GN.W. - Colorado on the World Playing Field
A State of Pride
The Winter Olympics officially kick off next Friday, ringing in another healthy dose of athletic patriotism across the country following today’s big Sportsball event. The Winter Olympic Games, hosted in PyeongChang, South Korea, should provide Coloradans with a particular sense of pride, as our state will be the highest-represented from the US this year.
Feeling strong, CO?
Of the 242 athletes that are representing the US on the global playing field, 31 call the Centennial State home. Behind us, at 22 athletes, follows California.
“With Colorado’s sprawling summits, high elevation, and Olympic Training Center (in Colorado Springs), it’s no wonder that so many Olympians choose to make our state their home base.”
Copper Mountain itself attracted national ski teams from countries like Norway, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Italy, Canada and Japan because our state produces snowpack similar to what skiers will face in South Korea. The training slope at Copper also happens to have similar features to the Olympic course, making it an ideal destination to prepare.
Among our state’s athletes are Freestyle Skiers Gus Kenworthy and Keaton McCargo, hailing from Telluride (practically our stomping grounds). You can see when they, and any other US athletes, are competing with this handy schedule of events.
Of course, the Olympic Games are much bigger than our state alone and unite the globe through good-natured competition (at least when Russia isn’t doping).
From the NY Times: Your Questions About the 2018 Winter Olympics, Answered . . . and then some.
Think Happy Thoughts
Our local little college on the fluvial bench boasts small class sizes, with a mere 2.4% of classes reported with 50 or more students. So a lecture headcount reaching 1,200 seems unimaginable. Not so for Yale University, which saw nearly a quarter of its undergraduates register for Psyc 157. The subject of study? Happiness.
While the course is the first of its kind for Yale (hence the impressive enrollment numbers), it follows the established principles of positive psychology and relies on weekly assignments to practice things like kindness and forming new social connections.
At its core, it positive psychology’s focus is on “how ordinary people can become happier and more fulfilled,” which implies that happiness itself is not necessarily inherent (you have it or you don’t) but can be consciously worked toward.
There are oodles of TED Talks from experts who are exploring the nature of happiness. Here are a few of my favorite takeaways:
- Our brains naturally try to change perceptions to optimize feelings of happiness.
- People are more averse to losing something than they are happy to gain, meaning a lot of positive needs to be put in as a response to negative.
- "If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself. Tell yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches." Translation: The riches are there, you just have to learn to see them.
- Not in the linked TED Talk, but still worthy of sharing for my fellow visual learners out there: Type A and Type B people often achieve happiness in different ways . . .
- Money can indeed buy happiness, it turns out. The catch: it comes when you spend it on other people.
- Putting on a smile can actually improve how you, and those around you, feel. It’s not a chicken or egg situation; smiling brings on happiness as happiness brings on smiling.
Penn State has curated a number of questionnaires to collect data and help score people’s happiness. You can register for free and test yourself on overall happiness, current happiness, optimism, life satisfaction . . . you get the picture. How do you stack up?
PSYC 228, FLC
Fort Lewis has actually offered a similar course, PSYC 228 - Positive Psychology, for years, though it’s capped at 22 students.
“This course is designed to introduce students to the theory and research in positive psychology. We will examine the research findings on happiness and thriving, and do many activities designed to increase well-being and build personal strengths.”
Through the college’s Community Learners Program, community members ages 55 and older can even sit in for free, provided there’s room in the class. If this semester’s waitlist on the course is typical, it may be hard to get in on it, though. It seems that no shortage of Psychology students are looking to unlock the secrets to happiness (aren’t we all!?).
Sharing is Caring
All the other good stuff we wanted to share this week:
+ Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Friday, signalling six more weeks of winter . . . which is a good thing considering we still seem to be waiting for week one!
+ From Vice: “Fish Skin Healed Bears’ Paws Burned in the California Fires”. A new technique for healing severe burns, pioneered in Brazil, has made its way to the US for veterinary use.
+ From CNBC: “A new treatment aims to prevent hair loss in cancer patients”. Recently approved by the FDA, new scalp cooling caps help keep chemo from reaching hair follicles.
+ From Nat Geo: “Good News for Elephants: Major Ivory Market Will Close”. After a three year transition period, ending in 2021, Hong Kong has committed to end sales of ivory.
+ In a rather entertaining turn of events, no contestants in a recent game of Jeopardy could answer a single question about football, much to Alex Trebek’s vexation. (For the record, I couldn't have answer a single one either . . . but we’re not going to broadcast that. GO PIGGERS!).
+ For anyone looking for a killer Artichoke Dip recipe for the Big Game today, this one comes with my recommendation.