like a stone
to skip across the water,
in a moment
to raise the level
of our awareness.
the stone touches the water,
thoughts can intervene,
and fly away with
Between the beats
of a Human Heart,
reality can seem
to be flung far away,
like a dream
for one another,
compassionate in beating,
held in Loving greeting,
are like the stones
to skip across the water
of our Sacred
upon the shore,
like so many
moments of Joy
we all too often
There is so much
of Life to live,
when we choose
not to take,
a lack of
has its advantages,
but not many.
can inspire each
to move forward
through time and space,
and spiral outward
in a never ending
the very Heart
The journey of Life
cannot truly end
My Dear Friends,
the end is near
is through the
for the Gift
of God’s Love
the price is
Scientifically Proven Ways
to Be Incredibly Happy
by Belle Beth Cooper,
Content Crafter at Buffer
It’s easy to think of happiness as a result, but happiness is also a driver.
One example: While I’m definitely into finding ways to improve personal productivity (whether a one-day burst, or a lifetime, or things you should not do every day), probably the best way to be more productive is to just be happier. Happy people accomplish more.
Easier said than done though, right?
Actually, many changes are easy. Here are 10 science-based ways to be happier from Belle Beth Cooper, Content Crafter at Buffer, the social media management tool that lets you schedule, automate, and analyze social media updates.
1. Exercise: 7 Minutes Could Be Enough
Think exercise is something you don’t have time for? Think again. Check out the 7 minute workout mentioned in The New York Times. That’s a workout any of us can fit into our schedules.
Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it is an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage, three groups of patients treated their depression with medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study are surprising: Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels early on, the follow-up assessments proved to be radically different:
The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent.
You don’t have to be depressed to benefit from exercise, though. Exercise can help you relax, increase your brain power, and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight.
We’ve explored exercise in depth before, and looked at what it does to our brains, such as releasing proteins and endorphins that make us feel happier.
A study in the Journal of Health Psychology found that people who exercised felt better about their bodies even when they saw no physical changes:
Body weight, shape and body image were assessed in 16 males and 18 females before and after both 6 × 40 minutes exercising and 6 × 40 minutes reading. Over both conditions, body weight and shape did not change. Various aspects of body image, however, improved after exercise compared to before.
Even if your actual appearance doesn’t change, how you feel about your body does change.
2. Sleep More: You’ll Be Less Sensitive to Negative Emotions
We know that sleep helps our body recover from the day and repair itself and that it helps us focus and be more productive. It turns out sleep is also important for happiness. In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman explain how sleep affects positivity:
3. Spend More Time With Friends/Family: Money Can’t Buy You Happiness
If you want more evidence that time with friends is beneficial for you, research proves it can make you happier right now, too.
Social time is highly valuable when it comes to improving our happiness, even for introverts. Several studies have found that time spent with friends and family makes a big difference to how happy we feel.
I love the way Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert explains it:
We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.
4. Get Outside More: Happiness is Maximized at 57°
In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor recommends spending time in the fresh air to improve your happiness:
Making time to go outside on a nice day also delivers a huge advantage; one study found that spending 20 minutes outside in good weather not only boosted positive mood, but broadened thinking and improved working memory…
This is pretty good news for those of us who are worried about fitting new habits into our already-busy schedules. Twenty minutes is a short enough time to spend outside that you could fit it into your commute or even your lunch break.
Being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for most. In fact, participants were found to be substantially happier outdoors in all natural environments than they were in urban environments.
The American Meteorological Society published research in 2011 that found current temperature has a bigger effect on our happiness than variables like wind speed and humidity, or even the average temperature over the course of a day. It also found that happiness is maximized at 57 degrees (13.9°C), so keep an eye on the weather forecast before heading outside for your 20 minutes of fresh air.
The connection between productivity and temperature is another topic we’ve talked about more here. It’s fascinating what a small change in temperature can do.
5. Help Others: 100 Hours a Year is the Magic Number
One of the most counter-intuitive pieces of advice I found is that to make yourself feel happier, you should help others. In fact, 100 hours per year (or two hours per week) is the optimal time we should dedicate to helping others in order to enrich our lives.
If we go back to Shawn Achor’s book again, he says this about helping others:
…when researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities–such as concerts and group dinners out–brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches. Spending money on other people, called “prosocial spending,” also boosts happiness.
The Journal of Happiness Studies published a study that explored this very topic.
6. Practice Smiling: Reduce Pain, Improve Mood, Think Better
Smiling can make us feel better, but it’s more effective when we back it up with positive thoughts, according to this study:
A new study led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests customer-service workers who fake smile throughout the day worsen their mood and withdraw from work, affecting productivity. But workers who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts – such as a tropical vacation or a child’s recital – improve their mood and withdraw less.
Of course it’s important to practice “real smiles” where you use your eye sockets. (You’ve seen fake smiles that don’t reach the person’s eyes. Try it. Smile with just your mouth. Then smile naturally; your eyes narrow. There’s a huge difference in a fake smile and a genuine smile.)
According to PsyBlog, smiling can improve our attention and help us perform better on cognitive tasks:
Smiling makes us feel good which also increases our attentional flexibility and our ability to think holistically. When this idea was tested by Johnson et al. (2010), the results showed that participants who smiled performed better on attentional tasks which required seeing the whole forest rather than just the trees.
A smile is also a good way to reduce some of the pain we feel in troubling circumstances:
Smiling is one way to reduce the distress caused by an upsetting situation. Psychologists call this the facial feedback hypothesis. Even forcing a smile when we don’t feel like it is enough to lift our mood slightly (this is one example of embodied cognition).
7. Plan a Trip: It Helps Even if You Don’t Actually Take One.
As opposed to actually taking a holiday, simply planning a vacation or break from work can improve our happiness. A study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life showed that the highest spike in happiness came during the planning stage of a vacation as people enjoy the sense of anticipation:
In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks. After the vacation, happiness quickly dropped back to baseline levels for most people.
Shawn Achor has some info for us on this point, as well:
One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent.
If you can’t take the time for a vacation right now, or even a night out with friends, put something on the calendar – even if it’s a month or a year down the road. Then, whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself about it.
8. Meditate: Rewire Your Brain for Happiness
Meditation is often touted as an important habit for improving focus, clarity, and attention span, as well as helping to keep you calm. It turns out it’s also useful for improving your happiness😐
In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuro-imaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.
Meditation literally clears your mind and calms you down, it’s been often proven to be the single most effective way to live a happier life. According to Achor, meditation can actually make you happier long-term:
Studies show that in the minutes right after meditating, we experience feelings of calm and contentment, as well as heightened awareness and empathy. And, research even shows that regular meditation can permanently rewire the brain to raise levels of happiness.
The fact that we can actually alter our brain structure through mediation is most surprising to me and somewhat reassuring that however we feel and think today isn’t permanent.
9. Move Closer to Work: A Short Commute is Worth More Than a Big House
Our commute to work can have a surprisingly powerful impact on our happiness. The fact that we tend to commute twice a day at least five days a week makes it unsurprising that the effect would build up over time and make us less and less happy.
Having a long commute is something we often fail to realize will affect us so dramatically:
… while many voluntary conditions don’t affect our happiness in the long term because we acclimate to them, people never get accustomed to their daily slog to work because sometimes the traffic is awful and sometimes it’s not.
Or as Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert put it, “Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.”
We tend to try to compensate for this by having a bigger house or a better job, but these compensations just don’t work:
Two Swiss economists who studied the effect of commuting on happiness found that such factors could not make up for the misery created by a long commute.
10. Practice Gratitude: Increase Happiness and Satisfaction
This is a seemingly simple strategy but I’ve personally found it to make a huge difference to my outlook. There are lots of ways to practice gratitude, from keeping a journal of things you’re grateful for, sharing three good things that happen each day with a friend or your partner, and going out of your way to show gratitude when others help you.
In an experiment where participants took note of things they were grateful for each day, their moods were improved just from this simple practice:
The gratitude – outlook groups exhibited heightened well-being across several, though not all, of the outcome measures across the three studies, relative to the comparison groups. The effect on positive affect appeared to be the most robust finding. Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.
The Journal of Happiness studies published a study that used letters of gratitude to test how being grateful can affect our levels of happiness:
Participants included 219 men and women who wrote three letters of gratitude over a 3 week period. Results indicated that writing letters of gratitude increased participants’ happiness and life satisfaction while decreasing depressive symptoms.
Quick Final Fact: Getting Older Will Actually Make You Happier
As we get older, particularly past middle age, we tend to naturally grow happier. There’s still some debate over why this happens, but scientists have a few ideas:
Researchers, including the authors, have found that older people shown pictures of faces or situations tend to focus on and remember the happier ones more and the negative ones less.
Other studies have discovered that as people age, they seek out situations that will lift their moods – for instance, pruning social circles of friends or acquaintances who might bring them down. Still other work finds that older adults learn to let go of loss and disappointment over unachieved goals, and focus their goals on greater well being.
So if you thought getting old will make you miserable, it’s likely you’ll develop a more positive outlook than you probably have now.
How cool is that?
2018-19 Anderson School Calendar
September 4 – December 21 2018
Sept. 4 (Tuesday) First Day of First Semester
Oct 8 (Monday) Columbus Day Holiday
Nov. 19 – 23 Thanksgiving / Fall Break
T. B. A. Texas A.G.T. Conference (no school)
Dec. 21 (Friday) Last Day of Fall Semester
Dec. 24 – Jan. 7 Winter Break Holidays
January 8 – May 24 2019
Jan. 8 (Tuesday) Second Semester begins
Jan. 21 (Monday) Rev. Dr. Martin L. King Holiday
Feb. 18 (Monday) President’s Day Holiday
Mar. 11 -15 Spring Break Holidays
April 19 & 22 (Fri. & Mon.) Good Friday & Easter Holidays
May 20 Prep. Day for Adventure Trip (no school)
May 21 – 24 Adventure Trip
May 24 Last Day of Semester
Dr. & Mrs. Anderson may schedule 2-5 additional days
(to be announced later) for In-service Training.
Visit our website at http://www.andersonschool.net
for updated information.
The School Calendar is subject to change.
There are no make-up days
if school is closed due to
Inclement Weather Policy:
the school will close if Fort Worth I. S. D. is closed.
(Calendar 2018-2019 / approved 7-29-18)
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