I haven’t yet read The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, a “positivity psychologist” and professor of psychology at University of California.
But based on Jacob Sokol’s great blog post about it — http://www.marcandangel.com/2011/08/30/12-things-happy-people-do-differently — I can tell I’d like it. The psychologist lays out 12 ways to increase happiness in your daily life. They ring true for me, including:
- Appreciating what you have makes your life happier.
- See the endless opportunities around you, even in bad times.
- Be kind to others, and you’ll feel good.
- When life takes a bad turn, you have choices about how you react.
- Cultivate opportunities to be so immersed in what you’re doing that time stands still. The psychologist calls these “flow experiences.”
- Be physically healthy. Exercise is equivalent to Zoloft (the prescription antidepressant) in making people happier.
Poor children can get free breakfast and lunch at school. So how well do they eat on weekends?
Colleagues of mine heard of an effort elsewhere that sends home nonperishable food with needy students on Fridays. In a wonderful coincidence, we discovered that Foodlink (the regional food bank) has a grant to start BackPack Food programs here. Studies have found that when kids eat better on the weekend, they do better in school.
There were obstacles to getting the program going. The application required a pile of documents. Details seemed to change each time we talked to a coordinator at Foodlink. We had to work out delivery plans. My church is sponsoring the program at the two schools where we provide volunteer tutors, and we had to decide whether we could afford the fees.
But thanks to great work by Tracy Smith and others, it’s happening. Today we delivered the first bags of food to one school. It looks like everything will be in place for our other partner school to start in January.
I’m grateful that people were willing to try something new that will help children have nutritious food.
This shows what was in one bag (for one student).