According to the United Nation’s World Happiness Report that was released on March 20, 2019 to mark the World Happiness Day, India fell seven spots in the ranking in 2019 to the 140th position in a list of 156 nations. Now this is a definite concern for, us, Indian educators. The epidemic… called happiness! The epidemic… called happiness! The epidemic… called happiness!
Today, children are under incredible pressure from all sides — parents, mentors, peers, teachers, grandparents. They are muddled, they don’t know how to react and express their emotions in their day- to- day situations. They look at us and copy what we say or do. So, it is our responsibility to ensure that we work at learning how to teach children to be happy. A single and most important step to achieve this is to learn to be happy!
Over a period of years, I have learnt few tricks and techniques to achieve this. By applying these in day-to-day life, I joyfully call myself a ‘Happiness Ambassador’. My motto is ‘Be happy, just because you want to be happy.’ ‘Happiness’ is a relative term for every human being. For me ‘Happiness’ is a conscious choice that we make and create for ourselves. It is not something that depends on our circumstances or people’s validation.
Lots of people ask me, “How can you look so happy or be so happy all the times? Some have even asked me if I fake it. Some feel God has blessed me with abundance and a struggle-free life! Whereas some have also been ready to pay to know the secret of my happiness! Before I share what I feel, let me share what I read somewhere, ‘Human ignorance has made even the obvious a secret’. I completely go by this quote. For me, happiness isn’t an outcome; it’s a way of life!
A happy person has to be self-aware of 4 C’s:
1. Contentment – Doesn’t mean you are not ambitious; means you cherish what you have and yet work harder to become better without regrets!
2. Composure – Calm and collected in any and every situation! Thinking with a balanced mind and focussed on the need of the hour!
3. Compassion – Believes in a cause, believes in action and believes in the impact – perfect trinity!
4. Connectivity – 3 dimensional, one at the axis point (with oneself), one horizontal (with people around) and finally vertical (faith and trust -spiritually) (Think a basic graph with X, Y and Z- Axes!) These 4 aspects make our personality.
We need to work at all 4 C’s with clarity! The final step is –‘Take it as it is’. The truth is , ‘unhappiness is a child of resistance, whereas happiness is a by-product of acceptance!’ We cannot control what happens to us…. though we can control how we respond to it! Take a baby step to develop this attitude.
The three major aspects to keep in mind are pleasure, passion, purpose.
In the early years of childhood, we need to make it part of the curriculum. Harmonious Spectrum Education (HSE)is a curriculum created by me. I have included Happiness as an attitude to be developed in preschool – MPBS with mindfulness.
i. Mental Makeup – It simply means the way of thinking.Children up to the age of 6 years are high on mirror neurons. They look at the environment around them and observe people. Imitation eventually becomes a way of living. Therefore, as an educator or a parent, it is important to be a happy being and reflect a healthy thinking pattern.
ii. Physical wellbeing – If child isn’t physically well, an impactful teacher or curriculum wouldn’t be useful at all. Healthy food is surely important however, kinaesthetic activities are a must for children. Every child needs a minimum of 30-40 minutes of physical activity daily.
iii. Behavioural conditioning – This is based on the assumption that human behaviour is learned. Using this knowledge in a classroom and applying it in educational psychology we can achieve the desired behaviour.
iv. Social adequacy–Every child needs to be accepted in society without any discriminations. This learning has to be delivered consciously in early years.
Happiness isn’t an outcome; it’s a way of life!
MPBS has to be indoctrinated with Mindfulness. Mindfulness means having control and being focussed on what one feels, thinks, expresses and says.
Accomplishing this is not an easy task but not impossible. “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” said Abraham Lincoln. Instead of changing the world, to make things better, let us upgrade ourselves to become better to make the world around us better! Just imagine if we can make Happiness a contagious epidemic!