Tal ben-Shahar (1970) is Professor of Positive Psychology at Harvard University. Of the first eight students, he now teaches more than 1,500 students per semester, and his subject is the most popular at the university. Ben-Shahar is the star speaker of the film Training Congress “One Hundred Flyers”, SM, is held online April 14 and 15, where it helps teachers discover the importance of happiness in learning and how it is achieved.
“One Hundred Flyers” brings together educational experts who talk about emotional well-being in the classroom, the challenges of the school of the future, educating in the digital age, or learning to be a global citizen. It also has a large number of teachers and principals who share their enriching experiences in the classroom and training centers to achieve a “hundred flying” feet on the ground and eyes on the horizon.
Today, happiness is a great goal we are desperately looking for. What is happiness?
There are many definitions of happiness. Helen Keller wrote, “The only definition of happiness is wholeness.” Inspired by Keller, he defined it as an experience of the solid well-being of man through five elements: mental, physical, intellectual, relative, and emotional well-being.
In a presentation at the SM Hundred Flying Training Congress next week, he talks about how to increase happiness in our daily lives. Can you learn to be happy?
Absolutely. The purpose of happiness science is ultimately to help individuals and communities increase their levels of well-being.
How do you raise yourself to happiness? Can school prepare us from an early age to know what happiness is and how it can be achieved?
Just as schools teach math, literature, and history, they should teach happiness, well-being, and endurance. Happiness is not only good in itself, but it also improves better relationships, physical health, and even better grades.
What does emotional well-being affect when faced with new learning?
Positive emotions make us more open and receptive. This is necessary to embrace new learning. When we experience pleasant emotions, we are more creative, we feel more motivated, we have better relationships, and we are physically healthier. Schools need to invest in the happiness of their pupils as an end in themselves and also as a means to better development.
What is the foundation of good teaching?
The basis of good teaching is to be a role model. Students need teachers as an example of learning, growth, and of course caring and kindness. As teachers learn and grow themselves, students are more likely to do the same. When teachers show care and kindness, students are likely to follow suit.
What techniques or activities do you teach your teachers as a teacher?
I constantly teach them the importance of expressing gratitude, keeping a diary, exercising regularly, and learning. I also stress the importance of accepting and embracing every feeling, both joy and sorrow. And finally, and most importantly, I teach them that kindness and generosity are the key to making the world happier and better.
“Kindness and generosity are the key to making the world happier and better”
Last year, students had to follow classes from home without losing a relationship and playing with their classmates. What does the collective affect learning?
Distance learning is expensive; However, since there is not much to do about it, we need to make the most of it. This means developing relationships as much as we can through deep discussions. Changing mothers is not the way to the depths; we will discuss the text for an hour, yes it is!
Our relationships with family and friends also took place through displays. Do you think it takes away our feelings?
Unfortunately, yes. The key is not to give up deep relationships even with the help of technology.
Happiness Science says that relationships are most important in a happy life. What do friends bring to us?
Relationships are critical to true and lasting happiness. Too many people these days prioritize work / money, and relationships are behind. Time with the people we care about and who care about us is crucial to happiness. And relationships must be real. A thousand friends on social networks is no substitute for a best friend. Face-to-face interaction without the lack of technology is important. And if we can’t meet face to face because of social distance, we have to do everything we can to maintain deep relationships instead of getting superficial.
You’re talking about the concept of “beautiful enemy” when you’re talking about friendship. Do we need to be friends who tell us what we are doing wrong to heal?
People who care about us tell us what we need to hear, not necessarily what makes us feel good at the time. This is how they help us grow. And of course we should do the same for those we care about.
Gratitude and gratitude is one of the steps towards sleep happiness. What do we get by giving thanks? Are we an ungrateful society?
To find happiness in our lives, we must appreciate what we already have; don’t take good things for granted. The potential for happiness is all around us: in our work, in our social and family ties, in ourselves. When we value the good in our lives, the good grows: we become happier and more successful. In our society, many of us take too many things for granted and unfortunately when we don’t value the good, the good weakens and we have less.
“When we value the good in our lives, the good grows: we become happier and more successful”
The social networks where we spend several hours a day, and more young people, show us a kind of perfect world. How does this constant happiness of other social networks affect us?
One reason for the increase in depression and anxiety is that we assume that everyone else has an amazing life all the time. That’s what we learn about people through their social networks. And we don’t want to look abnormal, so we hide our grief, anxiety, and fear. “How are you?”, They ask us, and we answer, “Oh, fine and you?”. Wearing a mask of happiness is ultimately detrimental to ourselves and others. Great deception leads to great depression.
One in three Spaniards, according to the Sociological Research Center, has identified that they cried over the pandemic, and for young people, the figure is halved. How can we deal with the negative emotions caused by a pandemic, such as fear, anxiety, insecurity?
The first thing to do when going hard is to allow ourselves to be people, to embrace all emotions, no matter how unpleasant or unwanted. Instead of rejecting painful feelings, whether it’s fear or frustration, anxiety, or anger, it’s better to let them run their natural path. So how do we express our feelings instead of stifling them? We can keep a diary, write what we feel. We can also open up, talk to people we trust. And, of course, giving ourselves permission can mean opening floods and crying instead of holding back tears. The paradox is that in order to realize the potential for happiness, we must allow an accident.
In an era of perfectionism and immediacy, there is no room for failure. What does failure bring us? Is failure the path to happiness?
Accepting and embracing failure is important for both happiness and success. One mantra I repeat to myself and my students is “learn to fail or fail to learn.” Successful people in art, business, or sports recognize that there is no other way to improve, to learn that failure is the other side of success. No one likes failure, but if we realize it’s part of the journey, we’re willing to try, take risks, explore. As a result, we are likely to be successful. I don’t believe in shortcuts, and I don’t believe in five easy steps to success or happiness.
Don’t miss his speech and the speeches of other school experts Training Congress “One Hundred Flyers”, SM, next April 14 and 15. Log in here.
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