One obstacle wellness seekers try to overcome is where to get the best information they need to become or stay well. Might it be Dr. Weil? Dr. Oz? If it’s on the Internet, where is it on the Internet? On Saturday, September 7, an extraordinary event took place at the University of New Mexico’s Popejoy Hall that helped members of the full-house audience learn how to overcome that obstacle. Seventeen speakers from the community used the power of their creative ideas in technology, education, and design to spark efforts to change the wellness of the community and to showcase the gem of the internet where “ideas worth spreading” are found: TED.
The 2013 TEDxABQ conference theme was “Be Extraordinary.” Speakers discussed innovative ideas for rethinking the ways we educate children, store information, help people become and stay well, and make our state, country, and world a better place. TEDxABQ events are local and designed to “celebrate New Mexico’s communities, organizations, and individuals. Locally organized TED-like experiences provide an opportunity to stimulate dialogue and foster connections between attendees, speakers, partners and volunteers.” Here are some of the excellent presentations at TEDxABQ 2013:
Anne Taylor, who is the Director of the Institute for Environmental Education at the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of New Mexico, explained how and why she teaches teachers and educational administrators about the importance of school design in facilitating children’s education. It empowers kids to be more creative and responsive to lessons in an environment with more hands-on learning and “three-dimensional textbooks” and less classroom “visual pollution” and fewer“linear textbooks,” and unsustainable resources on the school grounds.
Charles McMillan. Director of New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory, talked about the importance of STEM education for people involved in national security, like those who work at Los Alamos, as well as for others. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, areas in which Americans have been lagging, according to studies done over the past 30 years. McMillan is one of four people in the U.S. who is required to send an annual letter to the President and Congress assessing the state of weapons in the U.S. nuclear stockpile.
Tanaya Winder, a New Mexican Native American writer, poet, artist. and Chicano studies lecturer at the University of New Mexico, gave an engaging presentation about choosing one’s words, “thinking about the consequences that words can have.” Words, she said, “are seeds that we sow with positivity or negativity, and they can be empowering and have impact.” She often connected her poetry with the pain suffered in New Mexican reservations caused by the scourges of cirrhosis and diabetes. Her talk was very touching and she was the only speaker in the morning session to receive a standing ovation.
New Mexican Doug Fine, who described himself as a “comedic investigative journalist and solar-powered goat herder” and whose books examine green living, sustainability and co-existing with nature, talked about “the return of the indigenous gene, and why we need goat herders in the digital age.” Fine says everyone has some primal human instincts hiding beneath the surface. “I discovered it kind of by accident by stoking that indigenous gene, which for me was goat milking at dawn as owls fly overhead. That’s my road to happiness and it’s a root to sustainability for society.”
These talks were wonderful. Click the button below to access some online TED talks about ground-breaking ideas that are likely to have a positive impact on your wellness; they focus on the ultimate goal of being well or achieving wellness: happiness.
Total Wellness-1: Dan Gilbert: The surprising science of happiness
We maintain here that the goal of what we call “wellness” has much to do with becoming happy. In this talk, the first in a series of six Ted talks, Dan Gilbert believes that, in our lifelong pursuit of happiness, most of us have the wrong map. He argues that our brains systematically misjudge what makes us happy. And these quirks in our cognition make humans very poor creators of our own happiness.
Total Wellness-2: Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce
Tipping Point, Outliers, and Blink author Malcolm Gladwell believes that there is “more going on beneath the surface than we think, and more going on in little, finite moments of time than we would guess.” In this talk, he goes inside the food industry’s pursuit of the perfect spaghetti sauce; he makes a strong, well-researched argument about the link between choice and happiness.
Total Wellness-3: Flow, the secret to happiness
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the architect of the notion of “flow,” says creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he has devoted his life to understanding what makes people truly happy: Happiness arrives at the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.
Total Wellness-4: How to buy happiness
This talk is about the relationships between shopping and happiness; winning the lottery and unhappiness; money and social wellness (and sadness); charity and happiness; and kindness and culture. Michael Norton, a Harvard educated marketing researcher shares fascinating research on how money can in fact buy happiness, but only when you don’t spend it on yourself.
Total Wellness-5: Less stuff, more happiness
An advocate of the “Less is more” and “Small is sexy” mantras, Graham Hill argues quite convincingly that happiness is the result of having less “stuff” and living is less space. Would that give you a little more freedom? Yes. Would that give you a little more time?” Yes. “Would that give you push sustainability into the mainstream? Yes.
Total Wellness-6: Matthieu Ricard: The habits of happiness
Former scientist Mattheiu Ricard (who is sometimes called “the Happiest Man on Earth”) explains his Buddhist contemplation of happiness and his active life as a humanitarian in the Himalayas. Achieving happiness, he has come to believe requires the same kind of effort and mind training that any other serious pursuit involves. He has written several books, including The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet.