The answer is yes!
A recent study by the Oxford University Wellbeing Centre found that a short course on happiness can raise your life satisfaction by about 15% – that’s bigger than the psychological boost you get from finding a new job or a new life partner. Pretty impressive.
The Teacher Wellbeing Index 2019 suggests that happiness for teachers is in rather short supply at the moment.
- 72% of education professionals describe themselves as stressed, this figure rises to 84% of school senior leaders
- 74% of education professionals consider the inability to switch off and relax to be the major contributing factor to negative work life balance
- 57% of all education professionals have considered leaving the sector over the past two years as a result of health pressures
- 71% of education professionals cite workload as the major reason for considering leaving their jobs.
Couple these findings with Gallup research showing that only 13% of the global workforce, and 8% of the UK workforce, say they are engaged by their job, and the picture seems pretty bleak. But does it have to be this way?
Sadly, I can’t wave a magic wand and fix everything that’s not-quite-right with schools, but I can show you how to manage your mind so that you feel less negative about work.
Habits of happiness
William James, one of the fathers of modern psychology, said it takes 21 days to create a habit. I’ve been experimenting with ways in which we can create happy teacher habits. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg shows how small changes, implemented over a 21 to 28 day period, create new neural pathways in the brain, which make it possible for you to replace your old routines, behaviours and thoughts with new ones.
My new online course, the 28 Day Happiness Boost, is based on these findings, it will show you how to build new happiness habit loops that allow you to thrive, not just survive.
At the end of 28 days you’ll know how to:
- view work through a positive rather than negative lens
- respond to situations rather than reacting in the moment
- substitute healthy coping strategies for any unhealthy ones you may have come to rely on
- experience more positive emotions so that you’re more engaged and energised by work
- apply scientifically proven happiness boosting strategies to your own circumstances so that you can access the advantages of happiness
28 Day Hapiness Boost
I have created the course specifically for teachers and school leaders. It applies the latest findings from neuroscience, coaching and positive psychology to our unique circumstances and will give you simple, practical, scientifically proven strategies so that you can make lasting changes to your work mindset.
At the end of just 28 days you will feel happier, more in control, more balanced and more able to face even the tough days at school.
You’ll learn, step-by-step, how to manage your mind so that you experience less stress and reactivity and more happiness. I’ll be sharing the techniques I’ve trialled on myself and shared with my collegaues and my clients. It’s what works. Even happiness sceptics tell me they think differently as a result – they can’t believe how much anger, frustration and stress they could have avoided if they had known some of these techniques sooner!
Happiness is a skill, it’s not just a feeling, it’s a skill that we can cultivate through regular practice, and, as any with other skill, the more you practise the more natural it becomes, the better you get, and the more benefits you receive. You wouldn’t expect to become a master pianist just by listening to other virtuoso players or reading their biographies. You’d practise, for countless hours, and probably work with a teacher or coach. It’s the same with happiness, if you want to master happiness, you need to practise.
Don’t be a happiness sceptic! There is a tonne of research showing the benefits of happiness. Happy people are 50% less likely to have a heart attack or stroke, they are more productive, more creative, less stressed and less anxious, they have stronger relationships, are more altruistic and better at problem solving.
If you want to make a difference, not just in the lives of others, but in your own life, then don’t put off happiness until you’ve marked those papers, written that scheme of work, updated those policies, entered that data, updated your displays and got through parents evening…NOW is the time to make an investment in your happiness.
Ready to wire your brain for happiness?
The bad news is desire and motivation alone are not enough to make a change. When doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don’t change, only 1 in 7 people will make the recommended lifestyle changes. That’s because change is hard. And changing ingrained habits of thinking or behaving is even harder.
However, your brain is neuroplastic, meaning you have the ability to alter the way your mind works and as a result, change the way you feel. You can change the way you feel about work or you can change how you feel full stop. Once you’ve mastered the habits of happiness, you can use the tools you’ve learnt to make any change you want. It might not be too big an exaggeration to say you can use these tools to change your life.
Meaning – the good news is – change is possible. And the quickest and most effective way to change your behaviours is to surround yourself with people who support the changes you want to make.
Happy teachers happy schools
It took me a long time to learn the things that I now practice and talk about each and every day.
I share what I’ve learnt because I know what it’s like to be THAT teacher – the one who is juggling it all and trying to be everything to everyone but ignoring their own needs.
And even though I still sometimes fall into the busy trap, these days I’m much better at catching myself and using the tools I’ve discovered to get centred, be present, ditch the guilt and reconnect with what matters to me.
I’ve designed the 28 Day Happiness Boost to show you how to achieve real change. Ultimately what I want for you is what I’ve found for myself – enthusiasm for the work I do, more reilience to the inevitable stresses of our profession, time for the things that light me up and a little bit of joy in every day – no matter how chaotic school gets!
Join the 28 Day Happiness Boost to get the tools, techniques and support you need to make the changes you want. 😊 We kick off on 27 February 2020 and it would be great to have you on board.