11 Foods that Reduce Stress


Real Comfort Food: 11 Foods that Reduce Stress

We’ve all heard of comfort food, but most so-called “comfort foods” tend to be loaded with carbs which only provide a temporary calming fix that wears off quickly and makes your mood worse in the long run.

So, instead of indulging in mashed potatoes and gravy when you’re feeling stressed, try choosing your snacks and meals from this list of truly calming foods to help get through your days feeling focused, balanced, and better able to handle conflicts with ease:

  1. AsparagusYoung woman eating bowl of fruit salad, portrait
  2. Avocados
  3. Berries
  4. Cashews
  5. Chamomile tea
  6. Chocolate
  7. Garlic
  8. Green tea
  9. Oatmeal
  10. Oranges
  11. Walnuts

To read more about these foods and the science behind them, click on the title to read 13 Foods That Fight Stress on Prevention.com.

If it’s to be, it’s up to me


Tim Use this One

The story we tell ourselves and others is our reality. All the triumphs, challenges, and ongoing battles we dwell on in our minds would be forever gone if we lost our lives tomorrow. 

The truth is – no one makes you feel or act – it is your choice. The only thing controlled by you, is what you say and what you do.

Indianapolis is a city that studies say is one of the most difficult places to go from poverty as a child to prosperity as an adult.  It is not because there are not opportunities – mostly a lack of relationships and access.

Education is the ladder out of poverty.  The further you go in education – the higher the ladder.  But we all know, education is time and time is precious when we have families to feed and jobs to work.

My work at Peace Learning Center involves helping people realize their true potential while overcoming their shortcomings.

People ask me, “How do you help young people succeed, especially if they’re in the juvenile justice system?”

It starts with taking personal responsibility for your life.  No one makes you feel or do things – you are responsible for your own decisions.  Once we realize this, we see that no one holds us back but ourselves. 

Once you take charge – you start having hope for the future.  Once you have hope – you realize that your education is the tool for positive change.  Better understanding the world helps us determine our own destiny.

We are not our past.  We are the present and the future.  Our past is part of us, but every day we have a chance to write a new chapter and every day we have the chance to build new relationships.

We often teach that your whole life comes down to just ten two letter words.

If it is to be, it is up to me. 

This post is written by Tim Nation, Executive Director and Co-founder of Peace Learning Center.

Summer “Break”


School is out for summer. Once those doors close, kids aren’t welcomed back until August.

Exploring Nature

Exploring nature during Peacebuilders Camp!

Think about it – here in Indianapolis that is 221,664 youth, 19 years and under, who need adults to take care of them.

While summer break is shorter for most youth because of balanced calendars (school is out for two weeks in fall, winter and spring) it still averages around 9 weeks. Youth are in school at least 180 days a year by law – that leaves 185 “out of school” days.

While our city enjoys new school choices through new charter, magnet and private schools, I’ve witnessed a decline in youth enrichment programs that focus on out of school time.

The Kaleidoscope Youth Center recently closed as did Ruth Lilly Health Education Center‘s building at 22nd and Senate. Now, Marian University runs Ruth Lilly Health Education’s programs through outreach.

What happened? Because of multiple factors including funding, testing and competition for class time, many students do not go on field trips or only take one-two field trips a year versus the nearly monthly field trips they enjoyed before.

In response to this trend, Peace Learning Center has modified our programs to go directly into classrooms, offices, and communities. While many of the field trip programs to Eagle Creek Park and Peace Camp in southern Indiana ended during the great recession due to school budget cuts, we still offer robust summer camp experiences for hundreds of children and youth each summer.

People ask how we’ve survived these last 18 years. It is because of people like you who support and encourage us to move forward. Our city is full of positive people with integrity and compassion.

Let’s step up and provide the best experiences possible for kids this summer through arts, nature, recreation, and discovery. Summer should be freedom to connect with all those passions that schools often don’t give children opportunities to explore.

Please help Peace Learning Center share summer with Indy’s kids by donating to support our summer programs and/or by participating in our special summer offerings! Check our website to learn more about our summer camps and special workshops your family or your children can attend.

This blog post is written by Tim Nation, Executive Director and Co-founder of Peace Learning Center.

Summer Adventures

Even adults have fun during summer programs at PLC!

Even adults have fun during summer programs at PLC!

While summer camp opportunities might be declining for many children, there are still so many unique summer camps and other adventures at PLC and beyond that await exploration!

Click here to read an Indy Star article featuring 45 local camps for your kids to enjoy! Or, if you’re up for an adventure this summer, be sure to to read this article about 12 Adult Summer Camps that will Awaken your Inner Child.

I remember going to summer camp and dreading it when I was a child. Camp was the same thing every day…. arts and crafts, taking a hike, playing tag, eating a peanut butter or bologna sandwich and a banana for lunch, and then “hanging out” with volunteers watching over us, or “babysitting,” until the day ended.

Summer at the Peace Learning Center. Wow, how times have changed! They make me wish I could have a “do over”. So much to do, so much to see, so much to learn!!

Summer at the PLC….. I love the sound of those words as much as I love to hear the buses and vans pull into our parking lot. Excited youth get off the bus, ready for a day of fun. The hustle and bustle of it all. Enthusiastic voices and laughter ring through the building as youth participate in learning activities, nature hikes and more.

There is nothing quite like a child telling you with wide eyed wonderment what they just learned, saw or experienced. It’s a joy to see them feeling confident about themselves and practicing what they’ve learned during the course of the day.

I am proud of the PLC facilitators for instilling pride, confidence and skills these youth can take home and use on a daily basis in their own lives, creating a more peaceful place in their world.

So, we hope you will join us this summer by either supporting or attending an unforgettable camp experience!

This blog post is written by Lisa Jones, PLC’s Director of Human Resources and Operations.

Tim’s Peace Update: April 2015

Jamaica Follow the Leader

Jamaican teachers take turn being the leader during a “blind caterpillar” exercise.

Teaching: An honorable profession

In the last few months I’ve met with a number of administrators and professors from schools of education at Marian, Butler and IUPUI. A common theme is a noticeable drop in applications from students who want to be teachers.

Contrast this with a recent service trip I took with a team from Peace Learning Center to Sav La Mar Jamaica for a 3-day teacher vocational training focused on conflict resolution and peace building in the classroom.

In Jamaica, the teaching profession is still ranked as a prestigious position for females and males.  Many teachers told stories of their parents urging them to be educators even though Jamaican schools are oftentimes crowded and underfunded with a lack of basic teaching supplies and technology.

“This is the best training I’ve ever attended,” said a veteran Jamaican teacher while participating in this vocational training on peace and conflict resolution. The three day spring conference hosted over 90 participants who learned ways to peacefully resolve their conflicts while improving their classroom management.

The teachers assembled were challenged to reflect on why they are teachers, while exploring the root causes of many of the problems their students and communities face. “We must be the change we wish to see in the world,” they shared.

Participants received a Teach the Facilitator Manual and Jamaican Student Peace Education Workbook both printed and electronic, posters, learning guides and other materials to share with their students and colleagues.  Day three included small group work designing and implementing their own peace education workshop.

“I think this training should be mandatory for every existing and new teacher in Jamaica,” a high school teacher commented on the evaluation.  “Make this training part of our university teacher curriculum,” said another.

We have much to learn from Jamaicans on how our communities should honor and support teachers.  It saddens me to hear stories of parents in USA telling their children not to go into teaching because they won’t make enough to pay their student loans.

Teaching is an extremely important profession that requires our best and brightest.

We should do all we can to support and improve teaching and learning for everyone.

This section is written by Tim Nation, Executive Director and Co-founder of Peace Learning Center.

Peace through Service


So this month’s topic is “Peace through Service”. I can tell you personally that when I do service work, the whole experience is rewardinelephant loveg, unforgettable and brings a certain peace to my heart.  This got me thinking about how other people feel when they do service work, so off to Google I went, searching for the answer.  I found the majority of people feel that service is very rewarding.

“There are different types of community service work…I am a social worker by choice…it is community service work…and it has led me on many strange adventures…I love being of service to my fellow human beings. It makes my heart sing and grows my spirit in ways I would never have imagined…”

“To work in the community without getting anything in return is very rewarding and brings on blessings from on high, it also makes you feel ten feet tall when you see someone smile after you have helped them do something they could not have done themselves. There is no amount of money that you could get paid that would equal that feeling. It is pure joy”.

“I feel healthier physically, and I feel better inside knowing that I made a difference in my community”.

Michael Steger, a psychologist at the University of Louisville, KY conducted a survey of 65 undergraduates to see what made them happier; meaningful activities such as service or pleasure seeking, self-serving activities.  The results found that the individuals who did service were happier, saying service made their lives feel more purposeful.  Those who sought self serving activities, found they weren’t any happier than before the survey.

Well…. It would appear from personal experience, testimonials and surveys that service will make you happier, your life more meaningful, more rewarding and yes, more peaceful. 

This doesn’t mean it has to be “community” service.  It can be something as little as letting someone skip in front of you in the grocery line, paying someone a compliment that makes them feel better about themself, buying the person’s meal behind you in the drive-thru lane, holding the door open, picking something up that someone else dropped, a smile, listening to a stranger vent about their day, reading a story to someone, etc.  I consider service to be anything I can do to make someone else’s life a little easier, a little nicer, a little less stressful.

There are lots of places in need of service.  Even PLC needs volunteers to help! Most non-profit agencies need service volunteers or you can click on these links to search for current volunteer opportunities:  




This blog post is written by Lisa Jones, PLC’s Director of Human Resources and Operations.   

Grow Yourself – Cooperation




The meaning of this word is “The process of working together to the same end.”

Wow! Rather a “loaded” definition wouldn’t you say?

If you really think about it, no one would be where they are today without the cooperation of other individuals who’ve come and gone through their lives.

Does cooperation and teamwork go hand in hand?

Working together isn’t always easy is it.  There are differences of opinions of how “it”should be done.  Personal feelings get in the way, conflict erupts, compromises are made, someone doesn’t feel heard, someone is not pulling their weight, intimidation, cultural differences, intergenerational differences….The list goes on and on and on.

Sometimes “it” gets accomplished in a very smooth way and everyone walks away happy, with a sense of pride and accomplishment, learning from each other’s experiences, knowledge, education, and maybe even making a new friend along the way.

Sometimes “it” doesn’t get accomplished because of all these differences and everyone walks away unhappy, angry, upset, and blaming others.  This is where the PLC can step in and help. The PLC offers workshops on conflict, intergenerational understanding, team problem solving, diversity and more. Click here for more information on these workshops.

Here are some tips to help you be a more “cooperative” individual:

 1).  Be Present – Be in the now: Be open and honest.  Have clarity about yourself and what talents you can “bring to the table” and what you can “take away from the table”. Be willing to take a chance and be mindful.

2).  Involve Others: More brains are better than one. “Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean” (author unknown). Ask questions, praise others ideas and input.

3).  Be Compassionate: Learn about the interests of others and respect them. Treat everyone as if they were already a friend.

4).  Recognize that Success is Unlimited:  You are not in a competition. Remember that others success leads the patch to your success.    

This section is written by Lisa Jones, PLC’s Director of Human Resources and Operations.

Reflections on MLK’s life and legacy

Tim Use this One

Tim Nation, Executive Director and Cofounder of Peace Learning Center

While we reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King’s life and legacy, 2014 will stand as a watershed year for a civil rights awakening that is both sad and hopeful.

Sad because racial disparities continue to rise despite Dr. King’s call for all people to come together understanding we are all one human family – children of God.  Schools, child services, police and courts continue to suspend, expel, remove from their homes and punish people of color disproportionately by ranges from 200% to even 1200% more than white people.

Police action shootings and recent grand jury decisions bring attention to these disparities sparking a younger generation to wake up to these injustices realizing they could no longer say we are in a post racial society and that the civil rights movement was their parents’ and grandparents’ fight.

Hopeful because many people recognize we must address these problems.  Our institutions are reflections of our history and cultural so we must know how we got to this place to be able to change things.

Fear is a powerful force.  Our country’s dark history of slavery used fear as an economic tool.  Imagine the mindset of slave-holding plantation owners – every night wondering if their prisoners would rise up at night and overpower them. Worried that their slaves would flee, the myth of the runaway dangerous slave who would rape white women was created to turn non slaveholders into fearful participants in a community of people committed to perpetuating violence and difference.

Not until the 1950’s and 60’s did our country’s laws and customs start changing to integrate black people into our society – meaning that we are a mere 50 years into this cultural evolution. There are two generations among us who lived before our country’s laws were changed.

But laws and regulations don’t necessarily change hearts and minds. This subconscious fear of the other must be dealt with if we are to move beyond current tensions. We must dispel of myths that drive wedges between people.  Focusing on differences and ignoring our similarities keeps us from the peace we all desire.

Research shows that racial disparities and disproportionality will be reduced when we dialogue and build skills to live in a multicultural society that promotes equity and justice.  In New Zealand, all teachers and youth professionals and trained in “cultural safety” the concept that each child has a right to feel safe and secure and their culture will be respected at their schools and communities.

In Indianapolis, leaders like Pat Payne at Indianapolis Public Schools and Cindy Booth at Child Advocates lead efforts to end racism through education.  Peace Learning Center helps schools, businesses, neighborhood and faith groups learn diversity and social justice skills through a variety of workshops and programs at Eagle Creek Park and in the community.

It is time to face our fears and have difficult conversations for the sake of our future. Learning to address our fears and build hope will reduce violence and increase kindness – is that what we all need?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Dr. Martin Luther King

Tim Nation

Executive Director and Cofounder

Peace Learning Center

November 2014 – PLC News

“I don’t need a holiday or a feast to feel grateful for my children, the sun, the moon, the roof over my head, music, and laughter, but I like to take this time to take the path of thanks less traveled.” – Paula Poundstone


While we have many things to be grateful for this upcoming holiday season, we still find ourselves wishing there was more peace and justice in the world right now.In this month’s PLC newsletter we’ve included a few of the ways we’re trying to create more peace and justice in our community while also sharing how you can do so as well – which includes participating in a coat and blanket drive for the homeless.

In addition, regardless of the outcome of the grand jury’s decision in the Ferguson, Missouri case, it has brought to light injustices occurring in our country which desperately need to be addressed. Tim Nation, PLC’s executive director, shares our organizational response to this situation – as we believe it is an issue which impacts all cities across the United States.

Click here to view the entire newsletter.

Being Grateful


snoopy grateful


How can I tell you I’m grateful for every little thing in my life and have you believe those are not just words? How can I tell you that my life changing experiences made me thankful for everything I have and that I “pay it forward” daily? Would my sob story make you a believer?

There are lots of websites that will tell you 10 ways to be grateful, 16 ideas to help you be thankful, 20 ways to teach your children how to be grateful. For me personally, it comes from the soul. It comes from your experiences. It comes from your heart. I have the following poem taped on my fridge – it’s beautiful and for me, it’s a gentle reminder for when I have a self-pity party or whining about silly things. I hope this poem makes it to your fridge as well. Have a wonderfully fun Thanksgiving that is filled with memory making moments, fun and of course…gratefulness.

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
because it means you’ve made a difference.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who
are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they can become your blessings.

~Author Unknown

This post is written by Lisa Jones, PLC’s Director of Human Resources and Operations.