In honor of David Letterman’s 33 years on the air and his very famous top 10 list, I thought it would be fitting for the end of the school year to create my very own top 10 list. This list is a mix of some of the best quotes, videos, books, and ideas that have inspired me. I hope they inspire you as well.

  1. “It all starts and ends with a positive relationship” by Caren Baruch-Feldman.

I recently watched a Ted Talk by Rita Pierson. She states, “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.” Therefore, before you do anything as a parent or as a teacher, make sure that a positive relationship has been established.

Check out the following Ted Talk. After watching it you will see the power of relationships and be inspired.

https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion?language=en

In addition, if you want to read a book over the summer that will inspire you to establish a positive relationship, read any book by Dr. Robert Brooks. Dr. Brooks writes, and more importantly lives his life, based on this philosophy.

  1. “Change your thoughts and you change your world” by Norman Vincent Peale.

As many of you know, I am a big believer in mindset.  We don’t always have control over our situation, but we do always have control over our thoughts. In an inspirational Ted Talk given by Dr. Kelly Mcgonigal, she demonstrates how to make stress our friend by changing our mindset.

https://kellymcgonigal.com/2014/11/15/watch-my-ted-talk-how-to-make-stress-your-friend/

If you want to learn more from Dr. Mcgonigal, I highly recommend her latest book, The Upside of Stress and her audiotape The Neuroscience of Change.

  1. “If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier” by Amy Poehler (the comedian) from Yes Please.

I often find that people who expect life to follow a straight and sturdy path are frustrated and disappointed. However, if you expect life to be more like a wave you need to surf, you will be less disappointed and more at peace. One way to get more comfortable with the waves of life is to meditate.  I think you will enjoy this video on the power of meditation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ1-Nj3vcXY

  1. Be gritty and develop a growth mindset (Dr. Angela Duckworth and Dr. Carol Dweck).

If something is not accomplished, don’t give up. In addition, change a “fixed mindset” to a “growth mindset.”   Furthermore, remember the power of the word “yet.” For example, instead of saying, “I am not good at fractions,”say, “I am not good at fractions YET.”  Two videos on this topic are a must. https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit  (grit)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-swZaKN2Ic (yet)

  1. “It is easier to change our surroundings than ourselves” by Gretchen Rubin.

In the words of my mentor Dr. Albert Ellis, we are fallible human beings.  So to change a habit or ourselves, we must work to change our surroundings, rather than try to conquer willpower.  Simply put, make it easy to be good and hard to be bad.  Dr. Shawn Achor gives a great example in his book the Happiness Advantage, where he speaks about taking the batteries out of his TV remote and sleeping in his gym clothes  in order to make it easier to run and harder to watch  TV.  In addition, if you want an effective and an evidenced based strategy to change habits, WOOP it out (Dr. Gabrielle Oettingen). See link below for more information on WOOP.

https://characterlab.org/goal-setting

Also great summer reading: Shawn Achor’s Happiness Advantage and Gabrielle Oettingen’s Rethinking Positive Thinking.

  1. Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important by Stephen Covey fromthe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

It is very easy to get busy with unimportant but SUPPOSEDLY URGENT matters (emails, texts, whining). Don’t!  Instead, spend time on things that are meaningful, but not necessarily urgent (e.g., reading to your children, connecting with old friends, meditating).

  1. Drop the leash and watch those mirror neurons.

When someone throws you negative energy, don’t grab that leash. We tend to mirror the emotions so it is easy to get pulled into a negative cycle of emotions. Instead, mirror back to the person the way you want to be seen and remembered by taking a step back, breathing, and remembering what is important.

    8. Let it GO.

In my job as a school psychologist, I am often dealing with social issues. Problems between children, between children and grownups, and between grownups. “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it kills your enemy,” Nelson Mandela. In the words of the movie, “Frozen,” it is often best to “Let it go.”

9. “It’s not happiness that makes us grateful; it’s gratefulness that makes us happy.” David Steindl-Rast

Focus on what is going well and let the other stuff drop into the background. Take the RED experiment…

Look around your current surroundings and try to find all the examples of RED that you can see. Give yourself 20 seconds to look around.  Now tell me, what did you see that was GREEN?  “Green,” I thought you said, “red.” I did say, “red,” however even though I said “red” you all looked around the room with your eyes, so why couldn’t you tell me what was “green”?

The reason is that our focus causes us to note only the object of our focus and everything else fades into the background. So what does this have to do with a positive outlook? If we focus on the negative, (the stress of everyday life) this negative focus will become prominent in our lives. Without meaning to, it will change our moods and attitudes to the negative. Conversely, if we focus on and are grateful for what we have, we will feel happier and more fulfilled.

Enjoy this Ted Talk on gratefulness.

https://www.ted.com/talks/david_steindl_rast_want_to_be_happy_be_grateful?language=en

If you want more, watch Shawn Achor’s Ted Talk. Even my teenage son was inspired by him to be grateful (although not always towards his mother).

https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work?language=en

    10. Be a Bucket Filler, not a Bucket Dipper.

We at Harrison Avenue School have made a commitment to be bucket fillers. It’s just as easy to be a “bucket filler” as to be a “bucket dipper.” Make that choice to be a “bucket filler” everyday. In addition, if someone dips in your bucket or someone else’s, use your lid to protect yourself and others so that you can be the best you that you can be!

https://www.bucketfillers101.com/

Hope you enjoyed my top 10 list. Have a restful, peaceful, and FUN summer!

All the best,

Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman

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Please see my website (drbaruchfeldman.com) for additional blogs, articles, and presentations and follow me at twitter at [email protected]