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Challenge seeks to make happiness a habit

Being happy can have an impact on day to day life and the Happiness Challenge hopes make happiness a habit.

Brian Higgins

Being happy can have an impact on day to day life and the Happiness Challenge hopes make happiness a habit. "I am very energetic when I am positive," sophomore Jennifer Hernandez said after high-fiving classmate and fellow sophomore Ariela Rodrigues.

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High rates of stress can be found throughout Frisco ISD according to FISD’s Safe Schools Coordinator James Caldwell. Partly as a response to this, the Happiness Advantage Challenge is underway. The 21-day event which ends April 24 is designed to inspire others to develop a more positive outlook by completing specific tasks each day.

“Recent surveys of staff and students in our district have revealed high rates of stress, anxiety, and depression,” Caldwell said. “Research has shown that following this program for 21 days can decrease depression and anxiety as much as medication. So, the overall purpose is to improve staff and student health.”

It would be great to make this a part of your life and continue past the 21 days,”

— FISD’s Safe Schools Coordinator James Caldwell

The Happiness Advantage Challenge is aimed towards people of all grade levels in the district with psychologist Shawn Achor saying happiness is helpful in decreasing stress.

“In Shawn’s research he has discovered that by doing these activities (focusing on positive thoughts and situations in your life) makes us more positive people,” Caldwell said. “It causes us to scan our world each day for what is going right instead of what is going wrong.”

Designed to teach students and staff about the benefits of a positive outlook, counselor Ryan Kiefer says being happy starts from within.

“The happiness challenge is to realize that happiness is really an internal thing and to help them realize that it’s really not about outside affects,” Kiefer said. “It’s something internal that they can choose to be happy. 90 percent of your happiness is determined by how you perceive things and only 10 percent is from external factors so it’s just a way to help people achieve happiness.”

I think the happier they are, the more productive they’ll be in reaching their goals,”

— counselor Ryan Kiefer

Although it’s only a 21 day challenge, the hope is that through this challenge, people make lasting changes.

“It would be great to make this a part of your life and continue past the 21 days,” Caldwell said. “The reason for the 21 days is that has been shown to be the length of time to develop a habit.”

According to Kiefer, the Happiness Advantage Challenge has the potential of helping students on campus in a variety of ways.

“I think that if people are happy then they will be motivated to do well in whatever they’re endeavor is,” Kiefer said. “Whether that’s working towards something in athletics or academics or some sort of fine arts endeavor that I think the happier they are, the more productive they’ll be in reaching their goals.”

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The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas
Challenge seeks to make happiness a habit