Thursday, February 23, 2017

Appreciating Happy Experiences

The MindUp Curriculum from the Hawn Foundation teaches the physical, emotional, and cognitive benefits of reliving happy experiences fully and mindfully. Remembering a happy memory releases the "feel-good" chemicals in our brain that flooded it at the time of the actual experience. When teaching that appreciating happy memories can help overcome sadness and insecurity, I use the delightful children's book Harry the Happy Mouse (2015) by n.g.k. Harry helps a Frog, but asks the Frog to repay the kindness to someone else. The book follows the good deed as it moves through other characters, who each selflessly help someone else, making themselves feel happy in the process! There are coloring and games that go with the book at harrythehappymouse that I have used with English Language Learners. But for my tier 2 first grade group my activity sheet for this session comes comes from a resource I have used for close to 10 years from MARCO colorful-counseling-with-cd/ by R. Sheritz Sartori & R. Hood Herrman. The Happy Memories sheet is from the Loss section of this worthwhile resource. My first graders in my Emotion Regulation group which we call "All Feelings are OK" enjoyed writing, drawing, and sharing 3 happy memories. They were visibly happier when they left the counseling office than when we began group!

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