Wellness, Happiness and Finding Hope Module

I know it may seem a little odd to include a module on happiness and joy. There was not much about this past year to be happy about. And this year doesn’t look much better…

Which is why we need this module.  Hope is a key part of recovery.  We need to have something to look forward to, something to hold on to, something that will help us remember why we do this work.  Talking about hope and happiness doesn’t invalidate all that has happened. Rather, it gives us a reprieve, helps us change directions, and gives us the motivation to move forward. Plus, it just feels nice to laugh sometimes.

In addition to finding joy, this module also talks about ways to slow down your brain, prioritize your own mental health, and suggest some activities that will help you activate those positive emotions.

Wellness Part 1

Wellness Part 2

Well-Being Activities

Using the literature, we have developed some specific activities for you to try. You can find worksheets on the website that will walk you through some of these activities. For others, we’ve provided links for some great resources that can offer more ideas.  And even if you don’t find happiness, we hope you can get a few breaths, a few laughs, and maybe a reprieve from worrying – even if it’s just for a little bit.

These are some basic ideas in addition to your personal repertoire of activities and the skills taught through your Social Emotional Curriculum.  These are additional ideas to take a happiness break throughout the day.

Activities for you

You’ll find several worksheets that will help you think through the wellness activities. They provide lots of ideas and activities to help you build your wellness practice. Specifically, there are worksheets for:

Wellness Activities for the Classroom

Activities for Elementary School

  1. Mindfulness Activities:
    1. Bug Safari outside (what do you see, what are the different colors, shapes, smells, sounds of different bugs/flowers/leaves)
    1. Five things – what are 5 things you can see; 4 things you can touch; 3 things you can hear; 2 things you can smell; 1 thing you can taste
  2. Gratitude Activities:
    1. Class gratitude collages
    1. Thank you notes or compliments to classmates
    1. Daily gratitude check-in – what something you are grateful for today?
  3. Happiness show and tell
    1. Bring in the thing that makes you the happiest
  4. Relationship building
    1. Popcorn game – sit in a circle. Teacher or student will say something that they like or is important to them. If that also applies to other students, they will stand up too.
  5. Laughter/Fun
    1. Dance break – turn on music unexpectedly and have a dance party
    1. Joke of the day – have kids bring in or make up jokes to share
    1. 1 minute of laughter – start laughing (even if it is fake) see what happens if you continue for an entire minute

Activities for Middle School

  1. Mindfulness Activities:
    1. Five things – what are 5 things you can see; 4 things you can touch; 3 things you can hear; 2 things you can smell; 1 thing you can taste
    1. Daydreaming – have a “daydream” break in the middle of the day. Set a timer for 5 minutes and let them think about whatever they want
    1. Mindful eating – bring in a food of choice, have them experience it with each of their senses
  2. Gratitude Activities:
    1. Five Finger Gratitude Activity – pinky finger, what is something small for which you are grateful; ring finger, relationship for which you are grateful; middle finger, something big for which you are grateful; pointer finger, something right in front of you for which you are grateful; thumb, a “thumbs up” for yourself, what is something about you for which you are grateful?
    1. Daily gratitude check-in – what something you are grateful for today?
    1. Gratitude scavenger hunt. What can you find around the classroom or school that makes you feel grateful.
  3. Relationship building
    1. Human Scavenger Hunt – make a list of qualities or experiences (i.e, has met someone famous; has the same favorite Marvel character as you) and see if you can find someone in the class to sign off on each of the qualities
  4. Laughter/Fun
    1. Dance break – turn on music unexpectedly and have a dance party
    1. Joke of the day – have kids bring in or make up jokes to share
    1. 1 minute of laughter – start laughing (even if it is fake) see what happens if you continue for an entire minute

Activities for High School

  1. Mindfulness Activities:
    1. Five things – what are 5 things you can see; 4 things you can touch; 3 things you can hear; 2 things you can smell; 1 thing you can taste
    1. Meditation/Breathing Activities
  2. Gratitude Activities:
    1. Five Finger Gratitude Activity – pinky finger, what is something small for which you are grateful; ring finger, relationship for which you are grateful; middle finger, something big for which you are grateful; pointer finger, something right in front of you for which you are grateful; thumb, a “thumbs up” for yourself, what is something about you for which you are grateful?
    1. Daily gratitude check-in – what something you are grateful for today?
    1. Meaning making – how has a challenging situation made you grateful?
  3. Relationship building
    1. Relationships –
  4. Laughter/Fun
    1. Have kids share a favorite (clean) joke or a comedy routine
    1. Class jokes – keep a running list of funny things that happen in class, share at different points throughout the year.
Finding Hope and Restoring Joy: Happiness and Wellness Practices

To receive professional development credit for this module, please click here.

To return to the list of modules, click here.

Wellness Module Overview

Video 1 : Hope and Happiness

Length: 15 mins

  • What is happiness?
  • Why does hope matter?
  • What are the ways in which I can approach wellness

Video 2: Wellness Activites

Length: 15 mins

  • Examples of Wellness Activities
  • Wellness Activities for the classroom

*COMPANION EXERCISES

  • Gratitude Worksheet
  • Expectations Worksheet
  • Work Life Balance Worksheet
  • Journal/Discussion Prompts