The heartwarming way some veterans are coping with what they saw at war is surprising: horses.

Going to war changes people.

It's undeniable. We welcome back veterans with gratitude for their service, but what happens when the fanfare dies down and they try to shift back into a "normal" daily life?

For many, the transition is incredibly difficult and made even worse by post-traumatic stress disorder.


This table, which documents the types of stressors experienced in 2003 across various combat zones and military branches, is a staggering reminder of just how much terrible stuff our veterans have witnessed.

Chart info via Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD.

Luckily there are ways to make life better for some of our returning veterans, like spending time with magnificent creatures.

A program in New Jersey could serve as a model for helping veterans and other traumatized people (like at-risk youth and bereaved children) to cope with the world around them again. It's called Spring Reins of Life, and it pairs up people with horses during therapy sessions that calm veterans' nerves and teaches them to connect and communicate again.

Michael Otto Steiger is a U.S. Marine who had been deployed to Iraq in 2005.

Michael Otto Steiger chokes up talking about how Spring Reins of Life helps him:

"I know we all have our different coping mechanisms for dealing with our symptoms of PTSD, and being out here I don't feel like a person with PTSD. I just feel … I guess average or normal."

See more about how the program works:

The program is accredited by the Equine Growth and Learning Association; known as EAGALA, it's a nonprofit that deals with horse-assisted psychotherapy. According to the organization, 90% of donations is spent directly on programming thanks to support from volunteers.

Go beyond just thanking a veteran — help heal them.

Regardless of how differently everyone feels about the necessity of war, it's easy to agree that veterans deserve services like this when they return. Peace of mind and a chance at a happy life is the least we can do.

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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'Merry Christmas' on YouTube.

The world must have been—mostly—good this year. Because Elton John and Ed Sheeran have teamed up to gift us all with a brand new Christmas single.

The song, aptly named “Merry Christmas,” is a perfect blend of silly and sweet that’s cheery, bright and just a touch bizarre.

Created with the holiday spirit in every way, it has whimsical snowball fights, snow angels (basically all the snow things), festive sweaters, iconic throwbacks and twinkling lights galore. Plus all profits from the tune are dedicated to two charities: the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

I personally don’t know which is more of a highlight: Ed Sheeran channeling his inner-Mariah, performing a faux sexy dance in a leg revealing Santa outfit, or him flying through the air with a giant Frosty the Snowman … who seems to be sporting glasses similar to Elton’s. Are we meant to believe that Elton is the Snowman? This music video even has mystery.
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