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Relieve Stress and Stop Chasing Happiness

April 24, 2023

Relieve Stress and Stop Chasing Happiness

The AFT provides staff with monthly health and wellness tips, and now they are sharing them with the Share My Lesson community too! April's issue offers guidance on stretches to relieve stress, how happiness is experienced when it is not being chased, and how to break hard news.


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Stress Stretch Relief

Stress affects the mind and the body, so it makes sense that stress can be eased through both mental
and physical exercises. Stretching can be a quick way to relax your body and spirit.

A few movements you can practice when tension starts to build include:

Neck Stretch:
  • Stand with your knees slightly bent or sit up straight.
  • Drop your chin to your chest.
  • Place hands on the back of head while gently pushing down.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Breathe steadily.
Ear to Shoulder Stretch:
  • Tilt your head, bringing your right ear to your right shoulder.
  • Using your left hand, apply slight pressure.
  • Feel the stretch along the left side of your neck.
  • Repeat on other side.
Upper Back Stretch:
  • Stand with your knees slightly bent or sit up straight.
  • Clasp your hands in front of you, with arms parallel to floor.
  • Keep head relaxed.
  • Round upper back and push hands forward with palms away from body.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.

Breathe steadily through each stretch and repeat 3-5 times. Whether standing or sitting, maintain a proper alignment with neck and spine in a neutral position, shoulders and torso relaxed.

Recipe of the Month

Crustless Quiche

crustless quiche

6 eggs beaten
6 Roma tomatoes seeded and chopped
4 green onions thinly sliced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh basil
or 1 teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2/ 3 cup finely shredded
Parmesan cheese
Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9" pie pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Bake 20-25 minutes.

Chasing Happiness

Excitement, contentment, joy or awe are a few ways to describe the combination of positive emotions that make up the feeling of being happy. Almost everyone wants to be happy, but seeking happiness can be like taking a wrong turn down a one-way street. Craving happiness leads to less of it. Feeling happier will likely come from seeing and recognizing it where it exists in your life versus trying to go out and get it. The following myths and truths may help you to notice and cultivate happiness that is already there.

chasing happiness

The bottom line is that happiness is experienced when it is not being chased. Happiness comes when enjoying the present moment. Happiness is not a goal but the journey is what’s really important.

Breaking the News

Bad news is unavoidable. At some point we all have to hear it, and sometimes we have to deliver it. The way you deliver bad news can have a direct impact on how the receiver perceives and reacts to the situation.

A few strategies that are suggested to communicate with honesty, empathy and grace include:

  1. Take time to focus and speak in a calm and clear manner.
  2. Try to identify solutions before delivering the news.
  3. Choose a private setting for your conversation to allow the other person freedom to respond and cope.
  4. Treat the other person with respect and dignity, while being open, clear and honest. Try to validate the other person’s emotions. If they express sadness respond with, "I understand you are sad, and you have every right to be.” This shows you are listening and validates their feelings

You can’t control receiving bad news, but you can control how you react to it. If you find yourself on the receiving end, the best thing to do is to listen and pause before panicking or reacting. Behaviors that are fueled from panic tend to be self-defeating.

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The AFT was formed by teachers more than 100 years ago and is now a 1.7 million-member union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and our communities.


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