It’s probably not every day Headteachers create happiness stones and charge them up with happy thoughts.
On 1st October, I was a speaker at the annual Reading Primary Headteachers’ conference at the Haven Hotel in Poole, Dorset. As part of my talk about INSIDE OUT, I did a short exercise with the Headteachers. We each chose our own stone from the bowls on the tables and drew 2 dots and a line (a smiley face) on them. I then invited everyone to recall the last time they were really happy, whilst holding the stones in the palm of our hands. I asked ‘What were you doing? Can you imagine the colours, the smells, the tastes, what it felt like inside. We’re charging our happiness stones up like a battery with happy memories.’
After about 20 seconds, everyone opened up their eyes. I said ‘You now have your very own charged happiness stone. Keep it somewhere safe. Next time you’re feeling a bit wobbly, you can pick up your happiness stone and it will help remind you of what makes you happy. Equally, when you’re feeling good, hold your happiness stone in your hand and charge it up with more happy thoughts.’
I explained that this is a positive psychology tool that helps us take in more of the good instead of focusing on the negative, which our brains are hard-wired to do. The key is spending about 20 seconds savouring positive moments and experiences for them to seep into our brains and long-term memory.
The Headteachers enjoyed the activity and it gave them an experiential flavour for one of the fun, simple ways we help children ‘Look Inside’ on our Magical Days Out and using our Toolbox for Schools.