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Gratitude As An Antidote To Aggression

Gratitude As An Antidote To Aggression | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Grateful people aren't just kinder people, according to UK College of Arts & Sciences psychology Professor Nathan DeWall.

 

They are also less aggressive.

 

DeWall proves his point with five studies on gratitude as a trait and as a fleeting mood, discovering that giving thanks lowers daily aggression, hurt feelings and overall sensitivity.

 

"If you count your blessings, you're more likely to empathize with other people," said the researcher who is more well-known for studying factors that increased aggression. "More empathic people are less aggressive."

 

Gratitude motivates people to express sensitivity and concern for others and stimulates pro-social behavior, according to DeWall. Although gratitude increases mental well-being, it was unknown whether gratitude reduced aggression.

 

DeWall and his colleagues conducted cross-sectional, longitudinal, experience sampling, and experimental studies with more than 900 undergraduate students to show that gratitude is linked to lower aggression.

 

"We tried to triangulate on this phenomenon in as many different ways as we could," said DeWall, who tested the effects of gratitude both inside and outside of the lab.

 

The study, found in Social Psychological and Personality Science, links gratitude to "a nonviolent heart," with those less inclined to aggression.

 

Across all, there was "converging support for the hypothesis that gratitude is an antidote to aggression," according to DeWall. The relationship proved consistent even after controlling for general positive emotion.

 

"We know that grateful people are nice people," said DeWall. "But this is the first study to really show that they're not very aggressive either."

 

You don't have to be a naturally appreciative person to experience these effects, either.

 

"I wanted to bust the myth that only certain people are grateful," DeWall said. "Gratitude is an equal opportunity emotion that causes lower levels of aggression."

 

An activity as basic as writing a letter or mentally counting your blessings can be enough to decrease aggression.

 

"Take a step back, and look at what you've got," said DeWall. "Don't spend every waking moment being grateful, but one time a week definitely increases your well-being over time. And if you get bad news you're given a shot that protects you."

 

DeWall's findings have broad applications and can inform interventions aimed at reducing interpersonal aggression and anger.

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26 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better

26 charts and maps that show the world is getting much, much better | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Poverty is down, literacy is up, and life expectancy is rising.
Jim Manske's insight:
Don't be daunted by the negative tendencies of some folks who choose to constantly parade "facts" about how terrible things are.  Of course, things are terrible for some of us!  And, overall, as a species we are making some progress.  Don't buy in to fear!  Buy in to "Who needs what right now?" and "How can we help?".  Let's keep the momentum going in our lives and continue to work together to make life more wonderful for everyone of us.
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Flip the Script

Flip the Script | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Psychology has a golden rule: If I am warm, you are usually warm. If I am hostile, you are too. But what happens if you flip the script and meet hostility with warmth? It's called "noncomplementary behavior" — a mouthful, but a powerful concept, and very hard to execute. Alix and Hanna examine three attempts to pull it off: during a robbery, a terrorism crisis and a dating dry spell.

To play the podcast:  http://goo.gl/km5A4y
Jim Manske's insight:
One of my favorite 21st century enhancements is the podcast. There are a few I enjoy. This one, moved me and inspired me, especially the first two sections. For me, this is another indication that the consciousness we point to when we use the "word" NVC is universal and unlimited in its application. As Marshall Rosenberg once said, "I'd rather have NVC than a gun." Listen to the first 10 minutes or so of this podcast to gain your own insight into what Marshall may have meant.
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Can Attachment Theory Explain All Our Relationships?

Can Attachment Theory Explain All Our Relationships? | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The most important parenting you’ll ever do happens before your child turns one — and may affect her for the rest of her life. One mother’s journey through the science of attachment.
Jim Manske's insight:
I have been fortunate to receive some education in attachment theory from Sarah Peyton, CNVC trainer in Portand.  Her work integrating NVC with Interpersonal Neurobiology has supported me in more clarity and self-compassion, as well as compassion for all.
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Finland is really good at stopping bullying. Here's how they're doing it. teaching bystanders to empathize and intervene.

Finland is really good at stopping bullying. Here's how they're doing it. teaching bystanders to empathize and intervene. | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Bullying is awful, but a Finnish program is teaching bystanders to empathize and intervene.

 

"In the game, students can practice how to be nice to someone and what kind of nice things you can say to someone who would like to be included in the group or is new in the school," said Alanen.

 

By asking the kids what they would do in certain situations and giving feedback and advice about it, the program can help teach the students to be more empathetic and supportive of bullying victims. And the data shows that the program works too.

 

Juvonen's analysis found that KiVa reduced the odds of a given student being bullied by about one-third to one-half.

By James Gaines


Via Edwin Rutsch
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Dr. Theresa Kauffman's curator insight, July 7, 10:20 AM
Another great example from Finland. At Kauffman Leadership Academy, students will be supportive of each other through caring relationships.
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Having grit means less when you don’t also have privilege?

Having grit means less when you don’t also have privilege? | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Consider this statement: “I am diligent. I never give up.” If you think, “Hmm, not so much,” you might be lacking in grit, a new buzzword making rounds on the internet and in parenting circles. The statement comes from the Grit Scale, a quiz in University of Pennsylvania psychology professor Angela Duckworth’s new best-selling book...May

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Attack in Orlando Shows Utter Contempt for Human Life

Attack in Orlando Shows Utter Contempt for Human Life | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

The recent shooting in Orlando demonstrated utter contempt for human life, and our thoughts are with the victims of these attacks and the city of Orlando. But thoughts must be backed up with actions to protect people from such violence,” said Jamira Burley, senior campaigner for Amnesty International USA. As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the U.S. government is obligated to protect people from gun violence. “While much is still unknown about this horrific crime, a full investigation must be guided by facts, rather than speculation or bigotry of any kind. The U.S. government must uphold its obligations under international law and address gun violence as the human rights crisis that it is. It is critical to reform the current patchwork of federal, state and local laws to ensure everyone’s safety and security.No one’s life should be threatened just by walking down the street, going to school or dancing at a nightclub.

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This book upends everything we thought we knew about where grit comes from and how to get it

This book upends everything we thought we knew about where grit comes from and how to get it | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

For years, researchers have shown that raw IQ or academic prowess aren't everything. Paul Tough's 2013 book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power if Character showed how grit—defined as perseverance and passion for achieving challenging long-term goals (pdf)—and other character qualities, were critical to children's success in school and later on in life...

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Inner Peace? The Dalai Lama Made a Website for That

Inner Peace? The Dalai Lama Made a Website for That | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The Dalai Lama has commissioned an atlas of human emotions to further a lofty mission: turning secular audiences into more self-aware, compassionate humans.
Jim Manske's insight:
I enjoy seeing this visualization of our emotions!  I hope it will be useful to all of those learning and integrating NVC. A deep bow of gratitude to the Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman!  Kudos to the NY Times and other media that let the world know of this!
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Leading authors are returning Mother’s Day to its roots as a feminist anti-war protest

Leading authors are returning Mother’s Day to its roots as a feminist anti-war protest | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The Compassion Collective—founded by Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, and three other award-winning female authors—has launched a new campaign to honor the historical roots of Mother's Day. The group, which made headlines in December 2015 by collecting over a million dollars for Syrian refugees in 31 hours, is now collecting donations for unaccompanied refugee children and homeles
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Neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy

Neuroscience reveals 4 rituals that will make you happy | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don't know what they're talking about. Don't trust them.

Actually, don't trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.

UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb has some insights that can create an upward spiral of happiness in your life. Here's what you and I can learn from the people who really have answers:

1. The most important question to ask when you feel down

Sometimes it doesn't feel like your brain wants you to be happy. You may feel guilty or shameful. Why?

Believe it or not, guilt and shame activate the brain's reward center.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Despite their differences, pride, shame, and guilt all activate similar neural circuits, including the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, amygdala, insula, and the nucleus accumbens. Interestingly, pride is the most powerful of these emotions at triggering activity in these regions — except in the nucleus accumbens, where guilt and shame win out. This explains why it can be so appealing to heap guilt and shame on ourselves — they're activating the brain's reward center.

And you worry a lot too. Why? In the short term, worrying makes your brain feel a little better — at least you're doing something about your problems.

Via The Upward Spiral:

In fact, worrying can help calm the limbic system by increasing activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and decreasing activity in the amygdala. That might seem counterintuitive, but it just goes to show that if you're feeling anxiety, doing something about it — even worrying — is better than doing nothing.

But guilt, shame, and worry are horrible long-term solutions. So what do neuroscientists say you should do? Ask yourself this question:

What am I grateful for?

Yeah, gratitude is awesome… but does it really affect your brain at the biological level? Yup.

You know what the antidepressant Wellbutrin does? Boosts the neurotransmitter dopamine. So does gratitude.

Via The Upward Spiral:

The benefits of gratitude start with the dopamine system, because feeling grateful activates the brain stem region that produces dopamine. Additionally, gratitude toward others increases activity in social dopamine circuits, which makes social interactions more enjoyable…

Know what Prozac does? Boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin. So does gratitude.

Via The Upward Spiral:

One powerful effect of gratitude is that it can boost serotonin. Trying to think of things you are grateful for forces you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. This simple act increases serotonin production in the anterior cingulate cortex.

I know, sometimes life lands a really mean punch in the gut and it feels like there's nothing to be grateful for. Guess what?

Doesn't matter. You don't have to find anything. It's the searching that counts.

Via The Upward Spiral:

It's not finding gratitude that matters most; it's remembering to look in the first place. Remembering to be grateful is a form of emotional intelligence. One study found that it actually affected neuron density in both the ventromedial and lateral prefrontal cortex. These density changes suggest that as emotional intelligence increases, the neurons in these areas become more efficient. With higher emotional intelligence, it simply takes less effort to be grateful.

And gratitude doesn't just make your brain happy — it can also create a positive feedback loop in your relationships. So express that gratitude to the people you care about.

(For more on how gratitude can make you happier and more successful, click here.)



But what happens when bad feelings completely overtake you? When you're really in the dumps and don't even know how to deal with it? There's an easy answer…

2. Label negative feelings

You feel awful. Okay, give that awfulness a name. Sad? Anxious? Angry?

Boom. It's that simple. Sound stupid? Your noggin disagrees.

Via The Upward Spiral:

…in one fMRI study, appropriately titled "Putting Feelings into Words" participants viewed pictures of people with emotional facial expressions. Predictably, each participant's amygdala activated to the emotions in the picture. But when they were asked to name the emotion, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activated and reduced the emotional amygdala reactivity. In other words, consciously recognizing the emotions reduced their impact.

Suppressing emotions doesn't work and can backfire on you.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

Gross found that people who tried to suppress a negative emotional experience failed to do so. While they thought they looked fine outwardly, inwardly their limbic system was just as aroused as without suppression, and in some cases, even more aroused. Kevin Ochsner, at Columbia, repeated these findings using an fMRI. Trying not to feel something doesn't work, and in some cases even backfires.

But labeling, on the other hand, makes a big difference.

Via Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long:

To reduce arousal, you need to use just a few words to describe an emotion, and ideally use symbolic language, which means using indirect metaphors, metrics, and simplifications of your experience. This requires you to activate your prefrontal cortex, which reduces the arousal in the limbic system. Here's the bottom line: describe an emotion in just a word or two, and it helps reduce the emotion.

Ancient methods were way ahead of us on this one. Meditation has employed this for centuries. Labeling is a fundamental tool of mindfulness.

In fact, labeling affects the brain so powerfully it works with other people too. Labeling emotions is one of the primary tools used by FBI hostage negotiators.

(To learn more of the secrets of FBI hostage negotiators, click here.)

Okay, hopefully you're not reading this and labeling your current emotional state as "Bored." Maybe you're not feeling awful but you probably have things going on in your life that are causing you some stress. Here's a simple way to beat them…

3. Make that decision

Ever make a decision and then your brain finally feels at rest? That's no random occurrence.

Brain science shows that making decisions reduces worry and anxiety — as well as helping you solve problems.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Making decisions includes creating intentions and setting goals — all three are part of the same neural circuitry and engage the prefrontal cortex in a positive way, reducing worry and anxiety. Making decisions also helps overcome striatum activity, which usually pulls you toward negative impulses and routines. Finally, making decisions changes your perception of the world — finding solutions to your problems and calming the limbic system.

But deciding can be hard. I agree. So what kind of decisions should you make? Neuroscience has an answer…

Make a "good enough" decision. Don't sweat making the absolute 100 percent best decision. We all know being a perfectionist can be stressful. And brain studies back this up.

Trying to be perfect overwhelms your brain with emotions and makes you feel out of control.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Trying for the best, instead of good enough, brings too much emotional ventromedial prefrontal activity into the decision-making process. In contrast, recognizing that good enough is good enough activates more dorsolateral prefrontal areas, which helps you feel more in control…

As Swarthmore professor Barry Schwartz said in my interview with him: "Good enough is almost always good enough."

So when you make a decision, your brain feels you have control. And, as I've talked about before, a feeling of control reduces stress. But here's what's really fascinating: Deciding also boosts pleasure.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Actively choosing caused changes in attention circuits and in how the participants felt about the action, and it increased rewarding dopamine activity.

Want proof? No problem. Let's talk about cocaine.

You give two rats injections of cocaine. Rat A had to pull a lever first. Rat B didn't have to do anything. Any difference? Yup: Rat A gets a bigger boost of dopamine.

Via The Upward Spiral:

So they both got the same injections of cocaine at the same time, but rat A had to actively press the lever, and rat B didn't have to do anything. And you guessed it — rat A released more dopamine in its nucleus accumbens.

So what's the lesson here? Next time you buy cocaine… whoops, wrong lesson. Point is, when you make a decision on a goal and then achieve it, you feel better than when good stuff just happens by chance.

And this answers the eternal mystery of why dragging your butt to the gym can be so hard.

If you go because you feel you have to or you should, well, it's not really a voluntary decision. Your brain doesn't get the pleasure boost. It just feels stress. And that's no way to build a good exercise habit.

Via The Upward Spiral:

Interestingly, if they are forced to exercise, they don't get the same benefits, because without choice, the exercise itself is a source of stress.

So make more decisions. Neuroscience researcher Alex Korb sums it up nicely:

We don't just choose the things we like; we also like the things we choose.

(To learn what neuroscientists say is the best way to use caffeine, click here.)

Okay, you're being grateful, labeling negative emotions, and making more decisions. Great. But this is feeling kinda lonely for a happiness prescription. Let's get some other people in here.

What's something you can do with others that neuroscience says is a path to mucho happiness? And something that's stupidly simple so you don't get lazy and skip it? Brain docs have an answer for you…

4. Touch people

No, not indiscriminately; that can get you in a lot of trouble.

But we need to feel love and acceptance from others. When we don't it's painful. And I don't mean "awkward" or "disappointing." I mean actually painful.

Neuroscientists did a study where people played a ball-tossing video game. The other players tossed the ball to you and you tossed it back to them. Actually, there were no other players; that was all done by the computer program.

But the subjects were told the characters were controlled by real people. So what happened when the "other players" stopped playing nice and didn't share the ball?

Subjects' brains responded the same way as if they experienced physical pain. Rejection doesn't just hurt like a broken heart; your brain feels it like a broken leg.

Via The Upward Spiral:

In fact, as demonstrated in an fMRI experiment, social exclusion activates the same circuitry as physical pain… at one point they stopped sharing, only throwing back and forth to each other, ignoring the participant. This small change was enough to elicit feelings of social exclusion, and it activated the anterior cingulate and insula, just like physical pain would.

Relationships are very important to your brain's feeling of happiness. Want to take that to the next level? Touch people.

Via The Upward Spiral:

One of the primary ways to release oxytocin is through touching. Obviously, it's not always appropriate to touch most people, but small touches like handshakes and pats on the back are usually okay. For people you're close with, make more of an effort to touch more often.

Touching is incredibly powerful. We just don't give it enough credit. It makes you more persuasive, increases team performance, improves your flirting… heck, it even boosts math skills.

Touching someone you love actually reduces pain. In fact, when studies were done on married couples, the stronger the marriage, the more powerful the effect.

Via The Upward Spiral:

In addition, holding hands with someone can help comfort you and your brain through painful situations. One fMRI study scanned married women as they were warned that they were about to get a small electric shock. While anticipating the painful shocks, the brain showed a predictable pattern of response in pain and worrying circuits, with activation in the insula, anterior cingulate, and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. During a separate scan, the women either held their husbands' hands or the hand of the experimenter. When a subject held her husband's hand, the threat of shock had a smaller effect. The brain showed reduced activation in both the anterior cingulate cortex and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex — that is, less activity in the pain and worrying circuits. In addition, the stronger the marriage, the lower the discomfort-related insula activity.

So hug someone today. And do not accept little, quick hugs. No, no, no. Tell them your neuroscientist recommended long hugs.

Via The Upward Spiral:

A hug, especially a long one, releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala.

Research shows getting five hugs a day for four weeks increases happiness big time.

Don't have anyone to hug right now? No? (I'm sorry to hear that. I would give you a hug right now if I could.) But there's an answer: Neuroscience says you should go get a massage.

Via The Upward Spiral:

The results are fairly clear that massage boosts your serotonin by as much as 30 percent. Massage also decreases stress hormones and raises dopamine levels, which helps you create new good habits… Massage reduces pain because the oxytocin system activates painkilling endorphins. Massage also improves sleep and reduces fatigue by increasing serotonin and dopamine and decreasing the stress hormone cortisol.

So spend time with other people and give some hugs. Sorry, texting is not enough.

When you put people in a stressful situation and then let them visit loved ones or talk to them on the phone, they felt better. What about when they just texted? Their bodies responded the same as if they had no support at all.

Via The Upward Spiral:

…the text-message group had cortisol and oxytocin levels similar to the no-contact group.

Author's note: I totally approve of texting if you make a hug appointment.

(To learn what neuroscience says is the best way to get smarter and happier, click here.)

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Happy thoughts: Here are the things proven to make you happier
Okay, I don't want to strain your brain with too much info. Let's round it up and learn the quickest and easiest way to start that upward spiral of neuroscience-inspired happiness…

Sum up

Here's what brain research says will make you happy:

1. Ask "what am I grateful for?" No answers? Doesn't matter. Just searching helps.

2. Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn't so bothered by it.

3. Decide. Go for "good enough" instead of "best decision ever made on Earth."

4. Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don't text — touch.

So what's the dead simple way to start that upward spiral of happiness?

Just send someone a thank you email. If you feel awkward about it, you can send them this post to tell them why.

This really can start an upward spiral of happiness in your life. UCLA neuroscience researcher Alex Korb explains:

Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you'll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier.

So thank you for reading this.

And send that thank you email now to make you and someone you care about very happy.
Jim Manske's insight:
Yay! for brains!  These wonderful "plastic" organs that can help us help ourselves and others to making life wonderful!  What's going well?  What are you feeling, right now?  What next step could lead you to some met needs, right now?  Who can you touch?  Simple questions, based in NVC Consciousness, can "make you happier!"

from the article:  "Everything is interconnected. Gratitude improves sleep. Sleep reduces pain. Reduced pain improves your mood. Improved mood reduces anxiety, which improves focus and planning. Focus and planning help with decision making. Decision making further reduces anxiety and improves enjoyment. Enjoyment gives you more to be grateful for, which keeps that loop of the upward spiral going. Enjoyment also makes it more likely you'll exercise and be social, which, in turn, will make you happier."
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7 Science-Backed Ways To Get Happy Right Now

7 Science-Backed Ways To Get Happy Right Now | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The happiness model we’re taught from a young age is actually completely backward. We think we work hard in order to achieve success and that achievement makes us happy. That’s what I learned growing up. But it doesn’t work like that in real life. That model is broken.
Jim Manske's insight:
Yes!  Happiness is built from the inside out!
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The Importance of Gratitude in Marriage

The Importance of Gratitude in Marriage | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
Gratitude continues to shine as a behavior that contributes to our happiness and well-being.

Yet, it seems we still forget to do on a regular basis. Despite it being an amazingly simple act to perform.

Gratitude has been found to be a key predictor in happiness. Not to mention the many other health benefits that science has found recently.

Research from the University of Georgia now shows how gratitude affects marriage.

Marriage can be wonderful. That doesn’t mean it’s always rainbows and butterflies, though. Like any relationship it takes work.

Fights are going to happen. It’s impossible to see eye to eye on everything. How you handle yourself and your behavior can go a long way in influencing marital outcomes. These are the types of things that the research touches on.

The study – published in the journal Personal Relationships – finds that gratitude not only plays a role in marriage happiness, but it can also help alleviate symptoms of negative situations.

Ted Futris was a co-author on the study. He’s also an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. He had this to say about the research:

“We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last.”
Their results show that spousal expression of gratitude was the most significant and consistent predictor of marital quality.

When the Going Gets Tough

An interesting and useful part of the research was finding how it protects couples against divorce. Not only that, but it also protects a woman’s marital commitment from the effects of poor communication during conflict.

Ted elaborates on this interaction:

“Importantly, we found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand/withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability.”
The “demand/withdrawal” that Ted is talking about is a common behavior in couple conflict. It occurs when one partner demands, nags, or criticizes. The other person then responds by either withdrawing or avoiding confrontation.

This is a problem and can lead to a breakdown in communication and a lower quality of marriage.

Conflict is not only tough, but it can be an emotional mess. Gratitude can not only break the nasty cycle that can occur with stressful situations, but can have a protective effect as well.

Gratitude is a wonderful and simple strategy for marriage. Especially if you’re not great at communicating in a conflict.

So how can you accomplish this?

In the study, here’s how they measured gratitude. It was the degree of how much a person felt appreciated by their spouse, valued by their spouse, and acknowledged when they did something nice for their spouse.

So to practice gratitude, find ways to do those 3 things. Show your partner that you appreciate them. Show them that you value them. And when they do something nice for you, simply tell them that you noticed and are aware of their kind act.

TheBrainFlux: How Men and Women React to Marital Problems

Understanding Conflict

While the study itself focused on fights concerning financial matters, the lessons learned can apply to other areas as well.

If you want to know more about reaching

The Importance of Gratitude in Marriage

, you should learn about underlying concerns and what a partner really wants in a conflict.

As a final bit of wisdom, Ted has a few last words:

“All couples have disagreements and argue. And, when couples are stressed, they are likely to have more arguments. What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”

Gratitude continues to shine as a behavior that contributes to our happiness and well-being.


Yet, it seems we still forget to do on a regular basis. Despite it being an amazingly simple act to perform.


Gratitude has been found to be a key predictor in happiness. Not to mention the many other health benefits that science has found recently.


Research from the University of Georgia now shows how gratitude affects marriage.


Marriage can be wonderful. That doesn’t mean it’s always rainbows and butterflies, though. Like any relationship it takes work.


Fights are going to happen. It’s impossible to see eye to eye on everything. How you handle yourself and your behavior can go a long way in influencing marital outcomes. These are the types of things that the research touches on.


The study – published in the journal Personal Relationships – finds that gratitude not only plays a role in marriage happiness, but it can also help alleviate symptoms of negative situations.


Ted Futris was a co-author on the study. He’s also an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. He had this to say about the research:


“We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last.”

Their results show that spousal expression of gratitude was the most significant and consistent predictor of marital quality.


When the Going Gets Tough


An interesting and useful part of the research was finding how it protects couples against divorce. Not only that, but it also protects a woman’s marital commitment from the effects of poor communication during conflict.


Ted elaborates on this interaction:


“Importantly, we found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand/withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability.”

The “demand/withdrawal” that Ted is talking about is a common behavior in couple conflict. It occurs when one partner demands, nags, or criticizes. The other person then responds by either withdrawing or avoiding confrontation.


This is a problem and can lead to a breakdown in communication and a lower quality of marriage.


Conflict is not only tough, but it can be an emotional mess. Gratitude can not only break the nasty cycle that can occur with stressful situations, but can have a protective effect as well.


Gratitude is a wonderful and simple strategy for marriage. Especially if you’re not great at communicating in a conflict.


So how can you accomplish this?


In the study, here’s how they measured gratitude. It was the degree of how much a person felt appreciated by their spouse, valued by their spouse, and acknowledged when they did something nice for their spouse.


So to practice gratitude, find ways to do those 3 things. Show your partner that you appreciate them. Show them that you value them. And when they do something nice for you, simply tell them that you noticed and are aware of their kind act.


TheBrainFlux: How Men and Women React to Marital Problems


Understanding Conflict


While the study itself focused on fights concerning financial matters, the lessons learned can apply to other areas as well.


If you want to know more about reaching


The Importance of Gratitude in Marriage


, you should learn about underlying concerns and what a partner really wants in a conflict.


As a final bit of wisdom, Ted has a few last words:


“All couples have disagreements and argue. And, when couples are stressed, they are likely to have more arguments. What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”

 
Jim Manske's insight:
Grateful to see this affirmation of NVC in Action, doubly grateful sing University of Georgia is my alma mater!
 
Grateful to see this affirmation of NVC in Action, doubly grateful since the University of Georgia is my alma mater!
 
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Dorothy Retha Cook's curator insight, March 5, 1:17 PM
Grateful to see this affirmation of NVC in Action, doubly grateful sing University of Georgia is my alma mater!
 


Grateful to see this affirmation of NVC in Action, doubly grateful since the University of Georgia is my alma mater!



 






1


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Teaching Peace in Schools Virtual Summit

Teaching Peace in Schools Virtual Summit | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
This virtual telesummit features inspiring wisdom and leadership from the field of Restorative Justice and Social & Emotional Learning in schools. It will explore bringing these critical skills into school communities.
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Jori and I are proud to be a part of the team for the Peace Alliance to support Teaching Peace for the Next Generation!  We will be on a kickoff call on Feb 3 at 5pmPST-6:30pmPST along with Congressman Tim Ryan.  You can join more1600 others online  at the free initial summit  and join the course here:  http://org.salsalabs.com/o/696/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=85219&tag=CNVC

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Empathy: Have You Got It? 

Empathy: Have You Got It?  | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Empathy: Have You Got It?

If you believe effective communication is an important leadership skill, you surely can’t ignore empathy. That’s because empathy is a precursor to being an effective communicator. How? Empathy is about understanding or being aware of other people’s feelings even when you don’t agree or relate to them. This awareness helps to understand other people’s perception. And when you are in know of other’s perception, you can choose to ‘act’ rather than ‘react’ to situations. 
 
So when a high performing employee starts slacking off, a non-empathetic leader will probably react by doubting the employee’s ability. But an empathetic leader will give the benefit of doubt and ask, “Is everything ok? Is something bothering you?”

 


Via Edwin Rutsch
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We Are All Criminals

We Are All Criminals | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

One in four people in the United States has a criminal record. It’s a record for something other than a minor traffic violation used by the vast majority of employers, legislators, landlords and licensing boards to craft policy and determine the character of an individual. 


In our electronic and data age, it typically does not disappear, regardless of how long it’s been or how far one’s come. It’s a record that prevents not only professional licensure and a gainful career path, but can also get in the way of obtaining entry-level positions, foster care licenses, entry into college, and safe housing. 


But We Are All Criminals is not about those records. This project looks at the other 75%: those of us who have had the luxury of living without an official reminder of a past mistake. Participants in We Are All Criminals tell stories of crimes they got away with. Some details have been changed to help protect the participants’ identities and to abbreviate the stories; the majority of the people interviewed relayed numerous offenses, but in most cases, only one of the stories has been cataloged. 


The participants are doctors and lawyers, social workers and students, retailers and retirees who consider how very different their lives could have been had they been caught. The photographs, while protecting participants’ identities, convey personality: each is taken in the participant’s home, office, crime scene, or neighborhood. The stories are of youth, boredom, intoxication, and porta potties. They are humorous, humiliating, and humbling in turn.


They are privately held memories without public stigma; they are criminal histories without criminal records. We Are All Criminals seeks to challenge society’s perception of what it means to be a criminal and how much weight a record should be given, when truly – we are all criminals. 


But it is also a commentary on the disparate impact of our nation’s policies, policing, and prosecution: many of the participants benefited from belonging to a class and race that is not overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Permanent and public criminal records perpetuate inequities, precluding millions of people from countless opportunities to move on and move up. 


We Are All Criminals questions the wisdom and fairness in those policies. But this goes beyond background checks. It goes beyond how we make choices of who we interview, hire, or to whom we rent. This is about how we view others by how we view ourselves.

Jim Manske's insight:
Fascinating to me.  To see the normally unseen...to name the normally unnamed.  

A childhood Bible story reminds me that we all fall short of perfection.  I remember Jesus saying something like, "Whomever of you is without sin may cast the first stone."

I am innocent, because I have never been convicted.  On a deeper level, I am innocent because I am forgiven.  Even deeper?  I am innocent because I am human.

And you are innocent as well!  We are innocent.  Even if we have been caught, convicted, sentenced, incarcerated, probated and released, we are innocent.

We are all much more alike than we are different.  And we have all got away with something "illegal".  We are all criminals.  We are all innocent.  We are all human.

How does this awareness change our attitude toward "them"? (those who have been caught and punished for something we, too, may have done?)

For me, it deepens my commitment to continue to work toward a restorative system of justice.  A restorative system addresses harm and loss through connection and restoration.  That's the world I want to live in.  In that world, I am more willing to own my "crimes" and restore connection with those who suffer as a result of my actions.  In that world, I live and practice self-responsibility, and I am very careful about every law I write or accept.  As Robert Anton Wilson said, "every law creates a new group of criminals."


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Project to get Peer Mediation in every school launched | Scoop News

Project to get Peer Mediation in every school launched | Scoop News | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
At midday on 7 July at www.givealittle.co.nz/project/peacefoundation , the Peace Foundation launches its most important project in 41 years with the goal to fund the expansion of its flagship Peer Mediation Programmes for primary, secondary an
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The “new” Global Campaign for Peace Education: pursuing intentional, sustained and systematic education for peace

The “new” Global Campaign for Peace Education: pursuing intentional, sustained and systematic education for peace | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The Peace Education Initiative at The University of Toledo
Jim Manske's insight:
One of the old gospel songs proclaims, "I ain't gonna study war no more!"  The making life more wonderful alternative? Teaching Peace!  Peace Studies is blooming around the world both formally (as in the work of the Global Campaign for Peace Education) and informally through the work of hundreds of Nonviolent Communication trainers, Mindfulness coaches and hundreds of other modalities for Speaking and Being Peace.  What can you do today to contribute to more Peace, more Well-Being, and more Happiness?
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Is Nonviolence Effective?

Is Nonviolence Effective? | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
The evidence for the effectiveness of nonviolent resistance is mounting. In the past 100 years, nonviolent campaigns were nearly twice as likely to achieve full or partial success as were violent campaigns and the advantage for nonviolent campaigns held even when controlling for the authoritarianism of the regime.
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Positive Intelligence

Positive Intelligence | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

Research shows that when people work with a positive mind-set, performance on nearly every level—productivity, creativity, engagement—improves. Yet happiness is perhaps the most misunderstood driver of performance. For one, most people believe that success precedes happiness. “Once I get a promotion, I’ll be happy,” they think. Or, “Once I hit my sales target, I’ll feel great.” But because success is a moving target—as soon as you hit your target, you raise it again—the happiness that results from success is fleeting.  

In fact, it works the other way around: People who cultivate a positive mind-set perform better in the face of challenge. I call this the “happiness advantage”—every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive. I’ve observed this effect in my role as a researcher and lecturer in 48 countries on the connection between employee happiness and success. 


And I’m not alone: In a meta-analysis of 225 academic studies, researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and Ed Diener found strong evidence of directional causality between life satisfaction and successful business outcomes.


Develop New Habits 


Training your brain to be positive is not so different from training your muscles at the gym. Recent research on neuroplasticity—the ability of the brain to change even in adulthood—reveals that as you develop new habits, you rewire the brain. Engaging in one brief positive exercise every day for as little as three weeks can have a lasting impact, my research suggests. For instance, in December 2008, just before the worst tax season in decades, I worked with tax managers at KPMG in New York and New Jersey to see if I could help them become happier. (I am an optimistic person, clearly.) I asked them to choose one of five activities that correlate with positive change: 

1. Jot down three things they were grateful for. 

2. Write a positive message to someone in their social support network. 

3. Meditate at their desk for two minutes. 

4. Exercise for 10 minutes. 

5. Take two minutes to describe in a journal the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours.

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4 Ways to Raise Empathetic Kids: Make empathy an important lesson in your child's life.

4 Ways to Raise Empathetic Kids: Make empathy an important lesson in your child's life. | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it

When a child does something like ask if a person is feeling sick, or if they can help with a task that helps another, give them positive reinforcement. Praise them if they do an unselfish kind act, or they show signs of remorse.

 

Practice giving compliments to others and validate when they receive a kind word to teach how good it feels to be good to another...

Practicing...Give Perspective...Ethics...Family Time...Make a Difference..

 

 

 

By Corine Gatti

 


Via Edwin Rutsch
Jim Manske's insight:
I appreciate the intention to raise empathic kids by making empathy an important lesson for kids.  However, I feel deeply concerned for the well-being of the next generation by applying a domination paradigm reinforced by an outdated and anti-empathic Skinnerian psychology of punishment and reward (praise).  We can transcend punishment and reward by focusing on needs and authentically express how children's behaviors that contribute to empathy affect us.  What do you think?
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The Dalai Lama’s practical path to peace

The Dalai Lama’s practical path to peace | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
What he calls “secular ethics” can be derived from “common experience and common sense.”
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Policy Platform

Policy Platform | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it


Jim Manske's insight:
From our colleague in Australia, Dorset Campbell-Ross: Whoo hoo! I do love being the bearer of good news! I’m celebrating (what I believe to be) the creation of the first political party in the world to be committed to applying the principles of NVC! (please do correct me if I’m ignorant of another) The party is called the Wellbeing Party - http://www.wellbeingparty.org/ - and if you scroll down the home page you will notice they refer to NVC as Compassionate Communication, following the requests of CNVC. Thank you, Paulette Bray-Narai, for bringing this to my attention. I am a member, so my celebration may be biased! If this party gets the exposure and success I hope they get, we may be taking a quantum leap forward in world NVC consciousness. Big hugs to you all, Dorset
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DailyGood: Bhutan's Dark Secret to Happiness

DailyGood: Bhutan's Dark Secret to Happiness | Radical Compassion | Scoop.it
On a visit to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, I found myself sitting across from a man named Karma Ura, spilling my guts. Maybe it was the fact that he was named Karma, or the thin air, or the way travel melts my defences, but I decided to confess something very personal. Not that long before, seemingly out of the blue, I had experienced some disturbing symptoms: shortness of breath, dizziness, numbness in my hands and feet. At first, I feared I was having a heart attack, or going crazy. Maybe both. So I went to the doctor, who ran a series of tests and found...

“Nothing,” said Ura. Even before I could complete my sentence, he knew that my fears were unfounded. I was not dying, at least not as quickly as I feared. I was having a panic attack.

What I wanted to know was: why now – my life was going uncharacteristically well – and what could I do about it?
“You need to think about death for five minutes every day,” Ura replied. “It will cure you.”

“How?” I said, dumbfounded.

“It is this thing, this fear of death, this fear of dying before we have accomplished what we want or seen our children grow. This is what is troubling you.”

“But why would I want to think about something so depressing?”

“Rich people in the West, they have not touched dead bodies, fresh wounds, rotten things. This is a problem. This is the human condition. We have to be ready for the moment we cease to exist.”

Places, like people, have a way of surprising us, provided we are open to the possibility of surprise and not weighed down with preconceived notions. The Himalayan kingdom is best known for its innovative policy of Gross National Happiness; it’s a land where contentment supposedly reigns and sorrow is denied entry. Bhutan is indeed a special place (and Ura, director of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, a special person) but that specialness is more nuanced and, frankly, less sunny than the dreamy Shangri-La image we project onto it.

Actually, by suggesting I think about death once a day, Ura was going easy on me. In Bhutanese culture, one is expected to think about death five times a day. That would be remarkable for any nation, but especially for one so closely equated with happiness as Bhutan. Is this secretly a land of darkness and despair?

Not necessarily. Some recent research suggests that, by thinking about death so often, the Bhutanese may be on to something. In a 2007 study, University of Kentucky psychologists Nathan DeWall and Roy Baumesiter divided several dozen students into two groups. One group was told to think about a painful visit to the dentist while the other group was instructed to contemplate their own death. Both groups were then asked to complete stem words, such as “jo_”. The second group – the one that had been thinking about death – was far more likely to construct positive words, such as “joy”. This led the researchers to conclude that “death is a psychologically threatening fact, but when people contemplate it, apparently the automatic system begins to search for happy thoughts”.

None of this, I’m sure, would surprise Ura, or any other Bhutanese. They know that death is a part of life, whether we like it or not, and ignoring this essential truth comes with a heavy psychological cost.
Linda Leaming, author of the wonderful book A Field Guide to Happiness: What I Learned in Bhutan About Living, Loving and Waking Up¸ knows this too.“I realised thinking about death doesn’t depress me. It makes me seize the moment and see things I might not ordinarily see,” she wrote. “My best advice: go there. Think the unthinkable, the thing that scares you to think about several times a day.”

Unlike many of us in the West, the Bhutanese don’t sequester death. Death – and images of death – are everywhere, especially in Buddhist iconography where you’ll find colourful, gruesome illustrations. No one, not even children, is sheltered from these images, or from ritual dances re-enacting death.

Ritual provides a container for grief, and in Bhutan that container is large and communal. After someone dies, there’s a 49-day mourning period that involves elaborate, carefully orchestrated rituals. “It is better than any antidepressant,” Tshewang Dendup, a Bhutanese actor, told me. The Bhutanese might appear detached during this time. They are not. They are grieving through ritual.

Why such a different attitude toward death? One reason the Bhutanese think about death so often is that it is all around them. For a small nation, it offers many ways to die. You can meet your demise on the winding, treacherous roads. You can be mauled by a bear; eat poisonous mushrooms; or die of exposure.

Another explanation is the country’s deeply felt Buddhist beliefs, especially that of reincarnation. If you know you’ll get another shot at life, you’re less likely to fear the end of this particular one. As Buddhists say, you shouldn’t fear dying any more than you fear discarding old clothes.

Which isn’t to say, of course, that the Bhutanese don’t experience fear, or sadness. Of course they do. But, as Leaming told me, they don’t flee from these emotions. “We in the West want to fix it if we’re sad,” she said. “We fear sadness. It’s something to get over, medicate. In Bhutan there’s an acceptance. It’s a part of life.”

Ura’s lesson, meanwhile, stuck with me. I make it a point to think about death once a day. Unless I find myself especially stressed, or engulfed in an unexplained funk. Then I think about it twice a day.
Eric
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Kamala Nellen's comment, April 10, 11:50 PM
I find that when I do that I actually become intensely appreciative of every little occurrence in my day and no depression has a place in my consciousness. Thanks for sharing, Jim!
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There’s nothing wrong with grade inflation

Grades don't matter anyway. Here's why.
Jim Manske's insight:
Wow! The Washington Post mentioning the tyranny and disconnedtion of grades! 

Wow! The Washington Post mentioning the tyranny and disconnedtion of grades! 
 
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Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life eBook 3rd Ed by Marshall Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life eBook - Through stories, examples and role plays, this cornerstone book provides a deep understanding of the core components of the NVC process and consciousness. Over 1,000,000 copies sold in more than 35 languages worldwide.
Jim Manske's insight:

Wow!  Only $3 for the Kindle version of Marshall's life-changing book!

 

Please buy one and give away 5 more to friends!

 

If you shop through amazon.com using this link, you will also support the work of the Network for Nonviolent Communication.

 

https://smile.amazon.com/ch/72-1522867

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