Tag Archives: education

THE ALPHABET OF HAPPINESS: THE LETTER ‘I’

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Originally published in the Huffington Post – July 11, 2013 No matter what obstacles appear, happiness, in one form or another, can always be accessed, from the inside. The good news is that the more we train our brains to recognize happiness triggers, the more we become attuned to the good feelings they evoke. Today, let’s look through the alphabet to the letter “I”, to focus on intuition, intention and one of my personal favorites, inspiration. Intuition Your time is … Continue reading

The Alphabet of Happiness: The Letter ‘H’

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Even throughout the busy pace of everyday life, happiness is always close at hand. Rather than pursuing it, consider focusing in one place… inside. The good news is that by placing our attention on inner happiness, we train our brain to experience more of it. This week, let’s explore the letter “H” – Hope, Honesty and Health. Continue reading

Building Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Empathy

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Empathy is gaining attention as an important component of emotional intelligence and as a way to reduce bullying. When a person learns to understand and share the feelings of another, the pro-social behavior that results shows up in better relationships, closer friendships and stronger communities! Continue reading

Building Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Ninja Mastery or Emotional Management

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What if your kids could learn that managing their emotions gives them a real advantage in school, in relationships and in life in general? Like ninja masters, they can train themselves to harness their inner resources and redirect their energy to successfully deal with the challenges that come their way. In this article we’ll explore some approaches that can help. Continue reading

Building Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: The Power of Perspective

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Perspective counts! While we cannot necessarily change the circumstances in our lives, we can absolutely influence our attitudes and perspectives towards them. The lens through which our brain sees the world shapes our reality and impacts others. And students can learn that they have the choice to reframe their lens for a more empowering and positive view. Continue reading

Building Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: Passion and Strengths

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While the role of education is to give students a broad and foundational knowledge over a wide range of subjects, it is equally important for young people to be aware of and develop their unique strengths. Continue reading

Building Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students: The Power of Appreciation

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Gratitude works on two levels. It is one of the quickest ways to shift your perspective on perceived problems (external) and it is also an antidote to the inner “critic mind.” If individuals are grateful for the small things, then the bigger issues can seem less daunting. On the inner level, when people practice noticing the good in others, they tend to be less judgmental with themselves. Continue reading

Activities to Build Social and Emotional Skills in Elementary Students

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Anyone who works with young children knows that they live in the moment. When they are happy, all they know is that they’re happy RIGHT NOW. So how do you teach the difference between short-term and long-term happiness to someone who lives in the moment? Beyond grasping the concept of long-term happiness, how do you teach the value of long-term happiness? Continue reading

Congressman Tim Ryan Introduces the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act

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Congressman Tim Ryan has been a force for the support of mindfulness in our military and schools and now he is expanding that support with the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act. The act, co-sponsored by Congressman Dave Loebsack, Congressman Tom Petri and Congressman Matt Cartwright, amends the Elementary Education and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to allow funding for teacher and principal training and professional development to be used for social and emotional learning programming. “I have already seen what … Continue reading

The Alphabet of Happiness – The Letter ‘F’

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Happiness has many entry points. Some are simple, like appreciation, and others, like forgiveness are more complex. By exploring different facets of happiness, you blast open your capacity for greater joy. Even when facing challenging times, you will discover your portals to inner happiness. Today, let’s look at the letter “F” covering fun, focus and forgiveness. Continue reading

A Painful Misunderstanding—Sonia and Denise

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In order for mediation to work, participants need to know they are there by choice. The rules need to be clear and the disputants need to agree whole-heartedly to follow them before they begin laying out the problem and negotiating a solution. It is my role as facilitator not only to lead the disputants through the process, but also to model for them along the way, remaining calm, patient, fully present, and non-judgmental. Continue reading

Teacher Appreciation Day!

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“If there’s one thing we cannot say enough to our nation’s educators, it is THANK YOU.” – President Barack Obama Today, May 7, 2013, is Teacher Appreciation Day. At Project Happiness, we are so grateful to all of the teachers that work with Project Happiness! They are the backbone of all of our programs and they teach us so much about how we can improve the work that we do. Without our teachers, it would not be possible to have … Continue reading

The Alphabet of Happiness — the Letter ‘E’

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Originally published in the Huffington Post – April 23, 2013 Happiness can be found everywhere, if you know how to look. By spending some time focusing on the ways happiness can show up in your life, you train your brain to see more of it. By increasing your “happiness vocabulary” your capacity for happiness expands. Here are a few ways to tap into your happiness now, using the letter “E.” Enthusiasm Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. — Ralph … Continue reading

The Good News About Stress and 5 Ways to Cope

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Originally published in the Huffington Post – April 16, 2013 “If you’re not stressed, you’re not working hard enough.” More and more this mantra seems to be woven into our cultural dialogue. Stress may be considered the new “normal,” but it doesn’t have to be that way. Simple shifts in attitude and practices can yield big benefits. April is National Stress Awareness Month, which gives us the opportunity to look at both negative trends and some signs of hope. Here’s … Continue reading

Lessons from Valencia

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In early 2013, I was invited by Rachel Allen, Professor of Humanities and Coordinator of Valencia’s Peace and Justice Initiative, to participate in the College’s 5-day annual Justice and Peace Initiative, from January 28 – February 1, 2013. During the visit, I had the honor and priviledge of engaging and speaking with faculty and students at three of Valencia College’s campuses in Orlando, Florida. At the East Campus, I joined the College Professors and students in the Opening Festivities for … Continue reading

The Alphabet of Happiness – D

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Originally published in the Huffington Post – March 14, 2013 Happiness comes in many forms. The more we reflect on happiness, the more we will notice it in day-to-day life. The more focusing on happiness becomes a daily habit, the faster we train our neural pathways to make happiness our default setting. Sound good? Here are three ways to increase your happiness now, all starting with the letter D. Delight Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for … Continue reading

Seeing Happiness in Ambiguous Facial Expressions Reduces Aggressive Behaviour

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Encouraging young people at high-risk of criminal offending and delinquency to see happiness rather than anger in facial expressions results in a decrease in their levels of anger and aggression, according to new research from the University of Bristol. The study, led by Professor Marcus Munafò and Professor Ian Penton-Voak, explored the relationship between

The Alphabet of Happiness – “B”

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Originally published on The Huffington Post – February 5, 2013 Inner happiness can be accessed no matter what your external circumstances. Because happiness is different for everyone, from cultivating contentment to pursuing peak experiences, it’s fun to explore the various facets available to you now. Here are a few that may remind you of the happiness already at hand. Today, let’s look at the letter “B.” The good news is that by reflecting on happiness, you are actually strengthening the … Continue reading

Project Happiness and Native Cry Team Up To Tackle Depression and Suicide On Reservations

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By Lynn Armitage Sadly, people all over the world suffer from depression. According to the World Health Organization, depression will be the second most debilitating disease after heart disease by the year 2020; and unless something is done about it, by 2030, it will be the No. 1 health issue throughout the world. It’s especially troubling when our own children battle the blues. More than 10 years ago, after Randy Taran’s then-14-year-old daughter said to her one day, “I want … Continue reading

The Alphabet of Happiness – “A”

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Originally published on The Huffington Post – January 26, 2013 Happiness has many aspects: From quiet appreciation to living with zest and passion, it’s great to explore all the various facets available to you now. Inner happiness has many entry points. Try these out and notice how good you feel. Today, let’s look at the letter “A.” This is a letter of new beginnings — perfect as you take a look at new ways to bring happiness into your life. … Continue reading

Education for Liberation

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Education is the foundation of any society. It is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another. The history of education reflects human history itself – the history of the knowledge, beliefs, skills and cultures of humanity. In the early stages of human history, education was transferred orally and through observation and imitation. Learning was done informally with parents, grandparents and extended family members. At later stages, learners received instruction … Continue reading

7 DOORS: ONE STUDENT’S JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS – DOOR SEVEN

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Last year, students at the University of Southern California piloted a new program from Project Happiness called 7 Doors to Happiness. The program was created as a resource for adults to access their own happiness and to share it with others. One of the USC students, Mecca Moore, blogged about her experience with the 7 Doors to Happiness and asked if she could share it on our site. This year, this online course is once again being used at the … Continue reading

7 DOORS: ONE STUDENT’S JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS – DOOR SIX

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Last year, students at the University of Southern California piloted a new program from Project Happiness called 7 Doors to Happiness. The program was created as a resource for adults to access their own happiness and to share it with others. One of the USC students, Mecca Moore, blogged about her experience with the 7 Doors to Happiness and asked if she could share it on our site. This year, this online course is once again being used at the … Continue reading

The Blend at Paris Junior College Promotes Project Happiness

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At the recent PJC Homecoming Parade, The Blend promoted theirThe Paris Junior College student club, The Blend, has worked all semester on Project Happiness. The campaign is designed to “activate happiness in your community” according to club sponsor and PJC Spanish Instructor Kelli Ebel. As part of the campaign, club members placed signs around campus, hoping to inspire fellow students. The notes are mostly placed on benches where students will notice them between classes. Another part of the project was … Continue reading

7 DOORS: ONE STUDENT’S JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS – DOOR FIVE

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Last year, students at the University of Southern California piloted a new program from Project Happiness called 7 Doors to Happiness. The program was created as a resource for adults to access their own happiness and to share it with others. One of the USC students, Mecca Moore, blogged about her experience with the 7 Doors to Happiness and asked if she could share it on our site. This year, this online course is once again being used at the … Continue reading

7 DOORS: ONE STUDENT’S JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS – DOOR FOUR

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Last year, students at the University of Southern California piloted a new program from Project Happiness called 7 Doors to Happiness. The program was created as a resource for adults to access their own happiness and to share it with others. One of the USC students, Mecca Moore, blogged about her experience with the 7 Doors to Happiness and asked if she could share it on our site. This year, this online course is once again being used at the … Continue reading

Ridgewood High School Encourages Students to Find Their Happiness

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Ridgewood High School wants to see students happy. Not a day without homework happy. Not ‘we’ve got a sub today’ happy. Not free pizza in the cafeteria happy. But really happy, exuding real and lasting happiness regardless of exterior factors. Ridgewood officials are so committed to the effort that they spent several hours Oct. 25 working with students to identify true happiness. The effort included students viewing the award-winning film “Project Happiness,” which follows a senior high class from California … Continue reading

7 Doors: One Student’s Journey to Happiness – Door Three

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Last year, students at the University of Southern California piloted a new program from Project Happiness called 7 Doors to Happiness. The program was created as a resource for adults to access their own happiness and to share it with others. One of the USC students, Mecca Moore, blogged about her experience with the 7 Doors to Happiness and asked if she could share it on our site. This year, this online course is once again being used at the … Continue reading

7 Doors: One Student’s Journey to Happiness – Door Two

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Last year, students at the University of Southern California piloted a new program from Project Happiness called 7 Doors to Happiness. The program was created as a resource for adults to access their own happiness and to share it with others. One of the USC students, Mecca Moore, blogged about her experience with the 7 Doors to Happiness and asked if she could share it on our site. This year, this online course is once again being used at the … Continue reading

What Makes You Happy? Students from Berkeley Answer This Question Through Film

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I had the wonderful opportunity to judge some great student films from Dacher Keltner’s Course on Human Happiness at Berkeley. Here’s a blogpost about it from Jason Marsh, Editor in Chief, Greater Good Magazine, who put it all together. Check out the films – they will make you smile…RT What makes you happy? That was the question more than 400 UC Berkeley students had to consider before they completed Psychology 162 this past spring. This was no ordinary assignment, and … Continue reading

7 Doors: One Student’s Journey to Happiness – Door One

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Last year, students at the University of California piloted a new program from Project Happiness called 7 Doors to Happiness. The program was created as a resource for adults to access their own happiness and to share it with others. One of the USC students, Mecca Moore, blogged about her experience with the 7 Doors to Happiness and asked if she could share it on our site. This year, this online course is once again being used at the University … Continue reading

Randy Taran Featured on Microsoft’s Daily Edventures with Anthony Salcito

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This week, Project Happiness founder Randy Taran sat down with Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector Education to discuss her work with Project Happiness. The video is part of Anthony’s Daily Edventures, a 365-day look at heroes in education. To learn more about Microsoft’s Daily Edventures, visit www.DailyEdventures.com

Native Cry Outreach

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Earlier this year, I learned that my grandmother had been keeping a family secret. Her mother, my great-grandmother, was full Cherokee but she and my great-grandfather had hidden this fact to better fit into the world that they lived in at the time. This information fascinated me, not so much because I felt a burning connection to the Cherokee Nation, but because I was curious how being identified as non-white could have such a stigma attached to it. I have … Continue reading

Common Ground Magazine Sings Praises of Project Happiness

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When Randy Taran’s eldest daughter was a teenager, she approached her mother with a very serious concern: she was stressed out, and while she wanted to be happy, she didn’t know how. Taran, heartbroken and unsure of how to respond to or guide her daughter, first sought the guidance of experts and soon ended up as a visionary leader in the happiness movement. Her pain as a bewildered parent ultimately led her to found the Palo-Alto-based nonprofit Project Happiness which, … Continue reading

Happiness is Spreading in Bulgaria

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I love Bulgaria! Life happens in curious ways. I never dreamed that I would be visiting Bulgaria, but this weekend, I had the great pleasure of presenting a happiness speech and workshop in the capital city of Sofia. “Days of Happiness” is the first project of its kind in Eastern Europe. Organized by the Credo Bonum Foundation, it brought in speakers from around the world to address the issue of happiness. Why? In April, 2012 a UN Report declared Bulgaria … Continue reading

Is School Harming Our Kids?

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From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-taran/standardized-testing_b_1466236.html I just got off the phone with my sister. It is almost the end of the school year, and the students at her daughter’s elementary school have a week of testing ahead during which they’ll take the Standardized Testing and Reporting, or STAR, tests. My niece, aged 10. is staying up till 10 pm most every night to study, and she is stressed out. What is wrong with this picture? br>Our kids are under increasing … Continue reading

Happiness Lost: When Kids Take Their Lives

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From the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-taran/teen-suicide_b_1381062.html I visit a lot of schools and communities with a documentary I produced called Project Happiness. The idea is to remind people of the happiness that we were born with and how to re-access it, no matter what the external circumstances. I am grateful for the profound appreciation coming from audiences; yet the reason troubles me to the core. Why in so many cities, across the country, am I hearing again and again of kids … Continue reading

Project Happiness Launches Yearlong Program in India

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Project Happiness has just launched a yearlong program for teens from the urban slums of Delhi. We are delighted to welcome Vibha, PH Director of India, and founder of Muskaan. Vibha is working with 38 boys and girls, 11th and 12th graders, who are learning the social and emotional skills to cultivate a happiness that comes from the inside, regardless of external circumstances. In their very first lesson they covered: 1)Overview of PH & filling the PH pre-assessment forms 2)Introduction … Continue reading

Graduation: 10 Tips To Achieving The Life You Want

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I’m just returning from my son’s graduation — a milestone filled with laughter, elation, and tears of joy. But what is the next step? So many graduates haven’t a clue. Herein lies the opportunity. My son is graduating as a double major in Economics and Asian Studies — he’s lived in India and China, but does he want to do something related to that? Not right now. He wants to get his Screen Actors Guild card and act. As parents, … Continue reading

How to be Happy: The Magical Lego of Happiness

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When our sons were younger, they would often sprawl on the floor for hours playing Legos. In the huge bucket that sat between the two of them, there were thousands of Legos of every shape, color, and size imaginable. One day, when the boys were about 4 and 6, I peeked into their room to see my younger son working away happily, improvising a whimsical structure. Reaching into the bucket, he grabbed one tiny plastic brick after another, enjoying his … Continue reading

The New Project Happiness Film Trailer!

We are thrilled to debut the first of our film trailers for the Project Happiness film screening nationwide!  If you would like to schedule a screening in your area, contact Brian – brian@projecthappiness.com  

Reflecting on Struggle: Reaching out to those with depression, Part 1

In this second series of podcasts, I interview Nina Poe, the author of the blog “Reflection on Depression” (at reflectionondepression.typepad.com). As readers of the Project Happiness Handbook know, there is no magic bullet for happiness and this is doubly true for those suffering from clinical depression. But as compassionate people — whether we are friends, parents, teachers or mentors — we can reach out to those struggling with depression and help connect them with the professional resources to heal. And … Continue reading

Australia’s Social and Emotional Learning Advocate

An update on happychild.com.au’s Yvette Vignando: she managed to secure herself a visit with the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, during which she made her case for more Project-Happiness-type social and emotional learning in Australia’s schools. Go to http://ow.ly/1A292 to hear an interview about her visit with the prime minister on ABC Newcastle. We at Project Happiness are so grateful for her tireless work on behalf of Australia’s students — go, Yvette!

How Teachers Can Tame the Elephant in the Room: Dr. Brooks on Resilience, Part 5

In this installment, Dr. Brooks helps teachers tame the elephant in the classroom: fear of making mistakes and being humiliated. This fear is so strong that it can severely interfere with learning. Dr. Brooks offers a proactive resilient approach in which teachers address these fears directly and lead students in problem-solving to make the classroom a safe space. He also gives some tips on true discipline as discipleship/teaching: using his latest book (‘Raising a Self-Disciplined Child‘) as a touch point, … Continue reading

Why are Resilient People Usually Happy?: Dr. Brooks on Resilience, Part 4

Here Dr. Brooks and I finally make the connection between resilience and happiness. Some of the key components of resilience — identifying and displaying your strengths, helping others, and solving problems — are also things that bring satisfaction and long-term happiness. [podcast]http://projecthappiness.org/wp-content/uploads/brooksfourthinstallment.mp3[/podcast] Project Podcast: Take-Aways for Parents and Teachers After listening to the podcast, fill out our ‘Mentoring Resilience & Happiness’ questionnaire. And keep working on appreciating your gifts and appreciating children’s gifts. Compassion for yourself and the kids in … Continue reading

We All Have “Islands of Competence”: Dr. Brooks on Resilience, Part 3

******* In the third installment of our resilience podcast series, Dr. Brooks explains his powerful metaphor, islands of competence (see this article on his site for a powerful story about a parent applying islands of competence in her life). As a strength-based model of psychology was starting to emerge, Dr. Brooks began to think about helping parents and children in terms of leading them out of the “sea of self-perceived inadequacy” onto an “island of competence.” Dr. Brooks’ Podcast on … Continue reading

In Search of the Charismatic Adult: Dr. Brooks on Resilience, Part 2

In this second installment of our podcast series on resilience, Dr. Brooks and I discuss the importance of the “charismatic adult” in a child’s life (a term coined by Dr. Julius Segal — see this article or check out his Amazon bibliography for more info): that adult who believes in and stands by a child through adversity. Dr. Brooks traces his career path as he began to ask, “Why do some children who grow up under poverty and racism, undergo … Continue reading

A Challenge Worthy of One’s Gifts

While I still have to remind myself to take a deep breath and calm down, I think I do pretty well when faced with challenges these days. The other day I managed a work phone call while assisting my 3-year-old on the potty and making sure my 1-year-old didn’t unroll the entire toilet paper roll (half, maybe…). So I think I’m doing pretty well. But as an adolescent I did not respond well to challenge – I saw it as … Continue reading

Implementing Project Happiness: Paddling Downstream

(See the end of the post for important Handbook ordering info!) September 21, 2009 By now almost everybody is back at school (including those people on the quarter system who like to make everyone else feel jealous in August and early September!) and in the thick of things. I am incredibly pleased to report that we have more than twenty schools using The Project Happiness Handbook so far and that there are even more getting ready to take the plunge. … Continue reading

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