6.12 // Three Things That Need Your Attention This Week

From the affirmations we drill into our boys to the new meditation therapy we didn’t expect to make us so happy, here the three stories that need your attention this week.

The Report

We’ve heard it time and time again, and perhaps have uttered it more times than we care to admit, but saying “stop crying” or “be a man” in an effort to toughen up our boys may have a detrimental effect. A new film called The Mask You Live In explores perpetuated American masculinity and its potential to create a  more violently-inclined, emotionally suppressed gender role that boys feel they need to fill.

The Action

When Jenna Lyons’ son donned pink nail polish in a J.Crew editorial story years back, we didn’t have a second thought – so the aftermath both surprised us and made us cringe. People reeled at the thought of a boy having fun beyond the confines of what’s deemed appropriate. As a whole, our country has perpetuated the idea that boys should be strong and unwavering in their emotions and in the process created generations of men who may be disconnected from emotions and empathy. Just the trailer for The Mask You Live In was enough to whip us into shape: We’re consciously reminding ourselves to keep those sentiments out of our vernacular.

The report

When ketchup is considered a “vegetable” in the American school system, we think we’ve veered off course.

“The School Nutrition Association — what you might call the national organization for lunch ladies (and gents) — says it was trying to improve the healthfulness of school lunches.” says National Public Radio. However, “as the Environmental Working Group noted Tuesday in a blog posttax records show that $6.7 million of $10.5 million the School Nutrition Association collected in 2012 came from sponsorship fees from food companies like Schwan’s Food Service, a major provider of pizza to schools.

‘The School Nutrition Association working with a number of conservatives that completely oppose the school nutrition standards and are trying to gut them,’ says Margo Wootan, the center’s director of food policy.”

The Action

At surface level, it may seem that the SNA has children’s nutrition and best interests at heart, but a  look at their shady funding shows that much of their dollars come from lobbying food corporations that would lose a huge government account if changes were made. We can teach our kids about making smart choices, as well as lobby to our local government for changes to be made in our school districts.

The report

The Los Angeles Times states that “laughter — the real kind, associated with genuine joy and mirth — sets off brain wave patterns quite similar to those generated when experienced meditators ply their mindfulness skills…” 

The Action

You get the same cortisol dropping, stress-relieving benefits from laughing as you do from meditation. So, if meditation isn’t your thing, try laughing therapy. You can even do it alone: Simply start laughing at clapping your hands – and as silly as it may seem in the moment, we can guarantee that you’ll be in stitches after a minute (and feeling worlds more relaxed and happy after a couple of deep-belly guffaws.