Monthly Archives: November 2010

Feeling gratitude

November 30, 2010

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.

The notion of “happy wife, happy life,” is given credence by recent research led by a Canadian psychology professor — and the same seems to hold true for the influence of husbands.

A study led by the University of British Columbia’s Christiane Hoppmann, published in the American Psychological Association’s Developmental Psychology journal, suggests married couples share notable similarities in happiness levels over their years together.

The report was based on an analysis of existing data initially intended for other research. It compared the self-reported mood patterns of 178 married couples in the Seattle area between 1956 and 1991.

The researchers noted much more similarity in the happiness levels among married couples as compared to random pairings of men and women.

“Not only did spouses report similar levels of happiness when they entered the study, but when there were changes in happiness in one spouse, that did have an effect on the other spouse as well,” Hoppmann said Friday.

Hoppmann said it’s not surprising to find that husbands and wives’ moods are closely linked, but added that it is “novel” to see it documented scientifically like this. […]

“If people share important experiences, know each other very well and spend a lot of time over a long period of their lives, then chances are, that’s going to have an impact on your respective other,” she said.

As well, Hoppmann noted that this research involved couples who were married to the same person for multiple decades, something that has become less common among younger generations.

She said other research has shown less correlation among couple’s moods in which the members have been in multiple marriages.

Full article available on

The Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at University of the West recently launched “Meet UWest” — a new online video series that features students, staff, and faculty sharing thoughts and conversation. See the videos at: ”

Dean Bhagat had mentioned that he’d wanted us all to think more about using social networking sites to promote the university and our respective programs, and I was inspired by NPR’s StoryCorps to kickstart something that would do that as well as encourage listening and storytelling on campus,” says Rev. Danny Fisher, Coordinator of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program. “We’ve got such a special community here at UWest–lots of unique individuals with interesting insights and tales to tell–so this video project seemed like a good idea.” Fisher hopes that the videos will be helpful, and that the campus community will contribute to the making of further videos. “If there’s something you’ve always wanted to ask someone else on campus, and you’re both willing to go on film, come see me!”

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.

Life is short

November 29, 2010

Life is short, there is no time to leave important words unsaid

Lisa Feldman Barrett is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory (IASL) at Boston College, with appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Lisa led the second session of day 1 titled: A New Model for Emotion and Cognition.

Lisa challenged some of the most deeply held ideas about how the mind works in her session. She stated that Daniel Goldman’s theory on emotional intelligence is largely incorrect. Studies show there are no specific anatomical brain regions pinpointed for any of the emotions. The brain is a more integrated system than previously imagined, with thinking, emotions, mind and body all contributing to our experience in a holistic way.

We are used to thinking that emotions are generated and we then regulate them after the fact. A common metaphor is to think of the brain as a machine, with emotions as wild animals that we need to control. However, Lisa’s model suggests a more accurate analogy is that we are chef’s, with a set of ingredients, used for both emotional generation and regulation. As with ingredients in a pantry, we can use them to make different kinds of ‘meals’ or emotional experiences.

We are the agents of our own experience and we can change our experiences in simple ways, including:
* Sleeping and eating well
* Putting ourselves in certain contexts and not other contexts
* Widening our emotional vocabulary to help us label experiences in a more empowering way
* Learning how to wield that knowledge in a very fluid, contextually appropriate way

Lisa suggests the importance of discerning when your physical state needs to be made meaningful in a psychological sense, perhaps by connecting to what is going on around you, and when it is just a physical sensation like being hungry or tired.

Original post from

Original news from

Jiang Wu, associate professor in the Department of East Asian Studies has been awarded a conference grant of $25,000 by the American Council of Learned Society (ACLS) and the Chiang Ching-Kuo (CCK) Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange to organize an international conference on the study of Chinese Buddhist canons.

This conference, titled “Spreading Buddha’s Words in China: The Formation and Transformation of the Chinese Buddhist Canon,” will be held in Tucson March 25-28, 2011.

Some twenty experts from the United States, Europe, mainland China, and Taiwan will examine the role of Buddhist canons (including digital canons) in the formation and transformation of Buddhist communities and how the activities of textual practice related to the canon –such as cataloging, textual criticism, annotation, illustration, printing, and distribution- shaped the contour of Chinese Buddhism through the ages.

The conference is the first international conference on this topic ever held in the western world. A volume of proceedings will be published after the conference.

The funding comes under the ACLS program “New Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society,” which “supports projects in the humanities and related social sciences that bridge disciplinary or geographic boundaries, engage new sources, develop fresh approaches to traditional materials and issues, or otherwise bring innovative perspectives to the study of Chinese culture and society.”

Dr. Jiang Wu received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, and his research interests include seventeenth-century Chinese Buddhism, Chinese intellectual history and social history, and the application of electronic cultural atlas tools in the study of Chinese culture and religion. He has published widely on a variety of topics, and currently is writing a biography of Yinyuan Longqui. In 2008, Dr. Wu was awarded a $30,000 from the CCK to conduct research on Buddhist publishing in late imperial China, during his sabbatical year.

An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in. A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves. :-)

These are the top 15 happiest cities in Canada, according to CSLS:
1. Sherbrooke, Que. 4.37
2. Brantford, Ont. 4.36
3. Trois-Rivières, Que. 4.35
4. Quebec 4.34
5. St. John’s 4.34
6. Calgary 4.33
7. Peterborough, Ont. 4.32
8. Saguenay, Que. 4.32
9. Greater Sudbury, Ont. 4.32
10. Halifax 4.32
11. Guelph, Ont. 4.32
12. Victoria 4.32
13. Saskatoon 4.31
14. Saint John 4.30
15. Ottawa-Gatineau 4.29

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