An effective tool to fight unkindness: meeting someone completely different from you.
True
Airbnb

Exploring the world helps you grow.

All images by Travel Noire.


Sure, finding yourself in a place you've never been and where you don't know the language is enough to push anyone's boundaries. But it's so much more than that.

Putting yourself in situations that open your eyes and your mind is essential to human development.

It shatters stereotypes.

Yep. It's one of the best ways to break them down.

Think of what the many contentious political debates that rage around us would be like if we learned to see past stereotypes and see people for who and what they are: human.

Well, you can go to Unlearning Your Bias 101 and learn how to really, truly see other people — or you can pack a bag and experience other people who are nothing like you. (Actually, some of us probably need both, but why don't we start with the more enjoyable approach first?)

[Learn] to feel connected to people, who are wholly unlike you, and the place they come from.

This isn't about observing other people and communities like a National Geographic photographer. This is about actually learning to feel connected to people, who are wholly unlike you, and the place they come from.

There's a big world out there full of things you've never even imagined.

I know it's easy to think that your city or even your country is the center of the world. (Looking at you, New York.) But guess what? It's not! Some realities just can't be fully understood without the physical experience. And really, truly grasping that might just make you a bit more concerned with and empathetic for issues that take place all around the world.

Some realities just can't be fully understood without the physical experience.

And while I'd like to think that posting pictures of victims of U.S. military policies is enough to inform your stance on defense, visiting another country might just change how you look at drones. Maybe hearing immigrant mothers on the news sharing their stories is enough to help you understand, but if a trip to beautiful Bolivia awakens your compassion and awareness, why not go?

Seeking out connections that span similarities really does matter.

It changes how you view yourself and the world around you. It changes what you believe is right, wrong, and possible. It changes your perspective forever.

And while that may sound a little hyperbolic, just listen to some people who have fallen in love with a company called Travel Noire over the past year. Travel Noire's goal is to make travel accessible to everyone and to connect a community of smart, savvy black travelers.

Their lives have been enriched in countless ways by taking a chance, meeting their fellow humans, and experiencing the kindness of the world around them.

Check it out:

Courtesy of Verizon
True

If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

Keep Reading Show less