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Train Your Brain to Be Kinder

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Boost your kindness by sending kind thoughts to someone you love—and to someone you don't get along with—with a little guidance from these students.

By Jane Park


How to Help All Students Feel Safe to Be Themselves

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Students suffer when they're bullied or feel like they don't belong—and Social Justice Humanitas Academy is doing something about it.

By Naomi Ondrasek, Lisa Flook


Each year, roughly 30 percent of California students in middle and high school report being bullied or harassed, many because of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual identity, or some other aspect of their social identity.

This finding comes from California’s most recent Biennial Statewide Healthy Kids Survey. The anonymous, confidential survey also found that cyberbullying was a key concern across grade levels, with roughly one-fifth of students experiencing some kind of internet-based harassment.

Why does this matter? Research advances in neuroscience, social science, and education are showing us how these threats affect the health, learning, and educational outcomes of students. When we feel endangered, the body reacts by producing a flood of adrenaline and cortisol, provoking the fight-or-flight reactio…

Why Children Need to Hear Refugee Stories

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Hearing individual refugee stories makes children more compassionate toward new arrivals, suggests a new study.

By James McConchie


Refugees are forced to flee dangerous conditions and look for a better life. But what happens after they arrive? What factors most strongly support their well-being? This is an especially pressing question for refugee children, who may have suffered severe trauma, and who sometimes arrive in a new land without their parents, not speaking the language.

According to a new study, this depends in part on the attitudes of the children in their host country. Two psychologists recently tested if creating a state of empathy can improve attitudes toward refugees. They also looked at how empathy and attitudes toward refugees relate to helping behaviors.

The study involved a group of 8-11 year-old children in Northern Ireland, a territory that is seeing a significant increase in refugees within a culture that has historically lacked ethnic diversity. The researchers tol…

Fighting ALS One Pickle at a Time!

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When life throws us unexpected bad news, what do we do? The story of what Arthur Cohen turned his ALS diagnosis into may help you recognize your own tools to find your way through whatever pickle you may be facing!

In the face of the most difficult time of his life, Arthur Cohen did something clever: he started making pickles. But these aren’t just any pickles. No, these briney cukes are on a mission to find a cure for ALS—the very disease that Arthur was diagnosed with. What if we all worked on finding the opportunity in the obstacles in our lives?

By Sam Burns


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Harnessing the Power of Mobile Cinema to Save Lives

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Here’s how innovation in cinema can change the future for millions! As they say, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Now, thanks to the work of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and her team, people in remote places can see a different future.

Going to the movies is more than just a form of entertainment—it can be a powerful way to save lives! Award-winning director, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and her team are on a mission to end violence against women. To do this, they’re bringing their films to the people in remote villages across Pakistan with their ingenious mobile cinema! She gives us a glimpse of the future and the amazing potential of cinema in her TED Talk.

By Sam Burns


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Seeking Wholeness in a Time of Brokenness

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Reverend Victor Kazanjian is the executive director of the United Religions Initiative (URI), a global grassroots interfaith peacebuilding network. URI has more than a thousand multi-faith groups working in over a hundred countries with a million volunteers to build bridges of cooperation between people of all faiths and cultures. Victor is ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church and was trained as a community organizer working to address the systemic causes of poverty and injustice through the support of community-based groups. He's also studied and deeply embodies Gandhian principles of pluralism and grassroots change. Along with Gandhi's grandson, Arun Gandhi, he for many years led the Gandhian Legacy Tour to India. Learn more about his work and journey in this inspiring interview.


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Finding Chika

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Renowned author Mitch Albom introduces us to a story of love, a story about the making of a family through love. He shows us that the rules of what a family should look like don't matter as long as there is love bringing them together. He introduces us to Chika, who became the much beloved daughter of he and his wife Janine after Chika's mother was killed in the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Chika's life was shortened by a difficult and rare brain tumor. The powerful love and joy she left behind continues to remind us that our job is to carry our children, to carry all of the children of the world.


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How to Overcome Your Brain’s Fixation on Bad Things

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A new book reveals how the negativity bias operates in our lives and what we can do about it.

By Jill Suttie


Why can’t we pull our attention away from a traffic accident or stop watching news about the latest viral outbreak? Why are we waylaid by criticism or unable to get past a minor snub from our best friend?

That’s our negativity bias. We humans have a propensity to give more weight in our minds to things that go wrong than to things that go right—so much so that just one negative event can hijack our minds in ways that can be detrimental to our work, relationships, health, and happiness.

Overcoming our negativity bias is not easy to do. But a new book, The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It, coauthored by social psychologist Roy Baumeister and New York Times writer John Tierney, inspires hope. The book not only covers the fascinating science behind this stubborn bias, but also gives readers practical tips to work around it in effective—and someti…

Can Mindfulness Help When You’re Depressed?

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A new book explores how different mindfulness practices can change our relationship with depression.

By Deborah Yip


For many people, depression is a lifelong battle. If you have one episode of depression, there is a 30 percent chance of recurrence within 10 years, increasing to an 80 percent chance after two episodes. Only about one quarter of people achieve remission after six months of antidepressant medication treatment.

While these statistics are alarming, there is some good news: Mounting research points to the promise of mindfulness—paying attention to your present thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judging them—in helping people alleviate depression. Studies have suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is just as effective as medication in preventing depression relapse among adults with a history of recurrent depression, and in reducing depressive symptoms among those with active depression.

In his new book When Antidepressants Aren’t Enough: Harnessing the Power…

Micah Mortali: Rewilding

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"Micah Mortali is the director of the Kripalu School, and a longtime wilderness guide. With Sounds True, he has published Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with Micah about humanity's growing disconnection from the earth and how "rewilding" can help slow that trend. They talk about rewilding both as individuals and as part of whole ecosystems. Micah also shares the story of an intense, revelatory trail encounter with a bear and comments on the "species loneliness" of urban environments. Mulling the sense of grief they have for humankind's effects on the environment, Tami and Micah consider how modern people can grapple with being in exile from the natural world. Finally, they discuss the barriers many have to reentering nature, as well as ways to initiate your own rewilding experience no matter where you are."


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Kahlil Gibran on Befriending Time

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"There is something odd about this notion of time as property. We are asked to give things time; we speak of taking time time off of something, time toward something. But how do we give or take this fine-grained sand that slips through the fingers the moment we try to cup it? Perhaps time is not so much the substance in the hand as the substance of the hand." Maria Popova explores Kahlil Gibran's reflections on time in this post.


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Why I Run

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"It is just after 4:00 am. I was dreaming about Missoula, running around Mount Sentinel just before dawn. I threw on a blue hoodie and began reciting in my sleep why I run."

Inspired by Terry Tempest William's evocative reflections in "Why I Write," long-distance runner and writer Nicholas Triolo offers this lovely stream of consciousness exploration of why he runs.


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What Happens When You Tell Your Story and I Tell Mine?

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Sometimes, empathy isn't enough. New research reveals how taking and giving perspectives can help us to bridge our differences.

By Zaid Jilani


As a white man who grew up in Texas, John Howard Griffin was curious about the lives of African Americans who lived under America’s Jim Crow system in the late 1950s. So, he embarked on a bold experiment. He decided to darken his skin, live as a black man, and write a book informing his fellow white citizens about how it feels to be on the other side of the racial divide.

“How else except by becoming a Negro could a white man hope to learn the truth?” he wrote on the first page of the book, titled Black Like Me. “The Southern Negro will not tell the white man the truth. He long ago learned that if he speaks a truth unpleasing to the white, the white will make life miserable for him. The only way I could see to bridge the gap between us was to become a Negro.” Published in 1961, Black Like Me went on to sell 10 million copies all over the world…