I’ve officially been a residence director (RD) for six months, and throughout these past six months I experienced a wide range of emotions. I felt self-doubt, anxiousness, and joy. I identified my favorite supervisory techniques and learned about my interests in student affairs. It is exciting to see how much I have learned and how much I still have to learn. As I continue onto the higher education path, I am amazed by all of the different opportunities that are out there for me. However, this journey as an RD has not always been full of sunshine. I’ve had my struggles, fair share of bad one-on-ones, and failed programs. I’ve been overwhelmed by the workload and graduate studies. But, one thing that gets me through all of this is happiness.
I have always been a huge advocate for living a positive lifestyle. I find it easier to smile instead of frown and to build people up instead of tearing them down! Over the past few months, I decided to look into the science of being a good person. I realized that even though I can complete a lengthy to do list and enjoy moments of triumph and laughter with my staff, I wanted more out of my happy lifestyle.
I began reading all about being happy. I looked up blog posts written about finding happiness in graduate school. I learned that success and happiness are so often intertwined… but not in the way we commonly think. I learned that happiness is not a product of success, but rather success is a product of happiness. By reflecting on my happiness and ways I can live a happier lifestyle, I am able to be more successful in my work, serve my students better, and find more passion in my life.
I want to share with you some of the tips I gathered from my happiness project. Now, before I begin I want you all to know that I am just on the brim of happiness research and I am by no means a happiness expert. But the changes I made helped on my happiness adventure.
For starters, I wanted to focus on getting more sleep. Over the past six months, I failed to get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night. I’ve worked hard to get the recommended seven to eight hours, and it has helped so much. I still have the occasional urge for an afternoon nap, but my productivity has soared and it’s been easier to start every day on a positive note.
I have also been finding at least an hour every day for physical activity. It is commonly known that we should walk 10,000 steps a day and most days I fall short. I committed to walking more and making time in my schedule to hit up the gym. Research shows that exercise releases serotonin and dopamine (happy neurotransmitters) and just makes me feel great.
The next step on my happiness adventure was to revel in small successes. Whether it is highlighting an item on my to do list or starting a one-on-one with a joke, I am more conscious of small successes and little moments of triumphs. By acknowledging everything that I can accomplish in one day, I feel a great sense of joy.
And finally, I have been working on appreciating the people in my life. By giving others positive feedback and recognizing them for everything that they do, I have found that I partake in more positive conversation every day.
Although I place great emphasis on living a more positive lifestyle, I try not to be overbearing or to go over the top about it. Nothing is worse then someone bumbling around chatting about why everyone should be happy all the time, especially when someone is having a particularly hard day. By being self-aware of how others are feeling and by wearing a smile even when I’m frustrated, I am able to share happiness with others in a way that does not go completely overlooked.
How do you live a happy lifestyle? Share your favorite tips & tricks below!
This post is part of the Emerging SA Pro series following 4 awesome people: Alexandria, Doug, Emily, and Alexander, as they blog monthly about 1 year of their journey as either a new SA Pro or SA grad student. We are proud to help them share their stories as they break into our field.
> BONUS <
Podcast With Conor McLaughlin on SA Work-Life Balance