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Mindful May: How Intentional Kindness is Contagious

More Mindfulness May fun coming your way! Watch this quick video on how the science of happiness can help boost your mood and the mood of your school staff…even the grouchy ones who can’t wait until the school year is over. Transcript of video follows for those who enjoy reading. 🙂

Hi School Psych friends, it’s Rebecca from Thriving School Psychologist and Notes from the School Psychologist blog. I am so excited to chat with you about one of the other pillars of happiness that I have been researching, and I’ve talked a little bit before about gratitude and about acceptance and about focusing on your bigger why, and now I want to kind of talk about this concept of intentional kindness.

Now, we’re all kind people! We’re school psychologists, we love to give and we love to appreciate people. I think that what is so critical is that we need to acknowledge when someone else is frustrated that we don’t slip into judgment. What I mean by that is this: So I was at a coffee shop and I bumped into a teacher who looked like he needed a coffee the size of his head, and I was like “Hey, how’s it going Mr. Jenkins,” (I just made that name up) and he’s like “Oh my gosh, today I think I’m just going to make the kids dig a hole in the playground because I don’t even know what to do and I don’t want to grade anything,” and so I could have, in that moment, been like “Gosh, you’re a horrible teacher” or whatever, but in that moment I had compassion for him and I was like “Yeah, I get it, you know, it’s really hard to navigate the end of the school year when we’re super tired.”

And then I saw him again, a week after Teacher Appreciation Week. Okay, and so the school went all out and decorated the doors, then made lunch for the teachers, and kids made cards, and I saw a totally different teacher. He’s like “Oh my gosh, kids who I didn’t think cared at all wrote these really beautiful cards.” So sometimes just the mere act of intentional kindness, just showing someone at your school site that you appreciate and care for what they’re doing can make a world of difference in their mood and it’s contagious!

Research has shown that small acts of kindness in the workplace breed more small acts of kindness in the workplace. So take this week, and it doesn’t have to be Teacher Appreciation Week, and you don’t have to go all out and decorate doors, but as we’re wrapping up May, the end of the school year, think about just a couple things you could do to appreciate the staff that you work with. It’s maybe the resource teacher or maybe your school principal, who, by the way, needs appreciation a lot because no one ever comes to the principal and says “Hey, things are going awesome, just wanted to tell you!” So think about how meaningful it is when other people thank you. And it can be just a post-it. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do. It can be a little card, a little post-it, a little quick text or email, like “Thank you so much for being my partner in crime through this year and I couldn’t have gotten it without you,” and a little bit will go a long way.

So give that a try, and one of the really cool things about this happiness research is that when you do small random acts of kindness, your mood actually gets boosted too, as well as the person that you’re giving these acts of kindness to, and the ones who are the most stressed out and the most grouchy, they’re the ones who need it the most! So go forth and just do a couple things for a couple people throughout this week and see how they feel, how they react, and take note of that, and then see how you feel. You’re going to feel great that you’re creating and fostering a community of people who really appreciate how hard this work is and how we have it together.

I will see you guys soon!

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