Welcome, Happy Activists! A Happy Activist is someone who, through kind words and intentional actions, strives to make the world a better place. Live Happy invites you to join our #HappyActs movement! On the 20th of each month, we encourage everyone to incorporate kindness into your daily lives by participating in each month’s planned activity. The more who join the #HappyActs movement, the more positive impact we'll all have on our homes, workplaces and communities. What you think and do matters!
August’s theme—just in time for the back-to-school season—is education. For students of all levels, learning character strengths and mental and physical well-being alongside the academic basics ensures both greater achievement and long-term happiness. And for adults, scientists confirm that lifelong learning is associated with greater life satisfaction and a sense of optimism and engagement.
Our August 20 Happy Act is to post encouraging and positive notes at school; try our school-themed sticky notes to get things started! Meet our Happy Activist of the month, Kathleen Desloges, a music, drama and dance teacher in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. “I get to work with hundreds of students in a week, and every day we start our classes with a conversation about gratitude, happiness or kindness,” she says. “It’s fun to show up with a purpose!”
3 Steps on How to Prepare for a Happy Act:
- Research what charitable opportunities are near you.
- Contact the organization and discuss how you can help.
- Plan a time to go volunteer and/or determine what you can donate.
- Lifelong Education Delivers Confidence, Joy and Hope. If we’re not learning, we’re not growing. According to the VIA Institute on Character, adults who are learning something new—by taking a class, pursuing a hobby or reading every day—report less stress and greater feelings of hope and purpose.
- Never Stop Learning. Try these three strategies from Ryan Niemiec, Psy.D., of the Via Institute on Character, to boost your learning mindset and start to see challenges as opportunities.
- Character and Well-Being. British schoolmaster Sir Anthony Seldon says positive education “isn’t a case of either teaching for tests or teaching for personal growth and happiness; if you teach for happiness and growth and character, you’ll get better exam results because you’ll be developing their intrinsic motivations rather than extrinsic motivations.”
- 4 Ideas Shaping the Future of Education. Learning to develop grit and character; considering the role of parents; emphasizing what’s going well and focusing on problem-solving over negative characterizations are driving conversations about positive education.
- The Strength Switch With Lea Waters. Listen to our Live Happy Now podcast with Lea Waters, Ph.D., to learn about the benefits of strength-based parenting and two easy ways to start implementing it.
Barbara Oakley, Ph.D., the Ramón y Cajal Distinguished Scholar of Global Digital Learning at McMaster University, professor of engineering at Oakland University and author of several books, including A Mind for Numbers and Mindshift, teaches an online course called “Learning How to Learn.”
Ready to grow? Start with these guidelines:
- Think of learning as a lifestyle. Create your own process for acquiring knowledge and skills and ask questions.
- Work with your brain, not against it. When learning new things, give your brain time so new neural connections can be made.
- Rethink failure. Encountering difficulty and failure encourages brain plasticity.
- Be prepared to feel like an impostor, then get over it. Mastery is not a static end state, but a high level of ability to find ways to refine one’s knowledge and skills.
Challenge yourself to ask, “What are you learning that keeps you inspired and hungry for more?”