Sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it.
While reading peer-reviewed journals that provided pieces of the human thriving puzzle, I kept coming across research demonstrating that when children are taught certain soft skills, the trajectory of their lives improved. Since diverting a child’s trajectory from prison, addiction, and poverty to better results meets my definition of increasing human thriving, I followed the threads. Each research article provides citations to earlier articles and later articles that cite the article are also easy to identify.
What I learned both thrilled and angered me. It thrilled me because it is very clear that we can end the school-to-prison pipeline, significantly reduce the 1.5 million 17-year-olds who go to jail each year, and improve outcomes in positive ways. We can increase high school and college graduation rates and reduce the mental, physical, and behavioral ravages caused by chronic stress.
It angered me because the research is conclusive that we now know how to help these children and prevent their suffering and we aren’t doing it globally or even nationally. This upset me so much I dedicated most of my time over the next year to clearly documenting the research and articulating a better way forward. That work culminated in a book titled, Our Children Live in a War Zone: Use the Power of Resilience to Improve Their Lives.
The book is designed to teach parents and teachers state-of-the-art social and emotional management skills so they can, in turn, teach them to children. Since we have not historically taught these skills, just being an adult does not mean an individual understands healthy ways of interacting. The high number of marriages that end in divorce is a clear testament to this truth. When we transform education we transform children’s lives away from poverty, hunger, violence, drugs, and hopelessness.
Children need us to transform education faster
A few schools across the country have implemented programs that teach these skills, although I have not yet seen any that incorporate the latest research about emotions. Even without being as comprehensive as they should be, the results they are attaining are phenomenal. The following video begins with the same quote I often use, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The video is R. Keeth Matheny of Austin, TX, at a Capitol Hill briefing held by Committee for Children, in collaboration with the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), on the importance of effective social and emotional learning (SEL) at every stage of education, from early learning through college and career prep.
Extrapolating the from Austin High school data and assuming the same results across America would result in:
24 million additional passing grades
8.6 million fewer discipline referrals in American High Schools
12 million more time-on-task for teachers
In addition to hard data, they also theorized that suicide and severe depression would be reduced. I can attest to that because after I taught a program in a local high school one of the student’s mother’s contacted me to tell me that her son disclosed to her that when I began teaching the class he was planning to die and the class led to his changing his mind.
Failing 9th grade greatly increases the risk the child will drop out of high school. Failing 9th grade is highly correlated to drop outs. 20% of students currently never finish high school. Students who drop out are:
3 times more likely to be unemployed
4 times more likely to live their lives in poverty
63 times more likely to be incarcerated
We need to transform education and workplace training
According to the video, 40% of employers said high school and college graduates are sorely lacking social and emotional skills, which makes them unready to function well in a job.
Employers have another choice–because social and emotional skills have never been taught in schools so none of your employees have as well-developed skills in that area as they could. When you consider the bickering and worse that often distracts from productive pursuits at work, the savings from increasing employees social and emotional skills can pay significant dividends. One of the benefits would be increased engagement.
It’s time for responsible federal and state policy makers to incorporate evidence-based data in public policy and school curriculums.
I checked on the bill (H.R.4509: Supporting Emotional Learning Act) introduced in 2014 and learned it has been stuck in the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education for nearly two years. Maybe the committee needs members who care about our children. Sitting on legislation that improves lives and saves money in the long-term via crimes not committed, poverty averted, and better mental and physical health is unconscionable.
What do you think? Why would anyone stall legislation that would improve outcomes of children?
If you want to learn more about the research that supports social and emotional learning and strategies to teach your children or students, you can find everything you need right here.
A link to purchase Rescue Our Children from the War Zone is on the right side of this page. It contains 760 citations supporting the value of social and emotional learning skills and building resilience in children.
While we’re transforming education, we should also let teachers decide how to run their classrooms and how to teach their students. They are on the front lines and they can read the room far better than someone who is not present. Teachers, like physicians, are paying a heavy price for administrative burdens and rules decreed by people who don’t do the same job. Teacher burnout causes students to lose many good teachers every year and causes teachers physical and mental health to decline. The book I co-authored on Burnout Prevention and Recovery, Resilience and Retention for the health care industry would be of great benefit to teachers as well.
Teach Children the right skills once and they will benefit for life.
Research shows that teaching children stress reduction (resilience building) skills has a significant positive effect on outcomes longitudinally. Even children who are not expected to do well because of early hardships do better than expected if they learn these skills. Improvements seen include:
More likely to graduate from high school
More likely to go to college
More likely to graduate from college
Less likely to abuse drugs
Less likely to abuse alcohol
Less likely to commit crimes
Less likely to smoke cigarettes
Less likely to have a baby during teens
Less likely to die from street violence
Less likely to become depressed
Less likely to commit suicide
What do parents want that isn’t on that list? Why aren’t we teaching this to all children?
These skills create beneficial habits of thinking that reduce stress throughout the lifespan, regardless of the source of the stress.
For the citations, see Our Children Live in a War Zone.
Give your children a better chance at success. Learn the skills that matter and share them with your children.
Jeanine Joy teaches, speaks and writes about human thriving. She is an expert in teaching people how to adjust their mindsets in any way they deem helpful in reaching their dreams and goals. Her books are available here.
Stress Greatly Increases Obesity Risk and Poor Results
Unless you regularly read Journal Articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, you probably still believe the relationship with food you were taught in school–the one that is most commonly believed.
If you or a loved one struggles with maintaining or attaining your desired weight, you need the rest of the story–the new information that shows that stress affects digestive functions.
If you eat more than you should (calorie wise) when you’re not stressed, your body is more capable of dealing with it and maintaining your weight than if you eat the exact same food when you are stressed. Stress reduces your body to respond to food in healthy ways. Over time, chronic stress can lead to diabetes and other digestive problems.
The same findings have been found in relationship to exercise. When you feel good and you exercise, it does you more good than when you are stressed and exercise.
What we eat changes based on how stressed we are. People are far more likely to choose unhealthy foods when they are stressed–even when they know what they should eat to be healthy and even when they have weight loss goals.
Stress interferes with our ability to stick to our goals.
If you want to be successful in attaining and maintaining your weight where you want it, you can’t ignore the stress in your life.
How do you know if you’re stressed?
Stress and happiness have an inverse relationship. Increased stress equals reduced happiness. Increased happiness equals reduced stress. If you’re not feeling a lot of positive emotion every day, you’re stressed. If you are frequently frustrated, jealous, envious, irritable, angry, depressed, or other emotions that feel worse than hopeful, you’re experiencing chronic stress. The amount is a matter of degree, but the research shows that stress has an immediate negative effect on your digestive, immune, cognitive and central nervous system function that, over time, leads to many chronic diseases.
At Happiness 1st Institute, we teach you how to deal with stress at the root cause, increase psychological flexibility and how to approach goals for the best possible outcome.
Essentially, we help you create the environment you need to be successful.
When corporate wellness programs begin addressing stress before it has manifested in a diagnosable mental illness, we’ll make real progress in preventing chronic diseases before they manifest.
Contact us today to enroll in upcoming classes or to arrange a corporate wellness program for your organization.
With the online radio station Pandora, you can listen to music all day based on a single song you choose that represents the type of music you want to listen to. Your one song lets Pandora know the mood of the music you want and Pandora does the rest. With Spotify, you choose exactly which songs are in your playlist so nothing unexpected shows up.
Most people approach life as if they have to (and can) control what happens in their lives. They work for years instructing their children in the way they expect them to behave in the hopes that doing so will control their children’s behavior. They demand their spouse behave in specific ways, some even require their mates wear specific styles of clothing or hair. They insist their friends adhere to specific rules. They spend inordinate amounts of time attempting to get the government to do what they want it to do. They want their employer to behave in certain ways and expect specific responses to their work. For most people, these attempts to control are a lot of work for very little return.
Our children decide what they want and do it–eventually. Spouses who are initially willing to do things we want just to please us eventually resent the requirement. Friends find other friends who are more easy-going or their reciprocal demands become more than we are willing to do. Efforts to change the government, well, if it’s worked out well for you–send me a note. I’d love to hear your story.
It’s as if people think they can choose specific songs (behaviors/experiences) and that is all they will experience–as if life is like Spotify. But life is not like Spotify, we can’t pick and choose the exact experiences that will happen around us.
Life is like Pandora. We can choose how we will feel about what happens, we can choose between fear and excitement, between worry and trust, between love and hate and so much more. That’s great news if we know how to program in the type of song (emotions) we want to experience. But when we don’t understand how to program the type of experiences we want, life feels messy and confusing, hard and frustrating.
If you program your day for anger, you’ll have lots of it–all day long. Just like if you tell Pandora to play Machine Head – Ten Ton Hammer your day won’t be Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. Most of us have been taught to live as if our world runs by Spotify rules. It doesn’t.
You have to set the tone of your day. Or you can begin with just setting the tone of a moment and expand outward from there.
What kind of day do you want?
Top of the World
Top of the World – The Old Fashioned Way
Hot Rod Lincoln
Life is hard and then you die
When a Man Loves a Woman
How do you choose the tone of your day?
We all have emotional set points–emotional states that are our default emotional state. Horrible things can happen to someone and within two years they typically return to their pre-tragedy emotional state. Wonderful things, like marriage and winning the lottery happen and within two years people return to their previous emotional state.
But the reason they return to their original emotional state is not because of genetic predeposition. It is because emotional state is the result of habits of thought and most people don’t even realize they have the ability to change their habits of thought, much less how to do so. Like any habit, it requires time to change habits of thought. But with the proper skills you’ll be amazed at how much can change in three months.
If your chronic state is not positively focused (i.e. hopeful, appreciation, joy, enthusiasm, passion, interest, and other good-feeling emotions) it negatively impacts everything that is important to you–your physical, mental, behavioral health and relationships, your success, and even how long you live. Your life also just does not feel as good as it could.
One technique you can use to improve your habitual thoughts is to appreciate three things each day. Research has shown that appreciation helps more than a practice of gratitude for 66% of the people who use the technique. For many other ways, including a technique that helps you become an expert in setting the emotional tone of your day, see any of my The Smart Way books.
Jeanine Joy teaches, speaks and writes about human thriving. See more posts on LinkedIn and at Happiness 1st Institute.
If this helped you, please share so that others may be helped. Thank you.
If you want help learning to set the tone of your day, check out the classes we offer.
The reason preventative care is not saving money is that it is nottrue prevention. It’s early detection of illness and disease, not prevention in the true sense of the word.
True prevention would be Primary Prevention. Examples of Primary Prevention include washing one’s hands after engaging in activities that may expose one to germs and/or bacteria and before handling food. Another example is safe drinking water delivered to homes.
Primary Prevention is possible in healthcare. Primary Prevention is not early detection; primary prevention actually prevents the illness and/or disease from manifesting in the first place.
There is overwhelming science evincing that stress is at the root of between 67% – 99% of illness and disease (results of studies have varied). Even if it is just 67% it represents a tremendous portion of our healthcare expenses.
For 40 years the recommendations for stress management have been dose dependent and research is clear that when people need to reduce stress the most they are least likely to do so—even when they know engaging in dose-dependent stress reductions will help them feel better. The reason the vast majority of methods recommended are dose dependent is because they do not address the root cause of stress. Many recommendations increase stress, such as telling people to think positive without telling them how to do so. Another one is telling people to reduce activities when their life will not allow them to do so, which creates stress about how stressed they are.
We all know that the same situation elicits different levels of stress in different individuals and that the amount is not directly tied to how devastating the situation appears to be to the individual. The reason some individuals experience lower stress is because their minds are programmed in ways that reduce their stress because of the perspective they take. All of us have minds that are programmed. Most of the programming is completed by age 6 and happens as a natural result of being alive. But it is possible to change the programming so that it helps us instead of hinders us. Doing so increases resilience while it lowers stress. The benefits also extend far beyond health care. Stress is a significant contributing factor to other socially undesired outcomes including crime racism, teen pregnancy, divorce, and drop-out rates.
For healthcare, a positive mental attitude reduces the risk of heart disease by 50%. (Boehm, 2012) Heart disease is responsible for about 1/3 of all deaths.
Stress is a significant initial cause of mental illness.
Stress decreases our immune, digestive, and cognitive functions. Science evincing the speed of these changes using biochemical markers is definitive.
Provide society with the skills to reduce stress at the root cause and the financial benefits will far exceed the cost. The non-financial benefits will be even greater. If you don’t want to wait for society to distribute this life-saving and life-enhancing information, you can get it now in True Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo.
Can greater accuracy and completeness of personality models be obtained using emotional state data? I believe it can.
Existing personality models seem to explain behavior because most individuals maintain a relatively consistent chronic emotional state throughout life.
Emotional State (ES) is a way of referring to the emotion someone is feeling in-the-moment. (i.e. happy, sad, depressed, hopeful, hopeless, frustrated, angry, anxious, eager, etc.)
Chronic Emotional State (CES) is the set point, or emotional state a specific individual tends to return to repeatedly in the absence a significant reason to feel otherwise.
The behavior individuals exhibits is tied most closely with the current Emotional State. The personality model research I’ve reviewed looks at behavior, but not emotional state at the time the behavior is observed. Self-reports of behavior also do not gather data on emotional state at the time of the behavior.
An individual whose Chronic Emotional State is happy exhibits behaviors consistent with that Emotional State. There will be variances due to occasional lower Emotional States and during times of resource depletion (i.e. illness and sleep deprivation). High stress will cause temporary changes in Emotional State.
The consistency of Emotional State is well documented in the scientific literature. Lottery winners, newlyweds, and newly disabled individuals typically return to their Chronic Emotional State within two years after these significant life changes. The reason for the stability of Chronic Emotional States is not because it is genetic or a fixed human trait.
Chronic Emotional State is the result of habits of thought.
Why isn’t this commonly recognized? First, because researchers do not tend to explore individual difference at the level of thought. The work would be extremely time-consuming and would lack consistency because at the level o thought the uniqueness of each one of us becomes very apparent. Even two people who make identical choices follow very different thought processes to reach the decision.
Secondly, because habits of thought are habits–but not recognized as such and we are taught our personalities are who we are, few people change their thought patterns. Many people have a fear that if they change their personality they will no longer be the same person. Some fear they will no longer know their self. The truth is, those who deliberately change their habits of thought know their self better than they ever did before they experienced the liberating power of changing habits of thought that weren’t serving them well.
Like any habit, changing habits of thought takes commitment and does not happen overnight.
Patience with oneself is required, but the knowledge and establishment of realistic expectations about how long it takes to create new habits of thought is not readily available. While we can think, and can even believe, new thoughts immediately. But even when we believe something that opposes our former habits of thought, the old habitual thoughts will continue coming to mind until the thought-paths that supported the beliefs are allowed to diminish and new thought-paths that support the new belief are developed. Until this process is completed, you may find yourself thinking (and in the early stages) even speaking things you no longer believe. It’s just old programming that is still stronger than the new programming you’re creating. It’s natural and it does not mean you can’t change the habit of thought, just that the process is not yet complete.
What we do and why
We do what we believe will feel better, via it is via approach or avoidance.
Long-term vs. Short-term Goals
Whether we’re looking long-term or short-term when we make decisions about what will feel best depends on a variety of factors, but mostly on which ones we’ve focused on more. If long-term goals aren’t given a lot of airtime in our mind, short-term goals will steer our decision-making because we have not created thought-paths to thoughts about the potential consequences of our actions as they related to our long-term goals.
Focusing on long-term goals increases the consideration we give the consequences of our words and actions. However, it is important that the goals be our own–not goals others attempt to impose upon us.
Recommended Research Direction
If personality trait researchers would begin collecting data about mood (Emotional State), they would see more clearly why inconsistencies between their models and research findings continue to appear. The connection between Chronic Emotional State and behavior would become more apparent.
If personality trait researchers did a study where they collected the usual data and mood and then put the study group through my 40-hour program where they are taught the effect habits of thought may have on their lives and how to develop new habits of thought that support their ability to thrive more in all areas of life, they would be amazed at the results. By collecting the usual data and mood before and after (at the end of the course, 3-months post course and 1-year post-course), they would see clearly why there are so many inconsistencies.
An additional step that would be labor intensive but provide very valuable insights would be to collect and analyze answers to brief essay questions before the course and again one year later. Using questions that pertain to common life events would provide significant insights to the value to individuals and to society of empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills that allow them to deliberately change their habits of thought.
As a starting point, I suggest the following questions:
Instructions: Read each question and imagine yourself in the situation described. Write the first thoughts that come to your mind. There are no wrong answers. When it asks “What do you do,” your answer can reflect what you think because thinking is doing something. Biological functions (i.e. go to the bathroom) should not be reported unless they are related to the emotional state you’re imagining. Please limit your answers to 300 words, but be sure to answer each element of every question. Thank you.
You are in a restaurant. Your spouse/date/significant other is late meeting you and has not called or texted. What do you do? A) When s/he is late (immediate response)? B) How do you feel (emotion)? C) If you wait, what do you do while you wait?, and D) When you see him/her, what do you do?
Your boss gives an assignment you wanted to someone else. What do you do and how do you feel?
You’re in a bad mood. A) What do you do and how do you feel? B) Define bad mood as it personally applies to you.
You’re given an opportunity that requires you to do something that makes you anxious, but doing this could lead to something you want but don’t know how to achieve/get otherwise. The thing that makes you uncomfortable is legal, ethical and moral. What do you do and why?
You want two things that seem to conflict. You don’t see how you can have both. What do you do and why?
Someone is rude to you. A) Describe the situatiorgiveon. B) What do you do? C) Why?
You disagree with someone close to you (i.e. parent/sibling/spouse/child/sibling/long-term best friend). How do you feel and what do you do?
You find someone’s wallet and there is cash in it. What do you do and why?
Someone who hurt you a long time ago asks for forgiveness. What do you do and how do you feel?
You decide you want something you have no idea how to get or achieve. What do you do and how do you feel?
You have company over and the dog eats dinner before it is served. What do you do and how do you feel?
You’re on your way home from somewhere that you go frequently and you miss your turn. What do you do and how do you feel?
Before you go to sleep at night, how do you usually feel and what do you usually do?
When you wake-up in the morning, how do you usually feel and what do you usually do first?
I would be happy to participate in research with any interested researcher.
Beating Depression, The Smart Way, is easier than you may have been led to believe.
The stress of feeling powerless is insidious—it robs us of motivation. It makes life seem hopeless. The current rate of depression (globally) is 350 million people of all ages. In the US alone, the health care costs for depression for adults were 22.8 billion in 2009.
No one wants to stay depressed, but in that emotional state, it can be hard to think of a thought that feels even slightly better.
I reject the concept of a chemical imbalance causing depression in isolation.
Gradually, our brain chemistry becomes conditioned to react to negative stimuli in a particular, predictable way. One thing’ll go wrong and it’ll automatically switch on its blender and mix us that black cocktail, the ol’ doomsday daiquiri, and before we know it, we’re soused to the gills from the inside out. Once depression has become electrochemically integrated, it can be extremely difficult to philosophically or psychologically override it; by then it’s playing by physical rules, a whole different ball game. Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates
Prolonged chronic stress and/or a major stressful event must play a part in almost every case of depression. Depression is more difficult when the physical body has been trained to respond to adverse circumstances in a certain way, but it can be overcome. It is amazing how much progress can be made when one-step is taken at a time. If we begin addressing chronic stress in a healthier way, the epidemic levels of depression will be greatly reduced. If all the cases with unmanaged chronic stress as the root cause are eliminated, we’ll see more clearly any that have other origins, which will speed solutions for them.
Good stress management has the ability to address both prolonged chronic stress and a major stressful event. The way we perceive an event determines how stressful the event is to our minds and bodies. We have far greater control over how we perceive events than most realize. At Happiness 1st Institute, we teach how to develop and use skills that lower stress.
In True Prevention–Optimum Health, I describe how mood affects our body chemistry—it can make exercise and food either more or less beneficial. Stress also decreases the effectiveness of our immune system.
Stressful life events often lead to depression. However, if evaluated at a deeper level we see that not everyone reacts to the same type of circumstances in the same way. Some become depressed, others are energized toward action. It is the individual perception of the situation that determines the level of stress. Learning how to manage stress reduces the strain caused by life’s uncertainties and calamities. Individuals who do not experience the event as highly stressful will not be tossed into depression.
Depression has its direct costs to an individuals, families, employers and health care system as an illness. It also carries many other costs. Cognitive abilities diminish as emotional state decreases. The same employee is not capable of the same level of thinking when depressed as she is when not depressed. The same employee is not capable of the same level of thinking when stressed as he is when he is not stressed. What is being lost because an employee is too stressed to see the perfect solution to your company’s biggest issues? What is not being invented because the person who could imagine the solution is too stressed to think at the required level?
Positive reappraisal has an inverse relationship with depression. In other words, individuals who use positive reappraisal as a coping mechanism are less likely to become depressed than those who do not use this coping style. They also experience less stress from similar events than individuals who do not use this technique. The main goal of the techniques provided in all The Smart Way books is to develop positive reappraisal skills.
Individuals who self-blame, blame others, ruminate, and catastrophize are more likely to experience depression, anger, and anxiety. Fortunately, these are just habits of thought and can be changed with the right techniques. They are not who you are, they are who you are being at the time–something you have the ability to change.
If you often feel stressed or are depressed or have experienced depression in the past, one of the best things you can do to improve your future is learn positive reappraisal skills. Individuals who develop this skill feel more in control of their lives and have better outcomes.
Most stress reduction techniques taught provide temporary improvements and are dose dependent (you have to repeatedly do them to get the benefit), much like medicines that treat symptoms instead of curing the problem.
Our program teaches skills that create mindsets that are more adaptable and that actually experience less stress than untrained minds in the same circumstances.
The changes become permanent and life is less stressful thereafter.
Lower stress means more engaged and productive employees. This is a competitive edge that keeps increasing.
Because we address stress relief from the root cause, the benefits spread throughout the system (physical, mental, behavioral).
Your mindset is really programming, specifically it is how your brain is programmed. We all have programming and most of it was created by default, by our experiences, upbringing, thoughts, examples, and conclusions. All these things shaped our mindset.
Default programming is not optimal programming.
Realizing that your programming may be hindering your success in all areas of life and that you can change your programming are the two most empowering things most people can learn.
Understanding this is the 1st step to changing your mindset.
Your mindset creates filters that determine which of the millions of bits of information your senses pick up are made available to the conscious mind. The unconscious mind processes millions of times the information the conscious mind is ever aware of. When you change your mindset, your filters change and the world literally changes–not because anything actually changed other than your perception.
You can’t live a great life with sub par programming.
If you’re ready to improve your programming, contact us. We have the best techniques and can help you understand how changes will change your outlook so you can decide for yourself what programming you want in your head.
Jeanine Joy is an inspiring and life-changing author, speaker, and scholar. The purpose of her life is to seek out knowledge that increases human thriving, create explanations and processes that provide practical ways for individuals adopt strategies that enhance their lives. Her programs, books, and speeches empower people to fulfill their dreams and enjoy more loving, happy, and successful lives. Her ultimate goal is to help create a better world for everyone.
Since the 1970’s, it has been widely recognized that stress is bad for our health. Researchers agree that at least 60% of illnesses and disease are the result of stress.
During the years since the 1970’s we have learned many details about the path stress takes and how it harms our physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Those pathways are helpful in creating pharmaceutical bandaids (which I know are needed by many people today). But, the reason they are needed is because the recommendations for dealing with stress have not changed or advanced much in the last 40 years. Oh meditation and yoga have moved out of the cult or woo woo classifications they once suffered and become more mainstream, but the root of stress is still not being widely addressed.
As Thoreau said,
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
If you substitute stress for evil, I would say,
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of stress to one who is striking at the root.
Happiness 1st Institute exists because I came to understand the root cause of stress and how to eliminate it and recognized the significant benefits to society’s around the world that could come from sharing what I had learned. Unlike much of the advice given today, eliminating the root cause of stress does not require anyone to give up activities they enjoy. In fact, doing so is counter to what reduces stress.
Addressing stress at its root is a perfect example of another old saying, one Ben Franklin believed,
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Addressing stress at its root is what we call Primary Prevention. It prevents the illness or disease from developing in the first place. Stress disrupts numerous functions critical to healthy living including immune function, cognitive function, digestive function and some central nervous system functions. It can also lead to adverse epigenetic changes that turn on genes that lead to adverse consequences. Cumulative stress (both pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy) have adverse impacts on duration of the pregnancy (causing pre-term births) and adverse outcomes including increased asthma, sleep and behavioral problems, and depression in the children.
A recent infographic produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) shows many of the adverse consequences of stress (although their solutions are not Primary Prevention–they address the symptoms of stress instead of the root).
The negative impact of stress on the body begins immediately. If you’re one of the people who doubt this, recall a time when you were nervous. Perhaps that good looking person you’d been hoping to talk to unexpectedly stepped into the elevator with you at the last moment. If that doesn’t do it, imagine you’re 11 years old when it happens. You remember the instantaneous perspiration, the sweaty palms, perhaps the blush that swept across your cheeks. How long did it take to have that reaction in your body? That was stress. Those are signs of stress you can feel immediately. What you don’t feel is the slowing down of your immune function and digestive function or the cognitive constriction of your ability to think clearly (or maybe you did feel that if that person stepping into the elevator made you tongue tied).
The negative effects begin immediately.
Stress Culture to Health Culture
Our bodies are designed to respond to stress and return to a relaxed state but our society’s beliefs and structure do not support that. We are trained to remain in hypervigilant states of worry, fear, and concern. We are trained to live with stressors like frustration, anger, grief, depression, hopelessness, irritability and more rather than deal with the negative emotions as they arise. Many people suppress their emotions. Others have felt them so long it has become their norm and they don’t realize that it is killing them–literally.
To truly move from a culture of stress to one of greater health and wellbeing for everyone we must begin using primary prevention to reduce stress. If we don’t, the epidemic chronic illnesses like Type II diabetes, heart disease, addictions, obesity and numerous social problems like crime will all continue to increase. Stress is the root cause and primary prevention is the only way to avoid the undesired outcomes. It is a significant factor in disparate outcomes, one that can be solved today.
We are designed to deal with stress when we experience the negative emotion. When we do, we thrive. When we don’t, we suffer. So do our relationships, our careers, and our level of happiness. New research has pointed the way to do this without having to give up what we love (or even family members we find difficult to love). We can have far greater control over our stress level than most have ever experienced. That’s what we teach at Happiness 1st Institute. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us for details on upcoming classes.
Smart Employers Know the effect of chronic stress on the success of their employees and therefore, their business.
The smartest employers are implementing programs that teach employees psychological flexibility that considers the human drive for autonomy and reduces stress far more than any of the dose dependent stress reduction methods.¹ ²
Smart Employers Know that focusing their efforts on Primary Prevention which is designed to prevent problems from occurring, rather than waiting until after they occur to address them, will always be ahead of those whose strategy is reactive.
Smart Employers Know that the level of stress most employees experience in modern society is typically enough to be in the harmful level. Our society routinely tolerates far higher levels of stress than is healthy, often wearing the level of stress tolerated as a badge of honor. This tactic is completely ignorant of the facts that living with chronic stress:
Decreases the function of our immune system, leading to more illness and earlier deaths
Decreases cognitive function, leading to more unhealthy decisions and a lower ability to solve problems
Contributes significantly to the high percentage of GNP we spend on health care while receiving poor results
Increases the chance of addictions
Is the leading contributor to mental health issues from depression, anxiety to bipolar disorder and more
Increases the prevalence of chronic diseases that rob people of a high quality of life far too often and at young ages
Significantly reduces the quality of relationships of all types, from spouses and children to co-workers and neighbors
Is the # 1 factor that prevents good results in:
The impact of stress begin almost instantaneously and compounds over time
The risk of preterm delivery of our offspring when we’ve endured chronic stress for years
The negative impact on physical, mental, and behavioral health of our children
Smart Employers Know that employees who have been trained in psychological flexibility experience significantly lower harmful stress under situations that produce harmful levels of stress in those who do not deliberately use their ability to be psychologically flexible to reduce stress.
What could your team do that it is not doing now?
Contact us today to learn how we can help your team develop winning mindsets and the psychological flexibility it takes to go the distance and arrive healthy.
One day I was out taking a walk and I almost walked by one of my daughter’s teachers walking her dog without recognizing her. It was not until she spoke to me and I heard her voice that I recognized her. She had retired the year before and the woman I’d always known as a rather frumpy shapeless woman was now dressed in smartly casual clothes and had lost considerable weight.
When I marveled at her transformation she told me, “My doctor has been on my case for years to exercise but he never told me to get a dog. Now I take several walks everyday and I have not felt this good in years.” She went on to tell me that the weight loss had caused some chronic health conditions to improve and that if she had felt this good before she retired she would have continued working because she did miss the children.
Most of my books and classes focus on learning to use one’s mind in beneficial ways to reduce stress and make life more enjoyable. I prefer to focus on a direct approach, but if you like dogs, this approach has a lot of benefits.
A pet of any kind can reduce stress. A dog is especially good at this because dogs know how to love unconditionally. Dogs will cuddle with you, play with you, and give you something positive to focus on (other than their occasional messes). There is research demonstrating that people who have pets have lower stress levels. Why is lower stress good for weight loss? The old paradigm for weight loss has been overturned by newer scientific findings.
Physical activity is a dose dependent method of stress reduction. It is dose dependent because it does not eliminate the root cause of the stress, but it does improve mood. One of the reasons physical activity alone, or any dose dependent stress management technique, is not the best way to manage stress is that significant numbers of people won’t do them when they are toostressed. Dose dependent stress management techniques fail when they are needed the most. A dog helps on two fronts. First, you have to walk the dog. If you don’t, it can get messy. Secondly, the dog has a way of improving your mood with cute antics when it needs a walk.
Changing your focus–what you’re paying attention to–can greatly reduce your stress level. A dog provides a frequent distraction from any troubles you’re ruminating about. Negative rumination is a habit it is well worth changing, but until you do, a dog helps lessen the time spent feeling worried, regretful, fearful, and other lower emotional states.
Dogs provide great examples of what life is like when you trust that things will work out for you.
Your social network is one of your best defenses against depression (if they’re positively focused). Dogs get you out of the house so you may actually meet and get to know your neighbors. If there is a dog park nearby or just an open field, you may make friends there with whom you share a common interest. You’ve already got one that is easy to identify–your pet.
Some people feel required to finish the food on their plate and keep eating even after they are satisfied. Others will eat anything their children leave on their plate, too. Your dog will be happy to consume these unneeded calories for you. (Make sure you know which foods are okay for your pet and which ones are hazardous to dog’s health.)
Comfort foods are often a weight management nightmare for the large number of people who turn to food to comfort themselves. Petting your dog instead of eating comfort food when you’re stressed provides two benefits. One is that you don’t feel bad later about having eating something you really did not want. The second is that petting your dog often lowers the stress you’re feeling and makes whatever is troubling you seem like a smaller problem.
Dogs (and cats) seem to sense our moods and may provide extra comfort when we feel down, which may be exactly what we need.
Can you think of other ways your pet helps you reduce stress and lose weight?
The link between chronic stress and obesity is strong. Stress disrupts many healthy functions in the body, including digestive function. Our society tolerates (or copes with) much higher levels of stress than are healthy for us. Stress can cause weight gain even with no change in the diet because of its adverse impact on the digestive function.
A dog lowers your stress and increases exercise, which can also lower stress. If your life allows for it, consider getting a dog in the New Year. The holidays are not generally a good time to bring a new pet into the home because there is already so much going on. However, if you’re having a solo holiday or you don’t celebrate the holidays think about adding a furry friend to your life now.
If you don’t want (or can’t have) a dog now, look for other ways to reduce stress in your life. My books provide skill based techniques that help you change your automatic responses to stressors in ways that reduce your stress.
For more techniques on defusing stressful thoughts so you can relax and enjoy life more , try one of my books.
I really appreciate that you are reading my post and hope it provided value to you. On LinkedIn, I regularly write about Happiness, Stress Reduction, Human Thriving, Primary Prevention, Health and Wellness, and more. If you would like to read my regular posts then please click ‘Follow’ (at the top of the page)and feel free to also connect with me via Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. Please consider sharing this information with your network. If you found it valuable, they may also find value in what I have written.
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I wish for you many blissings. (Blissings = blissful blessings)
About : Jeanine Joy Jeanine Joy is an inspiring and life-changing author, speaker, and scholar. The purpose of her life is to seek out knowledge that increases human thriving, create explanations and processes that provide practical ways for individuals adopt strategies that enhance their lives. Her programs, books, and speeches empower people to fulfill their dreams and enjoy more loving, happy, and successful lives. Her ultimate goal is to help create a better world for everyone on Earth.
Workplace wellness programs are missing the key ingredient to true prevention. They focus on early diagnosis, symptom and lifestyle management while ignoring the elephant in the room–the one common factor at the root of everything.
While meeting with a representative of a large regional health system’s workplace wellness division, I asked him what their solution was for addressing stress. He mentioned their EAP (employee assistance program) offered counseling but said that was all they had. He also said many employers recognize that stress has both a negative effect on worker’s health and on their contributions at work. He was excited by our program but when he took the information back to his employer they said they had all the knowledge they needed in-house. If that is true, why are they excluding stress management skills training from their workplace wellness program?
The research about stress is clear. Workplace wellness programs tend to focus on the same areas and stress management skills would help improve the results in every one of them.
Stress plays a role in the ability of individuals to quit smoking and maintain their status as non-smokers. Anxious individuals find it the most difficult to quit. Anxiety and smoking behavior are highly correlated.
Researchers have demonstrated that the old paradigm of weight management is too simplistic because it ignores the impact of stress on the digestive system. The digestive system does not function as well when an individual is stressed and chronic stress contributes significantly to the development of diabetes. Stress also results in unhealthy food choices. Food is the number one anxiety drug.
Eating disorders often have their roots in low self-esteem. The design of our program leads to increases in self-esteem, which could provide relief for those who have eating disorders and prevent their development by those who are at risk of developing an eating disorder.
Diabetes Disease Management
The impact of stress on the digestive function has been linked to the development of diabetes. In 2007, the direct cost of diabetes in the United States was 174 billion. Indirect costs included 2.6 billion for absenteeism, 20 billion reduced productivity during work for the employed population, 7.9 billion unemployment from disease-related disability, and 26.9 billion lost productive capacity because of early mortality. Stress also has a direct impact on adherence to recommended treatments.
Stress levels affect whether or not an individual will be active and choose to engage in physical activities. Highly stressed individuals who do not have an ingrained habit of physical activity are unlikely to develop the habit while they are stressed. Despite the fact that physical activity/exercise is often recommended as a dose dependent stress reduction method, such increases in physical activity do not consistently help stressed individuals because they do not feel sufficiently motivated.
By the time depression has developed, the individuals has typically been suffering from chronic stress for a sustained period of time. We need to educate employees (and the entire population) that tolerating stress is not the appropriate response. Coping until we’re depressed is a strategy that has made depression an epidemic with 10% of the US population suffering from it, according to the CDC.
Why are they not recommending early intervention to address stress? Because they think it requires expensive one-on-one treatment and because of the ridiculous stigma’s associated with mental health. Stress Management skills are simple to understand and implement. They are simple enough that kindergartners can understand the basics. Adults are a little more difficult and take a little longer to teach because they have developed a lot of false premises throughout their life that hinder their ability to adopt strategies that come quickly and easily to younger children. But it is still far from something that requires expensive one-on-one treatment. I can teach auditoriums full of people how to manage stress in meaningful ways that have a positive impact on their work and home lives right away and continue to increase as the techniques are applied.
Even individuals who suffered from repeated bouts of depression have now reported that they have been free of depressive episodes since learning these skills.
Stress and happiness are opposite ends of the same continuum. Researchers have linked happiness with better food choices. Individuals in the top 25% of optimism scores ate more fresh vegetables, salads, berries, fruit and low fat cheese that other subjects in a research report comparing optimism to dietary habits. A meta-analysis done by researchers at Harvard and published in 2012 concluded that positivity and optimism led to better food choices and better choices about risky behaviors. Our stress management program increases happiness, positivity, and optimism.
The common recommendations for managing stress are all dose dependent. That would be fine if there wasn’t a better way, but there is. Dose dependent stress management is the same as taking a prescription pill to manage the symptoms–it does nothing to affect the underlying cause. Dose dependent means you have to do it in order to receive the positive results and if you don’t do it, you don’t get any results.
Because our program helps individuals change the root cause of the stress, it functions more like a cure. It does not prevent bad things from happening, but the response is more resilient, emotional intelligent, and less stressful than it would have been before they learned to use the skills we teach. The way the individual responds to the same stimulus that may have once made him or her highly stressed may not be at all stressful once the techniques have been applied for a while.
We all know that everyone reacts differently to circumstances. What stresses one person out may be fun to another person. I’ve studied what makes humans thrive for two decades and then developed programs that teach individuals how to develop the habits of thought that help them thrive.
The frequently recommended dose dependent stress reduction methods include exercise, going out in nature, helping someone else, petting your cat or dog, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and massage. While these methods are a good “pill,” they do not provide long-term benefits with the exception of a consistent meditation practice. But even consistent meditation does not address stress at the root cause.
Some recommendations can be counter-productive. One commonly recommended stress reduction method is to discuss the problem with a friend. The outcome of that discussion can go either way. I definitely have friends who would make it worse by focusing on the worse aspects of the situation and reminding me of other bad situations like the current one. I also have friends who would be beneficial to talk to but I’ve never seen this type of recommendation come with recommended parameters for the discussion.
This is not a typical focus of Corporate Wellness Programs although the hope is that the program will be perceived in a positive light. Our program also helps engagement in a variety of ways. The first is that it helps create a more inclusive and positively focused employee base. Working with people who are energetic, focused, and optimistic creates synergy and an environment that makes being at work enjoyable. The way any individual views his employer or any other aspect of his life reflects how he views everything in life. Someone who is generally dissatisfied with life is generally dissatisfied with her work. The reason for this is because our habits of thought play a tremendous role in the aspects we focus on in every area of our lives. If we focus on the aspects that we don’t like, we’re not engaged. If we focus on aspects that we find exciting, our engagement increases.
The inherent nature of our program increases the likelihood that employees will focus on aspects of their jobs and the company that they like.
One of the most frequently cited reasons for turnover is not liking the people. A working environment where relationships are harmonious, where workplace conflict is unusual, where conversations are fruitful, and others are supportive would be very difficult to leave. The techniques I teach can accomplish this type of shift in corporate culture. Individuals who understand how to use the skills can even ignore outright attempts to upset their equilibrium without feeling stressed or a need to retaliate. The techniques provide individuals with tremendous stability and equilibrium in their chosen emotional stance.
There is a song by Pharrell Williams that describes the steady emotional state:
“Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,
Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold it back, yeah,
Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
No offense to you, don’t waste your time
Because I’m Happy”
I know, that to someone who is not generally happy the thought of being around a bunch of happy people is not very appealing but when everyone understands they can be happy and most are, the whole dynamic changes. Those who need a bit of help find it everywhere they look because one of the most natural and frequent behaviors those who learn to be happier demonstrate is a desire to help others do the same.
Research shows that positively focused people are kinder and demonstrate better corporate citizenship.
Stress diminishes our cognitive abilities. The same person is smarter when happy than he is when stresssed. Do you want your employees to make better decisions? Teach them how to reduce the stress in their lives. You can keep the same employees and gain a smarter workforce.
Immune function decreases as stress increases. Research has shown that the severity of colds and flu are directly tied to positivity, wth the most positively focused experiencing the fewest symptoms and duration of illness. The most positively focused have sometimes not developed an illness at all, even after being deliberately exposed to the virus. The symptoms are not just self-reports. One study in particular actually measured symptoms, going as far as to weigh used tissues so that the results would not be slanted by the more pessimistic attitude. The pessimists reported more symptoms but they also had more symptoms.
The level of productivity is important to employers. In all except the most mindless, repetitive occupations repeated research has shown that optimists produce more than pessimists.
Although you may believe optimism and pessimism are inborn traits, they aren’t. They are habits of thought and individuals can change their habits of thought to make their life feel better.
Optimists are more successful than pessimists in study after study.
There is very solid evidence that even less qualified optimists outperform more qualified pessimists based on traditional measures of qualification. If optimism is not one of the considerations for hiring your sales staff you are leaving a lot of untapped potential on the table. Teaching your sales staff our stress management techniques would improve sales.
The research is very clear that ethical behavior improves as positivity increases. Think about it. When the economy dips, white collar crime increases. The same stress that reduces cognitive ability leads individuals to faulty conclusions that result in them deciding to commit a crime.
There are a number of false premises that hinder individuals from becoming happier and less stressed. One of them is that they should just be strong when they are faced with stressful situations. But the advice, such as think positive and decrease the stress in your life, is worthless without teaching them how.
Stress adversely affects every system in the body fairly quickly. It is something that should be dealt with as soon after it is experienced as possible. I’ll give you an example. Jealousy creates stress in the body. I am almost never jealous of anyone about anything. I recognize that feeling jealous is my seeing someone else experience something that I want but am perceiving I can’t be, do, or have. Earlier today I learned a friend was at a lecture at Harvard on psychoneuroimmunology and I felt jealous. I told my partner to tell our friend I was jealous (he was going to see him before I did). But I manage my emotional state to a really good place. I had not felt jealousy in a very long time. It did not feel good. Within less than five minutes I realized what I was doing and said, “Why am I feeling jealous? Why do I think that is something I can’t do?” Very quickly my jealous was gone, replaced by an attitude of being delighted that I have friends who attend those types of lectures and can intelligently discuss such subjects. I also affirmed that there was no reason I could not also attend a lecture like that. My jealousy is completely gone and I am now excited about the next time I’ll see my friend. I’m looking forward to hearing what he learned and comparing ideas. I can even ramp my emotional state up even higher. I know this man’s heart wants to help a lot of people, especially those who are the last to receive help, whether here in the USA or abroad. I can think about what he might have learned that will help him do that and feel even more positive emotions. I’ll stop there but the process could keep going. I’ve already shifted from jealousy to a bit of a natural high just by changing my perception but I have not begun to tap the potential positive emotions I could milk from this situation.
Do, however, notice that the circumstances did not change. He is still the one who attended the lecture. The only thing that changed was the only thing I could change, my perspective about it. My emotions improved as I assumed a more empowered perspective. My body no longer feels stress from assuming an unhealthy perspective.
I’ve been using these methods for years but it is not much more difficult for a novice to shift perspective and gain similar advantages.
We need to change our tolerance of stress. We need to help everyone understand that they should do what they can as soon as they can. It makes all the difference.
There are other false premises that interfere with optimal health that our program identifies and changes.
Attracting quality employees is critical to the success of your business. The iconic work cultures of our era will not have anything on a company that has incorporated the techniques in our program. You’ll have your pick of the best of the best–provided you provide a healthy work environment with opportunities to advance. Our program won’t change what your company does, only how it does it. There is another benefit I have not yet mentioned, that can help create an irresistible work environment.
Creativity is just like cognitive ability as it related to stress. Creativity increases as happiness increases and decreases as stress increases. Ideas flow more readily to individuals who are positively focused. There is a second advantage that comes from our program that relates to this area. Many good ideas are wasted because the person who thinks them is afraid of how others will perceive the idea. Our program increases self-confidence and also the ability to feel good even if someone does not agree with us. The impediments that cause many good ideas to die before they are born is eliminated.
Even diversity is positively impacted by our program. Research shows that positively focused individuals are naturally more inclusive. We have the ability to take your diversity initiatives to a higher level.
We spend a lot of time planning for business continuity in the event of problems from busted water lines to epidemics and wars. But we tend to ignore the fact that people are required to execute those plans. In the disaster planning milieu, we assume people who are not directly taken out by the disaster will be functioning in their assigned roles. We forget that different people respond to stress in different ways and that the stress of a disaster could take out people who are not affected by the direct cause.
The best disaster plan you can create is worthless if your employees lack the resilience to persist during a disaster. Can they fulfill their duties in the midst of so much uncertainty?
I would far rather have resilient people and a mediocre plan than a great plan and staff with mediocre resilience levels. The resilient individual will retain the ability to think in dire circumstances that will be lost to someone who is less resilient. The best planning cannot predict all the variables. The resilient individual will be able to respond in the moment–when it counts. Those hero’s we love to watch on TV, who come through when bullets and bombs are all around? They’re resilient. Whether you adore MacGyver or Jack, it is their resilience that makes them able to persevere. My Dad tells me, Jeanine you could fall into an outhouse and you’d come out with a diamond ring. He has seen me repeatedly respond to circumstances that would devastate less resilient individuals in ways that make the outcome better than if the adversity had never happened.
Our program increases individual resilience, the ability to bounce back will be improved. It won’t matter if the strife is at work or personal, it will not drag them down as long as it would have without our training.
Stress can adversely affect the ability to get a good night’s sleep in a number of ways. Stress can cause individuals to stay awake worrying about problems and it can cause them to wake up too early and be unable to go back to sleep. The stress of too many competing priorities can result in individuals simply not giving themselves enough time for adequate rest.
This is a significant concern to employers. Sleep deprivation can lead to more mistakes, including accidents. Inadequate sleep increases the risk of an automobile accident by three times.
Stress management skills reduce stress, allowing individuals to benefit from a better night’s sleep.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
Our program increases EQ in three of the four key areas because of the way the program is designed.
Does your corporate wellness program offer a stress management solution that satisfies your needs? Does it address stress at the root cause? Why not?
Contact us today to learn more about how Happiness 1st Institute can help your company achieve a lot more of its potential.
Jeanine Joy Author of TRUE Prevention—Optimum Health:Remember Galileo, Prevent Suicide: The Smart Way, and a contributing author to Perspectives on Resilience and Coping.
Jeanine Joy is the Founder of Happiness 1st Institute, where the knowledge and skills necessary to become adept at utilizing one’s emotional guidance system are easily learned. She is a leading expert in helping individuals learn how to reduce stress and become more positively focused and optimistic.
Science is advancing our knowledge of the benefits of increased positivity and optimism at a rapid pace. Knowing the benefits achieves little without the knowledge and skills to help people become more positive and optimistic so they can take advantage of the benefits.
Jeanine has a phenomenal capacity to identify the root causes of people’s struggles and share her understanding of how to nourish the thoughts that lead to a better life. Limiting beliefs disappear when her wisdom is shared. Health, well-being, clarity, dreams, success, and relationships thrive under her tutelage.
Ms. Joy has conducted almost twenty years of work in the field of human thriving — from science, spirituality, biographies, and philosophers including research in philosophy, positive psychology, sociology, quantum physics, psychoimmunology and other sciences as they relate to what cultivates human thriving. Her education is rich, broad, and deep. The analytic skills that brought her to an executive position, from which she is retired, facilitated her research. Her burning passion to find answers that help others thrive has created a depth and breadth of knowledge for accelerating human thriving beyond common psychology practices and theory, where the focus continues to emphasize what can go wrong.
She is a game changer focused on bringing better living to all with knowledge and skills she has woven together into books and programs. Ms. Joy is a powerful author and motivational speaker, inspiring others to achieve more of their potential.
50 word bio
Jeanine Joy, author of TRUE Prevention—Optimum Health and Founder, Happiness 1st Institute, where knowledge and skills necessary to become adept at utilizing one’s emotional guidance system are easily learned. Ms. Joy has conducted almost twenty years of work in the field of human thriving across many scientific disciplines and philosophies including research in philosophy, positive psychology, sociology, quantum physics, psychoimmunology and other sciences as they relate to what cultivates human thriving. Her education is rich, broad, and deep. The analytic skills that brought her to an executive position, from which she is retired, facilitated her research. Her burning passion to find answers that help others thrive has created a depth and breadth of knowledge for accelerating human thriving beyond common psychology practices and theory, where the focus continues to emphasize what can go wrong.
Twitter Friendly Bio
Jeanine Joy is a human thriving expert bringing health, relationship, success, and well-being solutions that work to the world.
In the future, humans will view modern medicine as little better than we view the healing practices of the middle ages. Science evincing that we currently treat symptoms, not the root causes of illnesses, exists. True Prevention: Remember Galileo takes up the challenge of building a bridge to the future where prevention is done at the root cause. In layman’s terms, practical solutions are provided to improve human thriving now. We remind readers to remember Galileo because the tendency to resist information that conflicts with what we believe we know persists. History reveals humanity repeatedly delays the benefits of many significant advances due to this resistance to new ideas. The life enhancing benefits revealed in this book are too great to ignore.
Step-by-step, Ms. Joy guides us through information supporting a new approach to health and wellness with far reaching implications. Pulling information from a vast array of scientific fields including biology, chemistry, neuroscience, quantum physics, sociology, cultural anthropology to positive psychology, criminology, and more, the pieces of the puzzle snap into place revealing the potential for a far better world than most of us can imagine.
In science, the Parsimony Principle requires us to choose the simplest scientific explanation that fits the evidence. When an incorrect or incomplete theory has become accepted as truth, its complexity increases over time as exceptions and modifications are made to make new information fit the existing theory. Current explanations for illness and disease are rife with exceptions because they address symptoms instead of the root cause. The solutions put forth herein are the opposite, beautiful in their simplicity and ability to explain the myriad exceptions that plague other perspectives.
True Prevention is filled with clarifying concepts and practical steps that will help corporate wellness programs, physicians, and individuals achieve a clear understanding of where to focus their energy for optimum health.
Right now I am giving companies the benefit of the doubt when they promote an “All In One Wellness Program” and a review of the program reveals that it does not contain a substantial element to decrease stress (or increase employee positivity and optimism, which is essentially the same thing).
Why am I giving them the benefit of the doubt?
Because much of the information and research on the benefits is still silo’d among various branches of science. It is only my deep and burning passion for the subject that has led me to look across disciplines and see the whole picture.
It is still common for me to read research and books from that indicate about some findings “But we don’t know why” when I do know why from research in another branch of science.
Also, even if they are aware of some of the stunning scientifically proven benefits (such as 50% risk reduction for the number one killer, cardiovascular disease just knowing the benefits does not help they much if they do not know how to help people become more optimistic and positively focused. With depression rates at epidemic proportions worldwide it might seem futile to consider this path but that is a false premise.
Classes have been developed classes that can teach anyone with the desire how to increase their level of optimism and positivity. It is not hard and or expensive to do. In fact, when the benefits are weighed against the cost it is cheaper than dirt.
A combination of knowledge and skills has been masterfully woven together to create classes that not only increase positivity and optimism but also many other aspects that are beneficial to employers such as emotional intelligence and resilience.
The results address not only health care issues such as costs, absenteeism, and presenteeism but also increase productivity, reduce turnover and employee bickering and improve relationships of all types.
Utilizing many evidence based skills these classes have been carefully crafted to benefit each individual in ways that are suitable for them.
When you consider that increased positivity and optimism have greater health benefits than quitting smoking or losing weight and that a more positively focused individual is more likely to be self-motivated to make good choices about nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and sleep the benefits of increased positivity double.
So, for now, they get the benefit of the doubt.
What do those who adopt a program to increase employee optimism and positivity get? They get a competitive advantage that will propel them ahead of other companies who are late adopters.