at the Social and Emotional Learning Page to learn more about it. 

 

I would love to hear about what you think! You can write a comment or e-mail me at tiffanylynne_14@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

Got Emotional Intelligence?

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EIMy family and I practice our EI skills regularly.  This is something I encourage you to take time for. Please be sure to do a “self-check” before your try to teach it to your kids or the people in your life. Expecting your children to learn and use these skills only works if you “Lead By Example”.  We are role models to everyone around us.  Trying to improve and strengthen your emotional intelligence will help your children or the people you are closest to.  The following is practical information to begin learning and strengthening your Emotional Intelligence.

 

“Emotional Intelligence is the set of abilities that helps us get along in life with other people in all kinds of situations.”  ~Maurice H. Elias, Ph.D.    Rutgers University

Emotional intelligence is a wide range of skills that children (and adults) can develop and improve.  Developing and improving these skills are critical for emotional well-being and life success.

The following are social and emotional skills to focus on:

  • happiness and optimism
  • self-regard (self-compassion)
  • emotional self-awareness
  • assertiveness
  • independence
  • self-actualization
  • empathy
  • social responsibility
  • interpersonal relationship
  • flexibility
  • problem solving
  • stress tolerance
  • impulse control
  • conflict resolution

Please note, happiness and optimism are at the top of this list.  It is my opinion that they should be.  If we focus on happiness and optimism we will be strengthening many of the other skills on this list. “My Happy” is full of ideas to strengthen your happiness and optimism.  Many of my posts discuss self-awareness. We need to be aware of our thoughts and realize we can control them and choose to be positive. Using positive thinking can improve other skills.  Take flexibility for instance. I realized that I have difficulty with this at times. In fact, I can really get annoyed  when plans change at the last-minute.  My initial reaction was to become upset and react negatively (grumpiness, I know, hard to believe..ha ha).  After realizing I did this, I had more control over it. Now when something happens that forces me to be flexible (when I don’t want to) I still may initially react negatively, but I can usually catch myself and change my attitude. 🙂 My improvement happened as a result of  practicing positive thinking which contributed to my being a more flexible thinker.

Learning and improving these skills is important for everyone. Not only does it improve your social and emotional well-being, it leads to a more successful life.  This is a topic that I have wanted to share with others, especially caregivers because I know the value of these skills for children. Not only does it help children do well socially and emotionally, it increases learning potential.

As I continued my research in this area, I found CASEL. The Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning, based at the University of Illinois at Chicago, seeks to enhance children’s success in school and life by promoting evidence-based social, emotional, and academic learning as an essential part of education from preschool through high school. I am looking forward to someday having SEL in schools world-wide.  Website: http://www.casel.org or check them out in my twitter feed!

Books to read:

EI Goleman         EI parenting

more to come…..

 

 

Let’s Talk about Karate

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Let’s talk about karate.  Why do you ask? If you haven’t been following along from the beginning you may still be wondering what “My Happy” is all about. I decided to write this blog about happiness and how to work on it daily because whatever brings you happiness should be practiced daily. Which will lead to a healthier, more mindful, and more enjoyable life, especially when things get tough!

I’m writing about what I have found to be helpful towards this goal for myself or my family. I want to share what has worked and maybe inspire others to try something positive.  Karate has been that for my son. Karate welcomes all ages and abilities.

Exercise, building a village, and helping others, are all areas incorporated into karate.  (Please see: Happiness Page) I would like to talk about Kenpo Karate (only because this is the one I am familiar with). There are other forms such as Taekwondo, but I’m not sure how similar they are. At the age of four, my son needed physical therapy. He had been falling and having trouble running. He also needed to have some occupational therapy as well. Those areas are an entire post in itself, but not today.  His OT, Anna, a wonderful person, suggested we have our son take karate. She informed us it assists children with coordination, balance, focus and more. I knew my son’s preschool friend  was taking karate. I asked his mom where he was taking it. I enrolled him and luckily he was in his friend’s class. Even still, my son would be timid at times and not want to go, or once we got there would not want to take class. I remember strongly feeling the importance of karate, although I had little knowledge of it.  I would have him sit with me and watch his class. The teachers were always supportive and encouraged him to try “next time” which he did.

I’m writing about this as a very proud mother and a glad one. I am proud because even though my son struggled in the first few years, he got better and better with practice. Six years later he is about to earn his black belt! Karate gave him a second family, strength, courage, understanding, respect, friendship, flexibility, confidence, and so much more.  First you need to be able to do the basics, like sit ups and push ups. Then you learn blocks, holds, forms, combinations and the creed. The creed tells of respect and peace over power.

When my son was about to earn his last brown belt, we had one of our proudest moments as he didn’t pass the test.   As a karate student one needs to go through a few hours of testing to gain the next level belt.  This particular test day, he didn’t pass. His teacher gave him his belt, but explained he would have to test again to have actually earned it. I was so grateful that he was able to still have the belt, but what surprised me was when my son chose to wear his old belt to his class that week. I asked him if he realized the kids in his class would know he didn’t pass his test, and he said he did. He explained he wanted to be honest and that he would only wear his new  belt after he had past the next test. Which, of course, he did. I was also pleased with how the other karate students and teachers handled it as well when he chose to wear his lower level belt. They all supported my son and didn’t ask him any questions!

I have teared up watching other kids and adults achieve their black belts, not only do the students have to put in effort, they are asked for letters of recommendation, to acquire ten hours of community service, an essay on the requirements and responsibilities of a black belt, good grades and conduct at school, and to be able to run a nine minute mile.   In these last few months I’ve come to realize what a terrific achievement this is for my young son. Karate has strengthened him not only physically, but socially and emotionally as well.  All of the parents whose children participate in karate, whom I have spoken to, feel the same. I highly recommend karate for children, boys and girls and I also would like to encourage you, as well.  I, myself, have it as a future goal.  I think back to my younger years and wish someone had talked to me about  it. I hope to interest any age (with your doctor’s okay, 🙂 ) to try a class or two and go from there. Again, I am very glad that we gave our son this gift. He is so young, about to earn his black belt and now has the confidence that with hard work, a support team, and perseverance he can accomplish ANYTHING!

 

Keep an Open Mind

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928  After reading Principle #1, The Happiness Advantage, I realized that I needed to change my own thinking.  Most of us believe:  if you are successful, you will be happy.  My thinking needed to change to:  if you are happy, success will follow.  Decades of research has proven this, but we are still stuck in the other belief.

We all have experienced negative emotions causing physical changes in our bodies (upset stomach, back pain, increase of stress) well, positive emotions also affect our brain and body, but in a positive way.  Therefore, changing your thinking and realizing the importance to focus and practice happiness first, and probably foremost, changes how your brain works and body feels. Daily focus and practice towards a more positive attitude will cause you not only to feel better but to experience things like clearer thinking, more creativity, being more open to new ideas, and my favorite, happiness is catchy!  I posted that I am trying to “Lead by Example” because if I become happier and feel better, so will the people around me. Who doesn’t want that?

Even more interesting to me was the experiment I read about where scientists primed their subjects before hand. One group was primed to experience something happy and positive and the other was primed with something causing stress and anxiety. Not surprisingly, the happier group did better, but not only did they do better,  they were better able to problem solve, were more creative and more open-minded.

Positive emotions release chemicals in our brains that make us feel good.  Studies also show that these chemicals also increase our learning potential. The way we organize information, quicker and more creative thinking, the ability to see things in a new way, and longer lasting retrieval. Feeling happier also helps us to see more positives in our environment.

Some companies that Shawn mentioned who use this advantage are Yahoo! and Google. Obviously, very successful! They know that happier employees lead to a more successful company.

Shawn advises the following to use the Happiness Advantage in our lives:

Meditate
Looking forward to something (vacations are nice )
Acts of Kindness
Create positivity in your life
Exercise
Plan and use your money on activities that bring happiness
Exercise a signature strength

In my next post I will write more about these areas.