Saturday, January 19, 2013

Turning toward happiness (Part 2)

(Part 1 can be found here.) 

I was saying to myself that it seems like all I do is plan lessons, run stuff off, grade, and squeezing teaching in, yet rarely enjoying any of it anymore. 

I am reminded frequently of Ralph Waldo Emerson's quote, "We are always getting ready to live, but never really living" because it is on my desk here at home. Over the past couple of years, this is me. 

When I came across this article yesterday, my decision seemed to be more firm. So, I'm extracting some quotes from the article with some of my annotations in italics.  

from Ten Things Happy People Do Differently 

They build a strong social fabric. Happy people stay connected to their families, neighbors, places of worship, and communities. These strong connections act as a buffer to depression and create strong, meaningful connections.  This is one of many points that has affected me adversely. If I could but count the number of times I've said "I just don't have time to . . . " to my family and my church family. . . . There are many times that I don't even want to go the church; I just want to lay in bed in the quiet. I want to disconnect.

They engage in activities that fit their strengths, values and lifestyle. One size does not fit all when it comes to happiness strategies.  The work I through into my planning simply does not fit my strength and lifestyle. I've often said that if I were not married, I'd be married to my job. But I am married and I don't have enough time or energy for both. Considering "strengths" makes be wonder if maybe I am just not smart enough to handle all the intellectual readiness necessary for me since I spend so much time in preparation.

They practice gratitude. Gratitude does the body good. It helps you cope with trauma and stress, increases self-worth and self-esteem when you realize how much you've accomplished, and often helps dissolve negative emotions. Research also suggests that the character strength of gratitude is a fairly strong correlate with life satisfaction. I've always thought of myself as fairly gracious, but over the past couple of years, the stress I have as only made me feel that others are not practising gratitude. And I know good-and-well that that attitude is wrong. Anything that causes you to fall into self-pity and no-one-appreciates-what-I-do mode is wrong and out 0f balance.

 Part 3 tomorrow.

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