September 30th, 2010
04:13 PM ET

TEDMED: Goldie Hawn works toward kids' happiness

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/health/2010/09/22/tedmed.hawn.siegel.cnn"%5D

In the wake of 9-11, actress Goldie Hawn became concerned about the happiness of children and optimizing their state of being.

She brought together neuroscientists, doctors, educators, psychologists, and other experts in the field to create a curriculum for making children happy; increasingly important considering growing trends on childhood depression and school drop-out rates. The result was called MindUp, a way for children to get in touch with their emotions, manage stress, and enhance focus and learning.

The program appears to have worked. Children in this 15-lesson curriculum were better able to manage their levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, she said. They also had improved executive function.

Dr. Daniel Siegel, executive director of the Mindsight Institute, then speaks about how the educational system may be "imprisoning" children's brains. Kids, from very early on, can develop "mindsight," the ability to see the internal worlds of others and themselves. He looks at wellbeing as an integrated triangle of mind, brain, and relationships. Children should learn reflection as a skill, he says. Through mindsight, children can have more compassionate, empathic relationships, as well as enhanced insight and emotional balance.

TEDMED is an annual event that brings together dozens of luminaries from a variety of fields to "demonstrate the intersection and connections between all things medical and health care related: from personal health to public health, devices to design and Hollywood to the hospital." TEDMED 2010 will take place from October 26 to 29 in San Diego, California.

Editor's note: Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be attending TEDMED in October and his coverage of the conference will be featured in "Sanjay Gupta, M.D."

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Jeri5a3952

    Goldie's work on making children happier is just exactly right. I would have wished it for my kids who went to school in the 90's. Keep up the good work, our education system needs changing!

    September 30, 2010 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Bob

    Goldie fought China's one child policy for a long time. Unfortunately, most children are suffering because of over population. We need to decrease the number of children being born if we are to improve the lives of children. That means family planning and in extreme cases restrictions on the number of children being born. You can bury your head in the sand and say it's not an issue or I'm being cruel and offensive. But study the facts. There are far too many babies being born and they're being born into the worst of circumstances.

    September 30, 2010 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • keith1952

      Bob it seems to me you are willing to write anything that supports your belief. You are however wrong. In America we will start losing population without immigration. We are not giving birth to enough children to sustain our population in America. That is true in many European countries also. In Africa, famine and war, keep the population stable so the only difficult places are China and India.

      So, perhaps your opinion is driven by compassion but most probably it is driven by ignorance.

      September 30, 2010 at 22:36 | Report abuse |
  3. san

    Again another hollywood STAR that has to much money, and no work at her age....sooooo lets get a cause. The U.S. has already made wimps out of our children ...be careful a snow storm...rain storm .. Be careful the bus is here, move back 50 feet. Your parents can't take care of you, why? Because they are the new parent wimps that is the result of what the govement has done to it's citizens. To much goverment telling us how to live and breath. Goldie please stop before it cost me another tax hike for another service the goverment already has by another name...School Psychlogist, educators , nurses ,teacher aids etc...

    October 1, 2010 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. LS

    Sounds like a great organization. I hope it expands to more schools.

    October 1, 2010 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. BellaTerra66

    Daniel Goleman, The Dalai Lama, Matthieu Ricard, along with others, have worked for years on this and are continuing to work together on this. Read some of Dr. Goleman's books. Matthieu Ricard has published two books, one on happiness and one on meditation. This is not just for children. No matter how old we are, we can start. We make not make as much headway if we had started when we were children and some of us over 60 don't have a lot of time left. But it's never too late to start.

    October 1, 2010 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. lynn4narnia

    Being an experienced special education teacher for 19 years and the mother of an ADHD teen, this video makes a LOT of sense to me. We teach kids "what" to think as far as curriculum and state standardized testing but we fail to teach them HOW to think..they know so little about how their brain works, how to focus, how to calm themselves down, how to look outside themselves into the lives of others. We have taught our kids that people different from them are someone to gossip about and laugh at. A young Rutgers University musician died b/c 2 people were so busy amusing themselves, they had no sense of the deadly consequence of their selfish actions. We value people so little..and I believe that Goldie and her team of neuroscientists are right...we must teach our kids how to think well and develop empathy for those around them. My own teenager is a senior and she still deals with a great deal of frustration being ADHD, learning to handle that is still a struggle. Wish she had had this when she was younger...her teenage years would be less of a struggle and she might have handling the teenage bullying less or not experienced it at all.....and just think.Use MindUP could eliminate the need for bullying if all kids felt good about themselves as human beings. Our society as a whole does not value people as people (elderly and unborn are given little thought – just look at the rates of assisted suicide and abortion) We adults have taught our children by our own comments and actions that people who are not like us are someone we can judge,make fun of or laugh at...Comedians regularly make fun of others for their own gain...no wonder kids are using the internet to watch others do the unthinkable, it's entertainment!. Cyberbullying is a spectator sport because people who do it, don't see the response, so they do not care what happens to the person who is targeted. I say, teach our children to use their brain for their own good and the good of others. A calm child is one who will not grow up to murder or bully another human being. I say..go for it. Thank you Goldie.

    October 1, 2010 at 20:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Bad Patient

    See if you can get them off of corn. There's so much corn syrup in our diet, how can they even think straight? It's too fast of a sugar. Humans can't handle it.

    October 2, 2010 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Cindy Sharp

    This information is AWESOME! I am raising two children adopted from a Russian orphanage who have experienced early childhood trauma and neglect because of their early brain development. What Golie Hawn is saying goes hand in hand with Heather Forbes Beyond Consequences Institute, raising childen with severe behaviors. I have been working with my children's preschool on many of the issues discussed hear.....and they are listening! I can't wait to share this video. I agree with this information. We can change the world....one child at a time!

    October 18, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
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