The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

The Sage Publication is the student news site of Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA

The Sage

Healthy Habits: The Establishment of the “Happiness Advantage”

Students walk from class to class, work without thought or conscious consideration. At home, they type out all their homework until it’s time to head back to bed. Automatically, humans cycle through the same routines over and over. 

Ethan Fairclough, a sophomore at Sage Creek walks through his habits in his day-to-day life. 

“My daily habits [include playing] music [on double bass and guitar],” Fairclough said. “They’re just habits that make me feel good.”

Fairclough plays his musical instruments as a fun hobby in his daily life. Some students are good at maintaining their hobbies and creating good habits. Yet, many more unconsciously repeat habits that become hard to keep track of over time. 

Without awareness of what habits are nurtured, the individual’s habits will begin to control them.

Allison Williams, the AP psychology teacher at Sage Creek, elaborates on the habits an average student displays.

“Some of the habits that I see students repeat is…going on their phones,” Williams said. “Habits are something that we learn and then are reinforced and so there’s some benefit to what they’re doing or there was some benefit at some point. And that’s why it continues to be a habit.”

All of Ms. William’s students are meditating at the beginning of class. Each student reorganized their mental process to prepare themselves for the assignments ahead. (Photo by Samuel Daher)

Habits are formed through a continuous expectation of some benefit, yet, some habits lead to short-term happiness and create issues in the long run. 

“A lot of the habits that we do are just kind of managing, not really addressing the real issues,” Williams said. “So if you can address the real issues, which is stress or boredom, then you’re not going to need to do those.”

Ultimately, exposure to the surrounding environment generates emotions that lead to certain habits used to accommodate either the pain or success of the situation.

To establish a good environment for her students, Williams started the “Wellness Mondays” activity in her classes.

“Meditation is one of [many healthy habits],” Ms. Williams said. “And then what we do is we have a journal where we [express] gratitude, or we do savoring…my hope is when [my students] leave my classroom, [these healthy habits are] something they feel like they can return to when they are feeling stressed.”

The conscious choice of establishing healthy habits and identifying the root of stress will allow for breakthrough and restoration in controlling one’s life and emotions. The application of these habits toward an individual’s dream of success brings strength to the individual. 

“Success is really grounded in happiness,” Ms. Williams said. “Happiness is going to be different [for everyone], just like success is going to be different.”

Success is achieved through manipulating certain habits to establish a “happiness advantage” in the journey of completing one’s goals. Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think Inc., elaborated on the “happiness advantage” in his TEDTalk, where an individual uses their happiness to achieve their goals instead of relying on succeeding in personal goals to obtain happiness. 

Williams plays a meditation video for her students. The video evoked a feeling of calmness and encouraged students to bring their attention to their breath. (Photo by Samuel Daher)

“Every time your brain has a success, you just changed the goalpost of what success looked like,” Achor said. “You got good grades, now you have to get better grades, you got into a good school and after you get into a better one…And if happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there.”

Success becomes limited if happiness becomes a result of good performance. To achieve full potential, one needs to choose happiness and create a constant habit of maintaining happiness despite the disappointing circumstances in the world.  

We found that only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ, 75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, your social support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of as a threat,” Achor said. “Your brain at positive is 31% more productive than your brain at negative, neutral or stressed.” 

Students throughout the world experience stress and hardships. Despite that, what defines each student as successful is their awareness of their habits and how they apply those habits, like the “happiness advantage,” to their dreams of becoming successful. The discovery of one’s sense of happiness and life success brings out one’s best. 

“Making good habits will push you forward in the right direction without you even having to consciously think about it,” Fairclough said.

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