Author Archives: Melissa J Johnson PhD

Get Assertive!

Our favorite definition of assertive is “educating others on how you want to be treated.” This is a vital skill for young women today – in friendship, in dating relationships, at work and in school.  Watch this 1 minute video with Dr. Melissa J. Johnson, psychologist, CEO and founder of the Institute on how you

Friendship Stress? Friendship Tools!

The middle school girl friendship world gets a bad rap.  We hear about “drama,” mean girls, and exclusion.  Social media adds to friendship stress. What’s a girl to do?  What’s a parent to do?  We all want girls to enjoy positive friendships. In fact, research shows that girls grow through connection.  Relationships with peers and

Expect the Unexpected

Tools for wonderful and challenging times Life is full of surprises – wonderful, awful, beautiful, challenging surprises.  As we wear our many hats –  parents, educators, human beings who work with and care about young people – how can we meet the unexpected with grace and courage?  And, how can we help the girls and

Yoga and Mindfulness: Cool Ways to Chill

An interview with Erin Kelly and Cynthia Syd Delaski, Workshop Facilitators “Yoga and mindfulness can help us  bring our experiences to life!”  Quote from Erin Kelly, Mindfulness Facilitator at the Institute “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step:

Empowering Mindfulness Tools in Education

What is more empowering for educators and students than being equipped with tools to develop effective and satisfying social & emotional lives in and out of school, cope with stress, and achieve greater focus and attention for learning? Contemporary research on learning and brain development help us understand the value of mindfulness tools for students

Gratitude: Carry It Forward

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying, thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”

Bring on that Adventurer Spirit!

The door to our study is covered with decorative paper. A box of colored pens sit nearby. Drawings and words tell the stories of “new things we’ve done.” Learning a new skill, discovering a musical artist we’ve never listened to before, letting kids teach us a new game, all are grist for the adventurer’s mill.

Get Out!

Let the beauty we love be what we do There are Hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth. Rumi Rumi got this right — there really are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth! This summer, get creative with ways to combine your love of the earth with care for our

These Kids are Wired! Part 2: Fun Activities for Kids – Moving Beyond Appearance and Being Media Smart!

Concerned that your children spend too much time “wired”? Research shows that the average youth (ages 8 – 18) spends 45 hours a week with media! That’s an intense relationship! Many parents talk to me about their concerns about worrisome media messages, especially those that promote unrealistic standards of beauty & perfection. These messages can

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