With Thanksgiving around the corner, exploring the mental health benefits of gratitude seems apropos in November. So, what exactly is gratitude? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, gratitude is "the feeling or quality of being grateful." But, with all the hype that gratitude gets, is gratitude more than just saying "thank you" for a deed or gift received?
Interestingly, gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. With these roots, you can see how gratitude is more than a feeling of appreciation for gifts or friendly actions. With gratitude, there is a deep sense and connection not only to the goodness in our own lives but also to factors outside of ourselves. Gratitude is also a time traveler, enabling us to connect to our past (memories), our present (not taking things for granted), and our future (attitude). Gratitude is much more than just appreciation.
In physics, resilience is an object's ability to return back to its original shape after pressure or strain has been applied. Psychologists borrow this word to describe one's ability to "bounce back" and adapt to stress or setbacks. As covered in our post on what stress is (click here for that read), stress is anything that demands a change, and if there is something we can absolutely count on, it's that the world is an ever-changing environment. Therefore, our ability to adapt and quickly recover from adversity is a significant factor in our happiness. How we respond to life is in our control.
Psychologists have studied resilience for a long time. They've been curious about how people recover after traumas, tragedies, natural disasters, health concerns, school stress, and workplace problems. More specifically, psychologists have explored what factors enable a person to recover faster and why some people might get stuck. Understanding this...
We hear this word being tossed about, but what exactly is stress? Very simply, stress is our body's reaction to a demand for a change. This demand can be a reaction to a situation or event. Demands on our system can take several forms -- physical, emotional, or mental.
Stress has gotten a bad rap. We hear people talk about being "stressed out" by an offensive co-worker, an overbearing family member, dealing with an overflowing email box, or being overwhelmed by too much homework. Today, the word "stress" is mainly used as an adjective to describe negative or unpleasant events. But, if we go back to the original definition of stress by Hans Selye in 1936, stress is just a reaction to a demand...any demand.
So, what's the point of redefining stress to rebrand its image? Because if we want to perform at our best as humans, some stress is necessary and inevitable. Let's take wanting to do well on an upcoming test as an example. Some...
Today's Friday Feature is brought to you by...Independence Day. We thought it was apropos to celebrate the independence of our country while also promoting the independence of our children.
As a parent, do you ever get tired of washing the dishes, making snacks, bathing children, tidying toys, and picking clothes off the ground? (Um, obvi). Have you ever asked yourself if you needed to do these things? Don't get us wrong, it's not a question of IF these things need to get done. Rather, it's if YOU are the only one that can do it. Many times, parents get into the habit of doing it all that they forget to ask themselves if their children have the ability and thus, responsibility to help or care for themselves.
Little actions lead to big changes over time. When kids help and become responsible for daily tasks and self-care, these actions build confidence in themselves and trust with parents who then see them more competently. This...
We can't believe that summer is here. The end of this past school year was a serious doozie! Our heads are still spinning from all of the pivoting we had to do.
COVID-19 really shook things up and made us adapt. Now, we're all pros at WFH, we have a new appreciation for our teachers, and frontline workers redefined our pictures of heroes. We all tried to make the best of what we were given and were thrilled when the Vista Unified School District (VUSD) asked us if they could use our Odyssey program to meet the social-emotional needs of their students on their virtual school platform. Um, "YES!"
With a reach of almost 10,000 elementary school families, we were thrilled to be able to bring our fun, easy, and science-based program to every single elementary school in VUSD for free during a time of global crisis. We knew that actively supporting the emotional fitness of kids and their parents, and making it easily accessible...
Welcome back to our Friday Feature series!
Today, we're going to finish up our SEL Spotlight Series by taking a deeper dive into Responsible Decision-Making, one of the five competencies of social-emotional learning. If you missed any part of this series, it's never too late to go back and check out the posts on the other four competencies (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills). Let's get to it!
Responsible decision-making is a skill made up of a lot of skills. Having a solid foundation in the other four competencies lays the groundwork for this skill, which is the ability to make real-time respectful choices given the understanding of ethics, safety, and social norms. In other words, this suite of skills allows us to make choices about our behavior when taking into account social norms and when also using our moral compass.
As you can see, responsible decision-making is complex....
Welcome back to our Friday Feature where we're going to continue our SEL Spotlight series. Today, we get into Relationship Skills, one of the five competencies that make up Social and Emotional Learning (SEL). We've already covered Self-Awareness, Self-Management, and Social Awareness, so head back to those posts if you want to learn more about these competencies or want a little refresher.
If there was ever a time where our society needed strong relationship skills, this is it. As defined by CASEL, relationship skills include the "ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups."
Most people inherently get and understand what it means to be in a meaningful relationship. Whether it's with a BFF, a partner, or your children, most people want their relationships to be healthy, rewarding, and long-lasting.
Just like anything worthwhile, making and...
As we continue to navigate these unpredictable and uncertain times, we aim for our posts to provide actionable information that offers a valuable resource to you, your family, and to our community. Today is no different.
No matter the time, we are certain that empathy is a good thing. What exactly is empathy? According to Merriam-Webster, empathy is "the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another..." Empathy is our capacity to take another person's perspective and to hold their perspective as valuable. Empathy is both perspective-taking and compassion. Empathy is feeling with people, not sorry for people.
Empathy is at the heart of being human. It gives us the foundation to care about others, to do good, to act ethically, to have professional success, and to be cradled by loving and meaningful...
For today's Friday Feature, we're gonna continue our SEL Spotlight series. This series is meant to level-up your knowledge of what Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is and stand behind SEL as the key driver to living a wonderfully balanced and successful life. If you missed any posts in this series, you can still read about self-awareness and self-management, two of the five competencies that make up SEL.
As opposed to self-awareness, which is one's ability to focus and reflect on oneself, social awareness is the ability to see others by taking another person's perspective. The ability to take another's perspective is incredibly powerful as it allows for empathy, building meaningful relationships, communicating effectively, and guiding us to behave appropriately across different environments and situations. Having strong social awareness helps us to respect others and...
It doesn't feel so long ago where we were trying to adjust to WFH and virtual learning and now...summer is here! With summer camps and vacations canceled and without the structure of the school day, what are you doing to do?
1. Food fun!
Find a few yummy recipes, take a family vote, and make the recipe as a family. Need some inspiration? Check out:
2. Movie marathon
Pick your family's favorite series. Pop some popcorn, close the blinds, grab some blankets and pillows, and press start!...