Wellness Warrior Spotlight
Name: Kris Connors
Occupation: K-5 School Counselor
How have you been teaching the happiness habits in your setting?
I have been teaching happiness habits to individual students and small groups in my office and extending this to classroom lessons so that teachers can continue this on in community circle time or when they see the class needs reminders about what is truly important.
What results have you noticed from teaching these skills?
Wow! I have a success story about a 4th grade student who was in an EBD class last year (as a 3rd grader)! This student would have anxiety attacks at school, scream when upset, and not attend school due to having difficulties controlling her behavior or being overwhelmed. She started this year at our school and I began implementing Generation Wellness strategies/lessons and happiness habits from the get go with her. She was reluctant at first because she had a hard time trusting adults due to being new to our school.
As time went on, she felt more open to share her feelings and use the happiness habits to calm herself down and focus on the positives in her life (family, friends, and the things she had in her life that were good). This girl, who has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), has achieved many of her goals and has reduced her time with me (for social minutes) because she is able to generalize the skills she has learned to regulate herself!!!
What lessons did you learn through teaching the process of teaching the Happiness Habits?
These habits are so easy to teach that I didn’t realize how simple they would be to pass onto teachers; plus, after seeing, first hand, the success of the happiness habits, I observed how confident students have become after learning them and using them!
What advice do you have for teachers, counselors or principals who wish to teach happiness habits?
Do it! You can even do them all in one day to give them the big picture of what focusing on yourself and others is all about! It really is simple but so huge of an impact! Starting this can look different depending on the students you are working with. I suggest using them as a focus for each week (like focusing on gratitude one week and then the doubler the next, etc.). After that, I would have students set a goal or intention to what they want to work on after you have covered all of them. Students can learn how to do the happiness habits once you teach and reinforce them, and if you do them as well (be the role model!). The more you teach and expect happiness habits, the more these become a part of their lives and yours.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Whole child education is: teaching students that we care about them….all of them and taking care of them (emotionally, physically, and socially) as best as we can, including their family.
Favorite book (for children or adults) is: Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne because it teaches about perspectives.
The number one skill children/adults need to learn in order to thrive in today’s world is: hope! That there is always hope; hope in people, hope in strengths, and hope in learning something new each day!
Happiness is important to teach because: it provides kids and others to focus on being grateful and the joy of life!
Favorite uplifting song that inspires you is: Can’t Fight the Feeling by Justin Timberlake
I believe in teaching happiness and I'm a Wellness Warrior for life!
To learn more about the Happiness Habits, watch Shawn Achor's TED Talk here: https://www.generation-wellness.com/blog/ted-talk-the-happy-secret-to-better-work
Kris Connors, you are a true Wellness Warrior, helping students develop the tools to thrive in school and in life! Thanks for sharing your story.
For more information about The Mindful Student Curriculum (which teaches all five happiness habits), click here: