Your Number Story


Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Nadine Burke Harris talk ACEs.


Find Joy

Follow what sparks your soul

“I’ve been through a lot of trauma, grief, and loss since I was young, and it feels like everything good in life is short-lived or only for other people. I’m struggling to find meaning in my life. The pain and suffering I’ve experienced cause me to question my purpose, and whether anything really matters. It’s hard to look forward to things when I’m always waiting for them to fall apart. I find it hard to trust that the world can be a good place, and I often find myself going through the motions and just surviving. I want to find a way to get unstuck and start feeling like life is worth living in a way that’s more fulfilling.”

When life throws you some real challenges right from the start, it makes sense that happiness may seem out of reach. We’re more likely to experience lasting effects of the body’s overactive biological stress response – known as toxic stress.

Toxic stress not only affects how we function, but also how we react to future stress.

We may feel like we’re stuck on high alert much of the time, or like we’re numb and checked out. Either of these may be the result of your body’s stress response system working to help you survive really rough stuff while growing up.

You absolutely deserve happiness and joy, and it’s possible to find purpose and fulfillment in life – even when we’ve gone through traumas that may have transformed us.

One of the greatest freedoms we may discover is that we don’t have to seek out or stumble upon purpose – we can create it ourselves. We get to decide what holds meaning to us, to define what fulfillment is to us.

Sometimes we may have trouble believing we’ve earned the right to invest time and energy in the things that lift us up and help us feel grateful to be alive. Joy is our right, and actively pursuing it is a way to resist anything and anyone that may want to keep us down. Joy can be a radical act of rebellion.

Remember, healing is a process – and healing childhood trauma is a lifelong journey for most of us.

Be kind to yourself.

Tips and Tools

Express Yourself

Using art or creativity – visual arts, dance, make-up, movement, music, writing, fashion, theater – to express ourselves can help us process emotions, reduce stress and anxiety, and reframe narratives in transformative and empowering ways.

Make Time to Play

Many of us grew up quickly, and we may not have spent much time experiencing the freedom of play. As adults, play helps us connect, build community, and collaborate more effectively. Play also boosts the brain in similar ways to meditation, increasing our ability to focus and be present in the moment, and enhancing our
mental well-being.

Be Awe-struck

Awe is the feeling we get in the presence of something that shifts our perspective, like a camera lens zooming out and broadening our horizons. Awe pivots our attention away from ourselves, helps us feel like we are part of something bigger, and boosts our generosity toward others. When we experience awe, our everyday concerns tend to feel less overwhelming – as we feel smaller, so do our worries. Intentionally seeking moments that bring us the feeling of awe can keep us feeling connected to others and the world around us, and can provide needed changes in our point of view.


Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, in collaboration with HopeLab, Greater Good in Action presents a searchable, customizable collection of research-based methods for a happier, more meaningful life. Over time, these practices – including awe-inspiring activities – can evolve into habits, and from habits come new ways of experiencing the world.

From the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, these activities include video modules on expressive meditations like shaking, dancing, drawing, and writing, and mindful meditations like guided imagery. These techniques, when practiced regularly, are powerful tools for helping heal the effects of trauma on our minds and bodies.

Wherever we are in our own journeys - we could all use some care and support.

Take time to check out some tips, tools, and resources around whatever it is you may be seeking.
You’re so totally worth it.
Find pride - it's more than a destination, it's a journey
Find resilience - in our history and yours
Find community - real ones who get the vibes
Find rest - so you can slay
another day
Find hope - shining through the darkest hours
Find support - you’re so worth it, babe
Sacramento Resources
National Resources