When I was teaching a Grade 7 class (challenging age at the best of times) at a very challenging school, the other Grade 7 teacher and I would support each other through the tough times, often reminding the other to “go to her happy place”.
The greenhouses at the London Civic Garden Complex
While we meant it in a “visualize your happy place in your head” kind of way, we also decided that each of us should create a photo display behind our desks depicting our happy places.
A wedding was just about to begin at this gazebo this morning
Some of the pictures were photos of places we had been to for which we held very happy memories.
My view as I was doing my yoga at the complex this morning
Some were pictures we had clipped from magazines or printed off the internet of places we wished we could go someday.
In any case, they gave us a tangible visual reminder of places that were happy and serene, far removed from the daily chaos of our classrooms.
The roses are just beginning to bloom. Soon these gardens will just be filled with them!
It’s amazing what a big help a practice such as mentally going to our happy places could be!
In fact, knowing that many of the reasons behind the daily discipline and behaviour problems we faced with our students was because of the challenging lives they led, we even gave them lessons on how to go to their happy places.
We had them draw or paint or collage what they would like their happy places to be in art class and taught them meditation and deep breathing techniques in health class.
We built extra time into the beginning of each test we gave and led the students through their breathing and meditation exercises as a way of reducing test anxiety and there seemed to be a correlation between this and an improvement in student test scores.
As I mentioned yesterday, the past few months have been somewhat stressful and about a month ago I made a conscious decision to take more time for myself, to find more fun in my life, and to pare back on some things that were becoming overwhelming for me.
As I’ve been seeking this out, I found myself a happy place where I can go, regroup, relax, and recharge.
I always find new inspiration there and I always come home ready to create again.
Spied during my walk through the hiking trails surrounding the gardens after my yoga
Where is your happy place?