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To Be All Smiles

By Ms. Kim

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” —Thich Nhat Hanh

How often do you smile in a day? Or laugh? Are you even conscious about it? Research has found that children smile about 400 times a day, a happy adult about 40-50 times a day and an “average” adult smiles about 20 times per day. It would seem that the older we get the less we smile, something to think about.

Have you ever noticed that when you smile, others smile? That is because smiling can be contagious (something to do with the brain, somewhere in the frontal lobe 😊). According to Sarah Stevenson, people who smile are attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. So when someone sees you smile, they feel good and  will smile back and quite possibly pay it forward and pass the smile to someone else.

Did you know  that when you smile, your whole body relaxes? In fact, when you smile not only do you get in a better mood but the release of cortisol and endorphins from your smile helps you become even healthier. Your blood pressure can be reduced, your endurance increased, a reduction of pain and stress as well as the strengthening of your immune system.

It is probably obvious why I chose to write about smiling for this chatterbox. This month, last month and probably many more months, life may seem hard and cumbersome. And it probably is. Maybe if start each day with a smile, and our smile spreads to our loved ones, and our loved ones are smiling, well maybe life won’t seem so hard? Worth a shot!

  1. Research has even shown that forced smiles bring some (not all) of the benefits of a true smile.  So fake it till you make it😎!

 

 

How are you Feeling?

By Ms. Tracy

With a cup of coffee in hand and a few spare moments on my birthday, while in my first ever self quarantine, I had the opportunity to read the newspaper.  As chance would have it, the news article from the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Ask yourself what are you really feeling?” resonated not only with me, but for students, parents and all teachers/administration who are navigating uncharted territory with mixed feelings and emotions.  

Marc Brackett is the author of the article, as well as the book Permission to Feel.  In the article he tells of grappling with the idea of not thinking he felt stressed to admitting he was stressed.  To him this was liberating. “Because it clarified the situation and gave me a path forward”. Even though we don’t have a clear path to the future in our current circumstances, what we do know is that children may not understand how to communicate or understand what they are feeling.  

Important takeaways for all:

  • Don’t assume the first word you or your child comes up with to describe a feeling is the accurate one
  • Do ask questions to better understand and label your feelings.  Identify them, without judgement, to help you express them 
  • When you or your child can really understand and identify the feelings you are experiencing, it leads to healthier relationships and greater well-being

Take some time today to recognize the feelings you are experiencing.  Have a chat with your child about what they think they are feeling, and have them elaborate or explain what it feels like to them to better understand. As Ms. Desfosses has mentioned we are in this together.  As we are experiencing stress, anxiety, overwhelmed over the new platforms of online learning, take the time to understand how you are feeling and make sure you are taking care of yourself.  

For more tips on managing emotions, you can visit:   rulerapproach.org

Or, if you would like to read more about the science of character, sign up to Character Lab from the University of Penn psychology department at:  characterlab.org

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