Why you should be writing

Writing heals. Writing calms. It connects and brings self-awareness. To write, we have to slow down our busy minds and focus on our purpose. It requires us to reflect on our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and see them clearly–which is why journaling has been found to benefit one’s long-term mental health even more than assistance from therapists. This process of reflection engenders self-awareness. curaJOY’s Shining Moments are personal narratives of when people’s character strengths helped themselves or their communities. Both the reading and writing of Shining Moments focus our attention on what we’ve done right, character strength goals and when we were internally rewarded/fulfilled by these inner strengths. One of my favorite authors, Epictetus, writes “You become what you give your attention to.” Shining Moments begins a positive reinforcement cycle by exploring inwardly for those moments and consequently seeking to demonstrate character strengths so we can create more Shining Moments.  Growth only starts when we put our attention and first recognize where we are, our strengths and weaknesses so we can enhance those inner strengths that we wish to possess.

When I first ask students to write Shining Moments, many of them come up empty and tell me they haven’t done anything great. They picture only news-worthy efforts at a Nobel prize level like Malala or Gretchen to be worthy as Shining Moments. That reasoning is akin to fledging falcons in their nests thinking they can’t immediately dive and soar like full-grown falcons so they might as well not try.

Start by asking yourself when you
1. Felt confident
2. Understood another person’s perspective
3. Worked well with someone else (teamwork) to achieve a group’s goal
4. Bounced back from a setback/disappointment and didn’t give up.
5. Restrained yourself from doing something that you wanted to but knew was wrong

Really dig deep and try to identify at least one example each from your life. This is no easy task because you’re not used to explorations like this. Start writing them down, and after a week, share a moment when you were the happiest with our community.

Multilingual Creative Writing Contest For Children Launched

curaJOY, a nonprofit promoting inner strengths and multilingualism in children of Asian communities, has launched a creative writing contest featuring inspirational stories for the youth.

curaJOY, a US and Taiwan based nonprofit dedicated to the emotional and mental development of children in Asian communities, has launched a multilingual inspirational writing contest for youths ages 6 to 18.

More information can be found at https://curajoy.com

Dubbed “Shining Moments”, the writing contest aims to provide kids with a positive and inspiring environment amid the challenges they have been experiencing over the past year.

Participants are asked to share stories of moments, whether their own or someone else’s, when inner strength triumphed. curaJOY hopes the stories will inspire other kids to act with the inner strengths of cooperation, self-discipline, communication, resilience, empathy, and multilingualism.

The entries may be written in any language. However, an English translation, whether done manually or through a translation app, has to accompany any entry written in a different language.

Contestants get the chance to win a cash price of $100 USD, which can be redeemed via a Visa gift card, or a gift card from a popular merchant.

Entries may be posted at the Shining Moments page https://curajoy.com/shining-moments and may be “liked” and commented on. The story with the most number of likes by 1:00 pm PST on April 15, 2021 will be the winner. A leaderboard will be posted on the Shining Moments website starting in March.

According to a spokesperson for curaJOY, “The past year has challenged most families more than anyone could have imagined. We’ve also witnessed that words are powerful, in both positive and negative ways, and we can decide how we use that power.”

Individuals over 18 years, as well as those who prefer not to join the contest, may also share their own stories on the Shining Moments page to contribute to curaJOY’s message of positivity and to encourage the development of inner strengths in everyone, particularly the youth.

curaJOY offers evidence-based programs aimed at building inner strengths and developing multilingualism, particularly English and Mandarin Chinese, in youths of Asian communities around the world. The nonprofit’s founders believe success in life can only be attained by a good balance of EQ (Emotional Quotient) and IQ. The programs are available on subscription basis in English and Mandarin.

Interested parties can learn more from the website given above.

Some of the dialogue text got cut off in the game. Why aren’t all texts displaying in the games?

The text displaying on screen are merely visual aids, mainly as anchors to help children make choices throughout the game. It’s far too easy for children to speed through the game without listening and understand the nonverbal, often untaught element of communication. Some of the choices presented to children in our programs appear identical in print but convey drastically different meaning with different tone of voice, volume and other non-verbal cues of communication. Afterall, these are the essence of a language when you wish to engage in meaningful interactions with people in everyday life.

curaJOY’s programs are designed for our 6 inner strengths, focus, social skills, tone of voice, multilingual learner’s listening comprehension and conversational fluency. Each program employs professional educators, actors and licensed psychologist in their creation, and tone of voice, posture, timing, negotiation style, joining conversations and body language are among the components of communication that we teach children.

If your child is used to rapidly clicking through games with limited comprehension and intention, they learn to slow down and patiently listen to every dialogue instead of skimming and skipping ahead. Our modern world where automated processes increasingly eliminate face to face communication raise a younger generation who only knows texting as a main vehicle of communication. Take “why are you crying?” for instance, you can interpret it with a concerned, caring intent, an impatient tone of voice, implying the unwillingness to tolerate such a crybaby, or a prying tone of voice, showing the intention to look for something to gossip about, when we leave you clueless about the nonverbal aspects of communication. By listening through the different audio recording in our programs, children experience the difference in nonverbal communications, and with our guidance, take it one step further by reflecting on how they usually interact and ways to improve.

curaJOY teaches children through allowing them to experience the benefits and consequences of different choices in communication and more. Natural learning like this retains better and longer.

Character Strengths in Difficult Times

By Jenny Brennan –

The global COVID-19 pandemic, the fight for racial justice, and a divisive American election have left many people feeling stressed and uncertain. While this may be an appropriate reaction to what is happening, the fact that we all have powerful inner resources called character strengths can help us cope with adversity. Thus, strengths can be a source of hope.

Character strengths are ways of thinking and behaving that come naturally to people. Researchers have identified twenty-four strengths such as Social Intelligence, Bravery, Curiosity, and Honesty that represent the best human qualities and are valued across cultures and time.  When people use their strengths, they feel energized, competent, and in tune with their values.  Using character strengths can expand their ability to think and act in ways that buffer them from stress.

Reframe Stress

Take a mindful moment.

One way that character strengths might support coping is by helping people reframe stress.  According to health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, the way people think about stress influences how it impacts their well-being. Stress can make people believe that there is a threat that they cannot handle. However, McGonigal suggests that if people instead think about stress as a motivating force that helps them protect the things they care about, then it can “awaken core human strengths involving courage, connection, and growth.”

But how do we do that?  First, we can become more aware of our beliefs about stress by using Self-regulation and Curiosity to practice mindfulness. When people are mindful, they observe their emotions without judgment.  For instance, instead of saying,  “I am so stressed!” a person might say, “I am noticing that I am so stressed.” This tiny change puts a little bit of distance between the person and the feeling.  It loosens the grip of stress.

One way to cultivate mindfulness is to practice a mindful pause. According to Ryan Niemiec, this entails pausing to feel your in-breath and out-breath for 10-15 seconds. Then we can ask ourselves, “Which of my character strengths will I bring forward right now?” We could practice taking a mindful pause every time we hear a candidate’s name mentioned.

Choose a New Response

Once we have created mindful space between ourselves and stress, we can use Judgment and Perspective to check our beliefs for accuracy. We could ask ourselves, “Is there really a threat that I can’t handle?”  From that vantage point, we can more easily choose a healthy response. McGonigal says that in addition to the well-known fight, flight, or freeze responses to perceived threat, people can also tap into the rise to the challenge response by marshaling resources to take action. Other healthy responses include the bigger than self response in which we connect with others for social support and the look for what I can learn response that facilitates growth.

Pandemic Chat

Character strengths can then provide us with tools to respond.  Let’s use the 6 categories of strengths shown in the figure above. The Courage strengths might be useful for the rise to the challenge approach. The Wisdom strengths might help us reappraise and evaluate situations for the look for what I can learn response. The Humanity and Justice strengths might help us connect with others in the bigger than self response. The Transcendence strengths could help us connect with something bigger than self and tap into the protective benefits of positive emotions. The Temperance strengths might help us avoid or de-escalate conflict and stressful situations.

Kindness in action

Support values
Another way to mitigate stress is to use character strengths to take meaningful action in support of personal values. If we are stressed out about the election, it may bring us a sense of comfort and control to consider that no matter what happens on November 3rd, no one can take away our ability to support the things that matter to us. For instance, if we value social justice, we could use our strengths of Kindness, Teamwork, and Social Intelligence to volunteer for nonprofit organizations. We could use Love of Learning and Perspective to explore how others have used Justice or Bravery to make changes in the past. We could use Creativity to create a piece of art that shines a light on an issue.

I invite us all to take the time to consider how we can use our strengths to navigate the next few weeks and months. A great source of ideas is the recent paper by licensed clinical psychologist Tayyab Rashid and researcher Robert McGrath offering more than 100 suggestions for ways to use character strengths to cope during the pandemic.

Perhaps by employing our strengths for coping and advocacy, we might uncover common values with others that help us transcend political and physical barriers and work together towards the future we would like to see.

Jenny Brennan, MAPP 2012, is an internationally recognized practitioner in the science of applied positive psychology. She is the founder of the social impact consulting firm Ardent Wellbeing and creator of ElectionZen.com. She is an elected member of the Council of Advisors to the International Positive Psychology Association. Jenny’s articles are here.

References

Gustems-Carnicer, J., & Calderón, C. (2016). Virtues and character strengths related to approach coping strategies of college students. Social Psychology of Education, 19(1), 77-95. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11218-015-9305-y

McGonigal, K. (2016). The Upside of Stress: Why Stress Is Good for You, and How to Get Good at It. New York: Penguin Random House.

Niemiec, R.M. Six functions of character strengths for thriving at times of adversity and opportunity: A theoretical perspective. Applied Research Quality Life 15, 551–572 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-018-9692-2. Abstract.

Niemiec, R. M. & McGrath, R. E. (2019). The Power of Character Strengths. VIA Institute on Character.

Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2009a). Character strengths: Research and practice. Journal of College and Character, 10 (4).

Peterson, C. & Seligman, M. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rashid, T., & McGrath, R. E. (2020). Strengths-based actions to enhance wellbeing in the time of COVID-19. International Journal of Wellbeing, 10(4), 113-132. https://doi.org/10.5502/ijw.v10i4.1441

Tugade, M.M., Fredrickson, B.L. and Feldman Barrett, L. (2004), Psychological resilience and positive emotional granularity: Examining the benefits of positive emotions on coping and health. Journal of Personality, 72:6, 1161-1190. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2004.00294.x

Image Credits

Mindful moment Photo by Sam Carter on Unsplash

Woman talking to granddaughter during pandemic @kiwitanya from Twenty20

Food courier @Maria_Sbytova from Twenty20

This article first appeared on Positive Psychology News. To see the original article, click here. To comment on this article, click here.

Why is curaJOY holding a writing contest?

The past year has challenged most families more than we could have ever imagined. Kids have had to adapt to virtual schooling, changing lockdown situations, missed team competitions and family visits, their teachers and parents’ working at home and the anxiety caused by these uncertainties–their own and those around them. We’ve also witnessed that words are powerful, in both positive and negative ways, and we can decide how we use that power. We want to build a positive community for kids where they inspire each other with stories of moments when their inner strengths triumphed, and in doing so, arouse their peers to act with the inner strengths of cooperation, self-discipline, communication, resilience, cooperation, empathy, and multilingualism.

curaJOY announces our Shining Moments writing contest where contestants have a chance to win $100. We welcome positive Shining Moments from everyone, even if they’re not interested in participating in the contest. You may download a pdf flier here to spread the word.

Contestants may submit their Shining Moments stories and enter the contest at https://curajoy.com/shining-moments/.

Zone of Proximal Development

When you notice that your child has made obvious progress, it’s easy to forget to encourage them because you may think it’s what they’re supposed to be doing. Just like when the child is younger, not knowing how to play jigsaw puzzles, you would take their hands and finish jigsaw puzzles together. After a period of time, you would suddenly realize that he/she doesn’t need you to correct them where some piece should be, and he/she can finish jigsaw puzzles on their own. You would not think this is something surprising. But we need to remind you, it’s still important to praise your kids! Because there is a huge gap between things that child can do with adult’s help and things that child can do without adult’s help! Bridging the gap of those two are something incredible!

Soviet psychologist Vygotsky divided children’s cognitive ability into two levels. The ability that a child can do without anyone’s assistance and guidance- when he/she is doing works alone, is called the actual development level. And the ability that the child can achieve when he/she has got help from peers who are better at the tasks they need to do, or has been taught by teacher or parents, is called the potential development level. The range between these two levels are zone of proximal development. And apparently we hope our kids to reach the potential development level when we are in their journey of growth.

Our game is meticulously designed by psychologists. It represents many activities that are challenging to kids as they are a little bit difficult than what they are capable of doing, and the game also includes virtual peers and teachers who can help them. The reason why it is created that way is for the child to achieve higher and reach to zone of proximal development. Kids can internalize the new problem-solving strategies and other skills that they have just learned, after they keep practicing, they can use these inner strengths when they are on their own. When you noticed that your child has made a progress, don’t forget to compliment him/her that you saw everything, and you are proud of them.

Mandarin/English Social Emotional Education Program For Schools Launched

curaJOY, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building children’s emotional fitness, has released a series of programs aimed at building social emotional skills, available in English and Chinese.

For more information, visit https://curajoy.com/schools

This latest announcement will help schools provide critical emotional and social education for their students, enabling children to develop the emotional intelligence and cultural fluidity to thrive academically.

Research shows that social intelligence is an important factor in academic success. A recent study showed an 11% increase in the academic progress in students that received social emotional education. These students also demonstrated improved classroom behavior, the ability to manage stress and sustain positive attitudes about themselves, school and their peers.

curaJOY responds to these trends by releasing a series of programs that turn psychoeducational assessment and social emotional education into gamified, interactive online experiences. These programs enable children to develop inner strengths such as communication, discipline, cooperation, empathy, confidence and resilience.

curaJOY works with schools to proactively and reliably identify areas where children need additional development and apply a personalized curriculum based on the unique needs of each student. Moreover, the organization’s StrengthBuilder programs include continuous evaluation and valuable professional assessment reports and data detailing the student’s progress.

The organization’s programs provide schools without an full-time school psychologist, speech therapist, counsellor, or instructional aides with economical and personalized learning solutions that are proven to reduce behavioral incidents and student crises, decreasing the need for counselling hours and support services. The programs also fulfill speech and social emotional education requirements with no additional staffing or training.

curaJOY currently offers subscription-based programs for children aged 5-11 in Mandarin Chinese and English and are expanding their coverage to meet demand.

Originally developed as part of a US Department of Education and National Science Foundation Grant, curaJOY is committed to helping children achieve greater success by fostering social and emotional skills.

A spokesperson for the organization said: “Our programs are the ideal solution for schools and educators looking to implement social emotional learning to the curriculum. curaJOY gives students the tools they need thrive in school and in the world.”

###

Interested parties can find out more by visiting the organization’s website at https://curajoy.com

Social Emotional Learning Programs Help Schools Recover From COVID Learning Loss

Looking to develop emotional intelligence in your students? Contact curaJOY today to get the social development program your school needs!

curaJOY, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building children’s emotional fitness, has released a series of programs aimed at building social intelligence, especially in Asian and 3rd culture kids.

Go to https://curajoy.com/schools to learn more.

This latest announcement will help your school provide critical emotional and social education for your students, enabling children to develop the emotional intelligence and cultural fluidity to thrive academically.

Research shows that social intelligence is an important factor in academic success. A recent study showed an 11% increase in the academic progress in students that received social emotional education. These students also demonstrated improved classroom behavior, the ability to manage stress and sustain positive attitudes about themselves, school and their peers.

curaJOY responds to these trends by releasing a series of programs that turn psychoeducational assessment and social emotional education into gamified, interactive online experiences. These programs will enable your students to develop inner strengths such as communication, discipline, cooperation, empathy, confidence and resilience.

curaJOY will work with your school to proactively and reliably identify areas where children need additional development and apply a personalized curriculum based on the unique needs of each student. Moreover, the organization’s StrengthBuilder programs include continuous evaluation and valuable professional assessment reports and data detailing the student’s progress.

The organization’s programs can provide schools without a full-time school psychologist, speech therapist, counsellor, or instructional aides with economical and personalized learning solutions that are proven to reduce behavioral incidents and student crises, decreasing the need for counselling hours and support services. The programs also fulfill speech and social emotional education requirements with no additional staffing or training.

curaJOY currently offers programs for children aged 5-11 in Mandarin Chinese and English and are expanding their coverage to meet demand.

Originally developed as part of a US Department of Education and National Science Foundation Grant, curaJOY is committed to helping children achieve greater success by fostering social and emotional skills.

A spokesperson for the organization said: “Our programs are the ideal solution for schools and educators looking to implement social emotional learning to the curriculum. curaJOY gives students the tools they need thrive in school and in the world.”

Contact curaJOY today to get the emotional social intelligence education programs your students need to thrive!

curaJOY has the proven social emotional education programs to help children succeed academically and in the real world! Go to https://curajoy.com/schools/ to learn how you can get curaJOY’s programs today.

Opinion: Overcoming stigma as an Asian American with ADHD

Overcoming stigma as an Asian American with ADHD

In many Asian American families, a good education and success in school is prioritized above all else. According to Eurekalert, a science news website, this high academic pressure stems from Asian cultures believing that academic success is the only way to climb up the economic ladder.

This strict viewpoint is imposed upon Asian American high school students with immigrant parents, and many of these students struggle with this pressure.

Meeting such academic standards is even more challenging for learning disabled Asian American children. And I am one of them.

As a Chinese student diagnosed with ADHD and ADD, it is extremely hard to cope with the fact you have a learning disorder. Some people in my Asian community did not acknowledge my learning disabilities, as traditional Chinese people look down upon learning disabilities.

ADHD, ADD, and other learning disabilities are considered shameful in the Chinese community. People who dismissed my ADHD and ADD just assumed I was “not smart,” and that was a “fault” of my parents. For many, there is no such thing as ADHD and ADD — they believe this is just a cover-up for laziness.

In an article from Understood, a website devoted to educating the public about learning disabilities, Professor Manju Banerjee states that Asian American parents believe that their child’s learning disability is a result of bad parenting. Therefore, these parents do not feel comfortable revealing data or information on their child’s learning struggles.

Thus, there is a scarcity of literature investigating ADHD among Asian Americans, but it’s not because ADHD affects fewer Asian students. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, the lack of data on Asian learning disabled children could be due to the fact that fewer Asian families report their children as learning disabled, due to the stigma.

Because of the stigma of ADHD, my ADHD was not even recognized until I was in middle school. I began falling behind in my classes because I was unable to complete my work or focus for at least 30 minutes. However, none of my teachers or counselors believed I had ADHD because I still managed to keep up good grades. And I think it was also rare for them to see an Asian student with ADHD, so I believe this is why my learning disabilities were so often ignored.

Teachers were unaware of all my sleepless nights and hours of frustration trying to keep up with my peers, who did not have ADHD and ADD. I felt like I was running a race with a weight tied to my ankle. On top of that, no one made me feel like my ADHD was valid, and I constantly blamed myself for not being able to perform like everyone else.

However, over the years, I have learned to accept my ADHD. I accepted the fact that although it does not define me, it is a part of me, and I have developed ways to cope with it. I am able to achieve success, despite my ADHD. Finally, I no longer feel ashamed of having it.

I want to use this opportunity to break the stereotype of Asians not having learning disabilities. It is so uncommon to hear about an Asian with a learning disability because it is stigmatized so heavily in the Asian community. Many Asian parents feel that their child’s inability to learn is their fault, and do not talk about it or try to hide it because it is so shameful.

Easy Video Reviews

{{startingCount}}
{{time(finishingCount)}}
{{trans(`You have no camera installed on your device or the device is currently being used by other application`)}}
{{trans(`Please try visiting this page with a valid SSL certificate`)}}
{{trans(`You can record up to %s minutes, don't worry you will review your video before sending`, time(preference.limits))}}
{{trans('Seconds')}}
{{trans(`You can record up to %s minutes, don't worry you will review your video before sending`, time(preference.limits))}}
{{trans('Uploading video...')}}
{{send.message}}

{{trans('Upload video')}}

{{trans('Drag your files here or click in this area')}}
{{uploader.file}} {{uploader.size}} x