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Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about.

Cultivating Practical Optimism: A Key to Getting the Best from Your Brain. Editor's note: This post is co-authored by Marcus Conyers who, with Donna Wilson, is co-developer of the M.S. and Ed.S. Brain-Based Teaching degree programs at Nova Southeastern University. They have written several books, including Five Big Ideas for Effective Teaching: Connecting Mind, Brain, and Education Research to Classroom Practice.

Neuroscientists recently discovered that optimism is associated with brain pathways connecting the left prefrontal region to the amygdala. Further research has demonstrated that optimism, traditionally considered to be an unchangeable trait, is a way of thinking that can be learned and enhanced. People with a positive viewpoint have less stress, better creative problem-solving skills, and better health outcomes than less optimistic people. In addition, optimistic learners are more likely to persist in the sometimes-hard work of learning, motivated by the belief that they can accomplish their learning goals.

Trash or Treasure? 1. 2. The choice is yours. 7 Essential Books on Optimism. By Maria Popova What the love of honey has to do with ancient wisdom, our capacity for hope, and the future of technology. Every once in a while, we all get burned out. Sometimes, charred. And while a healthy dose of cynicism and skepticism may help us get by, it’s in those times that we need nothing more than to embrace life’s promise of positivity with open arms. Here are seven wonderful books that help do just that with an arsenal ranging from the light visceral stimulation of optimistic design to the serious neuroscience findings about our proclivity for the positive. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, one of our must–read children’s books with philosophy for grown-ups, is among the most poetic and hopeful reflections on human existence ever penned.

Here is my secret. Published in 1943, translated into 180 languages since and adapted to just about every medium, Exupéry’s famous novella is one of the best-selling books of all time. Reviewed in full, with more images, here. Hero Mom (Age 5+) The Castle Corona (Age 8+) Mary Poppins (Age 8+) Pollyanna (Age 9+) Connected. From founding The Webby Awards to being a passionate advocate for The National Day of Unplugging, Her love/hate relationship with technology serves as the springboard for a thrilling exploration of modern life…and our interconnected future.

Equal parts documentary and memoir, the film unfolds during a year in which technology and science literally become a matter of life and death for the director. As Shlain’s father battles brain cancer and she confronts a high-risk pregnancy, her very understanding of connection is challenged. Using a brilliant mix of animation, archival footage, and home movies, Shlain reveals the surprising ties that link us not only to the people we love but also to the world at large. A personal film with universal relevance,Connected explores how, after centuries of declaring our independence, it may be time for us to declare our interdependence instead. Quotes “Examining everything from the Big Bang to Twitter…a cinematic clickstream…INCREDIBLY ENGAGING!” Louder Than a Bomb. Louder Than A Bomb tells the story of four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare to compete in the world's largest youth slam. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the turbulent lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa.

Louder Than A Bomb is not about "high school poetry" as we often think of it. It's about language as a joyful release, irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance. While the topics they tackle are often deeply personal, what they put into their poems—and what they get out of them—is universal: the defining work of finding one's voice. Winner of more than fifteen festival prizes, including ten audience awards, Louder Than A Bomb has been hailed as "powerful and exhilarating" (TimeOut Chicago), "inspiring" (L.A. Times), "irresistible" (Chicago Tribune), "vibrant and moving" (The Wrap), and "a get-up-and-clap kind of movie (Paste)". Doc McStuffins (Age 4+) Kiki's Delivery Service (Age 5+) Heidi (Age 6+) Anne of Green Gables (Age 7+) Rudy (Age 11+) Girl Rising (Age 12+) The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Age 11+)

Invictus (Age 12+) Inspirational sports movies have a tendency to be full of overwrought dialogue and sappy, swelling music accompanying the athletic competition. Eastwood's genius is that even though there's enough of both here (including dramatic recitations of the titular poem, which means "unconquered"), the film never feels bogged down by sentimentality. Instead, Freeman is a revelation as Mandela. It's difficult to imagine any other actor playing the iconic leader, and Freeman doesn't disappoint. With every nod, walk, and smile, Freeman fully transforms into the Nobel Peace Prize winner -- his lovingly executed performance is reason enough to see this historically accurate film. Damon packed on muscle to play the barrel-chested Francois, although he couldn't do anything to approach the real Pienaar's considerable height. There's not much scene-stealing from Damon; he seems content to let Freeman and the game of rugby set the tone.

Hairspray (Age 14+) If You Build It (Age 13+) Our Song (Age 16+) Sue Austin: Deep sea diving ... in a wheelchair. Make Beliefs Comix (Age 8+) Here There Everywhere (Age 8+) A Mighty Girl (Age 8+) Reach Out (Age 13+) Happier (Age 12+) Gives Me Hope (Age 12+) Silverlicious (Age 5)