|Five Ways for Teachers to Recharge This Summer
||To all the teachers out there, congratulations on finishing another year!
The end of the school year is exciting, but the flip side of the coin is that it’s also very busy and stressful. Summer should be a time for you to decompress, revitalize, and prepare for an even better year ahead.
To get off on the right foot this summer, check out Greater Good in Action (GGIA), our newly-launched online collection of research-based activities, or “practices,” designed to help you become a happier, healthier, and more compassionate person.
Don’t know where to start? Here are five of our favorite ideas for teachers. (Click on each one to see more details about it on the GGIA website, including exactly how to do it and the evidence that it works.)
8 Essentials for Forgiving: Raise your hand if you have any residual “grrr” feelings from this past school year. We’ve all experienced times when a student, parent, or colleague treated us unfairly or said something hurtful, and sometimes it can be hard to let go of the bad feelings. But holding onto grudges, even small ones, only makes things worse for you. By helping you forgive, these steps can reduce your stress and make you feel better.
Gratitude Letter: Now, raise your other hand if there’s someone who really made a positive difference in your life this past year. It could be someone at school, someone who supported you from the sidelines, or anyone else who you never got to thank properly. Taking the time to write a note of gratitude to them—and even better, delivering it in person—won’t just make them feel great. It’ll make you happier, too!
Awe Narrative: From making intense decisions to dealing with little details, it’s easy to get consumed by the day-to-day challenges of teaching. To break out of that tunnel-vision head space and expand your perspective (and maybe even remember why you became a teacher in the first place!), try thinking and writing about a time you felt awe. Believe it or not, doing this can make you feel like you have more free time and increase your life satisfaction.
Meaningful Photos: Want another way to boost your happiness and sense of meaning in life? It’s (almost) as easy as taking a selfie—but so much more fulfilling. Just take a picture or two each day of things that you feel make your life meaningful and then, at the end of a week, reflect on why those things mean so much to you. Now that you’re no longer stuck in a classroom for eight hours a day, get out there, get creative, and remind yourself of all the wonderful things that make your life worthwhile.
Self-Compassionate Letter: Teachers, on the whole, are a pretty self-critical bunch. We dedicate our lives to caring for others, but we often don’t extend the same kindness to ourselves, instead beating ourselves up over every little thing. Thus, the idea of writing a letter to yourself expressing compassion for one of your own flaws or mistakes may seem strange, but it really works—it not only makes people feel better, but also makes them more motivated to improve. This would be a great way to set the stage for being kinder to yourself next year.
Of course, these are only five of the dozens of practices on the GGIA website, so you should definitely take a look and see what else you find. If you try any of the practices, please feel free to leave ratings and comments—we would love your feedback, and other users will appreciate it as well.
Best wishes for a happy, relaxing, and meaningful summer!
|American Psychological Association's 123rd Annual Convention Aug. 6-9, 2015, Toronto
||Transgender issues, ADHD, bullying, violence, technology, PTSD among hundreds of presentations
|Your First Therapy Session: 9 Important Questions To Ask...
||A first therapy session can be very intimidating for both therapist and client. But first sessions seem to be more intimidating to clients because they are unfamiliar with the process, do … ...
|Do insect societies share brain power?
||The cooperative or integrative aspects of insect colonies, such as information sharing among colony mates, can reduce the need for individual cognition in these societies, a new study suggests. Researchers compared social vs. solitary wasp species and found evidence that social brain evolution could dramatically different in insects than in vertebrates -- where complex societies require bigger brains.
|Redrawing the brain's motor map
||Neuroscientists have refined a map showing which parts of the brain are activated during head rotation, resolving a decades-old puzzle. Their findings may help in the study of movement disorders affecting the head and neck.
|Time spent near green places can improve childrens’ cognitive development
||The first warm weather here in the UK generally means a few things – the impending start of tennis at Wimbledon, school examination time, and the smell of cut grass. Inevitably, pupils and teachers start to wish they were outdoors and not stuck in a classroom. There is now a growing body of evidence why [...]
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|Humanizing the “Mentally Ill”
||Want evidence to believe in the human spirit? Want to see how the world looks from the most stigmatized element of society? Check out Infinitely Polar Bear.
|Eye's motion detection sensors identified
||Studying mice, scientists have identified a neural circuit in the retina that carries signals enabling the eye to detect movement. The finding could help in efforts to build artificial retinas for people who have suffered vision loss.
|Brain injury patterns linked to post-concussion depression and anxiety
||A new MRI study has found distinct injury patterns in the brains of people with concussion-related depression and anxiety, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology. The findings may lead the way to improved treatment and understanding of these common disorders, researchers said. Post-concussion psychiatric disorders like depression, anxiety and irritability [...]
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|Maternal stress alters offspring gut and brain through vaginal microbiome
||Changes in the vaginal microbiome are associated with effects on offspring gut microbiota and on the developing brain, according to a new study published in Endocrinology, a journal of the Endocrine Society. The neonate is exposed to the maternal vaginal microbiota during birth, providing the primary source for normal gut colonization, host immune maturation, and [...]
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|Lack of sleep affects long-term health
||New research from the University of Copenhagen has found that maintaining a good night’s sleep is important for our future health, partly because of how it affects lifestyle factors. Previous population based studies have not provided sufficient information on the timing of changes in both sleep and lifestyle to tease out cause and effect relations [...]
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|Redrawing the brain’s motor map: Updating Penfield, to aid the study of dystonia
||Neuroscientists at Emory have refined a map showing which parts of the brain are activated during head rotation, resolving a decades-old puzzle. Their findings may help in the study of movement disorders affecting the head and neck, such as cervical dystonia and head tremor. The results are scheduled for publication in Journal of Neuroscience on Tuesday, [...]
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|Early behavior problems may be linked to ‘aging’ biomarkers in preschoolers
||Preschoolers with oppositional defiant behavior are more likely to have shorter telomeres, a hallmark of cellular aging, which in adults is associated with increased risk for chronic diseases and conditions like diabetes, obesity and cancer. This phenomenon was uncovered by UCSF researchers, who also identified maternal clinical depression as an independent predictor for shortened telomeres [...]
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|Physiological responses reveal our political affiliations
||New research from Aarhus University in Denmark shows that political partisanship is rooted in affective, physiological processes that cause partisans to toe the party line on policies and issues, regardless of policy content. Previous research has shown that party identifiers are more inclined to agree with policy proposals that are proposed by their own party, [...]
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|Don’t Make These 10 Mistakes When Choosing A Mate
||Mike Bundrant is co-founder of the iNLP Center, which offers training in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. There’s nothing like the overwhelming attraction of a new romantic interest, is there? Hormones take over … ...
|I can haz fuzzy feeling? Watching cat videos boosts energy and positive emotions, study finds
||If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling after watching cute cat videos online, the effect may be more profound than you think. The Internet phenomenon of watching cat videos, from Lil Bub to Grumpy Cat, does more than simply entertain; it boosts viewers’ energy and positive emotions and decreases negative feelings, according to a new [...]
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|When a sudden boost in status at work isn’t all good
||Imagine getting a sudden boost in status at work that changes you from a largely ignored worker to someone that others turn to for advice and help. Sounds great, doesn’t it? But a new study finds that an unanticipated gain in status can come with some negative baggage – if you did not earn the [...]
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|Why We Love Cats: What Felines Can Teach Us...
||Do you adore cats? Why do we find these feline creatures so irresistible? Perhaps like myself, you’ve owned a cat — or more likely, been owned by one. You know the joy that cats can bring, even when they’re deliciously obnoxious. What is it about cats … ...
|Longevity hormone is lower in stressed, depressed women
||Women under chronic stress have significantly lower levels of klotho, a hormone that regulates aging and enhances cognition, researchers have found in a study comparing mothers of children on the autism spectrum to low-stress controls.
|The Most Painful Goodbyes
||What is your very first memory? When you shut your eyes and you force your brain to go all of the way back to childhood what do you remember? Do … ...