Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ways to Cultivate Wellbeing in the Classroom, and Beyond.

--I wrote this for school... so I added 'isn't it?' because I knew Indians would be the only ones reading it, isn't it- head bob? But when my colleague put it up online I thought hmmm this is my writing and I  used to write a blog, so.... here I am putting it in my old blog. Easier to read, too! -----
We all want to feel good, isn’t it? Well, as a teacher, I too want happiness in my classroom and in my life.  If my students are happy, then my school day becomes much more fun and rewarding. Here are a few tips to cultivate wellbeing in your world. If you have school age children, see if their educators and school environment are including and celebrating the following:
1. Slow Down
When we slow down, we notice more, we appreciate more; we take stock of relationships, learning, and goals. Everyone can benefit from slowing down: students, teachers, and administrators. There's a direct correlation between our levels of contentment and the pace at which we live our lives. In the classroom, this might look like spending more time in a morning meeting with students, or lingering over a read aloud, or taking an extra 10 minutes to engage kids in a game outside after recess.
2. Get Outside
Being outside, even for just a few minutes a day, can heighten our state of well-being. We breathe fresh air; feel the elements on our skin -- the warmth of the sun, the sting of wind, the moisture of rain --, which connects us to the natural world. Even when it's cold out, or when it's warm and glorious, we can take our students outside for a quick (5 minute) walk, or we can do silent reading outside and our feelings of wellbeing will surely increase.
Furthermore, when the weather is comfortable, why can't we have some of the many meetings we all have to sit in outside? Switching it up (weather permitting) by taking students outside under the shade of a tree could keep lessons fresh and fun.
3. Move Your Body
We all know this already, but I'm going to remind you anyway: Moving our bodies increases our wellbeing. Even if you can't take your students outside, you can incorporate stretching breaks into their days, play quick games that get their hearts pumping and their energy out, or put on music and dance.
4. Blast Good Music
Music in a fast tempo and in a major key can make us feel happy and it has a measurable positive impact on our bodies -- it can even boost our immune system, decrease blood pressure, and lower anxiety. Playing music as your students enter the classroom can be welcoming and can create a positive atmosphere. Parents and caregivers- you can listen to music at home with your child whilst cooking, or folding laundry, any time!
5. Sing
Now sing along with those tunes, or sing in your car or in the shower -- and see how you feel. Singing requires us to breathe deeply, which makes us happier. Singing along to some of our favorite music makes our brain release endorphins. If you teach elementary school, then it's easy to get your kids singing every day. Teach them a simple song and start the day with it. Use singing during transitions or to signal the end of an activity. Find songs that connect with the content you're teaching -- they'll remember it better -- and they'll feel happier.
6. Smile
Even if you're not a smiley person, try smiling more often -- aim for authentic, genuine smiles, but if you can't produce one, go ahead and fake it. Yes, even fake smiles can move you along towards a more content state of being. And more than that, they can have an affect on those looking at you. So teachers, administrators, and parents: just see what happens if you smile more often at the people you interact with on a daily basis.
7. Incorporate Quiet Time
There's an abundance of evidence about how meditation causes changes in our brain chemistry that produces feelings of calm and wellbeing. Start by taking a few deep long breathes with your eyes closed.
There's so much more to say and do on this subject, but I hoped to start with some practicle ideas. If you have thoughts, please share with me here...
thanks for reading
now go outside and smile! 

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