Tag Archives: Self Awareness

Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

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Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

A Happiness Project taught in a classroom in France brings happiness to a classroom in Spain and to me! Two students taking “The Science of Happiness” course given by the University of California Berkeley were unaware that their paths would happily cross and be mutually beneficial.

My new friend, Madame Corinne, a caring teacher in France to six and seven year old creative students and I connected when Madame Corinne did a Google search and found “My Happy”.  Madame Corinne was kind enough to leave a comment sharing that she was a teacher in France. After reading her comment I was eager to ask Madame Corinne if she would like a copy of That Makes Me Happy! I noticed that her e-mail address came up with her comment on the “My Happy” comment page. I thought about sending her an e-mail, then decided not to. Yes, self-doubt held me back. In the past I would have simply given in to my self-doubt. Instead, I reminded myself how far I had come since my first blog post. I felt good about the writing, the volunteering,  and the learning. One question I now ask myself when I am presented with an opportunity is: “Why not?” I again found myself looking at Madame Corinne’s e-mail address. This time I e-mailed her. I asked if she would like a copy of my story to read to her class. Madame Corinne was so kind to say yes! She was already planning a wonderful Happiness Project for her new class and the story fit right in.

Madame Corinne began her new school year by focusing her students on happiness. I was very honored that she read “That Makes Me Happy” and had her students make Happy Rings as part of her project. Madame Corinne asked her students to think of “3 small happinesses” each morning. Students created pictures and  posted their drawings to a bulletin board.  Below are the pictures Madame Corinne shared with me. Her students were very creative with the Happy Rings. I especially liked how they personalized them, even the smiley faces! Happy Ring total has now reached 127! I also enjoyed looking at all the pictures on the bulletin board.

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Madame Corinne shared her project with a teacher in Spain. Senorita Berta will be teaching her students this happiness project and all the students from each classroom will share their ideas this year! How wonderful!

I was excited I had written that e-mail and in a small way I was apart of these terrific projects. I am still amazed at how simply reaching out has connected me to fellow happiness creators so far from my home. Creating happiness is making a difference to Madame Corinne, Senorita Berta, and their students this year. Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project not only teaches students they can create their happiness, it also teaches students even though we may be living in different countries, we CAN connect, and we CAN make a  POSITIVE difference. Everyone’s ideas are important and we can be happier by sharing them!

Thank you Madame Corinne and Senorita Berta for teaching your students about creating happiness! Thank you for sharing my story. Please thank your students for making Happy Rings!

That Makes Me Happy!

More Pictures 12/5/16

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Keep Calm and Growth Mindset

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Growth Mindset

I couldn’t believe it when I found this! Yay! I need this on a shirt, now. 🙂 Are you or your children back in school? Maybe you are beginning a new job? Maybe you are managing or teaching others? If you haven’t learned about having and encouraging a growth mindset yet, please read on.

The concept of growth mindset was developed by psychologist Carol Dweck.  In recent years, many schools and educators have started using Dweck’s theories.  Carol Dweck explains “In a fixed mindset people believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They also think talent alone creates success, without effort.” Alternatively, “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, brains and talent are just the starting point.  This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”

When you embrace a growth mindset you realize that your effort and perseverance will lead to learning more and becoming smarter. You will also view challenges and failures as opportunities for your learning and growth.  I can only speak of my own experiences with this. I can say for certain that I have made positive changes in my life by having a growth mindset for myself and my children.  In fact, I typically had a growth mindset for my own children, but not for myself. I really kept myself from new experiences for reasons like I’m not that smart, I can’t learn that at my age, I don’t want to fail…It also made me realize that I wasn’t being a good role model for my children thinking that way.

As I tried to keep this mindset when encouraging my children, I found it difficult not to tell my children they were smart! I think It’s okay to still say those things as long as you explain to them that their hard work and effort help them become smarter. My children love to draw and color. When I praise their work I try to be specific about what they did. Instead of just saying “What a beautiful picture”, I would say “Wow, I really like the way you used all those different colors!”, or “I can see how much time you took coloring in that background so carefully.” Another point I have made with my children is that it is okay to make mistakes or even fail at something. It helps us to learn and grow. My older son was pursuing his black belt in karate and at one of his tests he failed. He did not earn the next belt. It was a very difficult experience for him and myself, to be quite honest. It is difficult to see your child struggle, but it is a learning experience. He learned that he needed to practice more and not give up. He did both of those and did go on to receive his black belt. ( Let’s Talk about Karate )

After reading about Carol Dweck’s research regarding growth mindset, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer’s with Kristina Tracy Unstoppable Me 10 Ways to Soar Through Life came to mind. This is a wonderful book to read to your children to encourage them to have a growth mindset and of course, it also ties nicely with ways to cultivate happiness and mindfulness. 🙂

unstoppable me

What’s Inside…

  1. You’re Great-No Matter What!
  2. Persistence Pays Off!
  3. Welcome the Unknown
  4. You Have a Choice
  5. Farewell to Worry
  6. Peace Begins with You
  7. Enjoy the Here-and-Now
  8. Healthy Me!
  9. Creativity is the Key!
  10. What Can You Give?

Each point includes an example and an illustration showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life. Dr. Dyer also includes questions at the end of the book to help begin conversations.  My children have been captivated by the stories and illustrations.  Great book to share with your children or children you care for.

I also found this simple chart that explains the two ways of thinking:

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

Older children will appreciate this simple chart to encourage their understanding of the concept of having a growth mindset.

Again, having a growth mindset encourages a love of learning and resilience. It helps us to connect with others in a positive way and gives us all the opportunity to reach our full potential.  If you are interested to learn more I have a more detailed chart and a video on my Happiness Page which is currently my home page. You can also go right to the source at http://www.mindsetonline.com

Stay Calm and Growth Mindset….

Summer Reading

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Have you been checking out your children’s summer reading lists and preparing them with a variety of great books to read? Have you been sitting on a beach wishing you had something for yourself to read? Maybe, you have a lunch break to sit outside and eat with a good read? Well, please take a look at this!

Livehappy

This is livehappy! I received this as a birthday gift. Perfect for me, right? Sometimes I feel like my kids when they get obsessed with a toy or subject and that’s all they want for Christmas! I’ve been that way about this subject. I guess, I don’t have to tell you that. 🙂  Whether you love this subject like I do or you have a more typical interest, this magazine will keep you living happy!

I’m holding the June 2015 issue which has the Good Morning America Celebs on the cover. This issue shared GMA’s workplace well-being.  livehappy columns include Work, Home, Health, Mindset, and Self.  Many positive pictures, ideas, and quotes throughout inspire a positive mood. You will find in the June issue a Happiness Library (latest books on happiness), discussion of happiness in education (my all time favorite), pictures of Happiness Walls across North America (#happyacts), how happiness improves business, and heroes all around us.

This is one of my favorite articles that took place at Castle Hills Elementary School in Lewisville, Texas. If you look closely at the picture you will see “nearly 800 students and faculty braved the cold and rainy weather to spell out the word “Happy”. The school took time to learn about happiness and then took the #HappyActs challenge. Kindergartners all the way through fifth graders created a happiness wall featuring happy acts. The students participated in this to celebrate March 20th, the United Nations has chosen March 20th as International Day of Happiness!

School Spirit

After you enjoy reading livehappy, pass it on! If you are interested to learn more about happy acts visit their website at http://www.happyacts.org.

Find livehappy online at http://www.livehappy.com.

 

Happy reading!

 

 

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…..

 

 

What Are You Focusing On In 2015?

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IMG_20150105_144042894 Journal given to me from my positive friend, Danielle

 

 

 

Focus, or “directed attention” has been life changing for me. When I first read about an exercise to understand the power of our mind’s focus, I did not realize what an impact this would have for me.  I was reading about focusing thoughts. The writer asked the reader to think of the color red and notice how suddenly you would see red everywhere.  It was a cold winter day and I was reading in the pick up line at my son’s school.  I thought to myself, how funny, this won’t work with everything so white with snow. Driving home I noticed a red car, red door, another red car, red lights, and so on. Some of you may laugh and think, well that’s really not that unpredictable. Next, the writer suggests thinking about something bigger. I chose something that I wanted to have to help me exercise, but I didn’t want to spend the money for it. This took longer. I thought about it daily for weeks. One day I happen to find what I wanted and it was free for the taking (used, of course). This got my attention and I decided to keep an open mind as I read more about the importance of our focus.

It’s rather simple if you think about it. Focus on positives and you will not only feel better, but you will open your eyes to let in more positives than you saw before.  I always thought of myself as making efforts to see the “glass half full” but, what I realized is that it is more than that. It is taking the time to really notice all the wonderful happenings or things around you that fill your world with positivity.  If you focus on negatives, you may only see the negative and miss other positives that are happening all around you.

Researcher, Richard Wiseman, conducted studies to understand why some people seemed luckier than others. He asked volunteers to read through a newspaper and count how many photos were in it. There were two groups of people: people who claimed to be lucky and people who felt they were unlucky. The lucky people were quicker to know the number of pictures than the unlucky people in this task. On the second page of the paper there was a large message reading “Stop counting, there are 43 photos in this newspaper.” It seems the people who felt unlucky missed the message. The people who felt lucky saw it.  This study and others like it show that people who focus on the positives are more optimistic. Optimism leads to being more observant of positive opportunities. People who don’t feel lucky (or who do not seek out positives) may miss out on positive things all around them.

“My Happy” is one way for me to stay focused on the positives. What better way to organize information for myself and others to benefit from? I didn’t realize all the other wonderful things that would come from this happiness blog.

I have friends and family who supported me by reading or following this blog. Besides that apparent support, I had many opportunities for wonderful conversations about things I was writing about. I realized my friends and family shared my interests. Some examples of focusing on the positives leading to increased positivity for me were:  receiving a daily positive quote book, learning about twitter, receiving current information to add to my blog, sharing of a book  “14,000 Things to be Happy About”,  receiving a journal to help me organize all my ideas. One of my favorite results was when my older son told me he thinks my blog is “cool”!( If you are a parent, you know how amazing THAT is) Staying focused on the positives and opening up about it has led to these experiences and more for me. These may sound like small things, but aren’t the small daily connections we make so important?

My positive friend Lois, who encouraged my idea to blog and guided me to WordPress, led me to a community of bloggers which I have received support and encouragement from. It has also given me the opportunity to learn from their blogs and gain new perspectives from all over the world!

I hope you are excited about practicing this simple strategy of directing your attention to the positivity around you, if you don’t already, in 2015! May your focus on positivity lead to more positivity!

Below is the 2nd “Happy Discovery” (previous post) for grown ups.  My positive friend, Margit, shared this book with me. I loved reading about this writer, Barbara Ann Kipfer. She started her happiness journal in 6th grade! Reading through this book really puts a smile on your face. 🙂

Tiffany Phone Jan 2015 001Tiffany Phone Jan 2015 002

Barbara Ann Kipfer also has a website http://www.thingstobehappyabout.com

A very special thank you to Patricia and Dan for staying so positive when my family can be a handful, awesome, but a handful.

To my friend Kim for staying positive through a tough situation, you inspire me!

 

Here’s To A Happy New Year! (Are you with me?)

Do You See My Twitter Feed?

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boy looking through binoculars

Blogging has led to tweeting on Twitter and following tweets! If you haven’t tried this yet, please do! Even if you are a bit shy, it is such a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people. Happy, positive, fun people!

First of all, you can “tweet” about what is important to you or simply about things that make you…..(you know what I am going to say, right?) happy! Others can “like” your tweets and follow YOU.  Another fun feature is when you find something you like, you can “retweet” it! Maybe your friend’s tweet, or something you want your friends to learn about, or just something that made you laugh and you want to share it. 😀

Secondly, you can find people or groups on twitter that you are interested in and follow their tweets. They don’t have to be your friend. If you really like one of their tweets, you can click on their link to learn more!

Lastly, even when you’re not actively finding others, they can find you! I have made connections with some wonderful people and groups.  Some of which I searched for and some I connected with when they found me.

You never know, you might have fun if you give it a try. Please, though, look at my Twitter Feed conveniently located in my sidebar  under Blog Hits.  You do not need to be registered with Twitter to read my feed. I will be bringing tweets to your attention, but anytime you see a tweet that is interesting, you can easily click on its link! “My Happy” posts will appear as tweets, but other tweets will be information that is similar or supports  “My Happy” content.

I was prompted to share my feed on “My Happy” when I found some great links. If you like what I have been blogging about, I know you will really like them.

Please take a look at the December 4th retweet  The Power & Science of Social Connection: Emma Seppälä TEDx . It is about compassion, kindness, and of course, happiness! Emma Seppälä  brings our attention to current research regarding compassion and why it is important for us to have it for others and ourselves. Hoping this video reminds you to be  kind to yourself and others.

Thanks for reading!

Thankful

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Thankful

This was my first Thanksgiving as a blogger. In fact, my blog is about happiness, positive thinking, social thinking, emotional intelligence and being grateful! It is the perfect opportunity to write about how much we need to have gratitude to be happy, how our children need to be taught how to be thankful and why, that studies are showing happy and resilient people are the most grateful people! Unfortunately, I was stumped. I let the holiday slip by without a terrific post about having an attitude of gratitude!

I researched and found many wonderful posts, articles, studies regarding this special holiday and it overwhelmed me. I felt an obligation to give my readers something they have not seen elsewhere, something special. Instead, I started to feel like I wasn’t doing enough anywhere in my life. I didn’t make super cute crafts with my kids, I didn’t have them write any thank yous, I only read one Thanksgiving story.  I was caring for my sick kids (colds being passed to each other), trying to figure out how to balance my family’s needs with my needs during these last few weeks, stay well myself, not to mention trying to be a supportive wife, friend, and sister.

So, I took a deep breath. I decided to take my own advice and be kind to myself. Instead of feeling badly about what I didn’t do, I thought back to the memories of Thanksgivings past with my family as a child. I tried to do some of the things we had done then that made the time together seem so special. Little things, like celery with cream cheese, using little leaf dishes, and turkey napkins. Once we were seated for dinner, I said a blessing and my husband asked each of us to name one thing we were grateful for. We, then, simply enjoyed each other for the rest of the day.

I do hope my readers who celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday. Whether it be this holiday or another that you might share some of my experience, I would love to hear about it.

Thankful for friends, family,  “My Happy” readers, and all who care for my family

Happy for each new day

Always hopeful
Never sad for too long
Kindness is appreciated
Say I love you, often
Give even a little
Invest in your loved ones
Visit every chance you get
I am wishing everyone peace and love
No worries
Get some rest

🙂 ~feeling thankful

 

Kindness For You, Not Excuses

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Everywhere there are acts of kindness taking place. Our local channel for children has a kindest kid contest, teachers have kindness walls, counselors are telling of kindness as the key to successful relationships, I want to bring your attention to one of the most important ways to be kind that you might be missing.

I’m sure you are kind to your children or children you care for, I’m sure you are kind to your husband, wife, extended family, friends, colleagues, church groups, sales clerks, and I could go on. My question is, are you kind to yourself?

You are a very important person in your life, you are your first best friend, have you appreciated yourself lately? Are you chuckling to yourself right now reading this? I hope it is because you know I am right! It is called self-compassion. Be sure to take time to nurture yourself, create your happiness (of course, I had to say that), take a break, smell the roses, and appreciate yourself. We tend to be our own worse critics. We will judge ourselves where we wouldn’t judge or criticize another.  This is a current area of research because so many of us have difficulty with this. However you treat and see yourself, others will too.

This is especially important if you do have children. Your children will learn about self-compassion by the example that you set.  I discovered inspiring books for my children by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer which help them to understand self compassion, self-awareness and  improve their self-confidence. Dr. Dyer wrote “Incredible You” and “Unstoppable Me”, among others.  These, like many children’s books, are wonderful to read over and over throughout your children’s childhood. Because my children liked  these books, I looked for another. I then found, “No Excuses!”

no excuses

“No Excuses!” is a story of a young boy who loved sea turtles and dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. My oldest son and I refer to this book often as a reminder to stay focused on our goals.  The first time I read this with my son, I learned a lesson myself!

Dr. Dyer writes this story to increase children’s understanding of what excuses are, where they come from and not to let excuses stand in the way of their dreams.  I had never really thought about my own excuses in the way he described.  At the end of this book I noticed that Dr. Dyer had written a more in-depth book for adults titled “EXCUSES BEGONE!”  How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits. Got it, read it, and I would recommend it, if you find yourself holding back because of excuses. This was where I first realized how strong our mindsets are but, how possible it is to change them. When I asked my children to believe in themselves that they can do anything with effort, a good support team, and positive thinking….why was I not telling myself the same?

I hope YOU know that with effort, a good support team, and positive thinking  you can do anything! Are you telling yourself the same? Remember to be kind to yourself and don’t let your excuses stand in the way of reaching your goals, big or small. 🙂