Meanings of Hope and Healing Stones

Scroll Down.  Find your stone.  Then find the meaning below:

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From Energymuse.com

Learn the Meanings of Healing Gemstones

healing stones meanings

Abalone is a beautiful shell of the sea. It is believed to hold great healing and soothing energy, encouraging a calmer demeanor. The multidimensional, pastel rainbow colors enhance feelings of peace, beauty, compassion and love. The Native Americans believe this shell to be a sacred shell and use it, along with sage, to carry messages to Heaven. Abalone is excellent to wear when you are in need of guidance in a relationship.
healing stones meanings
Agate is one of the oldest of healing stones. As a stone of strength, it was used in ancient civilizations, on the breastplates of armor, to bring warriors strength and make them victorious in battle. Agates are very protective stones, making them the perfect stones for amulets and medicine bags. They also bring us courage, emotional strength and self-confidence.
healing stones meanings
Amethyst is a natural stress reliever that encourages inner strength and brings wealth and a strong business sense to its wearer. It is a crystal of spiritual growth and protection. It brings clarity of the mind to their owner and helps you to become more in tune with your feelings so that you get to know yourself on a much deeper level. Amethyst crystals repel negative energy and attract positive energy, making them a wonderful protection stone for the home. They have one of the strongest powers to rid your home of any negative influence.
healing stones meanings
Aquamarine clears the mind, balances emotions and strengthens personal power. In ancient times, seamen carried this stone to protect them against the dangers of the sea. It also provided them with courage. Aquamarine connects with the Heart Chakra, helping you to realize your innermost truth and promoting self-expression.
healing stones meanings
Aventurine is one of the premier stones to attract luck, abundance and success. It comforts, harmonizes and protects the heart, helping also to attract luck in love. Aventurine is a manifestation stone that can help you bring your dreams into reality.
healing stones meanings
Azurite is often referred to as the “Stone of the Heavens,” as it aids in the pursuit of the heavenly self. It is believed to awaken psychic abilities, helping you to recognize intuition and spiritual guidance. It calms and relieves mental stress, helping you to clear your mind and dissolve any blocked energy. Native Americans valued it as a sacred stone for communication with Indian Spirit Guides. The Mayans are also said to have used it for sacred and mystical communication.
healing stones meanings
Black Tourmalinated Quartz is Clear Quartz with pieces of Black Tourmaline included in it. It is believed to be a stone of great luck and wealth. It encourages a large amount of light to encircle the body, helping you to heal on many levels. When worn, this crystal helps to unlock energy blockages within the body and create overall balance within it.
healing stones meanings
Bloodstone is a powerful healing stone that has been valued for thousands of years for its healing energy. It purifies and detoxifies the body, grounding negative energy and cleansing your body’s energy. Bloodstone also increases energy and strength, promoting a constant flow of energy throughout the body. It is a very beneficial stone for athletes and people whose jobs include a lot of physical activity.
healing stones meanings
Blue Lace Agate is a wonderful stone for activating and healing the Throat Chakra. It enhances verbal communication and expression, while promoting the acceptance of your emotions. It is a very supportive stone that calms your nerves, bringing a sense of peacefulness. Blue Lace Agate is an especially helpful stone for those who may be feeling depressed or worried. It can also be used to relieve insomnia and ease tension headaches.
healing stones meanings
Carnelian is a powerful Sacral Chakra Stone. It increases personal power and physical energy, bringing you courage, compassion and a boost in creativity. Wearing or carrying Carnelian enhances vitality and will, providing you with the confidence needed to approach new projects and dreams. It is a wonderful stone to wear on a job interview, as it brings good luck and opportunity, awakening your hidden talents within. In ancient times, Egyptians buries their loved ones with Carnelian as it was thought to protect their loved ones in their journey to the afterlife and calm their fears about rebirth.
healing stones meanings
Chrysocolla is a very peaceful stone that soothes and calms us in times of stress. It connects with the Throat Chakra, helping you to create a conscious flow of words to express yourself. It gently draws off negative energies of all kinds, especially in times of transition, such as breakups or job loss. It is a wonderful stone to wear on a daily basis as a support stone or to help calm your emotions. Chrysocolla helps to face challenges and changes with ease, inspiring inner balance and self-awareness. It also increases your capacity to love.
healing stones meanings
Chrysoprase opens and activates the Heart Chakra, allowing for a strong flow of energy to the heart. By sending divine energies into this chakra, it infuses you with universal love and helps you love from the heart. Chrysoprase is a stone of grace and compassion that promotes optimism, joy and contentment. It encourages acceptance of yourself by banishing feelings of superiority or inferiority from within.
healing stones meanings
Citrine is a stone of light and happiness. It does not hold any negative energy and therefore never needs to be cleansed. It brings clarity to those who wear it and helps to manifest anything you want to bring into your life. It activates your imagination, bringing more creative visions to a clearer mind and a more positive outlook in life. Powered by the Sun, Citrine warms, cleanses and energizes the body, energizing and strengthening the solar plexus.
healing stones meanings
Clear Quartz is a stone of manifestation that energizes and activates the energy centers within the body. It helps the wearer to think clearly, allowing them to focus and become clear about their dreams and desires. Assisting with spiritual development, Clear Quartz assists in removing blockages in the body so that energy can flow smoothly.
healing stones meanings
Coral has been called the ‘garden of the sea’. It was believed to prevent ill fortune and offer protection from skin disease. Dreams about Coral are believed to foretell recovery from a long time illness. Ancient civilizations believed that Mars was composed of Red Coral. Coral is a good aid for meditation or visualization, as it symbolizes life and blood-force energy.
healing stones meanings
Fresh Water Pearls are cultured in inland waters and not in the sea. The oldest Pearl was worn in 4300 BC by a Persian Queen. They are considered the bringers of light, beauty and love. They also help you to become aware and conscious of the problems that we carry around with us. Pearls are linked with innocence and helps us to see life through the eyes of compassion.
healing stones meanings
Garnet is a stone of health and energy that enhances energy, passion and pleasure. It is said that the only light on Noah’s Ark was provided by a Garnet stone. It helps to move the chi and energy flow within the body, stimulating physical activity. Garnet is a good stone to help with depression, as it brings joy and hope to the wearer and helps lessen the anger directed at oneself. It also cleanses the chakras of negative energy, re-energizing them in the process.
healing stones meanings
Goldstone is made from quartz sand glass, infused with copper particles to give it its shimmery appearance. The sparkles of Goldstone are symbolic of light that can always be found in the darkness. It deflects unwanted energies and is highly regarded in the spirit realm as a protective mineral.
healing stones meanings
Hematite is a very protective stone that helps you to stay grounded in any situation. It absorbs negative energy and calms you in times of stress or worry. When you wear Hematite, it helps you feel balanced, calm and centered. This stone helps you to find your own, unique talents, releasing self-imposed limitations.
healing stones meanings
Jade is considered a powerful lucky charm. It is a stone that can help you attain your goals and dreams, allowing you to see past self-imposed limitations and manifest your dreams into the physical world. Jade promotes courage, compassion, generosity and longevity, helping you lead a richer more fulfilling life. It is a gemstone of much history, as it has been part of Asian history for centuries.
healing stones meanings
Jasper is highly valued as a healing stone that is full of grounding energy. They can connect you deeply to the vibrations of the Earth, bringing a greater understanding of the power of nature. Jasper helps us to be less judgmental and know on a soul level that we are all connected. In some Native American culture, Jasper symbolizes the blood of the Earth, making it particularly sacred.
healing stones meanings
Labradorite cleans and opens the crown chakra by stimulating the wearer’s intuition. It is a power stone that allows you to see through illusions and determine the actual form of your dreams and goals. Use Labradorite to stimulate the imagination, develop enthusiasm and to see more clearly in meditation.
healing stones meanings
Lapis Lazuli is a stone that has existed since the beginning of time. It is a gemstone of total awareness that connects the wearer to a higher truth. Lapis Lazuli helps to foster verbal expression, opening and balancing the Throat Chakra. It provides wisdom and connects you to your spiritual guardians, shielding you from negative energy and returning any negative vibrations back to their source.
healing stones meanings
Malachite is a stone of transformation. It assists in clearing and cleansing all the chakras. It is an overall healing stone that stimulates and balances the heart and throat chakras. Malachite facilitates the release of negative experiences so once can heal and regain hope. It is very inspiring, purifying and compassionate and attracts love by opening the heart.
healing stones meanings
Moonstone is believed to be a stone of destiny. It is strongly connected to the moon and the divine feminine, making it a wonderfully helpful stone for women. It is worn to increase fertility and harmonize the mind, providing health and protection. Moonstone helps to align the hormone production, metabolism and reproduction. It allows deep-rooted feelings to energize and come to the forefront.
healing stones meanings
Mother of Pearl is the iridescent lining that forms in mollusks. Associated with the element of water and the ocean, it is valued for its powerful healing energy. Mother of Pearl is considered to hold the energy of purity and is believed to keep evil away. It is known to alleviate fear, promote prosperity and good luck, allowing you to see that beauty in everyday things.
healing stones meanings
Obsidian is a natural volcanic glass formed from molten lava that has cooled very rapidly. It is a grounding stone that provides an instant connection from the Root Chakra deep into the core of the Earth. Obsidian helps to clean and remove negative energies and assists in releasing emotions that cause negative energy such as anger, fear, jealousy and greed.
healing stones meanings
Onyx is a powerful protective stone that can shield the mind and body from electromagnetic energy. It absorbs and transforms negative energy, helping to prevent that drain of personal energy. Onyx assists with melancholy, the release of negativity and depression. It helps to calm your fears, leaving you feeling stable and secure.
healing stones meanings
Peridot has been valued for thousands of years as a semi-precious healing stone. It is a high-vibrational Heart Chakra crystal that carries a positive energy, especially helpful for those undergoing traumatic emotional situations. It is the stone for Archangel Raphael and rules the realm of Angelic Virtues. Peridot has the ability to bring out unconditional love, happiness and light.
healing stones meanings
Pyrite is known to remedy financial hardship and attract abundance. The resemblance of Pyrite to gold has made it a traditional symbol for money and good luck. Its sunny golden color associates it with the sun and with the fortification and strengthening of the mind. Pyrite makes a wonderful energy shield, blocking out negativity from various sources.
healing stones meanings
Rhodonite helps to balance the emotions and calm impatience. It is a very supportive stone that works with the Heart Chakra to attract love, ground negative energies and see areas in your life that can be improved upon. Rhodonite helps you to rediscover your inner gifts, bringing out much-needed love into the world. It also assists you in discovering your true passion and learning brand new skills to enhance that passion.
healing stones meanings
Rhodochrosite raises your self-esteem and self-worth, while increasing feelings of self-love. It is a strong crystal for emotional healing that encourages you to love yourself and reach a state of joy and happiness. It is a powerful heart chakra stone that vibrates with the energy of love. Rhodochrosite also gives you the courage to look at things that you may have been afraid to face before.
healing stones meanings
Rose Quartz is the stone of unconditional love. It is one of the most important stones for Heart Chakra work, as it opens that heart to all types of love—love of the self, love of family, love of friends and romantic love. The soothing energy of Rose Quartz fosters empathy, reconciliation and forgiveness of others, lowering stress and tension of the heart. It can clear out anger, jealously and resentment towards others, allowing the healing of heart issues caused by holding onto these negative emotions.
healing stones meanings
Rudraksha Seeds are miracle seeds that emit positive vibrations. These seeds have been worn by Sages and Togis since Vedic times for their profound spiritual significance and powerful healing properties. Rudraksha seeds are believed to be endowed with cosmic powers to elevate the soul and assist on the path of ascension. According to the ancient Vedas, Shiva cried tears of compassion for humanity and his tears became Rudraksha seeds to assist humanity in our healing.
healing stones meanings
Rutilated Quartz is Clear Quartz riddled with needle-like pieces of Golden Rutile, often called “The Hairs of Venus.” It can clear energy blockages of all the chakras and stimulates the alignment of the mind and body. Rutilated Quartz is said to attune you to their Divine Purpose, connecting them with the spiritual realm and their angels. It is a very uplifting stone that infuses joy into your life and surrounding environment. It is said to speed up the healing of injuries and slow the effects of aging.
healing stones meanings
Selenite is the ideal crystal for all types of energy clearing. It has the ability to clear, protect and shield your energy body as well as clearing the energy of your other crystals and home. It quickly unblocks any stagnant or negative energy to create a smooth flow of positive energy. Selenite crystals magnify the energy of any other gemstone that is placed upon it, making it perfect for reactivating and recharging your jewelry and other healing crystals. It has also been recently used in holistic medicine treatments for physical healing, including cancer treatment and tumor reduction.
healing stones meanings
Serpentine helps to bring hormones back into balance. It helps to clear out and release the dense areas of the chakras so that healing can occur. It helps you to take responsibility for your life and know your life is what you create it to be. Serpentine serves as a gentle reminder that you can always reach for the stars and obtain your goals. It can also be used to attract and manifest anything you want in life—abundance on all levels, prosperity, love, healing…anything you want!
healing stones meanings
Smoky Quartz helps to ground and connect you to the Earth, allowing you to keep your feet on the ground and remain balanced. It emits a high level of energy that absorbs and transmutes negative energy. Smoky Quartz assists in removing mental and emotional blockages, relieving pain and dispersing negative energy from the body. It is worn for emotional support and helps to dissolve anger and resentment as well.
healing stones meanings
Sodalite encourages being true to your self and standing up for your beliefs. It is a stone of self-expression and confidence, helping you to deal with issues of self-worth, self-acceptance and self-esteem. Sodalite promotes intuition and a trust in your own judgment. It is a stone of awakening that stimulates the Third Eye and deepens the meditation.
healing stones meanings
Sunstone is known for its powerful connection to the light and the power of the sun. It brings light to all situations and is said to give you the power to “shine,” promoting a sunny and positive attitude. Sunstone has a bright and joyful energy that increases vitality and lightens dark moods. It helps to empower those who feel abandoned by others, encouraging motivation and positive action.
healing stones meanings
Tiger’s Eye helps to rebalance the body on all levels, encouraging optimism and trust in the future. It brings brightness and light into all situations and shines insight onto all problems. Tiger’s Eye brings good luck, abundance and prosperity to its wearer. In many ancient civilizations, it was used as a talisman against bad luck and curses. Tiger’s Eye is a must have in any home for healing.
healing stones meanings
Turquoise is known as the “master Healer,” and is said to be the bridge between Heaven, Sky and the Earth. Many Native American cultures believe that Turquoise helps to connect the mind to the infinite possibilities of the Universe and is considered very sacred in Chinese cultures as well. It is a throat Chakra stone, as it helps to foster honest and open communication from the heart. It works to protect and align the chakras, strengthening the overall body in the process.
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 Snow Flake Obsidian is  stone of purity, Snowflake Obsidian brings about a balance to body, mind and spirit. Snowflake Obsidian helps to keep centered and focused when any type of chaotic situation (office, commute, home, etc.) presents itself. Snowflake Obsidian can remove negativity from a space or person with ease.

Volcanic in origin, Snowflake Obsidian helps to draw emotions to the surface and to examine harmful thought patterns. A good choice for past life work, Snowflake Obsidian heals old karmic patterns and helps in examining harmful thought patterns. Snowflake Obsidian promotes a sense of calm and inner centering which readies one for a deep meditative state.

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Dalmatian Jasper is also known as Dalmatian Stone. This is a stone that aids you to break down barriers that you have created as protection around yourself.It may also relieve the need to take revenge on anyone who you feel has done you wrong, as its vibration helps you to release any lack of trust in other people.

This allows you to move forward in life and discover your true purpose for being here. Its energy brings childlike joy and a sense of playfulness into your life.The black spots are Black Tourmaline, and so it also embodies the energy of this stone, and will aid you with spiritual grounding and psychic protection.

The Neuroscience of Why Gratitude Makes Us Healthier

–by Ocean Robbins, Oct 30, 2013

 Our world is pretty messed up. With all the violence, pollution and crazy things people do, it would be easy to turn into a grouchy old man without being either elderly or male. There’s certainly no shortage of justification for disappointment and cynicism. But consider this: Negative attitudes are bad for you. And gratitude, it turns out, makes you happier and healthier. If you invest in a way of seeing the world that is mean and frustrated, you’re going to get a world that is, well, more mean and frustrating. But if you can find any authentic reason to give thanks, anything that is going right with the world or your life, and put your attention there, then statistics say you’re going to be better off. Does this mean to live in a state of constant denial and put your head in the sand? Of course not. Gratitude works when you’re grateful for something real. Feeling euphoric and spending money like you just won the lottery when you didn’t is probably going to make you real poor, real quick. But what are you actually grateful for? It’s a question that could change your life. Recent studies have concluded that the expression of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages. As Drs. Blaire and Rita Justice reported for the University of Texas Health Science Center, “a growing body of research shows that gratitude is truly amazing in its physical and psychosocial benefits.” In one study on gratitude, conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., at the University of California at Davis and his colleague Mike McCullough at the University of Miami, randomly assigned participants were given one of three tasks. Each week, participants kept a short journal. One group briefly described five things they were grateful for that had occurred in the past week, another five recorded daily hassles from the previous week that displeased them, and the neutral group was asked to list five events or circumstances that affected them, but they were not told whether to focus on the positive or on the negative. Ten weeks later, participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group. They reported fewer health complaints, and exercised an average of 1.5 hours more. In a later study by Emmons, people were asked to write every day about things for which they were grateful. Not surprisingly, this daily practice led to greater increases in gratitude than did the weekly journaling in the first study. But the results showed another benefit: Participants in the gratitude group also reported offering others more emotional support or help with a personal problem, indicating that the gratitude exercise increased their goodwill towards others, or more tehnically, their “pro-social” motivation. Another study on gratitude was conducted with adults having congenital and adult-onset neuromuscular disorders (NMDs), with the majority having post-polio syndrome (PPS). Compared to those who were not jotting down their blessings nightly, participants in the gratitude group reported more hours of sleep each night, and feeling more refreshed upon awakening. The gratitude group also reported more satisfaction with their lives as a whole, felt more optimism about the upcoming week, and felt considerably more connected with others than did participants in the control group. Perhaps most tellingly, the positive changes were markedly noticeable to others. According to the researchers, “Spouses of the participants in the gratitude (group) reported that the participants appeared to have higher subjective well-being than did the spouses of the participants in the control (group).” There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness. It turns out this isn’t just a fluffy idea. Several studies have shown depression to be inversely correlated to gratitude. It seems that the more grateful a person is, the less depressed they are. Philip Watkins, a clinical psychologist at Eastern Washington University, found that clinically depressed individuals showed significantly lower gratitude (nearly 50 percent less) than non-depressed controls. Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington has been researching marriages for two decades. The conclusion of all that research, he states, is that unless a couple is able to maintain a high ratio of positive to negative encounters (5:1 or greater), it is likely the marriage will end. With 90 percent accuracy, Gottman says he can predict, often after only three minutes of observation, which marriages are likely to flourish and which are likely to flounder. The formula is that for every negative expression (a complaint, frown, put-down, expression of anger) there needs to be about five positive ones (smiles, compliments, laughter, expressions of appreciation and gratitude). Apparently, positive vibes aren’t just for hippies. If you want in on the fun, here are some simple things you can do to build positive momentum toward a more happy and fulfilling life: 1) Keep a daily journal of three things you are thankful for. This works well first thing in the morning, or just before you go to bed. 2) Make it a practice to tell a spouse, partner or friend something you appreciate about them every day. 3) Look in the mirror when you are brushing your teeth, and think about something you have done well recently or something you like about yourself. Sure this world gives us plenty of reasons to despair. But when we get off the fast track to morbidity, and cultivate instead an attitude of gratitude, things don’t just look better — they actually get better. Thankfulness feels good, it’s good for you and it’s a blessing for the people around you, too. It’s such a win-win-win that I’d say we have cause for gratitude…

What is Meditation? The Science of How it Makes us Happier.

1Assignment 

1.  5 notes from the first movie.

2. Take 5 notes from the reading to prove that Meditation is making people happier.

3. Practice the Meditation (watch the So Hum Meditation below).  Explain how it makes you feel afterward in 1 paragraph or more.

________________

Begin Reading Here: 

A quiet explosion of new research indicating that meditation can physically change the brain in astonishing ways has started to push into mainstream.

Several studies suggest that these changes through meditation can make you happier, less stressed — even nicer to other people. It can help you control your eating habits and even reduce chronic pain, all the while without taking prescription medication.

Meditation is an intimate and intense exercise that can be done solo or in a group, and one study showed that 20 million Americans say they practice meditation. It has been used to help treat addictions, to clear psoriasis and even to treat men with impotence.

The U.S. Marines are testing meditation to see if it makes more focused, effective warriors. Corporate executives at Google, General Mills, Target and Aetna Insurance, as well as students in some of the nation’s classrooms have used meditation.

Various celebrities also are known meditators, including shock jock Howard Stern, actors Richard Gere, Goldie Hawn and Heather Graham, and Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of the band Weezer.

In one study, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at the brain scans of 16 people before and after they participated in an eight-week course in mindfulness meditation. The study, published in the January issue of Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, concluded that after completing the course, parts of the participants’ brains associated with compassion and self-awareness grew, and parts associated with stress shrank.

READ: Meditation 101: Tips for Beginners

Recently, the Dalai Lama granted permission for his monks, who are master mediators, to have their brains studied at the University of Wisconsin, one of the most high-tech brain labs in the world.

Richie Davidson, a PhD at the university, and his colleagues, led the study and said they were amazed by what they found in the monks’ brain activity read-outs. During meditation, electroencephalogram patterns increased and remains higher than the initial baseline taken from a non-meditative state.

But you don’t have to be a monk to benefit from meditation, which is now gaining acceptance in the field of medicine.

Physicians have increasingly started prescribing meditation instead of pills to benefit their patients. A Harvard Medical School report released in May found that more than 6 million Americans had been recommended meditation and other mind-body therapies by conventional health care providers.

Perhaps the most mind-bending potential benefit of meditation is that it will actually make practitioners nicer. Chuck Raison, a professor at Emory University, conducted a meditation study in which he hooked up microphones to participants who had been taught basic meditation and those who hadn’t. He then recorded them at random over a period of time. Raison found that these newly-trained mediators used less harsh language than people who had no meditation experience.

“They were more empathic with people,” Raison said. “They were spending more time with other people. They laugh more, you know, all those things. They didn’t use the word ‘I’ as much. They use the word ‘we’ more.”

However, even the Dalai Lama admitted that meditation is not the silver bullet cure-all for every ailment or emotion.

“Occasionally, [I] lose my temper,” he said. “If someone is never lose temper then perhaps that may come from outer space, real strange.”

The Dalai Lama also cautioned that meditation takes patience, so new mediators should not expect immediate results.

“The enlightenment not depend on rank,” he said, laughing. “It depends on practice.”

Some scientists believe that in a generation, Americans will see meditation as being as essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as diet and exercise.

Click to Play Movies: 

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Live the Good Life: Why Helping Others Makes Us Happy

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    Why Helping Others Makes Us Happy

    Helping our fellow man has long been seen as an altruistic behavioral model. But it turns out that more selfish motives—pleasing friends, doing what you want—are more successful causes of effective volunteering. Whatever the motive, volunteering improves the health, happiness, and in some cases, the longevity of volunteers. Children who volunteer are more likely to grow up to be adults who volunteer. Even unwilling children who are forced to volunteer fare better than kids who don’t volunteer. And in a virtuous circle, communities with lots of volunteers are more stable and better places to live, which in turn further boosts volunteerism.

    [See the Top 10 U.S. Cities for Well-Being.]

    “On one hand, it’s striking that volunteering even occurs,” says Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota. “It seems to run against the strong dynamics of self-interest. There is simply nothing in society that says that someone is mandated to help anyone else.” Yet 1 in 3 adults do meaningful volunteer work on a sustained basis, he notes, and the United States has one of the world’s highest rates of volunteerism.

    “People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness,” Snyder says. “All of these things go up as their feelings of social connectedness goes up, which in reality, it does. It also improves their health and even their longevity.”

    Among teenagers, even at-risk children who volunteer reap big benefits, according to research findings studied by Jane Allyn Piliavin, a retired University of Wisconsin sociologist. She cites a positive effect on grades, self-concept, and attitudes toward education. Volunteering also led to reduced drug use and huge declines in dropout rates and teen pregnancies.

    Other research links youth volunteering to a higher quality of life as an adult, Piliavin adds. “Participating in high school tends to boost participating in adulthood, which is related to enhanced well-being.” One clear message from this for parents: Get your children involved in community volunteer programs.

    Most people say they value volunteering because it’s “the right thing to do,” among other altruistic reasons. But the strongest drivers of successful volunteers are actually more self-focused, notes Allen Omoto, a professor of psychology at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif. There are five main reasons people volunteer, he says.

    Three are “self-focused”:

    1. Understanding: the desire to learn new things and acquire knowledge.

    2. Esteem enhancement: feeling better about yourself and finding greater stability in life.

    3. Personal development: acquiring new skills, testing your capabilities, and stretching yourself.

    Two are “other-focused”:

    4. Sense of community: making the world, or your piece of it, better.

    5. Humanitarian values: serving and helping others, often with a strong religious component.

    “The ones that get the higher rates of endorsement are the ‘other focused’ ones,” Omoto says. “But it’s the ‘self-focused’ ones that predict length of service.” Snyder also says people who don’t volunteer often have an idealized view of people who do. “They put them up on a pedestal,” he says. This might actually deter people from volunteering because they feel they don’t measure up.

    The benefits of volunteering are linked to a person’s degree of commitment. “It’s clear that more is better, at least up a point,” Piliavin says. “Some studies find an inflection point and others don’t. One study finds the benefits increase up to the point where a person has volunteered 100 hours during a year.” Consistency is also important. “The more consistently you do it, the better your psychology benefits,” she says.

    [See The Secret to a Long and Happy Life.]

    Snyder says the amount of volunteering people do tends to rise steadily during their adult years and begins declining at about the age of 60. Interestingly, the benefits of volunteering rise for older people, and experts say they might benefit from more volunteer work, not less.

The Story of an Hour

016beautiful-garden-view-out-of-the-open-window

“The Story of An Hour”

Kate Chopin (1894)

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.

It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed.” He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.

She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.

She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.

Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will–as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under hte breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.

She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.

There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet she had loved him–sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

“Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.

Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door–you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.”

“Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.

She arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.

Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.

When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of the joy that kills.

Exercise is Good for the Brain

Directions: Read these first
1.  Read the directions for this assignment
2.  Right now, before you do anything else, scan down to the 19th paragraph and Read the last sentence, which is in parenthesis and italics.
3.  Take 10 notes on this reading.  You will give a very short 1 minute speech on this reading with a group tomorrow.   I’ll assign groups tomorrow.
4.  Good LUCK!
mh_brainexEndorphins
WebMD.com Feature

Anyone with a brain exercises these days, but did you know exercise can return the favor and train your brain? Not only is exercise smart for your heart and weight, but it can make you smarter and better at what you do.

“I like to say that exercise is like taking a little Prozac or a little Ritalin at just the right moment,” says John J. Ratey, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and author of A User’s Guide to the Brain. “Exercise is really for the brain, not the body. It affects mood, vitality, alertness, and feelings of well-being.”

Stephen C. Putnam, MEd, took up canoeing in a serious way to combat the symptoms of adult ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Then he wrote a book, titled Nature’s Ritalin for the Marathon Mind, about the benefits of exercise on troublesome brain disorders such as ADHD, a neurological/behavioral condition resulting in hyperactivity and the inability to focus on tasks.

Putnam cites studies of children who ran around for 15 to 45 minutes before class and cut their ants-in-the-pants behavior by half when they got to class. As with most exercise, the effects were relatively lasting — smoothing out behavior two to four hours after the exercise.

Putnam also points to some preliminary animal research that suggests that exercise can cause new stem cells to grow, refreshing the brain and other body parts. According to Ratey, exercise also stimulates nerve growth factors. “I call it Miracle-Gro for the brain,” he says.

 How Exercise Trains the Brain

Christin Anderson, MS, wellness and fitness coordinator of the University of San Francisco, explains that exercise affects many sites within the nervous system and sets off pleasure chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine that make us feel calm, happy, and euphoric.

In other words, if you don’t want to wait for those good feelings to come by accident (if they do), you can bring them on by exercising.

“When one exercises,” Anderson says, “you can think more clearly, perform better, and your morale is better. This is pure science — stimulate your nervous system and function at a higher level.”

Effects of Exercise on Depression

Almost everyone has heard of the “fog of war,” but the “fog of living” is depression. “Depression affects memory and effectiveness (not to mention the ability to get up, get dressed, and function),” Anderson says. “If you can control your physiology, you can relax, focus, and remember.”

In a study reported in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness in 2001, 80 young male and female volunteers were tested for mood and then did aerobics for an hour. Of the 80, 52 were depressed before the exercise. That group was the most likely to benefit, reporting a reduction in anger, fatigue, and tension. They also felt more vigorous after the workout.

Effects of Exercise on Depression continued…

A well-known study was done at Duke University involving 150 people 50 or older who had been diagnosed with depression. They were divided into three groups and given either exercise as a treatment for four months, the antidepressant drug Zoloft, or a combination of the two.

At the end of the four months, all three groups felt better. But the researchers didn’t leave it there. They checked again in six months, and the exercise group had relapsed at significantly lower rates than the Zoloft or combination groups. In fact, the scientists felt that giving the Zoloft along with the exercise undermined the effects of the exercise, saying the combination group might have preferred to feel they had worked for their improvement rather than having to take a pill.

This doesn’t mean, the researcher said, that exercise is a cureall for every case of depression. Seeking out the study showed motivation, and motivation can be hard to come by when you’re depressed.

Bipolar disorder also does not seem to respond as well to exercise. On the other hand, anxiety disorders sometimes respond even more quickly.

 If You Want to Try Exercise as a Brain Trainer

Single bouts of exercise can reduce anxiety for several hours afterward, although there may be a lag time before the good feeling sets in if exercise is too intense (good news for those who find fanatical, prolonged, “check your pulse” exercise unappealing).

Therefore, low to moderate forms of exercise are recommended for brain training. Ratey recommends 8 to 12 minutes a day of sweating and breathing-hard exercise (60% of maximum heart rate) for brain training.

Anderson says a minimum would be 30 minutes of moderate exercise, walking, hiking, or swimming, three times a week. Half an hour to an hour, four to five times a week would be even better. For those who want to be REALLY on the ball, 90 minutes five to six times a week would not be out of line, she says.

Anderson recommends two sessions a day for this purpose, rather than one big heaving workout. “Swim for 20 minutes in the morning, then walk at night,” she advises. “Right after hard, intense exercise, you may not be as acute. Overtraining can set off enzymes that can lead to fatigue, which is the enemy of alertness.”

Anderson also says the type of exercise you select depends on your personality. It may be the opposite of what you’d expect. “If you’re a 32-year-old male, work 70 hours a week, play ball twice on the weekend and jog daily,” she says, “you may need to do some yoga to improve your mental acuity.” Some coaches, she points, out actually have to get people to relax to find their “edge.” Meditation can also be a great complement to exercise, she adds. Then: “Do what you enjoy. That’s important.” (If you are reading this within 5 minutes of when we began this assignment, please come to my desk right now, quietly, for extra credit!  Do not tell anyone around you that you’re reading this or you will loose your extra credit.  If you come up to my desk right now, congratulations!). 

“You want to ready your brain for learning,” Ratey says. For that to happen, all the chemicals must “jog” into place.

Star Lawrence is a medical journalist based in the Phoenix area.

4 Letter Words – Poem for Hope

After reading the poem below, answer these questions:

  1.  After reading this poem, it makes me think about …
  2. This poem gives me hope because…
  3. Something that I like about this poem is …
  4. I relate to this poem because …
  5. I don’t relate to this poem because …
  6. My favorite line in this poem is … “__________________” because …

———————————————————————————————————-

Fear, that four letter word that never let me say what I want to say.

       

Fear, that four letter word that doesn’t let me be who I want to be.

      

Fear, that four letter word that nobody wants to experience.

   
Fear, that four letter word that crushes everyone’s dreams.

      

Fear, that four letter word that breaks even the strongest people.

     

Fear, that four letter word that everyone is afraid to tell someone.

       

Give, that four letter word that makes you feel warm inside.

     

Give, that four letter word that makes everyone smile.

    

Give, that four letter word that everyone tries their hardest to do.

     

Give, that four letter word that can give anyone hope.

     

Give, that four letter word that can make the loneliest people smile.

     

Hope, that four letter word in which you never know what tomorrow will bring.

     

Hope, that four letter word that can pull you from darkness and despair.

      

Hope, that four letter word that sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.

      

Hope, that four letter word that whispers to you, “Maybe,” while the whole world shouts out, “No!”

      

Hope, that four letter word that allows yourself to believe, and to trust again. Don’t let a few bad memories stop you from a good life!

      

Hope, that four letter word that spreads around the world, brightens things…even hate, and which breeds light even in dark corridors.