Tag Archives: resilience

How To Cope When Faced With Overwhelming Tragedy

Abby Madi (L) and Peterson Zatterlee comforts Zaterlee's dog Rippy, after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma, May 20, 2013. A 2-mile-wide (3-km-wide) tornado tore through the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore on Monday, killing at least 51 people while destroying entire tracts of homes, piling cars atop one another, and trapping two dozen school children beneath rubble. Credit:Reuters

All of us at Project Happiness have been devastated by the recent tragedies in Oklahoma. In the wake of this disaster, one is struck by the sheer power of nature and the impermanence of everything we hold sacred. How can one possibly stay happy during times of extreme crisis or tragedy? Even if we are just watching events on the news, it is natural to get overwhelmed by things out of our control, especially in situations of this magnitude. Continue reading

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


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

When Gratitude Fills Your Heart


Gratitude is a big buzzword these days, and for good reason. Studies are showing that a” conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits” (Emmons and McCullough). Today I am grateful that I get to work from home on Fridays. Being home today allowed me time with my two godchildren (I live with their family) this morning . While their mother took the toddler to preschool, I danced in the kitchen with the 11-month-old. As we bounced and … Continue reading

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


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

Common Ground Magazine Sings Praises of Project Happiness


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

What Do We Do in the Face of Senseless Tragedy?


Last week, in Aurora, Colorado, we witnessed one of the largest tragedies of its kind in U.S. History. 12 people died and 57 were injured, and it leaves us wondering, WHY? What propels an individual to be so tortured to resort to mass murder of innocent people in a public place? And how do we cope with the aftermath – the sorrow, the trauma and the sense that you never know… In an odd replay of fiction come to life, … Continue reading

How can you find happiness in times like these?


I have spent a ton of time lately thinking about how to find happiness in times like these. I think about all the different situations that surround so many people in my life. So how can you find happiness when: you’ve lost your job, you’ve lost your house, your child is dying, your child has an incurable condition, you have cancer, your parent just died of cancer, or you are getting divorced? Those are just some examples. How can you … Continue reading

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

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

Project Happiness’ Podcast Kick-Off

Welcome to our very first podcast. This series of podcasts will give parents and educators tips for leading a happier, healthier life. And we’re starting with Dr. Robert Brooks (see his website for an archive of helpful articles, info on speaking engagements, and lots of resources for parents and teachers), a psychologist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, a world-renowned expert in childhood resilience, a national and international lecturer, and respected author of some extremely helpful and hopeful books … Continue reading

Throwing Kids A Lifeline

It probably comes as a huge surprise that someone with a Ph.D. in Slavic Linguistics was not the coolest kid back in high school. In fact, you will probably be amazed to hear that the secretary of the Latin Club (not even the president – it’s a geeky position inside a geeky organization!) was the butt of many of the popular kids’ jokes. My lack of self-awareness didn’t help: for instance, in order to find out how to be popular, … 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

An Invitation to Teachers: The Project Happiness connection

September 13, 2009 Hello to Current, Past, Prospective and Eternal Project Happiness Teachers: I’m writing to introduce myself: my name is Abby Konopasky and I am Project Happiness’ new Director of Education. For those of you who have worked with Maria Lineger, she’s still on board, but we couldn’t keep her away from the hands-on, experiential work that is so critical to our program. I am fortunate to have her foundational work to build on and her guidance to do … Continue reading

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