"Human lives are governed by the desire to experience joy." - Susan Engel1
Just like exercise is important for our physical health, experiencing positive emotions like joy, gratitude, inspiration and pride are important for taking care of our mental health.2
How? As a mental health promoter, create experiences that bring about positive emotions during the day (classroom, cafeteria, recess, & after-school). Help students explore and find activities that they love to do whether it is reading, math, helping others, art, music, or being physically active! When people engage in what they love to do, they feel good emotionally.
Why? Experiencing positive emotions on a regular basis has been shown to.2,3
In addition to joy, there are many other positive emotions (see picture on right) that help us feel good emotionally. Help young people recognize and experience these!
Small moments can make big differences in how children feel and function! Moments of positive emotions can be subtle or fleeting, but can be powerful 'nutrients' in helping young people be mentally healthy. Young people need a lot of these positive moments throughout the day to help them thrive.2 How much is enough? Overall, people need to experience more positive emotions than negative ones in a 3-to-1 ratio throughout the day.2
1 Engel, S. (2015). Joy: A subject schools lack. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/01/joy-the-subject-schools-lack/384800/
2 Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity: Groundbreaking research reveals how to embrace the hidden strength of positive emotions, overcome negativity, and thrive. New York: Crown Publishing Group.
3 Cohn, M. A., Fredrickson, B. L., Brown, S. L., Mikels, J. A., & Conway, A. M. (2009). Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience. Emotion, 9(3), 361−368.
Website: Actions for Happiness – see 'Take a Positive Approach' at http://www.actionforhappiness.org/10-keys-to-happier-living/take-a-positive-approach