Tiffani Teaches

Tiffani Teaches

I’ll share what I’ve learned in my studies of Positive Psychology & Lifestyle Medicine, includin

02/04/2021

As I drove home from the gym jamming to music I can’t help but dance to at the stoplights, headed to a family gathering to celebrate both my (now vaccinated) parents’ birthdays, I realized how effortlessly HAPPY I am and how much I missed these little things. I forgot the simple joy of interacting with a stranger out in public (I recently became BFFs with my seatmate on a flight), and the way these things fill me up makes clear why this past year has been such a struggle for me. My physical and emotional health suffered under the cloud of Covid, and I’m thankful things have naturally/easily shifted back to baseline for me once I was vaccinated. Since then I have felt comfortable doing things I hadn’t done in over a year like: rejoin the gym, start meeting a friend regularly for coffee dates again, traveled out of the country, wrapped my arms around my parents, eating indoors at restaurants, volunteer at my daughter’s school, no longer feel anxious working at schools or shopping at crowded Costco. I’m incredibly grateful for science and to have my zest for life back. 😭

21/10/2020

I felt honored to be able to record some videos covering different positive psychology topics (like reframing and resilience) for Adaption Institute as part of a training they are doing for one of their clients. I love sharing these ideas/tools and watching people begin to apply them to their lives.

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 17/08/2020

This is a great interview of a professor at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry. I picked my favorite parts to share — read to learn about the reason behind and how to deal with the anger many people are experiencing/expressing. This insight is applicable even to normal times and relationships, but especially relevant these days. Many of us are discouraged these days, and maybe this will help us be more patient with each other. 😘

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 17/08/2020

My birthday is tomorrow, and the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote is the day after that, so I celebrated both with a small suffrage tea party with our teenage daughters (thanks to my husband and son for waiting on us). We followed it with some “Suffrage Songs and Verses” published in 1911 and watched a historical drama about Alice Paul and her parade (“Iron Jawed Angels”). Also pictured are children’s books we read this week that my cousin Michayle recommended. My favorite was “Elizabeth Started all the Trouble.”

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 05/08/2020

I’m feeling weary. I’ve heard it called “crisis fatigue.” My kids start school this week, and my heart broke as they were getting out their backpacks and gathering school supplies in anticipation of going to school. I’ve told them all summer that they will NOT be able to start on campus, but I guess it didn’t sink in and I had to break the news yet again. One of my kiddos really struggles to focus and concentrate without the structure of a classroom and guidance of a teacher, and said online school is all of the work and none of the fun. One cried herself to sleep at the thought of not seeing friends. It makes me so sad to see them miss out on one more thing, so last night I taught my kids the serenity prayer. We have no control over this pandemic and I know the teachers/schools/elected officials/medical professionals/researchers are likewise weary and doing their best. All of us are. So we’ll honor our feelings of disappointment, then accept and reframe this as an opportunity for more time learning together as a family, freedom to visit relatives during the school year, and an opportunity to build resilience.

Timeline photos 23/07/2020

This is my favorite — and most referenced — page from my Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology. Raising kids in the midst of a pandemic and all the changes that entails has motivated me more than ever to provide the protective factors that will help them be resilient. Notice that the list for the characteristics of the family and home is the longest, meaning we have a large influence on their resilience. There’s a lot in life and the world we can’t control, but there IS a lot we can do to help our children be happy even in the midst of difficulty. My own dad once apologized for traumatizing me with his impulsive ways when he heard me describe how my reliable, predictable husband was exactly what I needed. I told him, “It’s okay. You might have occasionally stressed little anxious Tiffani out, but you also provided me with the tools I needed to handle it.” And it’s true — my parents intuitively provided a lot of the protective factors contained on this list. I know I’ll likewise have plenty to apologize to my kids for. No one does the parenting thing perfectly, and no one gets through life without some trauma. The goal isn’t to avoid hardship, but to build the strength to cope with it. Now more than ever, I appreciate this list for helping me understand exactly what I can do to help my children build that strength.

Timeline photos 21/07/2020

So many wonderful nuggets in this article from The Greater Good Science Center

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 19/06/2020

Happy Juneteenth! May we continue to works towards achieving equality. See my next few posts for ideas and resources to learn and celebrate it yourself!

Timeline photos 15/06/2020

I support both causes, but disagree that we should unfriend each other if you don’t. Echo chambers (insulating ourselves from ideas that don’t align with our own) prevent us from learning from each other. My husband and I think differently from what we were taught on these subjects (and more) primarily because we exposed ourselves to different views and allowed ourselves to question our beliefs. My husband’s first boss when he became a business consultant was a woman who had been in a committed relationship with another woman longer than we had been married. He adored this woman and completely altered his view of the LGBTQ community as a result of working with her. I’m grateful for the bravery of people like her who had the courage to be themselves openly, causing my husband to change his heart. I’m also grateful to people like her and my other LGBTQ friends who paved the way for people like my gay nephew to be safe and accepted. I’ll never forget walking together with him in a park behind the rest of the family and him casually mentioning how difficult it was to be a gay teenager in a small town. In that moment I realized the gravity of what he was communicating to me, and felt honored that I was viewed as a safe person to come out to. I was able to navigate the conversation in a supportive way because I had educated myself on the topic, in part because I don’t unfriend everyone who I disagree with. I’m still learning, analyzing, shifting, and listening to people who challenge me. It can be exhausting — which is why it’s called doing the work — and I need to take breaks and occasionally block people to protect my energy, but I’m here to learn and grow. Thank you if you’ve played a role in my journey.

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 09/04/2020

I received this email from an organization I follow, The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. My kids and I read it together and brainstormed different ways we can follow the good advice they offered. We’re doing well in some areas — we start our mornings with a short walk and take turns sharing what we’re grateful for — but it’s hard to serve others when we can’t have close contact. This email was a good reminder and encouragement to look outside ourselves and find ways to lift other people up. PLEASE share any suggestions you have for ways to be kind or serve others during this time of social distancing.

Strength-Based COVID-19 Resources | VIA Institute 07/04/2020

Last week I finally got to a place where I can approach life proactively and apply the things I've learned enhance our well-being instead of feeling too unsettled to do much more than the basics. If you are in a place where resources on resilience can be empowering rather than overwhelming, here is one to start with. My kids and I are making our way through the activities and feeling uplifted by them. It’s perfectly okay (and not surprising) if you're just in survival mode, too.

Strength-Based COVID-19 Resources | VIA Institute Explore research-based ways to use your VIA character strengths to manage your health and well-being, decrease stress and support others during the coronavirus pandemic.

The game that can give you 10 extra years of life 27/03/2020

I was amazed to learn about "Post Traumatic Growth" during my studies, and since we're experiencing collective trauma right now, here's a TED Talk that explains how you can be resilient in the face of trauma and experience growth. This talk is personal for me, as it helped me through an extremely difficult time in my life. I came across it when I had a slipped disc in my neck and was suffering from such debilitating pain that I could barely function, yet I had just started school and was trying to manage that on top of my other obligations. I was used to being extremely physically active, and that all came to a screeching halt. I could only sleep if I was in a recliner, woke multiple times each night in excruciating pain, and cried constantly not only from the chronic pain, but also from the discouragement and despair I felt about my future. Would I ever feel better? I lived off pain pills and felt very hopeless, like my life would never be the same again.

During this time I watched this TED Talk by Jane McGonigal, a video game designer who had suffered a traumatic brain injury and created a game centered on doing things to boost resilience, in an effort to help herself cope with her own situation. I took her advice to heart, and from that moment forward I began to practice those little happiness-building habits she recommended, which is a perfect example of taking ownership of what was within my own control, something I had not been doing before. Instead, I had been focused on the unfortunate life circumstances that had landed me in this dreadful spot.

Like McGonigal encouraged, I began doing things to boost social resilience like committing small acts of daily altruism (which really got me outside of my self-focus), and connecting with my social network. I boosted my emotional resilience by listing what I was grateful for at the end of each day, and I became physically active again in the little ways that I could. The only thing I could really do to stay active was to go on slow walks, so I began doing that regularly, usually with my sister or a friend. These daily walks -- which were nothing compared to my previous workouts -- became the highlight of my day. It was a chance for me to hold onto my identity by remaining active, it was my social time where I could express how I was feeling to my friends, and it got me outside into the gorgeous spring sunshine.

I began to feel empowered as I went from helplessly letting my life struggles depress me to taking control of what I was capable of. My despair lifted as my optimism about my life increased, and I began to develop hope for the future. I actively looked for solutions (problem-focused coping), and eventually found a chiropractor who helped me heal and gave me my life back. As I searched for the silver lining of the situation, I had to acknowledge that because of this experience, I developed empathy and compassion for those in constant pain. I got a glimpse of a world I had never experienced before, making me better able to relate to others in a similar situation. I learned how capable and strong I am and how much I contribute to my own happiness, building self-efficacy for the future. *Well, folks, it's now the future and I'm turning back to those lessons I learned.* resilience

The game that can give you 10 extra years of life When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter. In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resili...

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 26/03/2020

Today’s pillar of lifestyle medicine addresses smoking, drug, and alcohol cessation. I looked at the National Institute of Health website today and read that smoking and va**ng can make the effects of worse, so that is one more reason to cease or never start those behaviors. I also know that times of stress and isolation can make it easier to fall back on unhealthy, addictive habits to numb our feelings. I really liked what recently posted about that, so I’m including a that along with the national substance abuse hotline information. I don’t think now is a time to undergo any huge lifestyle changes, as the support available is limited, but be mindful about your habits and try to turn to healthy coping, such as exercising, meditating, and reaching out virtually to friends. Mindful self-compassion for what you’re feeling during this uncertain time and for any relapses you might have can go a long way.

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 25/03/2020

I want to do my part and follow the recommendations of the experts, so I searched CDC.gov and John’s Hopkins’ page devoted to the outbreak for answers about whether it’s safe to engage in outside physical activity during this time of social distancing. I’m sharing screenshots of what I found on those 2 sites, including a link on John’s Hopkins’ homepage to a NYT article that cites one of their own. Please look up and follow your own municipalities’ requirements, as they may they differ. Remember that is new and the information and guidelines are constantly evolving, so turn to reputable sources for up-to-date information.

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 25/03/2020

I’m making my way through the new graphic from ACLM about staying healthy during the pandemic, covering one topic at a time. Exercise helps with emotional regulation, cognition, and sleeping at night, in addition to the obvious physical health benefits. It just got harder with closed gyms and social distancing, but it feels more crucial than ever. I recommend finding something that resembles what you typically do to stay active (perhaps your gym or favorite teachers are now posting online), and following a routine as much as possible, like exercising every morning when you wake up. Some ways I’m doing this are dancing with my kids to Just Dance videos on YouTube (Waka Waka by Shakira is our fave), .fitness dance routines on YouTube, live classes from on Instagram, and dance challenges with the kids on Tik Tok. My family is also doing Yoga with Adriene on YouTube and workouts posted on Instagram by , , , . In addition, many gyms like Tough Mudder Bootcamp Gilbert and LAFitness are posting workouts on their websites or through their apps. There are also many workouts on YouTube or written workouts posted online to follow on your own. I appreciate the creative ways fitness instructors and gyms are responding to keep us all active during this time. Above all, use exercise as a tool to help relieve pressure, and not another way to add to your stress. Be gentle with yourself.

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 24/03/2020

Yesterday I shared ACLM’s graphic about maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the pandemic and talked about maintaining social connection in the midst of our new normal. Today I’ll highlight healthy eating, which includes consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, and how to do so safely. Please note: This disease is new, and the latest info is fluid and can become quickly outdated. I am no expert on disease or food, so I have pulled from sources that are, primarily from the latest post (link in profile) by Marion Nestle, PhD, which cites the CDC and FDA. Dr. Nestle is a professor of food studies, nutrition, and public health at NYU. I have followed her since my own nutrition professor recommended doing so.

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 24/03/2020

Now is a good time to brush up on cooking skills or teach them to the kids with everyone at home. My own kids have had fun being creative in the kitchen now that they’re stuck at home. After making a vegetable pizza (see last post), they thought it would be fun to make a fruit pizza.

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 24/03/2020

With everyone at home, now might be a good time to teach the kids their way around the kitchen with a few easy recipes. Here is a fun raw vegetable pizza my kids and I made with a recipe from .

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 24/03/2020

With kids at home, now might be a good time to teach the kids about healthy eating. Here are a few graphics from the American College of Lifestyle Medicine to help.

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 24/03/2020

Yesterday I shared ACLM’s graphic about maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the pandemic and talked about maintaining social connection in the midst of our new normal. Today I’ll highlight healthy eating, which includes consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables, and how to do so safely. Please note: This disease is new, and the latest info is fluid and can become quickly outdated. I am no expert on disease or food, so I have pulled from sources that are, primarily from the latest post by Marion Nestle, PhD, which cites the CDC and FDA. Dr. Nestle is a professor of food studies, nutrition, and public health at NYU. I have followed her since my own nutrition professor recommended doing so.

Photos from Tiffani Teaches's post 23/03/2020

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine released a new graphic, which outlines following the pillars of lifestyle medicine during the pandemic. The largest change regards social connection, which is still vital to our well-being. Some ways I have stayed connected while practicing social distancing: I went on a walk and called my cousin and pretended she was on the walk with me. I have called to catch up with both of my parents and texted all of my siblings. I have reached out to high school friends and other loved ones to check in and see how they’re doing (especially those who are vulnerable). I FaceTimed a close friend and compared notes, struggles, and laughs on parenting during this time. I have a few group chats where we share memes that make me laugh until I cry. I am turning towards the humans I live with and having fun playing board games, sports, reading, dancing, and watching movies together. I cuddle my dogs and give them extra attention. Please share any of your suggestions and ways you’re coping!

Timeline photos 23/03/2020
Timeline photos 21/03/2020

(continued from earlier post) I ended the day by doing some deep breathing and repeating the affirmations in this graphic to myself and my children (affirmations, breath work, and meditating are all great tools to use ). Now for the gratitude list Chad requested:
I have long wished I could push pause on our busy lives so we can fully enjoy each other’s company and have fewer competing priorities or cognitive load. Chad is now working from home in a soundproof home office we just finished 3 weeks ago (perfect timing). We have plenty for our needs and a lot of love in our home. The weather couldn’t be better for outside exercise, and I love all of our family time playing at our park. Technology makes it extremely easy to stay socially connected and be entertained, educated, and much more. I’m grateful for the sense of unity as we all try to navigate this together. I have an education that helps me know how to act in a way that promotes resilience. I used to hybrid homeschool my children and love teaching them. All I have to deal with is what is in front of me right now, which at this moment is to get some sleep. I can handle that. Sending my love to all of you in the world tonight.

Timeline photos 21/03/2020

I tried to pretend it’s a normal Friday by taking my weekly TGIF walk to get Starbucks (carryout, of course). But I’m struggling with the uncertainty of everything, and with some of the feelings the perceived food scarcity is bringing up. I’ve engineered my entire adult life to avoid those feelings of insecurity, so it’s hard to be reminded that 1) I don’t really have control of anything and 2) other people live with this reality all of the time and are going to suffer the most from this.
My husband wanted me to focus on what is going right in our lives (because a lot really is, and gratitude is a well-known mood booster), but I told him that first I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge my fears and what we’re missing out on, like my son’s volleyball season and my daughter’s dance concert and the loss of camaraderie and accomplishment that would accompany those experiences, among many other things that abruptly ended. Like the fact that I had recently begun presenting and educating others about what I studied in school (positive psychology and what promotes a healthy mind/body) and was scheduled to speak at a school this week. Loss is hard. Unanticipated loss can be traumatic.
Once we got home I finished crying it out, then did an online workout (, , ) and am processing everything through writing (both are evidence-based interventions). I have a lot of emotions surfacing that I don’t usually feel, and I’m trying to be okay with that. I prefer normal life when I have fewer negative emotions to manage, but the pandemic is really forcing me to “feel/deal/heal” (to quote one of my favorite Instagrammers ). .holistic.psychologist suggested that this trying time will stir up feelings a lot of us have avoided until this point. This is an opportunity to face them with mindful self-compassion. (continued in next post)

Timeline photos 21/03/2020

Having a consistent relationship with a loving adult is what helps kids build resilience in the face of trauma. My wish for the world is that every child can have such an adult in their life, so I better get to work on regulating myself so I can be present for the children within my influence.

Timeline photos 12/03/2020

We value sleep at our house so much that my high schooler takes summer school so he can sleep in an hour later during the school year. The birds and sun wake me earlier than I’d like this time of year, so I sleep with earplugs, an eye mask, and white noise. It’s difficult for me to fall asleep, but I wake easily, so I have to be extra intentional about my sleep hygiene to catch enough shuteye.

Timeline photos 28/02/2020

“When we don’t live up to our own expectations — and we won’t always — let’s be as kind to ourselves as we are to our youngsters. If our children deserve a thousand chances, and then one more, let’s give ourselves a thousand chances — and then two more.” I was reading “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids” by Dr. Markham of AhaParenting.com and love this excerpt.

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