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12 Good Things

By: Rick Hanson, Ph.D.
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Man running during a sunset

Keeping with tradition, each year I offer a list of Twelve Good Things. I’ve paired each good thing with a fundamental inner strength: Learning, Mindfulness, Love, Resilience, Contentment, Integrity, Self-Worth, Courage, Social Intelligence, Motivation, Wisdom, and Peace.

1. Learning

Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence tells you how to tap the hidden power of little positive experiences to change your brain for the better.

2. Mindfulness

The Mind and Life Institute is the legendary non-profit that brought together prominent scientists and contemplatives such as the Dalai Lama. It is nourishing a new generation of practitioners and scholars with first-rate conferences and research.

3. Love

Plan International works in 50 developing countries across Africa, Asia, and the Americas to lift millions of children out of poverty. My wife and I have been supporting Plan for over twenty years, with a long-time interest in Haiti.

4. Resilience

Your Skillful Means (sponsored by The Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom) freely offers nearly a hundred different methods for psychological or spiritual growth.

5. Contentment

Check out Awakening Joy, a five-month course by James Baraz to develop your natural capacity for happiness. Over 10,000 people have taken it worldwide, and it’s been featured in O Magazine. It’s starting in January 2014 and is available both live in the San Francisco Bay Area and on the internet.

6. Integrity

Pariyatti sends me a short Buddhist quote each day – I love ’em – plus provides other free resources. Dharma Seed offers zillions of free talks from both monastics and householders.

7. Self-Worth

Personal practice is the foundation of confidence and self-worth, so check out these 52 short videos from me at Just One Minute. They’re based on the practices in my book, Just One Thing – and Wendy Sullivan, LMSW, generously developed wonderful written guides to each practice. Together, these free videos and written guides would set you up for a great year of practice.

8. Courage

My dear friend Tom Bowlin has been writing poems for many years, and he’s published a collection of them – titled Us – in an e-book available for both Kindle and Nook. Tom’s poetry is short but not always sweet. It comes raw from his own gritty life and cuts right to the bone – yet is still often funny, heart-opening, and inspiring. I love it!

9. Social Intelligence

The Greater Good Science Center is a world-class resource for compassion, empathy, parenting, and positive psychology. They offer a free newsletter and a phenomenal website full of useful articles, videos, podcasts, quizzes – with a unique combination of academic prowess, heart, and service. They rely on the help of their volunteers and donors, and you can offer support by becoming a member as I have or by gifting a membership to others.

10. Motivation

Rewire Leadership Institute integrates neuroscience, psychology, business savvy, and lots of heart to offer articles, programs, and consultations for transforming individuals and organizations, including NASA, ESPN, Adobe, P&G, and Bayer.

11. Wisdom

Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Check out the workshops and retreats from this peaceful, welcoming, world-renowned center. I love Spirit Rock, which has been my primary personal wellspring of spiritual practice. They’re building a new community hall and I hope you will join me in helping them; find out more here.

12. Peace

Amnesty International organization has worked for 50 years to put an end to human rights abuses, and to ensure a just and peaceful life for everyone. When I think about the political prisoners and activists they have gotten freed from horrific imprisonments, it makes me happy to know that our family has done its little bit to support their efforts – and I invite you to do the same


We share this article with permission. This article originally appeared on Dr. Rick Hanson’s blog.

About the Author

Rick Hanson, Ph.D. Author for RethinkCare

Psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center, Author

Psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center and NY Times best-selling author including Resilience and Hardwiring Happiness.

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