Twelve Good Things 2021

Twelve Good Things 2021

Each year I use an issue of the Just One Thing newsletter to offer Twelve Good Things that I think are really wonderful and worth your attention.

May you and those you love and in fact, the whole wide world be truly well, truly happy, and truly at peace

  1. 8 Billion Trees is a tree planting and wildlife conservation organization working to offset the 100 million tons of carbon dioxide dumped into the air each day from human activity. They have a free carbon footprint calculator, carbon offset programs, plus articles, tips, and products for leaning towards a more carbon-neutral life. You can also check out similar great organizations such as the Clean Air Task Force, Giving Green, the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, and Burn.
  2. I’ve enjoyed exploring deep space and great heights in these favorite films: ArrivalAd Astra, and The Alpinist. Plus, if you liked My Octopus Teacher, you might enjoy this video of scuba divers trying to convince a finicky little octopus to trade its plastic cup for a shell.
  3. UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center is a world-class resource for compassion, parenting, and positive psychology – including their Science of Happiness podcast, illuminating articles like this one, and reviews of their favorite books for 2021.
  4. BRITE Initiative remains an organization near and dear to my heart. Their school in Haiti for children in kindergarten through 8th grade offers education to children who would not otherwise get a decent education. They have about 150 students who still need support for this school year, and you might like to join me in sponsoring one of them.
  5. Claiming your agency in keeping fit and healthy  inner and outer  is the key to growing resilience during a prolonged pandemic. NPRThe Washington Post, and Psychology Today offer creative ways to cope during Covid. And check out my interview in Time magazine for tips on how to talk about Covid with family during the holidays.
  6. I love science and we’ve created a terrific archive of Science News, which we post in my weekly newsletter, containing a diverse range of science news articles for the year. And check out this year’s Best Science Images of 2021.
  7. My online Foundations of Well-Being will help you grow new inner strengths each week in 2022, for lasting resilience, calm, and confidence. It’s super practical, you can go at your own pace, and there’s a money-back guarantee. It makes a great gift — to yourself or loved ones — and you can save 40% if you sign up by December 23.
  8. Young people continue to lead the way in climate action. The University of California, Berkeley, financed a student-led online course, Zero Waste: Solutions for a Sustainable Future, that offers practical steps that students can take to shrink their ecological footprints.
  9. Some inspiring TedTalks that made my list of favorites for 2021 include: The radical, revolutionary resilience of Black joy; a Zimbabwean youth scolding adults of developed nations for their sluggish action on climate change; an Afghani teacher’s continuing dream of educating Afghan girls after the Taliban takeover; a neuroscientist attempting to explain how your brain invents your “self;” and an attempt to answer the question, “Can climate change ever by funny?”
  10. Little kids have a lot of big feelings and thoughts, and I’m happy to see more books written for them that address this, such as Have You Filled a Bucket Today? and these new books from Sounds True. Kathy Hegberg has also created cool practices for kids based on my hugging the monkey and petting the lizard meditations, and GoNoodle has free short videos for kids about tuning into your body, your surroundings, and your mind.
  11. midst the gloom-and-doom, a few good news stories stand out, including the first ever bumblebee retirement home; New York passes an environmental rights amendment that guarantees a person’s right to clean air and water and a healthful environment; a declining coral reef comes back to life with whoops and growls; 77 countries now ban plastic bags out of 127 countries that regulate their usage; the first African woman leads the World Trade Organization.
  12. Join Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, and a diverse line-up of the world’s most respected meditation teachers for 40 days of personalized training in the Mindfulness Daily New Years Challenge. There’s a free, self-guided version, or you can gift yourself with the live Q&A and community connection sessions.

Twelve times warm wishes to you,


P.S. For a baker’s dozen, I highly highly recommend the Being Well podcast hosted by Forrest Hanson alongside a recurring mystery guest (me!). The podcast has been downloaded 2.5 million times this year, and we’ve explored topics like how to improve our relationships, deal with anxiety, heal from trauma, break old patterns, motivate yourself, and more. Our guests have included Jud Brewer, Nedra Tawwab, Steven C. Hayes, Tara Brach, Bruce Perry, Jennifer Ashton, and many, many other wonderful teachers and scholars. I know you’ll like it!

Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and expert on the impact of toxic narcissism. She is a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Los Angeles, and also a Visiting Professor at the University of Johannesburg.

The focus of Dr. Ramani’s clinical, academic, and consultative work is the etiology and impact of narcissism and high-conflict, entitled, antagonistic personality styles on human relationships, mental health, and societal expectations. She has spoken on these issues to clinicians, educators, and researchers around the world.

She is the author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, and Don't You Know Who I Am? How to Stay Sane in an Era of Narcissism, Entitlement, and Incivility. Her work has been featured at SxSW, TEDx, and on a wide range of media platforms including Red Table Talk, the Today Show, Oxygen, Investigation Discovery, and Bravo, and she is a featured expert on the digital media mental health platform MedCircle. Dr. Durvasula’s research on personality disorders has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and she is a Consulting Editor of the scientific journal Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Stephen Porges is a Distinguished University Scientist at Indiana University, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina, and Professor Emeritus at both the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland. He is a former president of the Society for Psychophysiological Research and has been president of the Federation of Behavioral, Psychological, and Cognitive Sciences, which represents approximately twenty-thousand biobehavioral scientists. He’s led a number of other organizations and received a wide variety of professional awards.

In 1994 he proposed the Polyvagal Theory, a theory that links the evolution of the mammalian autonomic nervous system to social behavior and emphasizes the importance of physiological states in the expression of behavioral problems and psychiatric disorders. The theory is leading to innovative treatments based on insights into the mechanisms mediating symptoms observed in several behavioral, psychiatric, and physical disorders, and has had a major impact on the field of psychology.

Dr. Porges has published more than 300 peer-reviewed papers across a wide array of disciplines. He’s also the author of several books including The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation.

Dr. Bruce Perry is the Principal of the Neurosequential Network, Senior Fellow of The ChildTrauma Academy, and a Professor (Adjunct) in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago and the School of Allied Health at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia. From 1993 to 2001 he was the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and chief of psychiatry at Texas Children's Hospital.

He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the impact of trauma in childhood, and his work on the impact of abuse, neglect, and trauma on the developing brain has impacted clinical practice, programs, and policy across the world. His work has been instrumental in describing how traumatic events in childhood change the biology of the brain.

Dr. Perry's most recent book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, co-authored with Oprah Winfrey, was released earlier this year. Dr. Perry is also the author, with Maia Szalavitz, of The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog, a bestselling book based on his work with maltreated children, and Born For Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered. Additionally, he’s authored more than 300 journal articles and book chapters and has been the recipient of a variety of professional awards.

Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith is a child clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma and issues of race. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard and then received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. She performed postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital. She has combined her love of teaching and advocacy by serving as a professor and by directing mental health programs for children experiencing trauma, homelessness, or foster care.

Dr. Briscoe-Smith is also a senior fellow of Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and is both a professor and the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the Wright Institute. She provides consultation and training to nonprofits and schools on how to support trauma-informed practices and cultural accountability.

Sharon Salzberg is a world-renowned teacher and New York Times bestselling author. She is widely considered one of the most influential individuals in bringing mindfulness practices to the West, and co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts alongside Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Sharon has been a student of Dipa Ma, Anagarika Munindra, and Sayadaw U Pandita alongside other masters.

Sharon has authored 10 books, and is the host of the fantastic Metta Hour podcast. She was a contributing editor of Oprah’s O Magazine, had her work featured in Time and on NPR, and contributed to panels alongside the Dalai Lama.

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