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Waldorf News

Iceland Knows How to Stop Teen Substance Abuse - But the Rest of the World Isn’t Listening

It’s a little before three on a sunny Friday afternoon and Laugardalur Park, near central Reykjavik, looks practically deserted. There’s an occasional adult with a pushchair, but the park’s surrounded by apartment blocks and houses, and school’s out – so where are all the kids? Walking with me are Gudberg Jónsson, a local psychologist, and Harvey Milkman, an American psychology professor who teaches for part of the year at Reykjavik University. Twenty years ago, says Gudberg, Icelandic teens were among the heaviest-drinking youths in Europe. “You couldn’t walk the streets in downtown Reykjavik on a Friday night because it felt unsafe,” adds Milkman. “There were hordes of teenagers getting in-your-face drunk.” More »

Disease of Being Busy cropped

The Disease of Being Busy

I saw a dear friend a few days ago. I stopped by to ask her how she was doing, how her family was. She looked up, voice lowered, and just whimpered: “I’m so busy… I am so busy… have so much going on.” Almost immediately after, I ran into another friend and asked him how he was. Again, same tone, same response: “I’m just so busy… got so much to do.” The tone was exacerbated, tired, even overwhelmed. And it’s not just adults. When we moved to North Carolina about ten years ago, we were thrilled to be moving to a city with a great school system. We found a diverse neighborhood, filled with families. Everything felt good, felt right. After we settled in, we went to one of the friendly neighbors, asking if their daughter and our daughter could get together and play. The mother, a really lovely person, reached for her phone and pulled out the calendar function. She scrolled… and scrolled… and scrolled. She finally said: “She has a 45-minute opening two and half weeks from now. The rest of the time it’s gymnastics, piano, and voice lessons. She’s just…. so busy.” Horribly destructive habits start early, really early. More »

waldorf 100

Waldorf 100 – The Film

The point of this film is to introduce the concept of the upcoming Waldorf-100 Centennial in 2019-2020. The goal is to help families and schools around the world recognize that Waldorf education can, and does, have an important impact on the challenges we face in the world today. Too often we get stuck focusing on our own school and its struggles, but there is a much larger ethos out there that we are all part of. Collectively we are working to change the world and make a better future. The hope and aspiration of this Centennial event is not to simply have a big anniversary party. It's to launch Waldorf education into the 21st Century with bold new sense of confidence and commitment to the future – a future that our children will help determine. More »

sara mednick

Napping Can Dramatically Increase Learning, Memory, Awareness, and More

The stigma against napping is finally starting to decrease — and for good reason. Taking a timeout to sleep during the day does much more than just give us a quick energy boost. It also confers some serious health and cognitive advantages as well. Here's what the latest science tells us. Unlike 85% of all mammalian species, humans sleep just once a day. Scientists aren't sure if we're naturally monophasic (as opposed to polyphasic) or if it's modern society that has made us so. Regardless, it's clear that we're not getting enough sleep. Nearly a third of us say we're simply not getting enough of it. Power naps can alleviate our so-called sleep deficits, but they can also boost our brains, including improvements to creative problem solving, verbal memory, perceptual learning, object learning, and statistical learning. They help us with math, logical reasoning, our reaction times, and symbol recognition. Naps improve our mood and feelings of sleepiness and fatigue. Not only that, napping is good for our heart, blood pressure, stress levels, and surprisingly, even weight management. More »

kamala

Why singing improves well-being

I'm sometimes asked why we use singing in our sessions. I'm not surprised – and not only because singing is, ahem, a touch unusual in leadership development. Thing is, however natural it might be, singing comes with baggage. It’s always a loaded concept, whether that's with feelings of joy or outright fear, or something in between. And actually, in our work, all of that is useful. That element of fear and exposure can help you notice how you respond to risk and uncertainty. And do so in a way that’s not only immediate, but that is all-encompassing: physically, intellectually and emotionally. In pulling you out of your comfort zone, singing can take you to a place of stretch. And that, we know from recent research, is where most of us learn best and most memorably. It's even likely that, because it’s a bit risky, singing actually increases your resilience. We're currently collaborating with neurobiologists at Ashridge Business School to find at whether public singing creates templates in your brain that help you tackle other challenges more easily. We'll keep you posted on our findings. So I embrace that element of fear. And one of the things I find fascinating about singing is how quickly it can take you from that place of fear to one of connection, trust, and well-being. And for lots of people, it can happen within the space of a single song. "When you sing with other people your heartbeats sychronize, which may explain why singing together can create a sense of shared perspective." More »