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Mindful : June 2017
In its annual survey on “Stress in Amer- ica,” conducted in August, the American Psychologi- cal Association found that a little more than half of Americans were finding the election a significant source of stress, prompting the surveyers to do a fol- low-up in January, which revealed that Americans’ stress had increased from 4.8 to 5.1 on a 10-point scale in the intervening months, representing the first significant increase since the poll began 10 years ago. Both Republi- cans (59%) and Democrats (76%) reported being stressed about the future of the country. When a man showed up at an airport with his toddler daughter, he was unpleas- antly surprised to learn that, having just turned two, she now needed her own ticket, and he couldn’t afford it. A nearby stranger noticed and, without hesi- tation, she bought the $749 ticket. The city of India- napolis installed tiny ramps along its downtown canal in order to save ducklings and other small semi-aquatic ani- mals from drown- ing. The ramps, made of wood and insulation (to help them float), allow the birds to mount the canal’s concrete edge with ease. EXTRA ORDINARY ACTS OF KINDNESS Being Humble Can Have Its Strengths It’s Official: Americans Are More Stressed Based on national survey responses from 2,800 participants, researchers found correla- tions suggesting that more humility may help people cope better with stress- ful life events. Perhaps humble folks are more willing to reach out for support, buffering against mood problems. A Kinder Sesame Street Starting Off Right Here are some exciting projects that are bringing mindfulness to future generations. Farmers of the Future Mindfulness K-12 We know Oscar is grouchy, but can he learn to be more kind? The folks behind Sesame Street think so. Responding to parental concerns about the unkind state of today’s world, the show dedicated its 2017 season to kindness. And mindfulness plays a role. To formulate its Kindness Curriculum, Sesame Work- shop tapped the expertise of researchers and educators, including the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds, which developed a mindful- ness-based kindness curric- ulum that’s being taught in area schools. Early research shows improvements on academic performance and measures of altruism among participating students. It even works for Oscar the Grouch: After some reluctance, he agrees to take his pet worm, Slimey, to a garden party to celebrate Be Kind to Your Worm Day. “Cognitively it’s hard for children to take on the per- spective of someone else. Through the characters, we can model that behavior,” says Sesame Workshop’s Rosemarie Truglio. Kids in Australia are being taught to meditate thanks to a new initiative by the country’s state media. Mindfully...Back to School, a project of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio division and the non- profit mindfulness educa- tion organization Smiling Mind, offers g uided medita- tions designed for kids at the different stages of their youth, from primary school all the way up to their uni- versity years, accessible on the ABC website or app. A high school in South Los Angeles might just be train- ing the agricultural and environmental leaders of tomorrow. The Gardening Apprenticeship Prog ram at John C. Fremont High School has taught city kids about urban ag riculture, environmental justice, nutri- tion, and healthy cooking since 2012. The program also provides training in basic agricultural techniques and exposure to career opportu- nities in the agriculture and environmental studies. 12 mindful June 2017 what’s new PHOTOGRAPHCOURTESYSESAMEWORKSHOP,GRATISOGRAPHY