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May 24, 2018

Happiness Counts


Pausing for a moment for a little happy story. Yes, there are plenty of “other” stories to do. But this one is just fun and brightened my day. Maybe it will be a boost to you too.

We were so happy to have a group of Luther elementary teachers pop in for lunch at the 116 Farmstead, Market & Table today. (I work there part-time). Before the kids come on Thursday to begin the new school year, you could tell the friends and teachers took advantage of a rare lunch outing together between meetings. While getting iced tea glasses, taking orders and chitchatting, I commented on the ladies’ rings. They were giant jeweled rings that looked pretty “real.”

Then I got the story. The rings were from their Principal Sheila Wilson and was part of an activity about positive thinking. And the rings were part of an even bigger effort to bring in some of the concepts with the “Happiness Advantage,” a book about “positive psychology that fuels success performance at work.” Everyone could use some of that!

An email sent to Mrs. Wilson was swiftly returned Tuesday afternoon with the details. She said it all started when she attended a CCOSA training this summer about author Shawn Achor’s research and book.

“He’s written a book called The Orange Frog, A Parable based on Positive Psychology.  The parable is about an orange frog named Spark. The more positive things he does, the more orange he becomes. The other frogs are green and think he’s quite odd.  So Spark has a challenge….he can either think negatively and stay green to fit in with the crowd OR he can do the things his heart loves and makes him feel good about himself, but turn orange.

Being positive creates a ripple effect of positive vibes throughout one’s life (or work environment).  We are responsible for our own happiness.  Because positive brains have a biological advantage over brains that are neutral or negative, this principle teaches us how to retrain our brains to capitalize on positivity and improve our productivity and performance.  There are different challenges we will do beginning in September to start this focus on the positive. Happiness leads to success in nearly every domain of our lives.  The data in Shawn’s book shows that happy workers have higher levels of productivity, are healthier, and less likely to become burned out.  All of this has a direct result on climate in the workplace which, in our case, is great for kids!  If teachers are happier, so are our students.”

About the rings, Mrs. Wilson said she ran across an activity with them a while back and thought it was a good place to start.
“After passing out the jeweled beauties I told the teachers that being positive starts with an awareness and retraining the way we think. I told them to focus on the positive for the next three days and they had permission to take anyone’s ring away who said anything negative. Then I added we would come back together 
on Wednesday afternoon and whomever was in possession of the most rings would win a prize. The other activities will begin in September as we start a 21-day challenge on retraining the way we think.  It’s just good stuff and if it helps one person in the long run, it’s well worth the time spent implementing,” she said.

She also added that LPS is on an upward trajectory. How’s that for positive thinking?As they say, “it’s a great day to be a Lion.”

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