Come' On and Be Happy Share +
Posted by: coronadosafe 5 years, 8 months ago
In the spring of 2014, Coronado SAFE released a presentation that revealed how a growing body of research is proving that unique circumstances in communities like Coronado actually pre-dispose children to higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance-abuse, and suicidality. Behind the reasons for the increased rate of risky behaviors and mental anguish were two common themes. First, research shows that children in communities like Coronado experience a great deal of stress from achievement pressures. Secondly, the research shows that children in communities like Coronado maintain a lower level of emotional support from their core caregivers. While the former point is obvious in our community’s orientation towards high achievement, the latter point requires some explanation. Parents raising children in today’s world are overwhelmed. In fact, according to an article by the Huffington Post, Generation X parents (those in between the age of 37 and 47) have been labeled the most stressed-out generation of America. Developmental psychologists are revealing that this overwhelm translates to a parents’ lack of presence in either the literal physical sense or the emotional sense and can breed emotional disconnection, high rates of anxiety, and a greater need to self-medicate to find some semblance of peace.
It was on the basis of this research that SAFE founded its strategic plan for the upcoming years. For if SAFE were to succeed in protecting the health and wellness of our next generation, it was imperative that they help parents and children cope with these pressures and establish a stronger system of emotional support. With these as the guidelines for future programing, SAFE sought to go back to basics with two main goals. One, to cultivating the building blocks for all health and human happiness; and two, to provide real life opportunities to support the emotional connection within Coronado families and the community at large.
“What started out as a unique way to introduce SAFE’s mission in the 2014-2015 school year, has turned into a beautiful adventure” remarked Andrea Webster, Executive Director of Coronado SAFE. On October 5, 2014 Coronado SAFE in collaboration with the Coronado SAFE Coalition, hosted a community discussion based on the award winning Documentary “Happy” to an audience of over 150 parents teens and pre-teens at Lamb’s Players Theatre. Key sponsor Mike Napolitano of Real Living Napolitano Real Estate was thrilled to underwrite the event. As a heavily involved citizen and Optimist club member, Napolitano knows first-hand of the power of happiness to transform lives. Webster explains, “Happiness, when consciously cultivated, changes the dynamics of our relationships. It changes the tone of our homes and the tone of our workplaces. Happiness is infectious and research shows that the commitment to spread happiness actually makes you more happy.” Webster continues, “Cultivating lasting happiness gives us peace of mind despite the trials and tribulations of the outside world. Cultivating happiness helps parents find peace from the stresses of our overburdened contemporary society so that we can slow down and be present for their children.”
It was for these reasons, that Coronado SAFE found the conscious pursuit of happiness a most worthy endeavor. “The outside world is constantly changing and challenging our peace of mind.” Webster claimed. “By actively cultivating happiness, we take back ownership of our own thoughts, of our own feelings. We become true authors of our story, capable of writing the novel of our lives in any way we choose”.
Coronado SAFE will focus each of its events this year on cultivating the key ingredients to this happiness and in line with the strategic goal of fostering emotional bonds, almost all of the events SAFE will host this year will involve children in some capacity. In addition to either inviting them to participate in the event, or in the post-event dialogue, SAFE’s new online community engagement platform will provide a constant stream of conversational starters for parents to bring messages home to their kids.
SAFE knows that happiness is a learned skill. SAFE endeavors to help parents cultivate the one skill that they believe will last a lifetime and help them walk through the challenges of growing up. To learn more about joining the Coronado SAFE Happiness Challenge, visit: www.coronadosafe.org.
5 ways to continue the happiness journey:
- Share the HAPPY movie. Invite neighbors and friends for a screening and discussion through Netflix. Don’t forget to share the great 3 minute video clip on happiness from mylivehapy.com
- Join the conversation/learn more at SAFE’s: website blogs; Facebook; Twitter; Instagram; Pinterest
- Register for any of these fantastic programs:
- Be that One & Join SAFE’s Happiness Challenge!
- Get involved in the community and volunteer at upcoming events such as the Coronado Meal Marathon
- Make more meaning by financially supporting SAFE and ‘pay it forward’ so more parents and kids can receive SAFE programs and services in the future.
- Tuesday with TED: Redefining Happiness on October 21 (Inspirational short video followed by discussion and activity.)
- Tuesday with Ted: Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude November 18 (Inspirational short video followed by discussion and activity.)
- Family Vision Workshop October 26 (For parents and their children, recommended 8 years old and over)
- Can We Talk? October 22 (Parenting class to improve the relationship and communication with your pre-teens and teens)
- StrengthsFinder Workshop November 2 (Parents and/or kids 13+ to discover your strengths and work in flow)
We know from research that happy people are healthier people. They are kinder, less stressed, more motivated, and ultimately more successful. We explored how, that despite the vast technological and economic advancements of the last several decades, Americans are no happier. In fact, we are 18 % more depressed than people living during the great depression. SAFE encourages us all to discover what profound impact happiness can make on our relationships with our loved ones and with everyone we meet. Happiness is more than a reaction, it is a learned skill.
Happiness, it turns out, is something that families can work to pro-actively create more of in their lives by increasing the following:
- Slow down and make times with family and friends ones a priority
- Reach out and reconnect, establish a sense of community
- Discover what you love and work in flow
- Get active and purposively release dopamine
- Cultivate Optimism, think good thoughts and look at the brighter side of life
- Make more meaning, commit to self-less acts of service or random acts of kindness
- Increase community by volunteer your time for social service projects, civic groups like the Optimists Club of Coronado, Friend of Youth, or the SAFE Ambassador committee to welcome our newest neighbors
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