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HAPPINESS: What’s it mean to live a happy life?

It’s been awhile since we have posted a blog. We were glad we bumped into, and got an email from https://conscioused.org/wiki/happiness/ – an article worthy of your reading time! The article is written by Ari Yeganeh, a superb writer. It’s a long read, but definitely notable.

We live in a happy-obsessed society, constantly bombarded with happy smiling faces on TV or billboard ads telling us their version of happiness.

Even worse than this, we see our own friends on social media posting photos of their ridiculously happy lives; but never sharing any raw feelings of what’s really going on in their lives.

It is an unspoken law that we all want to be happy but the reality is that most of us have not thought about what happiness means for ourselves.

I used to think if only I had the right kind of job, the right group of friends and the right partner, then I would be happy. I worked so hard chasing these goals. I saw happiness like reaching the peak of a mountain…

All I had to do was work really hard, achieve all my goals and then I’ll be happy.

And that’s exactly what I did. I worked really hard and got to the top of the mountain. But at the top, I didn’t find what I was looking for…

What I actually found at the top of the mountain was disappointment. I had worked so hard to conquer my goals and the realisation that I still wasn’t happy made me even more unhappy. But little did I know it, I had no idea what happiness was.


There are probably as many definitions of happiness as there humans on the planet but broadly speaking, modern psychology categorizes happiness in two parts:


Experiencing positive emotions like joy, pleasure and excitement
We are all familiar with this type of happiness – good food, great sex, new clothes, walks on the beach, hot oil massages and puppies, lots of puppies. This is what’s constantly advertised to us and what we think of when we see our happy smiling friends on Facebook.


Living with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment with life
We are less familiar with this type of happiness as it is not as straightforward as getting a massage or hugging a warm puppy. Rather it involves a deliberate process of self-discovery and cultivating the right mental attitudes to live a happy life despite the ups and downs of everyday emotions.

Let’s explore these…



Imagine if there was a machine you could plug yourself into that made you feel pleasure and joy 100% of the time. Better yet, you wouldn’t know you were plugged in so you would have no feelings of guilt. Would you plug in or stay in your current life?

(image credit: waitbutwhy.com/table/the-experience-machine)

The answer you give this question can reveal a lot about how you feel about happiness as an emotion.

If you asked me this question shortly after I had finished climbing my mountain of happiness, I would have almost certainly said yes. This is because I saw happiness only as an emotion that I had to feel on a regular basis. If I was not experiencing emotional happiness in the form of pleasure or joy regularly, my conclusion was that I’m not happy and that something is wrong.

This is why I chased goal after goal, mountain after mountain pursuing the good feelings a new job or new travel destination gave me. But the good feelings didn’t last. Before long, the emotions of joy and excitement would dissipate and I was back to where I started looking at an even bigger mountain to experience more joy in my life.

This is a common path to happiness for many people. “If only I have *fill in the blank*, then I’ll be happy”.

The obvious problem with this approach is what psychologists call hedonic adaptation – the idea that no matter how good something makes us feel, “most of the time we drift back to where we started, emotionally-speaking. One often-cited study famously showed that despite their initial euphoria, lottery winners were no happier than non-winners eighteen months later. The same tendency to return to “baseline” has been shown to occur after marriage, voluntary job changes, and promotions—the kinds of things we usually expect to change our happiness and well-being for the better in a permanent way.” Heidi Grant Halvorson Ph.D.

This is not to say we shouldn’t enjoy the pleasures of life, we absolutely should celebrate getting that new job and we should cherish every moment of the honey-moon period of a new relationship. However, we should be conscious that experiencing these short term emotional highs does not equate to long term happiness.


Another unfortunate consequence of seeing happiness only as a positive emotional state is that we ignore or suppress any other emotions that don’t make us feel good. We all want to feel joy and avoid pain, this is normal. What’s not normal and is rather unhealthy is persistently avoiding or suppressing difficult or negative emotions.

The reality of life is that we all experience difficult emotions and circumstances. People get sick, we lose our jobs, relationships fall apart, things break, shit happens.
Put more elegantly by Murphy’s law “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong”
In his book, The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris writes:

“The more we try to avoid the basic reality that all human life involves pain, the more we are likely to struggle with that pain when it arises, thereby creating even more suffering.” – Russ Harriss

Similarly, in Buddhism it is believed that “life is full of suffering” and that our suffering is caused by our “attachments” – ideals we hold in our minds about how life ought to be. And one of the biggest attachments we have is the desire to feel happy all the time. This unhealthy desire to feel happy all the time ironically leads to suffering and unhappiness in the face of inevitable adversity and Murphy’s law. We feel unhappy because we feel we shouldn’t feel unhappy.

In my own pursuit of happiness, I found the more I chased happy feelings, the more i neglected dealing with the difficult or negative emotions in my life. But these difficult feelings were not going away and only started to accumulate…

Even worse than suppressing these emotions was judging myself for having these unwanted emotions. “Why am I feeling down? I should be happy right now”.

But rather than judging or suppressing difficult or negative emotions, what helped me immensely was just accepting my emotions and letting go my expectations that I need to feel happy all the time. Rather than turning a blind eye to my box of unwanted emotions, I sat down, opened the box and listened to what each emotion had to say.

And the more I started to accept these neglected emotions, the more at peace I felt with myself and the less pressure I felt to feel happy; which paradoxically made feeling happy much easier.

Whilst none of us want to experience sadness, it is a fact of life that we will. Accepting sadness or difficult emotions is not the same as wallowing and indulging in them. Rather it’s learning to recognise that it’s healthy to experience the full range of emotions as a human being. And that these emotions don’t have power over us. We can observe emotions but we are not our emotions. And in due time, every emotion will come and go. No state of mind is permanent. Clinging on to positive or negative emotions is a fool’s game.

Note: Experiencing negative emotions is part of life, however if you are experiencing emotions like sadness, hopelessness or anxiety persistently on a regular basis and this impacts your daily activities, we recommend you reach out to your local doctor and seek appropriate help to better understand the root cause of your emotions.


Happiness as an emotion is easy enough to grasp. We are taught from kindergarten:
“if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”

What’s more difficult to understand and express is:
“if you’re satisfied, content and grateful for your life and you know it, clap your hands”

It’s difficult because life satisfaction is determined almost entirely by the contents of our minds with no visible indicators on the outside world. It’s possible to be a raging success on the surface and feel completely dissatisfied with life, but it’s also possible to have nothing in the material world and be completely satisfied with life.

Philosophers, psychologists, spiritual gurus and that uncle at every dinner party have all their views on what gives us satisfaction in life but the reality is that life satisfaction is a cake you need to bake yourself. There is no cake out there with the perfect list of ingredients that is going to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. You need to go on your own self-discovery journey to find what brings you to satisfaction and contentment.

I found my list of ingredients through a combination of reading a tonne of books (see resource section at the end of this article), reflecting for long periods of time in silence, traveling and speaking to wide range of people from teenagers to ninety year old monks about what gives them satisfaction in life. Whilst no list can ever capture every aspect of life satisfaction, below are some of the most powerful ingredients that have transformed my satisfaction with life and may help you on your journey:


“The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.” – Carl Jung

A lack of meaning in life can bring great dissatisfaction, as I’ve personally experienced. For a lot of 20s I struggled with a deep hollowing feeling of meaninglessness. On the surface I would keep myself busy with chasing after goals and achievements but deep down I had a sense that something was always missing. There was no meaning, no clear sense of purpose in my life. I spent years working in large companies climbing the corporate ladder. But I never got any sense of purpose from what I was doing. I kept thinking to myself, there has to be more in life than building colorful spreadsheets and powerpoint slides.

This is not an uncommon scenario in our society, especially in the younger generations: doing a job that pays the bills but provides little to no sense of meaning or purpose (for a deep dive into this: read our comprehensive post on purpose here).

For me personally, I chose to quit my job in corporate and take time off to reflect on what I found meaningful. After a year of traveling and reflecting, this journey lead me to what I’m working on now: co-founding conscioused.org, an open source, self-organised alternative to university. (more on this here: conscioused.org/about)

But deriving a sense of meaning doesn’t just come from work. We find meaning in relationships with loved ones, through parenthood, spirituality, contributing to others or simply through the fact that we are alive. Ultimately each one of us is responsible for creating our own meaning.

“There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.” ―Anais Nin

The beauty of going on this journey is that we are all in it together. Not a single human came into being because of their own choosing. No one asked you if you’d like to be born. Your parents brought you into the world, and your parents were the result of their parents, and so on. In a strange cosmic sense, every human alive today is in the same boat. We all ask ourselves: Why am I here? What’s the meaning of my life?


I always thought gratitude was reserved for blindly optimistic or wishful thinkers who couldn’t get what they want in life so they were forced to be thankful for what they do have. I thought intelligent, driven people don’t need gratitude, they just need to work harder and reach their dreams.

This was until my mum dropped this bomb shell on me:
“If you can’t be grateful for what you have now, you’ll never be happy”

This came as a shock to me because at the time I was busy chasing yet another mountain of goals, only focused on the life I wanted to create for myself in the future; only focused on what I didn’t have…

When I made the decision to practice gratitude daily, I felt as though a new world had opened up to me. I could suddenly see things that were invisible to me before. The more I practiced gratitude, the more I started to observe the beauty and blessings I had in my life and the more I felt content with my life.

I started with writing 3 things I was grateful for every morning when I woke up. This simple task made a significant difference to how I felt about my life. I found my mind was constantly looking for things to be grateful for so I could write them down the following day. Gratitude slowly became part of my mindset, something I did without conscious thought.

Without gratitude, it’s difficult to imagine a life of satisfaction. No matter where we are in life, we will always desire something more. Gratitude involves taking a step back in our life and acknowledging and being thankful for all the people and situations that we are blessed with.

Being ungrateful is easy. Take being alive. How much money is your current level of health worth to you? If the richest person on the planet offered to buy your arms from you, how much would you sell them for? What about your eyesight or your sense of smell?

I’ve asked countless friends these questions the answers generally range from a few million dollars to “No amount of money could buy that”. Yet it is so easy to take for granted what’s right under our nose.


“It’s the moments that I stopped just to be, rather than do, that have given me true happiness.” Richard Branson

Think about the voice inside your head who’s reacting to the words you’re reading right now. I’m speaking to the narrator in your head, yes you!

“What narrator are you talking about?” is exactly what the narrator in your head would say.

It’s estimated we have between 20,000-50,000 thoughts every single day; but don’t worry you’re not crazy (or maybe we are all crazy). 2500 years ago Buddha called this phenomenon: monkey mind. He observed that the human mind is filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, all clamoring for your attention. You just have to sit silently for a few seconds so you can hear them.

This is not to say that having thoughts is bad and we should have less of them. Our huge brains are the primary reason we are alive today. Thinking about the past gives us immeasuarble opportunities for learning and growth and thinking about the future allows us to imagine and create our future visions. The problem arises when we are over-thinking or worst unaware that we are thinking and have let the monkeys go wild in our minds.

When our mind wanders, we lose touch with the present moment and go into endless thought loops about the past or future.

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry – all forms of fear – are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” Eckart Tolle

Empirically, we spend at least 50% of our waking time mind wandering not focused on the present moment; and the impact of this on our self reported level of satisfaction is clear..

(Watch this TED talk for more research on this)

We have come a long way since Buddha, yet his teachings on meditation remain as one of the most effective ways to calm the monkeys in our minds and gain more presence and satisfaction in life. There are now hundreds of studies proving the physical and mental benefits of meditation and other mindfulness practices. We have written a guide complete with stick figures on how to form habitual mindfulness practice here.

“If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. You will feel its rhythm. Go with this flow. Happiness lies ahead.” – Buddha


Ultimately each one of us is responsible for making our own happiness cake; one filled with ingredients that gives us true satisfaction and contentment.

But even with this perfect life satisfaction cake, we are bound to experience sadness and pain in our life. This is part of the human experience. Equally, we are bound to experience immense joy and pleasure in our life. True happiness is not about being caught up in these emotional highs and lows of life. Rather it’s learning to enjoy the highs with gratitude and accept the lows with self-compassion.

Most important of all let’s not forget to share the love with one other 🙂

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

We would love to hear from you about your own happiness journey in the comments below. What’s inside of your happiness cake?


* The Happiness Trap – Russ Harris
* The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson
* Radical Acceptance – Tara Brach
* The Happiness Hypothesis – Jonathan Haidt
* Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

Visit https://conscioused.org/ for more note-worthy articles.

Teaching Approaches That Help Kids Improve Vocabulary While Reading

Building vocabulary is an never-ending process that starts in primary school. Helping your child implement efficient vocabulary building strategies will ensure they develop a strong vocabulary they can use to better communicate their thoughts and intentions.

Vocabulary and reading are two inter-dependent skills. The bigger your vocabulary the easier reading is for you. The more you read, the stronger your vocabulary becomes. Gaining conceptual knowledge – being aware of a word’s meaning or represented idea – means text comprehension is easier. This can be achieved both by reading more and by learning new vocabulary.

How to learn new words when reading

One of the easiest yet most under-utilized ways to improve vocabulary for children is through reading. Children read all the time, on a range of subject matter, so making the most of this to build a child’s vocabulary is an efficient and effective way to make that practice part of something they’re already doing.

When reading, your child will encounter many unknown words. These are often a cause of frustration, but this should be viewed as an opportunity for building vocabulary.

Your child has two tools in her disposal:

1) Morphemic knowledge

2) Contextual knowledge

Applying these two helps the child understand a sentence’s meaning and learn a new word at the same time, all without having to resort to a digital or print dictionary.

Take the following sentence:

“The presidential candidate insisted his remarks were innocuous and didn’t mean to downplay their opponent’s work cyber crime initiatives.”

A younger student especially will probably not know the word “innocuous”. However through morphemic and contextual hints they can come up with its definition.

In terms of contextual knowledge, the second clause is explanatory, giving hints that whatever ‘innocuous’ mean it certainly is not something positive. So positive meanings are ruled out and what can be inferred is that it could mean ‘accidental’, ‘negative’, ‘harmful’.

Morphemically, the word has the affix ‘in’ which means not, or without. “-nocous” is a synonym for “noxious” both of which mean harmful or dangerous.

This process can help students derive meaning out of unknown words and since the student actively problem-solves each word, they  are more likely to remember it.

Ways to Improve Your Memory Techniques for Exam Preparation (Guest Post)

Nicole Lewis

The knowledge of some cunning tips may facilitate the process of preparations for your exams. Our memory is a complicated mechanism, which collects tons of information. Our goal is to train this machine every day and to be able to use it in the most possibly effective way.

The session period is always full of stress for any student. In order to pass it successfully, students should stick to a healthy diet and good sleep– these are basic tips that will help to keep your memory in a good condition. Remember that a sound mind is always in a sound body, as well as a sound memory. You can also consider this stressful time like a game that you eager to win. Be easy, be in a positive mood – and follow some memory tricks that we have prepared for you!

Improving your brain activity

However, we are not going to give you only the advice about how to gain information quickly , but give you some helpful resources for annotated bibliography apa style help. There is no other way to get this assistance more favorably and cheap. But first of all, we will share some ground techniques, which can make your memory stronger. Here is what you should consider:

Eating well and properly. Our brain is a complex mechanism, which requires some resources to work in a way the car engine needs fuel. The resources for our brain are elements that we absorb from food. However, some types of food make our brain work better than other ones. Ask a doctor, and he will say that compound fats, amino acids and carbohydrates strongly affect our brain performance. Eating enough of nuts, meat, vegetables, and fruits is what your need to work properly. However, if you have to eat and study at the same time, you should take into account that your brain highlights when your stomach sleeps. That happens because the alimentary canal attracts a blood flow to provide with the vital micro elements.

Have enough rest. Our brain is a brilliant system because it operates quicker than a computer. Moreover, its possibilities are not limited. When it works hard, it needs to get a proper rest. If you want your brain to “chill out” well you have to take care of next components – oxygen, stress discharge, deep sleep. It takes about 2-3 hours to prepare yourself for the brain relaxation. Have an easy walk in the park and forget about problems.

Experience positive emotions. Positive emotions are like a good press into the fresh concrete – the more efforts you put, the higher results you receive. When you experience emotions and new information, you get more chances to keep it in your memory for years. Thus, when you learn something you can mix it with a sense of humor.

Useful Tips and Tricks

And now let’s talk about how to improve memory for studying. There are also a few effective techniques that speed up your brain like a computer. But if you really feel the necessity, get ready for some work.

1) Arranging the space. The arrangement of the room plays a major role in your learning process. It is one of the best memory techniques for studying and fast knowledge gaining. Just make sure everything is put in its places and clean the mess up.

2) Visual helpers. You need to use a visual support. The information will stick into your brain better if you mix it with the colorful pictures, diagrams, and schemes.

3) Don’t forget the old times. Remember your previous highlights, when you managed to improve your knowledge for the shortest period. Concentrate on the strategy. If it works, it should be used unless it could cause a negative impact on your health.

4) Learn to work with your mates. As a social entity, the human is an emotional one. Some people may look indifferent, but they just keep their emotions inside. Everyone performs better when he or she does it with the help of friends. And when it comes to responsibilities, connect your mates and start work together.

5) Regular breaks. When you learn a lot, your brain gets tired. It needs more time to relax and restore its capabilities. Continue learning effectively while having short and frequent breaks on fresh air. These are conditions that contribute to helping your brain relax quicker.

6) Keep eating healthy. How to improve memory for studying? There are several foods, which are known as the powerful brain stimulators. Eat more nuts, fruits, and vegetables every day during the hard learning process. Consequently, you would worry less, but learn quicker!

7) Drink water. When our brain works a lot it absorbs many useful microelements, use their energy and produce some harmful chemicals. As our body consists mostly of water, it requires this vital liquid to deliver these microelements and take away the waste.

Thus, when you have learned how to increase your brain activity, you don’t need to worry about the exams. Use the best memory techniques but try them in practice to make sure to do it properly. Good luck!

Author’s Bio

Nicole Lewis is a talented female writer, who is known for conquering the reader’s attention at Global Writers Annual 2015. Now, she is not only a short story writer but also an academic tutor and editor, who can provide you with some professional and experienced help when you really need it! Nicole loves to share several pieces of advice with students from all over the world.

7 Fun Ways to Teach Your Child How to Write (Guest Blog)

Helen Birke

Let’s talk about our future – the children. I want to share my experience as a social media writer and provide early childhood educators with some helpful advice on kids education. Usually, it is hard for a teacher to grant enough attention to all of the kids at the initial stage. The kids grow up so quick, demand a lot and absorb every possible word that it seems you are not able to control these processes. Get ready to be well-prepared and well-educated while working with children.! A child is about to start writing, and you should become their trusted educators!

Writing is a Game!

Writing means typing words and units using the general knowledge of the alphabet. If your kid is already a school pupil and can clearly separate A from E or C from K, then it’s time to start writing!

Preschool and early school age children perceive and internalize the in most cases through the game. The funnier game leads for, the more effective the learning process will be, and there’s no education without recreation. Thus, here are some practical and entertaining games, which were developed to help your kids learn to write!

1) Funny pencils and weird pens. You can use different clerical writing tools with unique and eye-catching design (but not scary). This will activate kid’s mind more and lead to better learning. You should use little pencils, colorful chalks, wax pencils, toy pens and so on.

2) Make the tools clutch up the kid’s hand. It’s critical for pencils to be holden tight and comfortable. It influences on kid’s penmanship, and first steps are the most important. They set the basis of which the following skills will be discovered. You can use a wax pencils with paper covers or make them by yourself, using plasticine and colorful paper.

3) Writing whenever it’s possible. Give the kid more practice and more reiteration. Using the fridge magnets, the child can combine them into different words. You can buy special edible alphabets so that the child may eat, play and train.

4) Limit the space making up the borders. If your child already knows how to write letters, but it’s still difficult to keep the right shapes and sizes. Well, there’s a clever and funny trick! On the sheet of paper, that you kid uses as a notebook, you can drag on the bright straight lines. Tell the child to keep the letter within the line limits every time he will approach the line.

5) Control the space between the words. As the kid writes the world, he can cross over the regular space and enhance the space between the letters. Take a colorful 5-7 mm wide piece of paper. It would be a ruler. Tell the kid not to leave more space between the letters than a ruler’s width.

6) Train the “eye contact” exercises between the exercises. To keep eye muscles in tone, don’t forget to use the relaxing activities using colorful cubes. Playful eye winking helps with blood circulation and brings a dozen of fun. The kids love these exercises!

7) Finger-play games. Your child is only learning how to handle his sensitive fingers. To play means using a  notebook with letters and a scissor. Apply these helpers to guide the kid’s hands hold a scissor and cut proper letters. This practice leads to nice results and the kids love to play while learning.

Author: Helen Birk is a reliable social media planner and researcher. She also works as a successful writer and freelancer at various educational platforms, you can check here a high quality assignment help. As a famous Connecticut resident, Helen was nominated as one of the best modern writers. Today Helen pleases the readers with interesting story books and always ready to give helpful advice to everyone!

Motivation (Guest Post)

Rene Kondratzky

In a previous post, I highlighted some tips for getting the most out of learning by reflecting on its epistemological roots. The process of learning itself, though, is only part of the equation. Finding the motivation to get the ball rolling by applying oneself to learn is just as, if not more, important.

There used to be a general acceptance that all intellectual pursuits were of equal value and if applied benevolently, advanced our civilization and the well-being of our fellow wo/man. We are, after all, all different…..each with our own set of gifts to share. But due to increasing societal financial pressures, valuation of learning has tilted heavily toward pragmatic subjects. This has in turn triggered the unfortunate “baby with the bathwater” human tendency to extrapolate such valuations toward an “all or nothing” pole (i.e. if you are learning about something that has no pragmatic value it must be worthless).

If I were to define a novel, for example, I would say it contains a collection of scenes of different people reacting to different situations which, when combined, define a plot. If someone has read many novels (especially across a wide idealogical spectrum) wouldn’t this lead to an exponentially larger understanding of different people when compared with someone who views literature as a waste of time? Isn’t this a great way to build tolerance in our world?

Learning foreign languages is something not always valuated positively, particularly in English-speaking countries, because “everybody speaks English anyway”. From personal experience, you never know when a language that you are learning will have pragmatic value. You could find a job with a foreign-based company that is looking for overseas employees with skills in its native language. Or you could even find a job overseas which would add to your own personal enrichment. I’ve had the great pleasure of being able to read the beautiful French of Rousseau writing in his native tongue allowing me to glean deeper truths from his philosophical works.

Finding motivation in subjects deemed pragmatic is less problematic. The problem here is battling our own “demotivation”. Mathematics is a great example. In university mathematics it quickly becomes apparent that you do not have time to start from first principles and then proceed deductively to solve problems. What you do instead is to study the problems that have already been solved and memorize (yes, I said it, memorize) the solutions. Eventually, based on what you have learned from how the problem was solved, you can reuse it to solve other problems. The great mathematician Isaac Newton summed up this approach in saying “If I see further it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants”.

A similar “classic problem” approach can be used to keep up in the fast-changing world of information technology. Resources such as www.stackexchange.com are abundant and provide a forum where magnanimous people help their fellow wo/man keep up and advance in the field. I’ve also tried to contribute with sites to explain Apple iOS programming , Android programming, and web services programming.

A field of study that has been neglected in the past but should be a lifelong learning endeavor for all of us is physical fitness. Thankfully disciplines such as kinesiology, physiotherapy, and nutrition science have entered the mainstream university curricula as serious intellectual pursuits. Motivation to continue applying oneself to the upkeep of one’s physical fitness is 90% psychological. It is rare that one is too fatigued to make a trip to the gym but it is common that one rationalizes not going because of other “priorities”.

For 2500 years learning was based on the model of Plato’s Academy. We would sit at the feet of a teacher who would share his/her learning with us. The Internet has changed everything. Now, knowledge is at our fingertips and it is up to us to find the motivation to chase this knowledge and to act upon learning it for our own and society’s well-being.

Cross-posted on the Preped Test Preparation blog.

Anti-Racism Education In Practice (Guest Post)

Helen Birke

Anti-racism programs took fourth in the US and all over the world since the times of Martin Luther King. Due to time, efforts, and correct values we have successfully achieved ethnic tolerance, and all we have to do are to empower people to carry through the anti-racism education. How was it in previous years? How was it possible to change millions of minds all over the world? Was the anti-racist education more radical?

The man of God

Martin Luther King was a pastor of a Baptist church. He was a deeply religious person and human inequality hurt him deeply into the heart. The fight for civil rights he founded was also the fight against violence and for humanity, which he was concerned about. His first demonstrations were patient. Later on he organized civil rights protests and as a result was arrested. Even behind bolt and bar, he didn’t stop his inspirational fight, the next step of which was a newspaper article. It became known as a “letter from a Birmingham jail”. On August 29, 1963, King led more than twenty thousand people in a massive demonstration where he announced his famous I have a dream “speech for which he gained Nobel Prize and which changed the history forever.

Who was the next?

During his life, he managed to inspire many thousands of people to fight for equality, for human rights, for non-violent behavior which doesn’t humiliate anyone in the world. His death provoked many people not only to continue this protest but also to protest more and gain the anti-racism in the US and the world. This was a radical part of the history. One of those, who was inspired by Martin Luther King was a teacher of third graders in a small city of Iowa. As an educator, she quickly acknowledged the importance of preventing racism in education from early years and started to act.

Blue eyes – Brown eyes

The experiment is simple. She, Jane Elliott, create a game for kids in which they had to divide into two groups depending on the color of their eyes. After that, she established strict rules, which each pupil had to keep precisely. The experimentlasted for a few days. Blue eyes group was allowed to enter the class only after brown eyes children, blue eyes were not allowed to go to the same playground with brown eyes, blue eyes group must seat behind the brown eyes, and other. The children with blue eyes were also publicly humiliated and discriminated by the teacher and as a result by the classmates. After a few days, the groups changed their roles.

Results of the game

The game seems to be cruel taking into account that these were third grades children. The privileged group was quickly accepting the rules, and some of them started to express violence against other pupils depending on the color of their eyes. It also affected a study. The discriminated group showed worth results in tests than before the experiment. After the end of the test, the teacher discussed feelings her pupils experienced in both roles, made them compare it and explain. The game changed their minds.

Grownups and adults

After many years Jane Elliott gathered her adult third-grade pupils and discussed their lives. The meeting was warm and sensitive. It appeared that all of them were deeply concerned about anti-racism programs and had a strong believe that people must not be discriminated by the color of their eyes or skin. This simple game established new generation which taught their children about equality. In fact, the experiment was widely spread and repeated in many schools all over the USA and even in prisons. The results were effective and prominent.

Tolerance today

In the modern world, we hopefully don’t have problems with racial discrimination. There are hundreds of official and non-official programs which promote knowledge and acknowledgment of the equality importance inside every society. All the programs are supported by legislative bodies. Anti-racist principles are precisely explained in every school and repeated within certain time periods in different forms. The modern world doesn’t need any radical actions anymore to prevent violence based on lack of education. We learned how to deal with it. The next step is to keep this knowledge and spread it to the next generations.

Author Bio

Helen Birk is a social worker at Chicago, who studied modern problems of society. Today she studies anti-racist programs, organizes support to non-formal education for developing countries and helps students at https://customwriting.com/write-my-essay. Most programs are held in small groups of people. She believes that education is the only way to prevent society from national violence and previous mistakes made by humanity

10 Unusual Ways to Make Writing Fun

Julie Petersen

Writing is a very challenging task most of us face on a regular basis. It all starts at school when we practice in writing essays, then we start working and write reports and business letters to our partners. One of the main keys to success in writing is practice. The more you write the more proficiency you’ll have. Successful writers have gone through a lot of challenges and setbacks before obtaining the “successful” social status. They practiced, failed many times, learned from mistakes, and kept trying until they made it.

When we don’t enjoy a specific activity, we feel bored, frustrated, and uninspired. Our productivity levels are also low, and everything concerning that activity is considered to be “painful”. Also starting a non-enjoyable activity is often challenging; the procrastination kicks in and that’s it, you’re no longer in control.

Many students hate writing and can’t enjoy doing it. Unfortunately, most of the college’s assignments are based on essays, research papers, and projects that also require writing. That also means that if your writing is efficient your grades will be higher. If you are a student struggling with writing you have two options to choose from. First, you need to find an interesting way to practice writing, the one you would enjoy. Second, if you already decided that you don’t want to connect your life with writing you can always find services that will do all the work for you. But choosing a good writing company is a very hard task as well, so check the writing services reviews. You may check them on the best custom writing services reviews  or any other reliable website.

During today’s article, we’ll talk about ten unusual ways to make the writing process easier. If you can manage to add some fun and enjoyment, you’ll improve your writing and your mood when doing it. Keep in mind that reading our tips won’t do any good if you don’t take serious action.

Create Goals and Compete with Yourself

Writing is a lonely activity. You don’t have colleagues or clients to talk to, and you only have to focus on putting those words down on that paper. Ever thought of competing with yourself? Well, every writer should do this. It’s a productive habit and activity that can only improve your writing performance.

Start making some yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. See where you’re at now, and establish where you want to be in the next few months. Keep up with your goals and see how empowered you’ll feel.

Don’t Be So Serious

Writing is supposed to be fun. Of course, it depends on the genre, purpose, and person, but overall, it definitely shouldn’t be a painful activity. Some writers make art; some prefer to transmit their knowledge and skills to the masses, while some professionals just write for the money.

Either way, you shouldn’t take writing too seriously, even if it’s your main preoccupation. Include a joke or two into your content, write in your unique style, and add new elements as the time passes.

Reward Yourself Properly

Did you know that we can trick our brains to do more of what we want even if that usually requires a lot of effort? You see, if you treat yourself with respect and care, you should be able to motivate yourself every day. Start rewarding your every day’s efforts, or maybe only do it whenever you reach a big goal.

If you can associate pleasure to the results you want, you’ll be able to see great improvements in your mindset and work productivity.

Set a Big Goal Once in a While

We need something exciting, something big! Everyone wants to be something, have something, or do something! In our case, we can set big goals concerning the number of words we write, the number of blog posts maybe, or the number of essay assignments. Either way, don’t forget to set a big plan once in a while.

When you accomplish what you’ve planned, you’ll gain a huge confidence boost, and therefore writing won’t be such a boring and painful activity.

Take Breaks & Meditate

Short and relaxing breaks are essential in order to stay focused while writing. Involve something fun or productive while you’re taking these breaks. If you have enough space and conditions, you can start meditating and relaxing for a few minutes.

If you have space to run, maybe a nice walk will refresh you. Either way, don’t stay too much in front of that PC or paper, take a few breaks and make them worth it.

Tell Interesting Stories

When you’re writing something boring, your activity is also boring. In order to spice things up, start telling some interesting or funny stories throughout your text. Don’t add them if they can’t send a purposeful message.

You’ll usually find enough interesting stories to tell and also associate them with something that you’ve been meaning to say.

Listen to Music

Classical music is an awesome writer’s choice. If you’re planning to stay sharp and focused, you’d better try some Mozart. Another choice would be to select a genre of music and start listening while you write.

Whenever you want to get back to writing, you’ll listen to that type of music and you’ll feel more motivated.

Write About or with Your Passion

If your time or activity allows it, always focus on your passions and interests. For example, if you’re a student, you should focus on writing about subjects that really interest you. If you’re a freelance writer, maybe find a client who can provide tasks related to your interests; it could be business, pets, adult, fiction, and so on.

Make Changes

Whenever you get bored, switch the font with another one; Start using different colors, formats, and tools. If you’re handwriting, you can maybe get an awesome pen and an awesome paper. Perhaps you can even change the environment in which you’re working.

Making changes is great because you’re improving your perception of the world, gaining experiences, and analyzing what’s working best for you.

Keep a Writer’s Notebook

Always keep a notebook with you. You will never know when an interesting thought or idea will come to your mind. As writers, we have a lot of ideas and probably even funny stories and jokes held in our thoughts. We can always use those brilliant or funny ideas while we write.

There’s nothing great than exposing your unique angles to a bigger number of individuals. Keeping a small writer’s notebook is a great writing performance optimization strategy for any type of writer!

Writing is not so painful if you know how to perceive it. There are many ways in which you can make your writing process more enjoyable and bearable. It’s up to you; you can keep on hating it, or you can start working to establish a “balanced” state and mood whenever you perform it.

Either way, remember that your writing skills are going to influence your professional life big time. Some job opportunities will come, and if you’re prepared for them, you can totally reach massive amounts of success in your field.

How to Write a Convincing Essay Conclusion

Jessica Freeman

Have you ever wondered what the purpose of essay writing was? Your professors keep assigning new projects, but sometimes you don’t see a point. There is a reason for you to keep trying. Academic writing is not useful only for getting higher grades at college. You’ll benefit from this skill on the long run, since it improves your capacity for professional communication. It makes you able to use authoritative sources of information, connect them with your own points of view, and come down to logical conclusions that convince the reader you’re right.

Did someone mention conclusions? How many times have you been stuck right at the end of the writing process? You’ve written a great introduction and some strong arguments, but you don’t know how to put all loose ends together. Don’t worry; that’s what we’re here for today. We’ll offer some tips that will help you write a convincing conclusion for your essay.

Understand the Purpose of the Conclusion

Once you provided all arguments you had, why do you have to write a concluding paragraph? Laura Roberts, an essay writing expert from Australian Writings, explains that students find conclusions difficult to write because they don’t see their point: “Why do you restate the thesis at the end? You already stated it, so why do you need to repeat it in a different way? Many students have those questions in mind. The point of a conclusion is to restate the thesis statement in relation with the arguments you exposed in the body of the paper. With the conclusion, you achieve the sense of completeness.”

Before you start writing the conclusion, you should understand what it’s supposed to do:

– Restate the thesis statement, stressing its importance;

– Achieve the sense of completeness, and

– Leave the reader with the final impressions you intended to achieve with this essay.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s see how exactly you can write the perfect conclusion. Take these practical tips into consideration:

Understand the Type of Conclusion You Need

The content in the conclusion will depend on the type of essay you’re writing. For an argumentative essay, which is the favorite assignment of most professors, you need to let the reader know why your arguments were important and why your point of view deserved their attention.

A narrative essay, on the other hand, calls for a different type of conclusion. You’re not arguing or discussing any issue; you’re just telling a story and you need to bring it to an end. Here, you don’t have to restate the main points. Just tell the reader what you learned from the experience you shared.

The following tips are mainly effective for concluding an argumentative essay. We focus on that type, since it makes the conclusion really challenging.

State the Significance of Your Findings

Why was this topic worth exploring? Why are your arguments important? If, for example, you discussed a topic from World War 2, you can explain how the research and arguments gave you a new perspective on the events. Whatever issue you’re discussing, state why it’s important to increase the awareness for it.

Give Suggestions for Future Research

This is usually done in research paper, but an essay can also end with suggestion for further research. However, you don’t want to introduce new information to the reader. Remember: the point of writing a conclusion is to achieve the sense of completeness.

If, for example, you’re writing an essay on the demographic changes, you can end with a statement like “We have a responsibility to keep exploring the demographic changes in our society and identify effective strategies that support sustainable diversity.” This triggers the reader’s interest to explore the issue further, but doesn’t leave the essay incomplete.

Conclude With a Quote

If you have a hard time connecting all dots in a logical conclusion, maybe a quote from one of your primary or secondary sources will help. Find a quote that connects your main points, and then discuss it with your own words to make it more specific.

For example, if you’re writing an essay about Dostoevsky, you can end with his own words about Saint Petersburg and explain that the vibe of the city is present throughout his entire work. Remember: if you use a quote, it has to be relevant. You will still need to restate the thesis statement in the conclusion, so use the quote in that context.

What Solutions Do You Suggest?

If you discussed a particular issue, such as global warming, you can explain the possible solutions in the conclusion, after you restate the thesis in relation to the arguments. If you were discussing the solutions in the arguments, you can briefly emphasize those points again.

Restate; Don’t Repeat!

The worst thing you could possibly do is write the same thesis statement in the conclusion. Don’t even paraphrase it! Use the conclusion to show how all elements of your paper fit together. You didn’t just list random arguments; you used them to prove the thesis statement. Show that!

Let’s show how that tip works in practice. This is our sample thesis statement: Buying books for presents is good because they last forever, they prove you care for that person, and they open new perspectives to them.

We already have a thesis statement with obvious arguments. In the conclusion, you should use different terms and logical explanations, which will still restate the thesis. Here is how that conclusion would look like:

You can never read the same book twice. Every time we read it, it has a different meaning for us. When we pick a valuable book for a present, we show our deep respect for that person. This book will give them a new perspective to important issues, so it’s the best present they could possibly get.

You see? We used slightly more vivid language to restate the same thesis, but it didn’t feel repetitive.

Wrapping It Up

Okay, it’s time for our conclusion now.

When you get to this part of the paper, you already have everything you need to get to the finish line. In this part, it’s important to use vivid language. Although you’ll be restating the thesis statement and mentioning your main arguments, you shouldn’t bore the reader with repetition. Hopefully, the tips above will help you make a powerful conclusion that leaves your reader impressed.

Author’s Bio

Jessica Freeman is a freelance writer. She is interested in traveling and online learning. She enjoys writing on education, technology innovations, and blogging tendencies. Find out more about Jessica’s work by visiting her student blog. You can also follow her on Facebook and Google+.

Omni Brain Stimulator and Vocabulary

What Is tDCS & Could it Help You Improve Your Vocabulary?

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), uses low-voltage electrical current via sponge electrodes to stimulate certain regions of the brain. This technique has been around for more than 200 years however during the second half of the 20th century scientists began realizing the true potential of tDCS and started to develop principles of how to best make use of this technique. Today, there are many commercial tDCS devices and one of the best among them is the Omni Stimulator tDCS kit.

How Could tDCS Improve Your Vocabulary

Although tDCS has been used and tested for a host of medical purposes including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and many other clinical diagnoses, it has been more recently recognized as a great tool for improving the potential of the brain in healthy individuals including learning capabilities. tDCS can improve memory, cognition and reading abilities, its use in vocabulary training and vocabulary building is also fascinating. Several studies have investigated the use of tDCS in different aspects of learning a new language and expanding vocabulary. Moreover, if practiced enough, the effects of tDCS on vocabulary expansion become long-term.

How You Use the Omni Stimulator to Improve Your Vocabulary

The Omni stimulator is very easy to use. A low-voltage electrical current is delivered to the specific portions of the brain which changes the physiology of the nerve cells in that region making them more active. The end result is that memorizing words, focusing on reading content become easier as you are literally giving your brain a hardwired boost.

The Omni stimulator consists of a current regulation device, sponge electrodes, a headband. I had the Omni Brain Stimulator setup in less than a minute. I first placed the sponges in saline solution to the regions of the scalp as specified in the instructions. Then attached the clips to the sponges and fixed to my forehead with the headband. Follow the instructions on how to adjust the voltage appropriately to best fit your purpose. I found 1.5mA was what worked best for me however and I did notice a difference but let’s look at some studies.

Some Other People’s Results and Information

One group study investigated the effects of tDCS on vocabulary training and memorizing of words. The participants were distributed into two groups, of which one received tDCS stimulation, while the control group received no stimulation. Both groups engaged in language learning during the period of brain stimulation. The results were astonishing! The participants from the tDCS group had significantly higher scores on the tests. After five consecutive days, the overall test results were also significantly better in persons receiving tDCS. Many in the trial have reported improved cognition and amhigher motivation to learn, which resulted in better ability to reproduce the read content. This is especially true for language learners, who succeeded to memorize much more phrases and words than usual.

How Well Did It Work for Me?

I started using Omni stimulator 2 months ago with the aim to improve my English vocabulary primarily, but also to try to learn German at a faster rate after some after hearing and reading about tDCS studies. I started to use the Omni stimulator exactly according to the instructions from the manual and believe it or not, I have noticed improvement in language after the very first session. I was able to reproduce the learned content more efficiently and with much less errors than usual. Wearing a headband while learning was a bit uncomfortable during the first week, but I accommodated to it very fast and I don’t even notice it anymore. I have started to experience the long-term effects of tDCS.

In my opinion, devices such as Omni Stimulator help us extend the natural capacity of our brains by providing us with the stronger ability to learn, improved focus and better our memories.

This tDCS technology is very exciting for those wanting to improve their reading speeds.


Meinzer M, Jähnigen S, Copland DA, et al. Transcranial direct current stimulation over multiple days improves learning and maintenance of a novel vocabulary. Cortex. 2014 Jan;50:137-47. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2013.07.013. Epub 2013 Aug 6.

Monti A, et al. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and language. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2013;84:832–842. doi:10.1136/jnnp-2012-302825.

Liuzzi G, Freundlieb N, Ridder V. The involvement of the left motor cortex in learning of a novel action word lexicon. Curr Biol. 2010 Oct 12;20(19):1745-51. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.08.034. Epub 2010 Sep 30.

Paulus W. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). Suppl Clin Neurophysiol. 2003;56:249-54.


Studying for the GRE: Words in Context

One of the best features of the Vocab1 program is the opportunity it gives you to gain confidence in using new words by learning how to use them correctly in context. We provide numerous examples, as well as exercises that help you practice selecting the most appropriate word to complete a sentence. If you’re studying for the GRE, practicing sentence completion is an important part of your test preparation.

Here’s an example of a sentence-completion exercise:

The research assistant attempted to duplicate the professor’s laboratory tests, but the instructions he left for her to follow were so ____________ that her results never __________.

a) detailed … corresponded
b) outdated … differed
c) ambiguous … matched
d) precise … matched
e) illegible … finished

First, read the sentence to yourself and get a sense of its meaning. In this example, the sentence has a negative tone; you can see this by the use of the words attempted, but, and never. Keep this general idea in mind as you look at the pairs of words to choose from.

Let’s look at option (a): detailed and corresponded. If you fill these words in, the sentence says that the instructions were so detailed that the results never corresponded, or matched. This doesn’t make sense, because usually the more detailed the instructions are in a laboratory experiment, the more chance there is of getting the same result every time. The only way this would make sense is if the instructions were TOO complicated. Option (d) also uses a positive word in the first position, and another one in the second position. Using this pair of words, the sentence says that the instructions were so precise (accurate and easy to follow) that the results never matched. Again, this doesn’t make sense.

Filling in the blanks with the pair of words in option (b) gives us the statement that the instructions were so outdated that the results were the same every single time. Outdated generally means “no longer accurate” so it wouldn’t make sense that her tests, using bad data, would match his results. In addition, the assistant is trying to duplicate a set of results (and therefore “never differed” would be a good thing); however, the word but implies a negative outcome.

Option (e) looks like a good choice at first: the instructions were so illegible (hard to read) that the results never finished. Wait a minute, though – “results” don’t “finish.” If the sentence read “… that she could never finish the tests” then we could consider this pair, but as it is, the sentence would not be grammatically correct, so we can eliminate this option.

We’re left with option (c). Using these words turns the sentence into a statement that the results were so ambiguous, or unclear, that her results never matched his. The meaning of the sentence makes sense in context, and the sentence is grammatically correct. By first determining the overall intent of the sentence and then comparing all possible choices, we’ve come up with the right answer.

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