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Middle School Students Learn The Happiness Advantage

Inspired by Shawn Anchor’s TED Talk on positive psychology and the “Happiness Advantage”, Middle School students have been keeping a Happiness Log each day in their English class.  Anchor explains in his riveting presentation that by journaling for two minutes a day, for 21 days, around five specific topics, individuals are able to rewire their brains to be more grateful and happier, which ultimately leads to greater success. Each day when students come in to class, they write three new things for which they are grateful, something that made them smile, what exercise they have done, what meditation or prayer they have done, and what acts of kindness they have done. At first, it was quite a challenge for many students to identify a new idea for gratitude each day, but they have learned to look more closely at their lives and appreciate the little things that they have, or look out at the world and see how much they actually do have when viewed in light of others.  When asked if they thought the logs had rewired their brain, most students felt that they had, as they are saying thank you more, realizing all that they have in their lives, increasing their exercise levels, and being sure to be kind to others. They are thinking of their logs even when they do not have to do them, and have been feeling happier overall. Please read their first-hand reflections:

"I think my brain has been rewired because I keep on writing things that I am grateful for when I never realized how lucky I was to actually have them. I also think that I am doing more exercise than I had done before middle school. I feel luckier than I was before because I realize that I have a lot of things to be grateful for."

"I think my brain has been rewired. I say thank you much more often to my family because I realize how much I should be grateful. I play football almost every day for practice after school. I do feel happier usually because I know that my parents are doing the best they can for me and I should be grateful for that."

"I feel happier because writing down what I am grateful for every day causes me to appreciate those things more throughout the day."

I invite each of you to view the TED talk and start journaling to achieve the “Happiness Advantage” that our Middle Schoolers are experiencing.

Jenny Ohana
Middle School

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