Check out these 12 inspirational stories from 2015

Check out these 12 inspirational stories from 2015

 via The Washington Post

The Syrian refugee crisis, the Charleston church shooting, the Russian plane bombing, the Paris and San Bernardino terror attacks, and the ugly presidential political discourse. There are a lot of reasons to be glad to say goodbye to 2015.

But, even in the face of all that tragedy and hurt, the best of humanity still shined.

This was Inspired Life’s inaugural year, providing a platform to capture stories that share one commonality: They give us hope. Hope for our own lives, for others and for the world.

Sometimes that was exhibited in people simply trying to better themselves. Other times by someone sharing a personal experience that could help others going through a similar situation feel less alone.

There are always people searching for solutions to improve the lives of others. There are selfless, heroic acts both big and small.

As we start the new year, we know 2016 won’t be devoid of heartache, disappointment and evil. But we can find comfort in knowing there will always be more good people doing extraordinary things.

These are 12 stories we published this year that resonated:

1. A Stanford neurosurgeon’s parting wisdom on life before dying

Paul Kalanithi, a 37-year-old father, reflected on how he measured time differently after his cancer diagnosis. He died in March, several days before the Washington Post published his article.

“With little to distinguish one day from the next, time began to feel static. In English, we use the word time in different ways, “the time is 2:45” versus “I’m going through a tough time.” Time began to feel less like the ticking clock, and more like the state of being. Languor settled in. Focused in the OR, the position of the clock’s hands might seem arbitrary, but never meaningless. Now the time of day meant nothing, the day of the week scarcely more so.”

2. Harvard neuroscientist: Meditation not only reduces stress, here’s how it changes your brain

Regular meditation can actually alter the brain, neuroscientist Sara Lazar discovered. People that practiced regularly had “more gray matter in the frontal cortex, which is associated with working memory and executive decision making.”

In a second study, a group who had never meditated before were put through an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Several regions of their brains thickened, while “the amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain which is important for anxiety, fear and stress in general” got smaller.

3. The surprisingly simple way Utah solved chronic homelessness and saved millions

The state decided to tackle its homelessness program head on by placing people living on the streets in permanent housing.

“In 2005, Utah had nearly 1,932 chronically homeless. By 2014, that number had dropped 72 percent to 539. Today, explained Gordon Walker, the director of the state Housing and Community Development Division, the state is “approaching a functional zero.”

…keep reading for more inspirational stories HERE