Happiness, Positive Psychology and…Kindness

Happiness, Positive Psychology and…Kindness

Check out this nice article by Patty O'Grady from Psychology Today (and note, the relevance goes way beyond the specific context of the classroom upon which this article mainly focuses)…

One of the core principles of positive psychology is generating positive emotion by deploying strengths. If youth feel grateful, they act kindly. They learn to understand that others have struggles and challenges and appreciate their own blessings – sharing kindness. If youth feel brave, they are not afraid – sharing to kindness. They learn to stand up for what is right even when it is not easy – sharing kindness. If youth feel empathy, they respond in kind. They put themselves in the other’s place.

How does this happen? Why does this happen? The complex biomechanics of the brain is the answer. The brain is the source of our entire affective, cognitive, and conative life. The brain is the parent of all our happy tears, worst decisions, and kind acts. The brain is the source of the kindness we extend and the kindness we receive. All of our behavior is brain-based and when mirror neurons are firing without jamming their message of empathy, kind thoughts, words, and deeds ensue.

The neuroscience and social science research is clear: kindness changes the brain by the experience of  kindness. Children and adolescents do not learn kindness by only thinking about it and talking about it. Kindness best learned by feeling it so that they can reproduce it. Kindness is an emotion that students feel and empathy is a strength that they share.

Teachers foster kindness in their classroom by teaching empathy – the second cousin of kindness. Teachers develop experiences that get student’s mirror neurons firing in empathy for others demonstrated by kindness towards others. There are many classroom experiences that offer an opportunity to teach the natural empathetic connections that nurture kindness.

Notice Kindness – Identify the feeling whenever you observe it. “You must feel kindness toward your friend because you were patient waiting for her to finish.”

…keep reading the full and original article HERE