Hello FRA Families,
We are excited to share the latest edition of our monthly Wellness Newsletter. Our goal is to support this community on and off campus, and one of those ways is to regularly provide you with helpful tidbits for every age and stage. We hope that you find these articles useful and relevant, aiding you with some of the guidance necessary to wade through the trials of doing life together. As always, we would love to hear how we can support you further, what topics you would like to learn more about, and any concerns you may have. We are here for you!
Your FRA Counseling Team
Gratitude: The Benefits and How to Practice It
By: Sheldon Reid
Gratitude involves showing appreciation for the things in life that are meaningful or valuable to you. Taking a moment to notice and acknowledge the things you’re grateful for each day can brighten your outlook, boost your mood, and help you feel more positive in the face of challenges.
While it’s easy to feel a rush of joy after winning the lottery or receiving a big promotion at work, gratitude extends to the smaller blessings in life that are often overlooked or taken for granted. Even the smallest moments, such as a brief chat with a friend, a kind gesture from a stranger, a cool breeze on a hot day, or a peaceful stroll in nature, are things that you can be thankful for.
Whatever your circumstances in life, you may find that consistently showing gratitude can be surprisingly difficult. Many of us get caught up in a negativity bias, where we linger on bad news and unpleasant experiences, yet allow moments of positivity to fade into the background.
While it’s not always easy, being grateful for the positives in life can have a profound impact on your mood, outlook, and overall well-being. Here’s how to increase your gratefulness.
It’s true: Giving your kids fewer toys at Christmas makes them happier
By: Anne-Marie Gambelin
It’s a scenario many of us are all too familiar with: We spend weeks, if not months, carefully thinking about and selecting what will be the perfect, age-appropriate, intellectually stimulating, exciting-surprising-thrilling-you-name-it presents for our kids, anticipating their heart’s desires—and ours.
Then time and money are spent shopping. We think we’re done, and then one more inspiration, request or trendy must-have sends us back to the mall or internet to satisfy one more impulse. And then one more, because, why not, it’s Christmas, and we’re in the mood and our kids are so cute and we just want to see them happy.
Christmas morning arrives and the weeks of anticipation are finally fulfilled amidst a flurry of ribbons, paper and excitement. There are squeals and smiles and sometimes tears. And all is well… for a while.
But the novelty wears off even on the shiniest of trinkets, and soon many are forgotten. Our kids wind up bored…in a house full of toys.
You might feel little emptier in the aftermath, and wonder, was it worth it?
One measure of happy kids on Christmas morning is a fully loaded Christmas tree. But there’s a lot of evidence that suggests that giving your child fewer toys at Christmas is actually a better marker of their happiness in the long run. Continue Reading
Do You Underestimate the Impact of Being Kind?
By Jill Suttie
Now and then, I give up my spot in the grocery line to a stranger. Or, if a friend is in the hospital, I’ll surprise them by sending flowers. These random acts of kindness—given without expectation of thanks or reciprocity—feel good in the moment and help connect me to my community.
But, if random kindnesses spread so much positivity, why don’t we do them more often? Findings from a recent study conducted by Amit Kumar of the University of Texas at Austin and Nicholas Epley of the University of Chicago suggest one possible reason: We may be underestimating how nice it is to receive kindness.
In several experiments within the study, Kumar and Epley gave people opportunities to act in a variety of kind ways, both with strangers and with people they knew. In one experiment, for instance, researchers went to a public ice rink on a cold day and handed people a cup of hot chocolate, telling them they could keep it for themselves or give it to a random stranger at the rink. The people who gave theirs away first reported how much happier they were than usual, then predicted how much happier the stranger would be receiving the drink from them (knowing someone had given it up for them). Next, the researchers delivered the hot chocolate, telling the recipients that it was a gift from a stranger and querying them about how they felt. Continue
7 Tips for Parents to Help Your Child Develop Effective Study Skills
Here’s the situation: Your child likes school. They enjoy their classes, teachers, and fellow students. They do their homework every night. They’re trying hard—but that effort and enthusiasm just isn’t translating to the kind of academic gains and grades you both want to see. If this sounds familiar to you, the key to helping your child crack the code on learning may be to focus on building some effective study skills.
Success in the classroom doesn’t come from any single thing—it’s about the right mix of attitude, habits, and effort. Strong study skills are an important ingredient in this recipe, and they’re very much learned behavior. “Straight-A students are not born—they're made,” explains Katie O’Brien and Hunter Maats, co-authors of The Straight-A Conspiracy, who have tutored hundreds of students and were collaborators on this Princeton Review study. “Every student in America is capable of getting the grades he or she wants without all the stress. Managing your emotions, putting away the distractions, and creating a straightforward study plan that makes learning faster and more fun are far easier than most students and parents believe them to be.”
So, as a parent, how can you help your child develop the study skills they need to achieve academic success—and see benefits beyond the classroom as well? Here are seven tips to get started!
25 Holiday Traditions to Start This Year
by: Caylin Harris
We’ve got ideas for kid-friendly holiday activities and sweet surprises to make this your family’s most meaningful season yet.
Special holiday traditions make a busy season brighter and more meaningful for your whole family. And they don't have to be expensive, elaborate, or time-consuming. Small moments can make great memories.
20 Tips for Holiday Self Care - How to bring your best self to the holidays
The holiday season.
It’s called “the most wonderful time of the year”.
But between buying gifts, hosting parties, trying not to break your healthy habits (or the bank), and attending family gatherings, it can also be the most stressful time of the year.
That’s why it’s super important to make time for self-care and self-love during the holidays.
We want to help you feel your best this holiday season. So we’re sharing 20 self-care tips to reduce stress and help you get the most comfort and joy out of your holidays.