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Teaching-happiness.ppt

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Teaching-happiness.ppt

  1. 1. National Drivers • Every Child Matters (2004) • National Service Framework for Mental Health (2004) • Common Assessment Framework (2004) • National Healthy Schools Status (2005) • Ofsted Framework (2005) • Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (2005-2007).
  2. 2. Positive Psychology Positive psychology is the new science of optimal human functioning: what makes people happier, more productive and more successful. It focuses on what works by studying human success rather than human weakness or failure. It was launched as a new discipline in 1998 by Martin Seligman, the then president of the American Psychological Association. It qualifies as a science because positive psychologists form hypotheses and then test them with controlled experiments and longitudinal studies. Positive psychology focuses on individuals, groups and communities.
  3. 3. Three Levels of Happiness 1. Level one: The most immediate and direct state of happiness involves an emotion or feeling like joy or pleasure. The feeling comes about because a desired state is attained; there is not much cognition involved beyond the recognition that the desired thing has happened. Such feelings are transient. 2. Level two: When people say they are happy with their lives they usually don’t mean that they are experiencing pleasure in their lives all the time. Rather, they mean that on reflection on the balance sheet of pleasures and pains, the balance is reasonably positive over the longterm. Level two happiness is not so much concerned with pleasure and feelings as judgements about the balance of feelings and can be summed up by terms such as contentment and life satisfaction. 3. Level three: This state cannot be easily measured as it involves a broader sense of happiness and perhaps can be summed up by Aristotle’s ideal of the good life termed ‘eudaimonia’ which refers to a life in which the person flourishes and fulfils their true potential. (Nettle, 2005)
  4. 4. The Chemistry of Happiness According to neuroscience every feeling we have is a ‘neuro-chemical event’. Danger, stress and anxiety trigger the release of adrenalin and cortisol. These narrow your focus, sharpen your thinking and temporarily increase your strength to enable you to run away fast. Dopamine is the ‘motivation chemical’. Its release into the bloodstream is energising, increases our ability to focus and motivates us to take action. Serotonin is the ‘feel good’ chemical and is calming and rewarding.
  5. 5. The Chemistry of Happiness (cont) Endorphins are the body’s natural opiates. They control pain and create pleasure. They are released every time you laugh, relax and exercise. They also create more bonding in the brain so they can make you more intelligent. So when you choose to be happy you also become more intelligent. Happiness (and unhappiness) can be enhanced by our own actions. Interventions can be effective at any stage of the life course but the greatest benefits occur in the childhood.
  6. 6. Broaden-and-Build Theory Barbara Frederickson’s (2001) Broaden-and-Build theory of positive emotions suggests that positive emotions, enjoyment, happiness, joy, broaden one’s awareness and encourage novel, varied and exploratory thoughts and actions. Over time, this broadened behavioural repertoire builds skills and resources. For example, pleasant interactions with a stranger become a supportive friendship.
  7. 7. What Makes Us Happy? Scientists suggest that, broadly speaking, the following factors are associated with high levels of happiness or satisfaction: • positive relationships with family and friends • rewarding work • sufficient money • physical activity • sound sleep • good diet • engaging leisure • religious or spiritual practices. Wealth, fame, appearance and possessions are not included in this list.
  8. 8. Set Point of Happiness A study by Lyubmirsky (2007) has demonstrated that our level of happiness is made up of three main components: 1. set point – 50% 2. circumstances – 10% 3. intentional behaviours – 40%. set point intentional behaviours
  9. 9. Building Happiness • Increase positive emotions. • Reduce the impact of negative emotions. • Change the subject (thinking about others rather than ourselves). (Nettle, 2005)
  10. 10. The Happiness Programme The aim of the programme is to teach children and young people how to be happier: • by increasing positive feelings and learning how to feel more comfortable with the bad ones • by learning that feeling good when things are bad is one of the fastest ways to make circumstances improve • by making small changes in the way they think and act, and learning that these small changes can make a huge difference to their happiness.
  11. 11. Mindfulness Stopping the gossip in your head involves taking a few moments to become calm and concentrate on one’s breathing. Practiced on a regular basis mindfulness can: • improve attention skills • increase resistance to disease • build a stronger capacity to deal with the stress and difficulties of life.
  12. 12. Appreciative Inquiry A key approach to change in positive psychology is appreciative inquiry, originally developed by Professor Cooperryder (2001). Appreciative inquiry is an approach to change that involves thinking about what is working well in a variety of situations and also appreciating the value of something that has worked. In the programme this process is referred to as ‘What Works Well’: WWW Every positive thought creates a channel in the brain. Lots of positive thoughts create deeper, stronger channels that make subsequent positive thoughts easier.
  13. 13. Wishing Others Well: WOW One of the core principles of positive psychology is that ‘other people matter’. Relationships are central to most people. One of the strongest findings in the happiness literature is that happy people have closer relationships than less happy people and spend less time alone. Family and friends make people happy and happy people are more likely to make friends. The concept of an emotional bank account (Covey, 1989) emphasises the idea that relationships are something that we invest in. We can make deposits (things we do to build relationships) and withdrawals (things we do that may harm relationships).
  14. 14. Appreciate the Positive Included in Peterson and Seligman’s (2004) Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues is the strength of ‘appreciation of beauty and excellence’. Being able to recognise, be present and appreciate positive experiences is something that some of us are just ‘better at’. This, however, does not preclude the fact that those of us who don’t naturally know how to appreciate the good things in our lives, can’t learn to. • Savouring involves consciously engaging in thoughts or behaviours that increase the positive events or positive feelings. We can savour a positive event before it happens by being excited and looking forward to it and we can savour the same event after it has happened by remembering it.
  15. 15. Appreciate the Positive (cont) • Pleasant activity training helps individuals to avoid the drawback of always thinking about tomorrow and the tyranny of wanting. It involves writing down the things that we enjoy doing and making a commitment to do them more often. • Active gratitude: a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation for life. This involves a focus on the things an individual has rather than what they do not have. The process of counting your blessings on a regular basis somehow has the capacity to make them multiply.
  16. 16. Flow Flow is a term coined by the Russian psychologist Dr Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced ‘cheeks sent me high’) that refers to a state of optimal experience and involvement in an activity during which we are performing at our best. During flow individuals are completely involved in what they are doing; our skill level matches the challenges of the task, we are compelled to persist at what we are doing until we get it right and we lose track of time. Flow provides an important pathway to happiness.
  17. 17. Growth and Fixed Mindset Neuroscientists have discovered the ‘neuro-plasticity’ of the brain: its capacity to grow and develop into old age. Carol Dweck (2006) has introduced the concept of ‘cognitive fitness’ – the ability to improve our brain and intelligence though developing a ‘growth mindset’. • A fixed mindset is based on the concept that our intelligence and ability is set in stone. • A growth mindset means that it is worth having a go and persisting at challenges. Emerging research indicates the positive link between physical activity, brain health, cognition and memory. Thus we can improve our ‘cognitive fitness’ by healthy eating, regular exercise and sleep, and by experiencing positive emotions.
  18. 18. Signature Strengths Seligman (2003) identified twenty four signature (higher) strengths which are associated with moral traits such as integrity, valour and kindness. Building strengths and virtue is not about learning and training but about discovery, creation and ownership. Seligman writes that, ‘…positive emotion leads to exploration which leads to mastery and mastery leads not only to more positive emotion but also to an individual’s signature strengths.’ Being able to put a name to what one does well is intriguing and empowering.
  19. 19. Goal Power Goals are an important part of the growth mindset and are an important way of using and building on signature strengths. ‘A goal enables us to experience a sense of being while doing.’ (Ben Tal-Shahar, 2007). Csikszentmihalyi (1990) explains that having meaningful goals and a clear sense of purpose is essential to attaining flow and creating a better future.
  20. 20. Restructuring One’s Thinking There are four key skills involved in restructuring one’s thinking. 1. The first step involves recognising the negative thoughts that flit through one’s mind when one is feeling low. Seligman observes that these thoughts can be pervasive and undermine one’s mood. 2. The second skill involves evaluating these thoughts. This means recognising that the things you say to yourself may not be true. 3. The third skill is generating more accurate explanations. 4. The fourth skill is decatastrophising or stopping yourself planning for the worst because doing this can be a drain on your energy and ruin your mood. (Seligman, 2003)
  21. 21. A - B - C Learned optimism is about thinking accurately about challenges or adversities in a realistic and non-negative way. • A stands for Adversity. • B for Belief. • C for Consequence. Albert Ellis (1962)
  22. 22. Think Good: Feel Good ‘Optimism, flow and happy memories are essential to happiness.’ (Seligman, 2003) ‘Emotional memories depend on how an experience concludes.’ (Frederickson, 2001)

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