Many of us experience fear and anxiety on a regular basis. It interrupts our sleep, harvests self-doubt and can lead to depression or just plain unhappiness. I’ve often tackled the fear issue with young people by simply letting them know that a lot of the stuff they are fearful about they’ve never actually experienced. How do they know it’s so scary? I then point them to the here and now which they seem to be handling just fine and that, when they think about it, they are always pretty much okay. Sure, we get emotional but life doesn’t hand us what we can’t handle…at least that’s what I’ve learned along the way. Christine Carter’s tips for cultivating courage could really calm a kid, and an adult for that matter. We all need to work on our projected fears…so why not tackle them collectively with our students or kids?

It’s easy! Lose the fear!


Abridged version of article by Christine Carter  (link at bottom) 

First, pay attention. Label the thought:  “Oh, there’s a fearful thought.” take a deep breath. Noticing your not-brave thoughts can give you the distance you need to not act according to that thought and the feeling it produces. Actively fill your mind with courageous thoughts. Consider times when you’ve been brave before. Think about how the worst-case scenario is something you can deal with. Remind yourself of your long-term goals.

Second, Consider that your fear might not be legitimate. Sometimes fear is more about excitement and thrill and passion than it is a warning that you are about to do something dangerous. Do you have the desire to get the heck out of whatever situation is making you fearful? If so, your fear is likely legitimate. But if your fear is making you hesitate, consider that your fear is unfounded. Take a deep breath, and make the leap (especially if what you are leaping into is actually really good for you and is something that moves you towards your best self [sic]).

Third, Make specific plans for obstacles you might face. Ask yourself: What obstacles are you likely to encounter? People who plan for how they’re going to react to different obstacles tend to be able to meet their goals more successfully; in other words, scary challenges don’t stop them, especially when they formulate “If X, then Y” plans for each potential difficulty.

Fear is the thing that in truth makes actions hard, not the action that we think we are afraid of. Not doing something because we are afraid is actually not the easy way out in the long run. Though it might seem counterintuitive, it is finding the courage to try, or push ahead, or speak up, or make a change that will help us live and work from our sweet spot. Ironically, when we do the hard thing, ultimately we find more ease.

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A Venn diagram career coach

venndiagramWhen I was teaching secondary school I realized there was a lack of focused discussion about the career that students feel would make them happy.  Youth are focused on their grades, their activities and friends, and what their parents want them to do.  They are asked some perfunctory questions about their direction in life; but are they taking a deeper look inward to grasp the truth regarding who they are, what they are good at, and what kind of career path could lead to their authentic happiness?  This path has nothing to do with anyone else but themselves, and it is time that we gave them the tools, the time, and the space in which to have thoughtful dialogue about their future.  This helpful yet deceivingly simple tool created by Hustle and Grind and published by AirTasker is great to open the discussion:

stickynoteIn life, we can do good and feel good or we can choose the alternative. Which would you choose if you could?  Inspired by Caitlin Boyle, of North Carolina, who posted anonymous positive notes in public places, Stefania Restagno from Montreal started an incredibly uplifting initiative at her high school. Caitlin began sticking Post-It notes filled with inspiring quotes on the mirror of the girls’ bathroom.  In no time the mirrors were filling up with more empowering quotes – something much needed in our overly critical world.  Youth are constantly plagued by the negative messages that permeate their minds as they gaze at themselves in the mirror.  For a girl, it can be disappointing and depressing when what passes through your mind is, “you are not enough. Your nose is too big.  You’re fat.”  So, Restagno is onto something…now let’s start posting these notes in our homes.  By changing the message, we can help choose the thoughts that better serve us.

Read more about this wonderful initiative


How to make your day better with kindness

It is essential that we facilitate kindness by providing kids with tools and opportunities to practice being kind on a regular basis. Once kids truly experience an increase in happiness through acts of GIVING rather than TAKING then they are more likely to keep practicing them. Naturally, when they experience the positive repurcussions accredited with being compassionate towards others their need to assert their power over anyone else will decrease. As bullying really is a power game, when young people assert their power through positive actions, rather than negative ones, they’ll experience the difference and hopefully continue on that track. It is proactive. It is all the rage. We need to continuously teach the value of kindness and we must, above all else, practice what we preach!

Read more to attain some valuable kindness ammunition


Epiphanies shape our thoughts

In order to facilitate a culture of curiosity we can provide students with opportunities to open their minds to questions and discussions about who they are and what they believe. Epiphanies usually come from curious minds.  Once experienced, our minds are opened up a bit. Creativity flows, and we feel free…like we’ve found the answer, the hidden treasure or something. Well, here’s a little article which will offer you and your students some lovely epiphaneis for the taking.

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Practicing positivity – 11 simple “To-Dos”

We are born with the propensity to either be more positive or more negative. That said, with enough practice we can alter our reactions so that they are more positive. A common desire that we all share is the desire to be happy – and so, by practicing these 11 tools we can achieve this. Naturally, the sooner we start shaping the manner in which we process our world, the better. And, the younger we start to attune ourselves towards a more positive signal, the happier we will be.

Read more to learn some easy to apply tools


Sticks and Stones empowers girls by DOVE

I’ve met with many young girls who are being targeted by their peers through hurtful comments about their appearance. Striking out at a girl regarding her appearance is the easiest way to disempower her. Most girls will take the insults in without much of a fight; they grow to believe these negative comments are true and wind up secretly hating themselves for it. As we know, this can develop into self-deprecating habits of thought or self-harm and worse. Dove’s initiative to broach self-image, especially in young girls, is encouraging. Mums and dads can acquire some effective tools for their daughters by learning about this Sticks and Stones campaign:

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