Make the School Year Happy, not Stressful

Teaching consistently ranks as one of the top 20 most stressful professions. And too much stress in anyone’s life makes happiness hard to maintain.

But the fact is that as a teacher, you have a responsibility to yourself to think and participate in those activities that bring you a fulfilled life—one that brings you happiness. Robert Louis Stevenson, the Scottish-American writer wrote, “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.”

Here are a few thoughts that may assist in this most important endeavor.

What is important is how FREQUENTLY, not how intensely, you are happy. The thrills of winning in Las Vegas, an intense joy of a personal encounter, or having a peak of ecstasy are wonderful moments. But happiness comes from being content most of the time. This occurs when you have thoughts and feelings of well being, an inner sense of balance and purpose.

Good news such as getting a promotion or winning a lottery prompts happiness for a while. Then we adapt. Bad news such as ending a relationship or losing a job brings sadness for awhile. Then we adapt. Adaptation explains why people can be happy after physically disabling accidents and tragedies.

To maintain happiness, here is a simple procedure I’d like you to practice: Write the words, “I intend to be happy today,” on a piece of paper and stick it on the bathroom mirror. When you look at it in the morning, stop and reflect. Ask yourself, “What can I be happy about today?” Vary your answers for a week.

Posting the note and taking time to reflect will remind you to be grateful during your day for that which contributes to happiness—be it joking with a co-worker, stopping to gaze and smell the splendor of a flower, drinking your favorite cup of coffee, or spending a special moment with a child.

Happiness hides in life’s small details. If you’re not looking, you will not see them. Start looking today.