Research Supports My Work

Research supports my work

Research Supports My Work

I often admit to potential clients that I have a strange hobby. What is my hobby? It’s reading peer-reviewed journal articles that provide information on human thriving which make it easy to document that research supports my work.

This hobby began nearly a decade ago when I realized other people had been researching and writing about aspects of human thriving so I didn’t have to figure everything out on my own. At that point, I put aside my pleasure books (fiction) and began consuming non-fiction as devoutly as I used to read fiction. For decades I read about one fiction book a day and I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t read non-fiction that fast. Mainly because I don’t just read non-fiction books. I study them. I make notes in the margins, I look up research cited in the bibliography. I do internet searches to expand my understanding of new ideas.

I understand why my hobby is addicting, every time I find a tidbit that will help me help others my body produces a biochemical cocktail of hormones that feel good. That’s the part that is addictive.

Perhaps because of my hobby or simply because I am permanently curious, I’ve explored many different aspects of human thriving and learned some amazing things. It is amazing how many times someone has invented almost the same concept and given it a different name. Most people would assume they are merely copying what someone else did and renaming it but that doesn’t appear to be the case. People independently arrive at similar conclusions without ever realizing that others’ are working on a very similar solution.

What Causes Human Thriving?

My original search began by wondering what causes some humans to thrive in spite of adversity while others don’t under like circumstances. Another way of saying that is, “Why are some people resilient in spite of adversity?” For a long time after I began pulling journal articles from the database available through the local University, I missed a tremendous body of research because they used the terms grit and hardiness instead of resilience.

The last time I attempted to count how many articles from scientific journals I’d read was a year ago when I finished Rescue Our Children from the War Zone and realized I had 760 citations in the book. I’d read over 5,000 articles at that time. This past week I pulled 300 new articles for a new book I’m researching.

Other’s Documentation of Research that Supports My Work

Shortly before I began pulling research for my latest project I found a great synopsis of how effective various methods were and how robust the published research supporting those methods is, so far. I was delighted to see them include several factors that are included The Smart Way(TM) program.

I was especially delighted to see that the foundation of our program has the highest efficacy and the most robust research and achieves those results at the lowest cost. The later is very important to me because I want to help as many people as I possibly can and higher cost would limit our ability to accomplish that important goal.

Honestly, if what we do had to be priced so that only the elite could afford it I wouldn’t have developed the passion I have for this work. I want everyone to thrive but I want to do it by raising everyone up, not by bringing anyone down. To me, people who achieve success while maintaining their ethics and morals are role models. I want to learn how they achieved what they achieved and share that with others. In a world where robots are learning to do things that only humans could once do (I say this as my Roomba cleans my hardwood floors for me), I believe that everyone can find fulfilling work and we can teach machines to do the things humans don’t want to do. If we do it right, we can have a world where everyone thrives.

If you’d like more information about how Dr. Joy can help your organization with employee engagement, burnout prevention and recovery, resilience building, mental health improvement, transforming to a coaching culture, or increasing emotional intelligence (EQ), please contact her.

Happiness 1st Institute

 Our Sweet Spots

Employee Engagement, Burnout Prevention and Recovery

We approach employee engagement at the root cause. The employee’s core self-evaluations account for between 27-40% of an employee’s engagement level. The percentage depends on which research study you’re referencing. To our knowledge, no other employee engagement strategies directly address this important aspect of employee engagement. Core self-evaluations also play an important role in burnout. In addition to increasing engagement, our methods decrease burnout risk and can facilitate recovery from burnout.

Culture Transformation and Teambuilding

An organization whose employees have been trained in our proprietary engagement increasing program, The Smart WayTM, can take the next step and implement a Positive Coaching Culture that creates an environment where every employee is focused on being the best person they can be (including best at work) and helping co-workers be the best they can be. This is only possible because the employee engagement strategy we use significantly reduces incivility amongst employees and increases personal motivation for good relationships with everyone.

Health and Wellness Solutions

Every aspect of health and wellness that corporate wellness programs focus on (exercise, diet, obesity, smoking, testing, heart disease) are affected by the stress an individual is experiencing. Over 40% of exercisers don’t exercise when they feel “too stressed” even though they know exercise will reduce their level of stress. Over 70% of dieters go off their diet and consume higher fat and calorie foods than they usually eat even when they aren’t dieting when they feel stressed. Of individuals who still smoke, 60% suffer from anxiety which they feel smoking helps. Better coping skills would greatly increase their ability to successfully stop smoking.

Positively focused individuals live an average of 10.7 years longer than negatively focused people and positively focused people experience an average of only two years of chronic illness before death compared to an average of 6 – 8 years for negatively focused people, despite the fact that they live a decade longer. Positively focused people are also 50% less likely to ever develop heart disease when compared to negatively focused people.

Citations and research supporting the above statements are available. It boils down to the fact that Primary Prevention of illness and disease must address stress. Stress is not situational. It is perceptual. Building personal resilience reduces the stress an individual experiences without requiring the situation to change. When individuals experience lower levels of stress they naturally improve pro-health behaviors. We don’t know all the underlying why this occurs naturally but the research is solid including a meta-analysis of 200 individual studies that was produced by Harvard researchers.

Incentives (Carrots, Sticks, and Knowledge): We can also provide consulting services that take a deeper look at the psychological implications of incentives and disincentives. Many incentive programs are counterproductive because they fail to consider psychology and motivation research.

Change Management

Resistance to change is because the changes are perceived as stressful. The source of stress can be a variety of factors including, but not limited to, the fear they are too old to learn (a common myth), the fear they will not be good enough (tied to core self-evaluations), the fear they will lose power or prestige (tied to low core self-evaluations), and already feeling overwhelmed (tied to stress and perception).

Our employee engagement program leads to a greater willingness and even eagerness to expand their comfort zone and embrace new knowledge and experiences. It also provides tools that employees can use to mitigate fears they feel when faced with new challenges.

Leadership Development

When the 4-elements of leadership are considered, The Smart WayTM, has a positive impact on the elements noted in red in the diagram. Our work focuses on building strong roots from which exceptional leadership can develop.

If you begin with and ignore weak roots, your efforts to develop leadership in your organization will not stand the test of time. Study the spectacularly ugly falls that are splashed across the front pages and you’ll see that they all occur because the roots were not healthy. Ethical and moral failures can all be traced to the roots of individual mindset.

Executive Coaching/Mentoring

 When it comes to Executive Coaching, we have developed a program that is effective and cost-efficient. We have developed a program that is presented in groups rather than one-on-one because we provide strategies that empower each individual with tools they can use to identify where they are and manage themselves to where they want to be. When people believe they can achieve their goals their intrinsic motivation increases. We can provide limited one-on-one coaching.

Better Communication

Surface communication if filled with errors. All communication is interpretation. When the individuals involved accept their first interpretation as accurate or as the only possible interpretation, disagreements and miscommunications become common. Learning how our brains process and filter information and the factors that can lead to mistaken interpretations leads to better communication because individuals are more willing to consider alternate meanings. They are also more willing to give one another the benefit of the doubt and take the conversation deeper in order to find clarity.


Other areas

We are happy to develop programs in other areas. If you have a problem you’re wrestling with we’d love to have a conversation to see how we could be of benefit.

??? A Question for You

Are your programs designed using evidence-based, experience-informed strategies? Research supports my work in every area and the research comes from studies published in peer-reviewed journals; not just from companies attempting to document their work so they can sell a product.

Citation: The leadership illustration was originally in a presentation at Pfeiffer University by Paula Vincent, President of Novant Presbyterian. The red letters are where I’ve added how our programs support the categories she highlighted as important for leaders.

The leadership illustration was originally in a presentation at Pfeiffer University by Paula Vincent, President of Novant Presbyterian. The red letters are where I’ve added how our programs support the categories she highlighted as important for leaders.

If you would like our help or would like to know how research supports my work please use the contact form to let us know. Thank you.

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