Do you want true and lasting happiness? I’ll be honest here, your job as a teacher can be you as happy or as miserable as you choose to be. You’re not going to be happy somewhere else unless you make different choices.
I’ve been in and out of the classroom twice. I was unhappy the first time; and extremely happy now. I have fun every single day. What’s the difference? It has nothing to do with copious amounts of chocolate—which doesn’t hurt.
Another job isn’t more fun or easy or less stressful. . I’ve done my research and I’m going to tell you how to have more fun in the job you’re in—as a teacher. It’s all about your brain. I know; talking about the brain and research sends chills going up your spine.
Having fun—being happy—is all about alpha waves and the right half of your brain.
Alpha Waves. You’ve four types of brain waves: delta, beta, alpha, gamma. Neuroscientists have proven the connection between alpha waves and mindfulness meditation. And alpha waves always indicate an increase in creative thinking and the reduction of depression and anxiety.
But the real news for teachers is that you don’t need hours everyday to enjoy the alpha wave state. You could buy the book “Open Focus” and use the techniques developed by Dr. Les Fehmi, Director of Princeton’s Biofeedback Center. But try this one first: Open Focus.
Open focus can be practiced at any time, whether alone, or in your classroom or on the couch at home. In whatever activity you’re doing, focus on the space around you, not the objects.
Begin with the space around your body. Then move your thoughts outward, into the space around your body connects to the space in the entire room. Imagine the space that contains the desks, the walls, the children, and you. Hold this focus as long you can. Focusing on the space around you consciously—instead of the objects–immediately redirects your awareness into a more peaceful state. You’ve just made your own alpha waves.
The Right Brained Teacher. The human brain has left and right spheres. Generally speaking, the left processes language, words, logic, and does all your analytical thinking. While both parts balance and communicate with each, we spend much of our time in the left side of our brain. As teachers, we rely on our left side to analyze data, teach with words and language, and use logic to make decisions.
Our right side brains controls creativity, focus on our connection to others, and process visual images. When we teachers create lessons, build beautiful bulletin boards, and connect to our students, we are in the right side of our brains.
Too much time in the left leaves us stressed. So use a few simple activities to activate the right side of your brain. Try drawing, physical exercise, talking and really connecting to your students.
You’ll feel the tension ease and you’ll begin to laugh more and have fun. If you want more, try “The Creativity Cure” by Carrie and Alton Barron.
With creating alpha waves and using the right side of your brain, it’s all about practice. The brain is a muscle, after all. It’s your choice whether to have more fun or not, to be happier or not. You get to choose!
As Albus Dumbledore says, “It’s our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” You’re a teacher. You know who you truly are. You have some choices to make. I hope you’ll do the work I’ve suggested here to choose happiness. Download the free “Four Habits of Happy Teachers” for more inspiration. If you’re still having challenges, I can help.