Happiness, with blue and pink flowers and birds, butterflies, and dragonfiles

“Happiness is something that multiplies when it is divided.”

~Paulo Coelho

What is your definition of happiness? Take a moment to reflect on this question before we dive into the topic at hand.

Happiness is a complex concept, one that varies from person to person. It encompasses positive emotions, life satisfaction, and a sense of fulfillment. But can happiness exist when we are alone? It's an interesting question worth pondering.

In our never-ending pursuit of happiness, countless books have been written on the subject. It seems that everyone yearns to experience happiness in their lives, and I am no exception. As I recently found myself disconnected from the world during a six-day power outage, I had ample time to reflect on what happiness truly means to me. In doing so, I examined three key elements that contribute to happiness: pleasure, engagement, and meaning.

Pleasure involves indulging in activities we enjoy. It's those moments of bliss when we immerse ourselves in things that bring us joy and contentment. Engagement, on the other hand, refers to feeling interested and connected to our activities and the people around us. It's that deep sense of involvement and connection that enriches our lives. Lastly, meaning plays a vital role in happiness. It's the feeling that what we do matters, that our actions have a purpose and positively impact ourselves and others.

Throughout my life, I have discovered that one of the greatest sources of happiness for me was my career as a principal. Every moment I spent in that role was filled with immense satisfaction. I formed connections with staff, students, families, and the community. I genuinely felt that the work I was doing mattered and had a profound impact on the lives of others.

However, a near-death accident in 2010 changed the course of my life, altering the way I could pursue my passion. Despite my best efforts to recover from a traumatic brain injury and find alternative paths to happiness and fulfillment, I faced frustration and triggers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Writing a book became my new goal, a means to share my beliefs and insights to help all children. Although I poured my heart and soul into the writing process and sought professional guidance to refine my work, the final outcome did not align with my expectations. Publishing the book came with its own set of challenges and costs.

While my book remains unpublished, I have found solace in sharing fragments of it each week on my blog. The feedback and encouragement from others who desire to see more have been a source of motivation.

I have come to realize that my happiness lies within my family. Each day, I prioritize spending more time with them, and this brings me immense joy. Additionally, helping others who reach out to me for assistance has become another avenue for happiness. The act of supporting and making a difference in their lives fills me with a profound sense of purpose.

As I reflect on my journey, I recall a high school goal list where I wrote that I would write a book in Mr. Bob McMurray's class. Though I may not have obtained a doctoral degree as initially envisioned, I have achieved everything else on that list, including completing the book I set out to write. Mr. McMurray's name is proudly displayed on the dedication page alongside a few other influential figures. Writing the book and accomplishing my goals have been significant milestones in my pursuit of happiness.

Throughout my life, my "why" has always been centered around giving to others. It has been and continues to be my driving force. I have made a steadfast commitment to freely provide whatever is needed to those around me for as long as I am able. Not once have my goals revolved around seeking fame, accumulating wealth, or receiving any sort of personal accolades. Instead, every goal I have set for myself has been rooted in benefiting others and giving back to the community. When I pursued my degrees in education, it was a gift to my parents, fulfilling their request and honoring their support. These aspirations to give to others stem from my spiritual journey growing up in the church, where I learned the profound truth that giving is far more rewarding than receiving.

Ultimately, happiness is a subjective experience that we have the power to shape. It is a choice we make every day. While there may be moments when we feel like giving up, it's crucial to remember that happiness is always within our reach if we are determined to find it. So, let us embrace the things that bring us pleasure, engage fully in our activities, and seek meaning in all that we do. As we embark on this lifelong journey, let us never lose sight of the fact that happiness is not a destination but a state of mind that we can cultivate and nurture.

Thank you to all of my supporters, followers, and new and previous friends. Always know you make a difference in my life each day as you read my words, and I know you are part of the solution daily in a world that needs you.

How do you build up morale in your school for teachers and students? If you want to build morale in your office these ideas work as well. Usually, it takes a lot of time and money and is cute, but it does not last. This has been my experience, it seems, over the years. The administrative team works hard to gather all the items, and teachers appreciate it, but it is not always what they need.

What do teachers and students need? The great idea is to ask them.


Students

Students want you to know them. This builds morale in the most significant and lasting way. When staff can call students by name and have conversations with them, they know you see them, hear them, and are validated.

Having students actively involved in all aspects of the school's decision-making and their learning is another way to build morale. Students will enjoy being active in helping to create incentives for students, developing projects, and knowing the importance of all that is being done. Students can present data, lead peers in positive change and help in communications in understanding the efforts of the school. While building morale, your building learners.

This reminds me of my sayings: Education is something we do with children, not to them.


Staff

Handing out cookies to everyone is a great booster, but what is it telling the individuals you are working to build up? If you are only handing out cookies without anything else to go with it, you are missing the opportunity to lift staff.

Every individual is different and will need other things; the same is for students. However, it is hard to do individual appreciation and motivational stuff without doing it as a group. I have always done group motivational and appreciation, but I back it up throughout all days with individual care.

Morale is a group effort and never rests on the shoulders of one. As a leader, we work closely with the other team leaders in our spaces to let us know when some individuals need personal attention. We can also notice things on our own as well. We all work together to make each day better than the day before.

One of the things everyone needs more of is time. Giving individuals extra time is the best gift you can provide. If you can cover a classroom for 15 minutes, it would be fantastic. What if you could hire some subs to float to cover lunch periods so groups of teachers could have extra time to have lunch together? This is one way to build up morale truly. Have the lunch catered in, or bring in a grill to cook it yourself for them—a great way to bring them all together.


Validation and knowing what they do are essential to building strong positive morale. Helping to get to know each other and learning to have fun while you work is the best way to enjoy the place you work.

If you need help in working on ways to build up your morale, please message me or comment. I can provide you with more ideas to help with your specific situation. There are solutions to every problem we have in life.

You will never change or influence if you always remain the same. So take some risks and be the light to shine bright.

Today, I discovered looking at old pictures; I did not recognize many things at first. Then, all of a sudden a little memory escaped from the photo and jumped right out to bring me a great story to enjoy a laugh.

Have you ever had a moment when you realized the value of those little moments captured in pictures that store memories for those in them? Each individual in the image could tell their memory which can contain the things unique to them.


Why not capture more memories and moments every day? As you pass by someone, do you say anything? Maybe you don’t know them, but it is okay. Can you still say, Good Morning? What about the people you see each day? Do you ever take a moment to do something to help them realize how much you appreciate them? Why not?


My brain injury has taken a great deal from me, and I work each day to keep what remains and regain what I can that was taken. It is difficult for others to see the struggles, and actions taken by some during times of difficulty seem to stand out in my memories. But we must do our best to push aside those negative thoughts and replace them with the kindness, love, generosity, and encouragement found in the captured memories over time.

Memories fade over time; even pictures do at times, but the ones we can keep vivid in our lives through sharing, connecting, and having others tell us more about them are even better.


Why not slow down just a little to ensure all of the moments in the day are worthy of a piece of the puzzle for a memory in the story of the days we share with the many people who share the days with us? In the 24 hours in a day, how many of those hours do you find yourself sharing the day with those you barely know? How much time is spent alone? How much time is spent with those you know? If you reflect on your previous week, what stands out in your memories? It is fun to think about what you are holding on to and letting go of as you go through the days.

I have asked a few people to get together with me. I was only lucky enough to meet with a couple. Life is busy for people. I just wanted them to tell me stories they have from their past work life together. I want to hear their stories and memories to capture them in puzzle pieces to store in my memories. The more you listen to them, the more they will remain. I hope to meet with more again soon.

Did you know there was a World Happiness Report? The current report for 2022 can be found on their website. In the graphs displayed on country ranking, you will see the United States ranks as number 16, Finland takes first place, and Denmark is in the 2nd spot on the chart, which they have held respectively for the last five years.

“The report uses global survey data to report on how people evaluate their own lives in more than 150 countries around the world, with the ranking based on a three-year average. Key variables that contribute to explaining people’s life evaluations include gross domestic product per capita, healthy life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom to make life choices, and perceptions of corruption.”-(Bloomberg)

Denmark (The Danes) whether their lengthy, dark winters by gathering with friends to share a warm drink or a warm meal. The word they use for the feelings associated with those moments is hygge (hoo-gah). Hygge helps them offset the impact of enjoying less sunlight than their counterparts at lower latitudes. By circling a simple table with loved ones, their hearts are nourished.


I took time to research the countries ranking high on the happiness report to see what they were doing to rank so high on happiness. Some of the things I think all of them have in common is how to appreciate life, support each other, and gather together as a community.

Gathering together as a community is the strongest way to build a solid foundation. We will face difficult days and challenges to weigh heavy on our shoulders and hearts. However, with community encouraging one another and nourishment to each other’s souls, together we are able to accomplish so much.

My husband and I grew up in the same town at the same time. We share many similarities. Talking about growing up, however, is a little different because of our households. However, the things we did had similarities. I was an only child growing up; he had several siblings sharing space with him. We played outside until the street lights came on, and we had to head home. The neighborhoods took care of everyone! People would gather on the front porches to talk, and safety was always felt.


What do you think about happiness in your community? Do you have a way to check the happiness level in your community? I am always looking at ways to improve happiness. Are there things that get in the way of your happiness? What makes you happy?

"I only have 2 rules!"
© 2024 Brenda Yoho
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