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Showing posts from December 15, 2019

Five Ways to Protect Your Well-Being as a Health Care Professional

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Health professionals learned how to care for themselves and nurture their relationships at the Greater Good Institute for Health Professionals.

By Eve Ekman


We gathered on a vast west-facing hillside, as the October sun sank over Tomales Bay. Just when we thought nature’s awesome show was over, a giant harvest moon began to rise over the eastern horizon. Many oohs, ahhs, and other vocal bursts of delight ensued, along with applause and laughter. It was the second evening of this year’s inaugural Greater Good Institute for Health Professionals, and that shared experience of gratitude, awe, and social connection reflected the spirit of the entire event.

The three-day institute drew health care professionals from around the world and across disciplines, including physicians and nurses, social workers, mental health professionals, and more. They came to enhance their sense of meaning and purpose at work; to build skills of resilience, mindfulness, emotion awareness, and self-compassion; and …

Can a Sense of Awe Improve Our Arguments?

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Feeling awe can make us more humble and tolerant toward political opponents, a new study suggests.

By Zaid Jilani


Awe is the feeling we get when we ponder the vastness and beauty of our universe. It’s something we might feel when gazing up at a scenic mountain range or experiencing the birth of our first child. Awe is an experience that can make us happier, more creative, and more generous, according to recent research.

A new study suggests that experiencing awe has an additional benefit: It may reduce social and political polarization. This seems to happen because awe makes us more humble, which in turn makes it easier for us to get along with people with whom we might disagree about fundamental issues.

UC Berkeley researchers Daniel Stancato and Dacher Keltner (the GGSC’s founding director) set out to research how awe can help people feel connected to each other and, perhaps, reduce social polarization. In a set of three experiments, they induced awe in participants, by showing them a t…

Giving New Life to Well-Loved Clothes

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What if you could give old clothes an entirely new life? This was the question Patagonia wanted to tackle as a warehouse of used gear piled up around them. The fix they came up with to keep these garments out of the landfills is a model that changes the future of clothing!

Think about putting on your favorite old pair of jeans, your favorite jacket, or buttoning up the shirt you stole from your loved one—the clothing we love most often stays with us for decades, collecting its own stories along the way. So, what if we could wear other people’s stories and adventures proudly with our next clothing purchase?

By Liesl Ulrich-Verderber


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Casting a Line for Conservation!

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What happens when fishermen and scientists team up to protect a species? Check out this extraordinary collaboration of anglers and biologists to preserve some of the world’s most endangered and magnificent fish!

Could the collaboration between athletes and scientists enhance our success in protecting species? Here’s the story of how fishermen and biologists have come together to save one rather unique fish from extinction!

By Sam Burns


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What Does the Earth Ask of Us?

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Robin Wall Kimmerer, scientist, professor of environmental botany, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, and spellbinding storyteller, helps us to hear what the earth is asking of us. With a calm and soothing voice that belies the urgency of her message, she brings us to an awareness that we are called to be living expressions of gratitude for all that the earth has given us, and to give our gifts in return for all that we have taken from the earth. To ensure justice for all of creation she urges, "If the leaders don't lead, we have to join together, paddle against the wind, paddle against the tide, singing our hearts out."


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How to Help Your Kids Be a Little More Patient

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Why is waiting so hard for kids?

By Steve Calechman


It’s a scene played out every day in nearly every home around the world. You’re on the phone. Your child doesn’t just want to talk to you, he needs to talk to you. You say, “Please wait.” He hears, “Please keep talking,” and so he does.

All you want is for your four, six, or eight year old to be a little more patient. It could be for the conversation you’re trying to have on the phone, or it could be for the playground slide or the doctor’s appointment.

It’s a good thing to want. The ability to wait is about self-control and delayed gratification, both ultimate real-world skills, because “there will not be people entertaining you 24/7” in life, says Jill Trumbell, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of New Hampshire. Research suggests that kids who grow up into patient adults not only have better health and mental health, but they also have stronger relationship skills and make more progress t…

The Deep Fear That Makes Us Turn to Mister Rogers

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Why do we keep summoning Mister Rogers? And why is now the time for a feature film about his influence?

By Shea Tuttle


I’ve spent a lot of time with Mister Rogers over the last three years as I researched and wrote my book about his life and faith. Throughout, I have been fascinated by the question of why we keep summoning him forth from memory.

For decades, we have recalled Fred whenever something terrible happened in our world, sharing his comforting words and image on social media. Then, in the last couple of years, we’ve dug a little deeper, with documentary and books (and merch!) galore. This week, the fascination seems to have peaked with the release of a feature film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, starring Oscar winner Tom Hanks. Why do we keep summoning Mister Rogers? And why is now the time for a feature film about his influence?

“We need him now,” people often say to me. “There’s no one like him these days,” I often hear. “If only he were around…” There’s a heavy dose of…

Journey to a Land Where Medieval Monsters Still Reign

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What ancient monsters are still roaming around us today? We’re traveling to a land shrouded in thousands of years of history, where medieval creatures are waging wars and heading off on epic quests driven by evolution. Come explore this untouched wilderness with us!

You are about to be transported back in time, to a land of epic battles, dragons, and creatures that spit venom out of their behinds; to a place where life has virtually been untouched for over 1,000 years, and monsters still roam. We’re setting off on an adventure, down to the floor of the ancient New Forest of England. Join us, won’t you?

By Sam Burns


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The Magic of Embracing What You’re Bad At!

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What would happen if we embraced the humor in being bad at something? Could it actually enhance our relationships? Check out what this imaginative mother and son duo has created by doing just that.

She’s loud, she’s sassy, she’s hilarious, and she’s really quite the lousy actor, but that’s exactly how this 72-year-old became an Instagram sensation! Lili Hayes and her son are good at embracing the humor in being bad at something, and while doing so, inspiring the rest of us to welcome the same into our lives.

By Sam Burns


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On Language and Landscape

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"Light does not use syntax. Robins do not speak in syllables as we would recognize them. And so, language is always late for its subject in nature. I'm fascinated by language's affordance when it comes to thinking about and shaping our relations with place and what we might uneasily call nature; I'm also interested in the binds that it places us within." Robert Macfarlane shares more.


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Esther Perel: The Constant Dance Between Me and You

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"We all come into this world with a need for connection and protection and with a need for freedom. And from the first moment on, we will be straddling these two needs -- what is me, and what is us? The common parlance today is, I need to first work on myself; I need to first feel good about me; solve me before I can be with somebody else, and I find that also a strange thought. You know who you are, you discover who you are in the presence of another. So this constant dance between me and you, between I and thou, is at the core of being human." Therapist Esther Perel shares more in this thought-provoking On Being interview.


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What Happened When I Wrote My Mom a Thank-You Letter

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When she turned 50, Nancy Davis Kho wrote 50 gratitude letters—and the first one was to her mom.

By Nancy Davis Kho


In the waning days of 2015, I decided to mark a milestone birthday by simply saying “thank you.” My plan was to write one letter each week of that year to someone who had helped, shaped, or inspired me on the road to the person I am today. Nothing fancy: just one gratitude letter at time. I later called this letter-writing spree my Thank-You Project—and it would change my life in a profound, positive, and lasting way.

I have discovered that writing a “gratitude letter” is one of the most common prescriptions from researchers looking for a way to elevate gratitude levels in their everyday lives. In fact, that’s often how scientists test their theories: They have the experimental group write a letter expressing appreciation to someone, while the control group is, I suppose, denied access to stationery. It turns out that gratitude is a heady tonic for both the giver and receiv…

Three Mindset Shifts That Can Help Students Succeed

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Students constantly face obstacles and transitions—and their mindset influences how they respond to them.

By Chris Hulleman, Larry Happel



Jaime attended the same undergraduate institution as both of the authors. When Larry Happel wrote about Jaime’s story for Central College, Chris Hulleman immediately recognized the psychological factors at play in Jaime’s journey. In this article, Hulleman and Happel come together to share Jaime’s story and explain what it can teach us about the psychology of navigating life’s transitions and challenges.


Jaime was angry. He was angry at God for taking his mom after she died of breast cancer. He was angry at his father for ignoring him and living with his stepsisters. He was angry that he had to stay in homeless shelters and accept free food. He was angry that no one at the mostly white, middle-class college he attended knew what it was like to be homeless.

Jaime’s story is an extreme, but not rare, example of the obstacles that students can face on thei…