Optimistic Alternative to Teaching

“Smile! It could make you happier,” reported Melinda Wenner in her article summarizing several studies on the science of happiness. She highlighted how suppressing a frown can lead to more happiness as can putting on a smile. On this day of Thanksgiving, I invite fellow educators to join me in an emphasis on the positive.

I applaud Laughter Yoga for epitomizing such a completely positive approach to practice along with Seane Corn’s Off the Mat and Into the World movement. Efforts like these support  healthy, active engagement with others.  So often I see workshops and series targeting a negative outlook: yoga for depression, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, anxiety management… Martin Seligman led the charge in psychology, “I realized that my profession was half-baked. It wasn’t enough for us to nullify disabling conditions and get to zero. We needed to ask, What are the enabling conditions that make human beings flourish? How do we get from zero to plus five?”

Let us embrace this season of giving and carry it into the new year. With gratitude and optimism, let us focus on our strengths and the strengths of our students, family and friends. Let’s see more workshops on the calendar in the new year emphasizing how to thrive versus just survive.

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