Archive for September, 2013

You Decide if Stress Is the “Bad Guy”

Posted: September 30, 2013 in balance

#ptsd #posttrauma #trauma #bully

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
You Decide if Stress Is the “Bad Guy”
Stress. It’s the current catch-all culprit pinned to so many negative health conditions. Can’t you just see it smirking in the corner of the room with a slightly guilty, yet secretly pleased expression?

The good news is there’s a way to turn that smirk into a smile on your face. For starters, new research shows it’s not the stress level you experience that affects your health, but rather how you think about the stress that is ultimately beneficial or harmful.

Health psychologist Kelly McGonigal is now urging people to see stress as a positive. In a recent TED talk she said, “For years I’ve been telling people ‘stress makes you sick!’ …But I’ve changed my mind.”

Why? She looked at a study that tracked 30,000 adults over eight years. The study asked participants the simple question: “Do you believe that stress is harmful for your health?” They also tracked death records for these people over the eight-year period. The ironic outcome: people who died from stress died not from stress but from the belief that stress was bad for them. Those who didn’t believe it was harmful experienced no negative effects on their health.

So Dr. McGonigal asked herself the obvious question: “Can changing how you think about stress, change the outcome?”

She became more convinced of an affirmative answer to that question after looking at another study where researchers analyzed the physiological response of people who were undergoing extreme stress but thought of it in a positive way. The result? They experienced the same physiological response associated with extreme joy.

She also discovered, based on yet another study, that people have a “built in mechanism for stress resilience.” Turns out your personal connections to the people you love and the simple act of giving to others can actually antidote the negative effects of stress.

Dr. McGonigal concludes, “How you think and how you act can transform your experience of stress. When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And when you choose to connect with others under stress, you can create resilience.”

This is good news. Most health professionals I speak with use the “S” word to describe a whole host of health issues that come across their doorstep. On the other hand, many of them also see and point out the value of a person’s state of thought — whether they practice gratitude, forgiveness, love and connection — as a key component of health and well-being.

This isn’t exactly new material. Think of Shakespeare’s wisdom that “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Or this affirmation by 19th century Christian religious thought leader, Mary Baker Eddy: “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (See #9 on: “10 Positive Thinking Books That Might Change Your Life.”)

In his book, Change Your Mind: It’s All In Your Head, (2006) Mark Pettus, M.D., writes: “It’s long been known and universally accepted, for example, that stress in our lives can wreak havoc in every dimension of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellness.” But he says, “To change your behavior in a positive way, it’s essential to understand how behavior and biology interact.”

Dr. Pettus goes on to recognize, “It’s hard to imagine a better antidote to the biologic stress in our lives than cultivating networks of supportive relationships.”

According to Psych Central, those networks of supportive relationships are often found in church fellowship and prayer. Associate editor Therese J. Borchard writes, “faith attaches meaning to events. It gives folks hope, the ultimate stress reducer. Hope, doctors say, is about the best thing you can do for your body. It’s better than a placebo.”

Perhaps for the nearly 50 percent of Americans who reportedly pray about their health, cultivating a relationship with God is validated by the scriptural promise: “You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You.”

So go ahead, you decide if stress is the bad guy.

For more by Ingrid Peschke, click here.

For more on stress, click here.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Cults Come in All Kinds: The Head Is Not a Great Neighborhood to Live In
Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

Not unlike people, all cults may be created equal, but some are more equal — or should I say, dangerous? — than others. This is a simple fact agreed upon by social scientists and historians who rigorously study this subject. I’m not foolish enough to say, either explicitly or implicitly, that mine is better than yours. I’m talking about fanaticism and criminality, not beliefs and opinions — which are harder to judge and impossible to legislate. In fact, the whole notion of us and them, good and bad, in the most simplistic black and white sense, is part of the problem we face today in our anxious and violent over-information era.

For better or for worse — like their cousins science, magic and religion — one man’s cult is another man’s religion. The Moonies, the KKK and Nazi Party– not to say that they are all co-equal — are free to march and express their views as long as they do not break the law.

Twenty years ago, when there was quite a bit of troubling public news concerning dangerous cults among spiritual groups in America, I co-authored a white paper with my Boston neighbor, cult deprogramming expert Steve Hassan, called “Spiritual Responsibility.” Hassan writes, “Destructive mind control can be understood in terms of four basic components, which form the acronym BITE: I. Behavior Control; II. Information Control; III. Thought Control; IV. Emotional Control.”

Although not every item on the list needs to be present, destructive mind control can be determined when the overall effect of these four components promotes dependency and blind obedience to some leader or cause. Mind-controlled cult members can live on their own, manage daily jobs, be married with children, and still be unable to think for themselves and act independently. If you are naïve enough to think it’s far away from you, co-religionists — like people thought about gays until recent decades — think again. Look around a little more carefully, deeply. Read opposing views as well, discuss with other interested parties, and reach your own conclusions. Arm yourself with knowledge and strive for understanding. As a basis for relating to others with world views and beliefs very different than yours, try not to be shut down and out of relationship or dialogue.

Religio means to unite, bring together — not to divide. Unfortunately today extreme religious views seem to be separating, rather than bringing us together. — Lama Surya Das

Religion today is suffering at the hands of extremists and extreme views. Religio means to unite, bring together — not to divide. Unfortunately today extreme religious views seem to be separating, rather than bringing us together. Buddhist mind-training cum spiritual refinement (lojong in Tibetan) offers effective tools to teach us how release attachments to things as well as ideas, fixed opinions, dogmatism, and even subtle and reifying notions such as selfishness, self & others, etc. This goes a long way to building bridges and opening the self-cocoons, eroding the chasm between us and them and allowing ourselves to be less guarded and more porous, as we make our way through this multifarious world.

The mind is like a wonderful computer, but memory is a very malleable thing. Ask any elder. Today, the new neuroDharma — the interface of neuroscience with the meditative arts & contemplative practices — with its newly developed fMRI and the like — offer significant data-based confirmation of the sort that post-modern people respect and need in order to find their comfortable place within the timeless practicing traditions, including meditation and yoga. The recent emergence of neuroplasticity and mind-training cum attitude transformation (lojong) offer great promise in terms of what actually effects change and meaningful positive transformation, and even spiritual enlightenment.

Yet the malleability of the computer-like evolutionary organ called the mind and its consciousness allows for the possibility that one can be taught and influenced to believe and do almost anything to please and honor higher powers and authorities — just as Diane Benscoter discusses in her TEDTalk. Part of growing up spiritually is learning to develop a discriminating inner ethical and emotional gyroscope and BS detector, along with an intuitive conscience. Doubt and questioning are not qualities oft-encouraged in autocratic institutions, not to mention totalitarian ones, where the individual’s welfare generally comes after that of the group’s. One can easily be taken in by false gurus, charismatic leaders and other unhealthy factions and programs. The arduous path of discipleship requires acute awareness and vigilance.

As denizens of this post-postmodern secular and scientistic age, let’s not get stuck in the Cult of the Brain, nor any other sidetrack. The head is not the greatest neighborhood to live in, though it does have its assets and intellect is an excellent servant but a poor master. If we are genuinely seeking conscious evolution and enlightenment, we have to make the journey from the head to the heart, excluding nothing, including body and soul, energy, psyche and all the rest. Everything is so subjective, which becomes obvious after a while. There is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so, as Buddha said. No, that was William Shakespeare. Oh well.

Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today’s most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend’s ideas to contribute as a writer.

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4 Questions To Help You Find Your Calling

Posted: September 29, 2013 in balance

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
4 Questions To Help You Find Your Calling
Bestselling author and creative visionary Steven Pressfield says every person knows what their true calling is — it may just be buried deep down inside. “There are ways, there are tricks that you can find out,” he says in the above clip from this week’s episode of Super Soul Sunday on OWN.

In the video, Pressfield outlines the questions you can ask yourself to help discover your purpose: “What are you more afraid of than anything in the whole world? Or what would you do if you knew you were going to die in three months? What would be the last thing that you would do? What would you do – it’s the old thing that you have heard before — if fear were not a factor or if money were not a factor?” he asks.

“So if there is a calling,” Pressfield says, “That thing that you are afraid of, whatever it is — then you sort of have to turn pro and do it.”

Oprah has said many times that every person has a calling — it’s one of her core beliefs. “I do a lot of speaking around the country and I just did seven speaking engagements, seven cities in Canada this past winter and spoke specifically to that,” she says. “Started every one of my gatherings saying, everybody has a calling, and your real job in life is to figure that out.

“That’s the job,” Oprah says.

Oprah’s full conversation with Pressfield on “Super Soul Sunday” airs Sunday, Sept. 29 at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Advice From a Third Grader: How to Make Kindness Ripple Throughout the World
On Sept. 21, UN World Peace Day was celebrated across the globe. Marked as a fixed day on the UN calendar through the efforts of Jeremy Gilley at Peaceoneday.org, Peace Day calls for 24 hours of ceasefire in war-torn areas, making it possible for hundreds of relief agencies to rush into areas where battle may inhibit distribution of vaccines, books, food, and medical care. Over the years, millions of people living in conflict have benefited from the life-saving efforts made possible by the ceasefire. On a global scale, Peace Day is proving to have a powerful, positive impact.

But what impact does Peace Day have in areas not rife with war?

In non-conflict ridden zones, Peace Day can be an important day, as it helps to facilitate the discussion of peace building and what we can all do, on a daily basis, to contribute to building a more peaceful world.

At the United Nations International School (UNIS) in New York, teaching about peace is imbedded in the educational practice. Children who experience conflict on the playground are encouraged to have a seat on the peace bench, where they work out their difficulties. Junior school classrooms have peace tables prominently displayed so that children may have a place to reflect on peace and work through their differences with others. It isn’t uncommon to hear “Be a Peace Builder!” as children are ushered through the halls. For the students at UNIS, every day is peace day, and Sept. 21 is a special calendar day to reflect on what this means.

Who will you make peace with?

This question, posed by Peaceoneday.org, inspired great conversation in the grade three classrooms at UNIS. An inquiry into what it means to make peace with others led the children to ask more questions: Do I have to be in conflict with someone to make peace? Can we spread peace to people we don’t know? Are we open to others who try to make peace with us?

To deepen their thinking and support discussion, the grade three children at UNIS read the book Each Kindness, written by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis. In the book, a new girl comes to school and tries to make friends with the narrator, Chloe, and a few other girls. Despite her many attempts at making friends, the new girl is met with constant unkindness. Suddenly the girl is gone from school, and a lesson from the teacher about how kindness is like ripples in water, helps Chloe to see how unkind she was.

Moved by the book, the children had lively discussions about kindness, and how Chloe should have behaved with the new girl. This discussion beautifully dovetailed into discussions about Peace Day, and what we can do to help spread peace throughout the world.

These clever 8-year-olds pointed out that spreading peace is what they are doing when they practice their Happiness Habit of committing Random Acts of Kindness. They noted that we can be kind to anyone and everyone, and this will help to spread peace throughout the world. The question amongst the five grade three classrooms then became: What can we do to help make peace and kindness ripple throughout the world?

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Be careful what you inspire in children, because the smallest of ideas can grow into big steps of action! These third graders set out to make certain they were spreading kindness ripples into the world. During their morning circle times, the children shared ideas on how we can all help make kindness ripples. They also reported back each day on what happened when they practiced their random acts of kindness, and how they saw others do kind deeds for someone else as a result of their actions. “We saw the ripples!” they exclaimed.

As an educator, Peace Day has become my favorite “holiday,” as it provides the opportunity to discuss peace building and to develop conflict resolution skills within students. For many of us, the idea of peace seems too big and unattainable — what can one person do to impact the wars happening across the globe? There is an important mental shift we can make when we think about global peace, and can be done by embracing the idea that peace begins with the actions of the individual. Peace can be nurtured in the smallest of moments each and every day, through the smallest of actions. It is a big idea, yet easy enough for a child to embrace.

What will you do to make kindness ripple throughout the world? The grade three children have some ideas to share with you to help you get started. We’d love to hear about the results!

50 Ways to Make Kindness Ripple Throughout the World:

1. Smile at a stranger.
2. Say thank you to the bus driver.
3. Help someone carry her heavy groceries.
4. Hold the door open for someone else.
5. Leave a kind note for someone whom you usually don’t get along with.
6. Give your Mom a hug and tell her you appreciate her.
7. Sing a song to your teacher!
8. Let someone else choose the game and play it — even if you don’t like it.
9. Let someone else have a seat on the bus or subway.
10. Say hello to the security guards and thank them for keeping you safe.
11. Leave happiness notes on the apartment doors of your neighbors.
12. Leave a thank you note to the cleaners, thanking him for keeping your place so tidy.
13. Give a homeless person a smile and a piece of fruit.
14. If you see someone (even a stranger) who looks nice, tell them!
15. Say thank you to someone who makes your life easier.
16. Look for someone who seems lonely and invite her to play.
17. Invite someone new to eat lunch at your table.
18. Draw a nice picture for someone and leave it as a surprise!
19. Read a book to a child.
20. Help someone who seems to be having a hard time with his work.
21. Clean up after someone without telling her.
22. Give the secretary a flower from your garden.
23. Give someone a sticker! The smelly ones are the BEST.
24. Seek to understand someone else’s point of view.
25. Use kind words when talking to others.
26. Use kind words when talking about yourself.
27. Forgive someone who has done wrong — even without their asking.
28. Be patient with others.
29. Donate time, money, and supplies to an organization in need.
30. Respect the feelings of others
31. Know that different is good.
32. Praise someone for being brave enough to be different.
33. Listen to someone else when they are talking and ask questions so you can better understand them.
34. Ask someone how they are — and really listen to the answer.
35. Say please when you ask for something. Say thank you when you get it.
36. Try to make someone else laugh.
37. Make someone who is sad smile.
38. Don’t fight with your sister — help her instead!
39. Turn off the lights when you don’t need them.
40. Recycle when you can.
41. Share your favorite toys with someone.
42. Even if you don’t have a lot, share your cookies with someone who doesn’t have a snack.
43. Encourage someone when he is playing soccer, or running a marathon, or trying something new!
44. If your friend is injured, take them to the nurse and help them to feel better.
45. Stand up for someone who is being picked on.
46. Remember to have fun with people!
47. If your friend is nervous, give them confidence!
48. Play cards or football with someone.
49. Be a good looser and a good winner.
50. Hug the people you love, and tell them you love them every day.

For more ideas on teaching Happiness Habits to children, follow Happiness 101 on Facebook!

For more by Erin Michelle Threlfall, click here.

For more on happiness, click here.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Matthieu Ricard’s ‘Advocacy For Altruism’ Book Champions Unselfishness (Interview)
ALTRUISM – Forget everything you have been taught, because Matthieu Ricard is here to teach you a new way of interpreting the human being. A French Buddhist monk and a disciple of Dalai Lama, Matthieu Ricard is the author of Plaidoyer pour l’altruisme (Advocacy For Altruism), in bookstores since September 19. It is a non-religious book similar to an encyclopedia, and its content is very relevant for these times of economic crisis.

There is evidence that we aren’t selfish human beings driven only by our own interests. Moreover, today’s society is not more violent than it was in the past. Yes, we can change the way we are and, therefore, cooperate more, not only on an individual level, but on a community level, too.

Whether it is related to economy, environment, our well-being, or our relationships with others, we will all benefit from accepting and developing altruism.

This idea is not supported only by the monk, but also by science. Evolutionism, neurology, psychology, as well as case studies on conflicts, all show that altruism is not only a behavior inborn in people, but it can also be developed. To become a better person is really something possible, as long as we accept some obvious facts that we have forgotten.

HuffPost: Science proves that altruism is an inborn behavior both in children and in animals…Then, why did you decide to write this book?

MR: Because not everybody thinks like that. People often tend to think that they are selfish. When I started working on this book, I thought there was no need to prove that altruism existed. I believed in this idea. But I didn’t expect to discover such great thinkers like the 17-century philosopher Hobbes, psychologists from the first half of the 20th century, and the neoclassical economists for whom altruism was an unknown concept. They just didn’t believe in it. Basically, they used to say that behind all altruistic gestures, there is a selfish motive. In other words, a clever and acute mind will always find a selfish motive behind a good deed.

And you disagree with that…

This universal theory on selfishness is a preconceived idea. There is no scientific study to support it. But since this idea has existed forever, scientists decided to prove through experiments that altruism existed. Daniel Batson, a great American psychologist, studied this for 25 years, together with his team of scientists. He developed about thirty stratagems to distinguish the selfish behavior from the other ones, but mostly from the empathy shown towards people in distress, which was explained by the urge to help people in distress because we cannot stand seeing them suffer. Finally, they realized that some people are capable of genuine altruism, no matter the circumstances. Anyway, there was no evidence to support the idea of people being selfish. This was an open-door for my theory, and this time it was science that backed me up.

What prevents us from being altruistic?

There are several things. First of all, the misconception that we are all selfish and, therefore, that trying to be different is a waste of time. But, if you analyzed people’s everyday gestures, you would realize that 70% of them could be considered as gestures of goodwill: small gestures like holding the door for someone. The simple good deeds are more present in our day-to-day reality than we would have thought, and this in an encouraging idea. Second of all, we all know that learning how to read, write, or play chess requires a minimum of effort, so how could other aspects of our existence, such as attention or altruism, require no effort and be developed from the beginning? It’s absurd. All our abilities are developed until they reach a certain level. Therefore, to develop our capacity of altruism requires a constant exposure to a certain way of thinking that can change our brain.

And you also mentioned that there is a technique that helps people to develop their altruism: it’s through meditation…

The term meditation is mystical, exotic, but its meaning is to educate oneself, to become familiar with a new way of thinking and acting while developing one’s qualities. Let’s consider the altruistic behavior. It’s obvious that throughout our life we feel unconditional love for our children, for someone else, or even for an animal, and that feeling doesn’t require any effort in showing altruism: wishing they were healthy and happy in their lives. The problem is that this feeling doesn’t last. To develop altruism means spending more time, let’s say ten minutes every day, on filling our mental space with altruistic love, and if we get distracted, to concentrate on it again, or if it disappears, to bring it to life once again. This is meditation.

How can meditation change us?

Experiments show some changes on a personal level. It’s been proved scientifically and validated by neuroplasticity. The brain undergoes some changes when subjected to any kind of training, whether it is juggling or meditating. It is the case for people who meditated about 50 000 hours in all, but also for people who meditated about 20 minutes every day for a month. After four weeks of everyday meditation, there were noticed functional modifications in the human brain, behavioral changes – cooperation, pro-social behavior, mutual aid -, as well as structural changes. For instance, it was noticed that the parts of the human brain responsible for empathy, maternal love, and positive emotions gained volume, which showed that meditation worked.

Does this mean that meditation should be taught in schools, colleges, or universities?

Meditation should be taught ever since kindergarten, but under a different name and totally voided of any religious meaning, without bearing the Buddhist label. Meditation is a technique. For 30 years, Doctor John Kabat Zinn has taught how to reduce stress through mindfulness meditation in 300 hospitals throughout the US. Inspired by the Buddhist religion, it has become a non-religious concept. Another example is Richard Davidson’s program at the Wisconsin University that promotes the idea of training 4 or 5-year old children for compassion and pro-social behaviors. After ten weeks of three 30-minute meditation sessions per week, researchers succeeded to stimulate pro-social and altruistic behaviors in children. The results were incredible.

In fact, your studies also proved that even animals can be altruistic.

The behavior of the young chimpanzees that helped their old mother to drink water because she was unable to move proves that animals can be altruistic, doesn’t it? If bonobos are capable of such behavior, why shouldn’t we be? There are hundreds of examples of altruistic gestures in animals living in the wild as well as in labs. Darwin also made reference to the evolution of emotions and he attested that animals were also capable of such feelings.

Reconsidering our relation with animals could be an open-door to altruism…

Humans suffer from some sort of schizophrenia: we are capable of empathy and altruism towards our children, close friends and family, or other human beings through our humanitarian actions. Nevertheless, when it comes to animals, human beings are reluctant to think of them as being sensitive creatures. Certainly, they won’t manifest against their exploitation; animals are deprived of our capacity of making a political commitment… But it would be absurd to believe that emotions, altruism, or empathy were God’s creations specifically for human beings, and not consider the millions of years of evolution. There is no cut-off point between the different stages of evolution.

What should we do, then?

We should reexamine ourselves. Today, we keep the abattoirs out of our sight: out of sight, out of mind. In reality, we don’t want to acknowledge that a billion and a half of terrestrial animals are killed each year for our eating needs. Or, these animals aren’t robots. It’s completely ridiculous to treat them as objects. Gandhi said that the degree of civilization is measured by how people treat animals. Obviously, they don’t have long-term projects, but our lack of empathy towards them puts humankind in danger of suffering from mass psychopathy. Kafka said that “war is a monstrous failure of imagination.” He eventually became a vegetarian and one day, while watching a fish tank, he said, “now, I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you anymore.” (laughing)

But how could becoming a vegetarian have an altruistic impact beyond our personal eating needs?

I am a vegetarian by choice because it is better for the animals and for our environment. Developing countries grow 775 billion tons of corn and soya to feed the animals in the industrial farms in the highly developed countries. The return is zero! It requires 10 kilos of vegetal proteins to produce 1 kilo of animal proteins. The world is upside down…

Then, there is the human cost because poor people are deprived of these vegetables. There is also an environmental cost because of the methane gas from livestock and their manure, which is one of the main causes of the climate changes.

To conclude, there is an ethics code related to animals, human health, poverty, and environment. According to the United Nations, eating less meat could be one of the best ways to reduce inequality and solve the environmental problems… It doesn’t imply becoming a fanatical vegan, but to balance things so that animal massacres end permanently.

What about the profit-oriented economy? How could altruism be compatible with such a concept?

The theory of homo economicus is based on the idea that human beings are reasonable and that they try to maximize their interests. It’s a reductionist model of the human being. Most of the economists know that human beings cannot be reduced to such an image; nevertheless, this image served as a source for many economic models. However, many economists, such as Amartya Sen, Joseph Stiglitz or Dennis Snower, have emphasized the problem of the common assets: air quality, fresh water reserves, democracy – these are everybody’s concern.

Indeed, if you consider only your personal interest, you have nothing to care about. So, besides reason, the only one economists considered in their calculations, you need to care, a term even better than altruism or compassion because, if people say “I don’t care,” then it means it doesn’t affect them. Care implies concern for others. Economists have begun to accept this idea and to imagine a system based on more than just selfish interests. Society would function much better and this new system would match the reality better because not all people are selfish maniacs!

Do you see altruism as the guiding thought of the 21st century?

Absolutely! It’s Arianna’s thread that could link the economy in the short term, life satisfaction in the mid-term, and environment in the long term. Without altruism, no intellectual system could reconcile the three different types of preoccupations. The tough economist seizes the moment without thinking of the future. But if he cared about others, he would do something to improve their quality of life. If he cared even more about others, destroying the planet would be out of question.

But there are still conflicts, violence…

Violence has its causes. It’s the dehumanization of the other. People see people as vermin, pests, rats; they treat one another as animals. We should understand the causes to better fight this problem. There are also other influences that create a false image of the reality. It’s enough to watch the news. There is violence everywhere – Syria, Sudan, and Kalashnikovs in Marseilles… And this isn’t true.

History shows that violence has continuously diminished. In England, during the 14th century, there were 100 homicides for 100 000 inhabitants each year; nowadays, the number of homicides was reduced to 0.7. In Europe, the rate dropped by 100 to 50 times compared to 3 centuries ago. In 1950, the average number of victims of conflicts throughout the globe was of 30 000. Now, it’s 900. Child and women abuse has diminished. A lot still needs to be done, but a lot has been done already.

We can encourage the decrease of violence…

We all know the factors related to the decrease of violence and we could encourage this idea: women social status, democracy… Let’s take Europe for example. In the 14th century, there were 5000 political entities in Europe; under Napoleon, there were 250, and, nowadays, there are about fifty, which are all democratic and make business together… The risk that Belgium starts a war against Italy is zero. Countries in conflict with other countries have a dysfunctional democracy. Undoubtedly, humankind has evolved and we have to admit it because it is encouraging.

What do you find to be the most encouraging signs in today’s society?

What keeps my hope high is to realize that humankind has evolved. Kindness is more often present in our lives than we could imagine. We can educate ourselves in this respect on an individual level, as well as on a community level… Victor Hugo said that “nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Therefore, I think that the time of altruism has come.

plaidoyer pour l altruisme

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ScienceDaily: Relationship News
Quitting smoking easier for social media users
Smoking is a major public health problem, killing approximately 443,000 people every year in the United States. Quitting smoking can have a profound effect on a person’s health, but it is also one of the hardest addictions to kick. A recent paper reports that people who engage in health specific social networking sites found it easier to quit smoking.

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GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
These 7 Awesome Feel-Good Movies Are About To Make Your Weekend
Whether it’s rainy outside and you’re snuggled up watching a DVD, or it’s hours on a long flight that you’re trying to pass, nothing beats a feel-good movie. We’re talking films that make us cry every time we watch them, even if it’s for the 37th time, scenes we used to act out as kids and stories we fantasized would happen to us.

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