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Friday Inspiration: Stroke of Insight

I first saw this stunning TED talk at least 5 years ago (maybe more) but I still think about it all the time! Worth a 2nd (or 3rd) watch.





Thursday Thought

I’m proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money.”
- Arthur Godrey





Motivating your kids with bribes (or threats)?

“If you empty the dishwasher right now, I’ll give you a dollar.” Does this sound familiar? We’ve all done it: offered our kids little bribes — and maybe even threatened to take away privileges — to get them to do what we’ve asked. Here’s why we might not want to do this, even if it works.

For more tools and strategies for motivating kids, register for my Raise Kids’ Emotional Intelligence online class.





Coach Your Kids to Emotional Literacy

Studies show that kids who are emotion coached experience fewer negative emotions and recover more quickly when they are upset.

little girl resting on soft pillow in fresh spring grassRegister for our Raise Kids’ Emotional Intelligence online class to learn what do do when children have emotional outbursts and how to tap into kids’ self-motivation to do boring but necessary tasks.

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  • Learn why bribes, threats and rewards tend to backfire in the long-run — and why they undermine kids’ creativity and problem solving skills.
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  • Learn strategies for tapping into kids’ self-motivation, even for boring household chores. Self-motivated kids are more successful, perceive themselves to be more competent, and are less anxiety prone.

This online class (theme Four from the Raising Happiness Homestudy) includes five video classes, online discussion groups, weekly practices, and the opportunity to receive online coaching with Dr. Christine Carter. Learn more here.

Now get continuing education credits!
Raising Happiness is a licensed CEU provider by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Our license number is PCE 5355. Learn more here.





Friday Inspiration: The Gap

Great piece about overcoming failure in your creative endeavors and trusting your instincts.





Thursday Thought

The opposite of anger is not calmness, it’s empathy.”
– Mehmet Oz





Greater Happiness in 5 Minutes a Day

Might be that sitting with your legs crossed repeating stuff like “May all beings be free from suffering,” is a little too far-out for you. I’m a scientist for crying out loud, so you can imagine how I might feel meditating while surrounded by prominent neuroscientists, which I once did on a 7-day silent meditation retreat. Except that I actually didn’t feel silly.

Why?

Because research demonstrates the incredible power of loving-kindness meditation: No need to be self-conscious when this stuff might be more effective than Prozac. Also called metta, loving-kindness meditation is the simple practice of directing well-wishes towards other people.

Here’s How to Do It

The general idea is to sit comfortably with your eyes closed, and imagine what you wish for your life. Formulate your desires into three or four phrases. Traditionally they would be something like this:

May I be healthy and strong. May I be happy. May I be filled with ease. Loving-kindness meditation is a simple repetition of these phrases, but directing them at different people. I do this with my kids before bed. We visualize together who we are directing the metta towards, and at first I say something (May you be happy) and the kids repeat it after me. After a few repetitions, we start saying them in unison. The phrases we use are “May you be healthy and strong. May you be happy. May you be peaceful.

1. Start with by directing the phrases at yourself: May I be happy.

2. Next, direct the metta towards someone you feel thankful for or someone who has helped you.

3. Now visualize someone you feel neutral about—people you neither like nor dislike. This one can be harder than you’d think: Makes me realize how quick we can be to judge people as either positive or negative in our lives.

4. Ironically, the next one can be easier: visualizing the people you don’t like or who you are having a hard time with. Kids who are being teased or bullied at school often feel quite empowered when they send love to the people making them miserable.

5. Finally, direct the metta towards everyone universally: “May all beings everywhere be happy.

In this 3-minute video, Sylvia Boorstein, author of Happiness is an Inside Job, teaches how to do this. Another good resource is Sharon Salzberg—she wrote Loving-Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Doing this with kids of all ages doesn’t need to be complicated; most are good at using their imaginations to send love and well-wishes. You don’t really need to read books about this: loving-kindness meditation is as simple it seems. People write books about it because it is so powerful.

Here’s What You Get When You Send Love

Loving-kindness meditation does far more than produce momentary good feelings. Over a nine week period, research showed that this type of meditation increased people’s experiences of positive emotions. (If you are working on improving your ratio of positive to negative emotions, start with metta!) The research shows compellingly that it actually puts people on “trajectories of growth,” leaving them better able to ward off depression and “become ever more satisfied with life.” This is probably because it increases a wide range of those resources that make for a meaningful and successful life, like having an increased sense of purpose, stronger social support, and less illness. Research even shows that loving-kindness meditation “changes the way people approach life” for the better.

I’ve blogged before about social connections and how important they are for health and happiness. Doing a simple loving-kindness meditation can make us feel less isolated and more connected to those around us: one study showed that a SINGLE SEVEN MINUTE loving-kindness meditation made people feel more connected to and positive about both loved ones and total strangers, and more accepting of themselves. Imagine what a regular practice could do!

Photo courtesy of Emily Huang





Coach Your Kids to Emotional Literacy

Studies show that kids who are emotion coached experience fewer negative emotions and recover more quickly when they are upset.

Upset ChildRegister for our Raise Kids’ Emotional Intelligence online class to learn what do do when children have emotional outbursts and how to tap into kids’ self-motivation to do boring but necessary tasks.

.
  • Learn why bribes, threats and rewards tend to backfire in the long-run — and why they undermine kids’ creativity and problem solving skills.
    .
  • Learn strategies for tapping into kids’ self-motivation, even for boring household chores. Self-motivated kids are more successful, perceive themselves to be more competent, and are less anxiety prone.

This online class (theme Four from the Raising Happiness Homestudy) includes five video classes, online discussion groups, weekly practices, and the opportunity to receive online coaching with Dr. Christine Carter. Learn more here.

Now get continuing education credits!
Raising Happiness is a licensed CEU provider by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Our license number is PCE 5355. Learn more here.





Happiness Tip: Build Anticipation for Something Fun

The sheer number of positive emotions we experience relative to negative ones affects how happy we are generally; for that reason, excitement about future events can be a great source of positive emotions. Studies show that positive anticipation can bring us as much or more pleasure than the actual event itself.

Take Action: Plan something fun for next week or even this spring, and then do something to build excitement. For example, if you are going to a sporting event or play with a friend, send your friend an “I’m so excited!” email, or let yourself read a review or article about the team or event.

Join the Discussion: What is your favorite way to build excitement about a future event? How do you savor the good things in your life? Share your ideas in the comments!





Friday Inspiration: Anything for Love

Ready for a good cry? This is one of the most touching demonstrations of selflessness and love I’ve seen in quite some time. How far would YOU go to support a friend?