Tag Archive: emotional guidance

What Does The World You Want Look Like? Feel Like?

World You Want

What Does The World You Want Look Like? Feel Like?

Have you ever asked yourself what you want the future to be like and given it extensive thought? Have you looked into the scientific research to see what we already know how to accomplish? Have you shifted outside your comfort zone in an effort to move the world more toward your preferred future?

Five years ago I left a nice cushy executive position in Corporate America because I learned that there were possible futures that I liked far more than current reality, futures science had already demonstrated were possible. It had become my passion and still burns brightly within me.

But I can’t create this future, the world you want, alone. It will take a dedicated group of individuals who are willing to be considered weird or out of step with the rest of humanity (until they catch up). But that’s okay, because as soon as you learn the skills that lead to this preferred future blending in will no longer be something you strive for.

The future we can have is so wonderful for everyone. The way I see my Preferred Future is described below. 

Preferred Future

Everyone on the planet understands how to use The Smart Way metacognitive processes in conjunction with emotional guidance to improve their own life.

 What the Preferred Future looks like:

Being happy is normal. Unhappy people stand out and attract others who help support their efforts to become happier using The Smart Way

It is rare for anyone under 25 to be incarcerated because:

  • They aren’t committing crimesCrimes is a way to feel more empowered and they already feel empowered
  • They aren’t using drugs to feel better—because they already feel good
  • Recidivism is also lower because incarcerated individuals are also learning how to use The Smart Way
  • Our biggest prison problem is what to do with all the newly empty prisons

  Heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and psychosis are rare

  • Almost everyone is an expert at managing stress to low levels

      Low stress = High Happiness

  • The path from stress to unhealthy biochemical and low immune function are fully understood
  • The negative impact of stress on digestion is understood
  • The benefit of increased pro-health behaviors that comes with lower stress is received fully
  • Individual resilience is much higher than today due to metacognitive stress reduction skills

  Racism and Discrimination is something old people remember from their youth.

  • People understand they can’t think badly of others and feel good
  • People are committed to feeling good because when they feel good they are good

  Employee Engagement has been high for years

  • People know how to align their work to their purpose
  • People understand that trusting increases trustworthiness
  • People are reaching for bold, inspiring goals because their encouraging guidance is understood

  Relationships of all type are better, divorces are not common

  • Without the financial burdens of the problems solved, everyone can enjoy a better quality of life without working as hard or long
  • People know how to repeatedly fall in love with their spouse
  • Lower stress = better moods, better moods = appreciate one another more

What is The Smart Way(tm) metacognitive processes in conjunction with emotional guidance?

The Smart Way is a collection of advanced and transformative evidence-based, experience-informed strategies that help individuals actively use self-regulatory metacognitive processes known to promote good mental health and lower stress in combination with emotional guidance.

What is emotional guidance?

In 2007, researchers recognized that the purpose of emotions scientists had accepted as true for eighty years was inaccurate and that the purpose of emotions is to provide guidance leading us toward self-actualization and away from danger. Because science misunderstood the function of emotions for so long, almost everyone alive suffers from responding to emotions in ways that inhibit their ability to thrive. Learning how to accurately interpret and respond to emotional signals has immediate and profound effects that improve one’s quality of life.

What is metacognition?

In the simplest terms, metacognition is thinking about thinking. The Smart Way is thinking about thinking by someone who understands how the mind works, prioritizes information, how the mind becomes and sustains biases, and techniques that quickly lead to more productive perspectives about whatever the person is observing.

Everyone’s brain is programmed. Psychologists believe most programming is complete by age 6. Most people’s brains are programmed by default—their environment determines much of the programming regardless of the helpfulness or harmfulness of the programming. The Smart Way empowers you with tools that you can use to reprogram your mind so that it is more helpful and less harmful to your success in anything you choose to do.

Are any fundamental principles included in The Smart Way or is it just science?

There are a number of principles I believe become self-evident when one begins using The Smart Way including:

  • Your mental programming, more than any other factor (gender, race, education, religion, age, etc.), is what limits you or helps you thrive
  • Your mental programming can be changed at any time, even in old age
  • At their core, everyone is good. No exceptions.
  • Behavior and emotional state are intricately linked. Undesired behaviors are primarily the result of disempowered emotional states
  • People who know how to achieve and sustain good-feeling emotional states behave better
  • Stress (which flows from mindset) is the root cause of over 90% of the world’s troubles
  • Stress, according to researchers, is responsible for 65 – 95% of all illnesses and diseases because psychological stress affects the immune, endocrine (digestive), cognitive, and central nervous system in adverse ways.
  • Psychological stress is the result of mindset and habits of thought far more than it is the result of circumstances

There are some fundamentals informed by science, including:

  • Psychological (mental) stress changes a person’s biochemistry—increasing stress levels in the body, depressing immune system, cognitive, digestive and central nervous system function

  You will note that The Smart Way goes beyond tolerance to Diversity Appreciation, which is actually easier to achieve because the approach flows with human nature, not against it.

This is not an idealist’s dream. Evidence-based research supports the fact that this potential is our for the taking–if we are brave enough, bold enough, and determined enough to make it happen. 

What would you give to ensure your children and grandchildren could live in a world like this? In the world you want?

What would you be willing to learn? Who would you be willing to tell?

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Time to Transform Education

Transform Education

Why Transform Education?

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.

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Call for Peace

Call for Peace (Re-printed from a post originally posted on House of Peace and Love for All)

Learning about senseless tragedies saddens me deeply because there is a better way and because the pain that a senseless tragedy leaves behind creates ripples that can lead to more pain.

I am saddened by the recent loss of life in Charleston and saddened by the suffering of the families and saddened that we still live in a world where the connection between emotional state and behavior is not understood enough that someone who is angry is helped to find a better emotional state.

Anger that persists is a form of mental illness. It may not be a diagnosis code in the DSM, but it is a form of mental illness, or perhaps more accurately, a lack of skill in dealing with emotions.

Happy people aren’t killing anyone.

People who are unhappy and trying to find a way to feel more empowered kill people. Unhappiness can range from jealous all the way down to anger, rage, and depression.

Behavior is entwined with emotional state; it cannot be separated.

Emotions are indicators that we should take action. Joy is an indicator to continue doing what we’re doing with the way we’re perceiving our current circumstances.

Anger is an indicator that we’re harming our self if we continue perceiving our current circumstances in the way we are currently perceiving them.

Anger does not validate the rightness of your stance.

Anger merely tells you that your current thoughts do not support your long-term goals.

Your anger may feel justified. It may even be justified according to large numbers of other people. It is still hurting you.

Anger is better than depression, but it is not a good home. It is not even a good place to visit frequently.

It is not an emotion to allow yourself to steep in because doing so clouds your thought processes and frequently leads to actions that create more anger.

Anger comes from a dis-empowered perspective.

The best response to anger is finding a more empowered perspective from which to view the situation.

I was saddened to learn that the shooter in Charleston hoped to begin a race war in America. I am gladdened to see the response.

I heard Malcolm Graham speak on the news about the loss of his sister, Cynthia Hurd, saying that we need to learn to live together peacefully and my heart soared. To hear someone with a loss so close to his heart calling for peace tells me that we are closer than I thought.

Why does it make my heart soar? Because peace and harmony are possible. There is a way to live peacefully in the world even before everyone is doing so. In fact, peace can only come one heart at a time.

Politicians and soldiers do not bring true peace.

True peace only happens when individuals’ hearts have peace within them.

Hearts filled with anger and bitterness lead to senseless tragedies decades after peace has been declared by politicians and soldiers.

The path to peace is one of learning the real meaning of emotions. They are guidance from God letting us know how close to the way God sees the situation we are perceiving it. When we’re joyful, we are perceiving the situation the way God perceives it. When we are in love we are perceiving the person the way God perceives the person. When we are frustrated we are perceiving the situation differently from the way God is perceiving it. When we are angry we are even further from God’s perspective of the topic than we were in frustration.

The worse the emotion feels, the more variance there is between our opinion of the situation and God’s opinion of the same situation.

If you feel the Call for Peace:

The first step is to recognize what emotions are.

If you want a religious view on the topic, see the quotes in the Bibliography and if your worldview is not represented, look to the scriptures for your faith and find it there.

If you want a scientific view on the topic, see the publication by Katherine Peil in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, also cited in the Bibliography.

The second step is developing skills that empower us to see more in line with the way God views the world by developing mental agility that helps us take different perspectives.

The third step is to put peace in your heart. The first two steps are necessary first because you must release the resentment, anger, and other strong negative emotions before you can truly feel peaceful toward all others. This seems an impossible task before you understand the link between emotions and behavior and develop the skills that enable you to see the world more as God sees it.

When you understand those things and use them, putting peace in your heart feels like the natural thing to do.

As I said earlier, happy people aren’t killing anyone. People who feel dis-empowered and are trying to regain some of their power are the ones who do those things. What they need is a better way to feel more empowered. The first two steps above are that way.

But society needs to recognize what negative emotion represents and help those who get stuck in negativity take the first two steps. The more the understanding spreads, the easier it will be for even strangers to help someone who is in a low emotional place.

I say easier, because we can already to it.

We can give a smile to someone who needs one. We can offer encouraging words to harried Mom’s while we are waiting in line or grocery shopping. We can hold doors open for others and show that we value their humanity. We can be kind for no reason other than being kind feels good (when it is what we want to do).

Those things can help momentarily. But learning the connection between behavior and emotion, what emotions really are, and how to take different perspectives that allow us to feel better without requiring any circumstances to change in that moment help permanently.

One way to make a horrible situation feel better is to give it a different meaning. It is not my place to decide for any other what meaning to give any situation, especially not for the families, friends and church that lost so much. But I can and do encourage others to take Malcolm Graham’s call for peace to heart and I know that along that path is where the greatest solace and meaning will be found, as well as the best world for the future.

If I can be of help in building peace in your community, please contact me.

My heart goes out to the families of Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson.

This post, written by Jeanine Joy, was re-printed from a post on House of Peace and Love for all. Jeanine Joy is the founding minister of House of Peace and Love for All.

Bibliography

(Al-Qur'an), T. (or of the soul which is secure of its salvation, and free from fear or sorrow.). By this the reader will observe that the Mohammedans are no strangers to Quietism. Others, however, understand the words of the soul, which, having attained the knowledge of the truth, rests satisfied, and relies securely thereon, undisturbed by doubts; 
Bhagwath gita.  The Lord's mercy is therefore available both in the form of the instructing spiritual masters and the Supersoul within the heart...
Bhagwath gita. The Supersoul within everyone's heart, directly gives us guidance...the spiritual master in the heart, gives direct inspiration.
Proverbs 16:9.  A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Bible.
Proverbs 3:5.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Bible.
 Buddhist teachings.  Wisdom is born of meditation deep, But lost by mind's distraction; knowing these Two paths of loss and gain, so let him live, Let him so direct his life that wisdom may increase. 282.
Confucius. By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.
Peil, K. T. (2014). Emotion: The Self-regulatory Sense. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 80-108.

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We Cannot See Reality

Does reality seem confusing?

Reality is fluid

We do not see reality. We see a filtered reality. Until this is understood, the rest of what we teach to help you thrive will not be accepted. We are taught that we see reality. We are taught that what we see is the same as what others see. Both of these are wrong. We each see our own unique reality. We merely assume others see the same reality we do.

If your response to this statement is disbelief, it would serve you well to loosen your belief that you perceive reality. This video will help you see that there are instances when you know your perception is not revealing the actual reality to you. The key is to realize that this is always true–it just is not usually as obvious.

Note: Despite the cover picture, this video is suitable for all audiences

After watching the video, ask yourself what other aspects of reality might not be as they seem. Ask yourself if you know the answer. Ask yourself if knowing the truth might help your life be more as you would like it to be.

There are filters that act below the level of conscious thought that greatly effect how your life plays out. They have immediate impacts on your health, relationships, success, and overall well-being. Your life can easily be much better than it is. Improvements come quickly when you learn how to adjust your filters, but they also build over time and continue even after your life is exceeding your current beliefs about what is possible for you. The better it gets, the better it gets.

If you would like information on our programs, please contact us for a list of upcoming programs or checkout the offerings or one of our founders books.

 


TRUE Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo

True Prevention

A Path to Primary Prevention

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.6-back cover TRUE Prevention FINAL Georgia font regular 16 FINAL

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.


Do you Want Better Employees?

Do You Want Better Employees?

 

The benefits of increased happiness include increased intelligence, creativity, emotional intelligence, resilience, and improved health, relationships and well-being.

At Happiness 1st Institute, we know how to teach individuals to increase their level of happiness with tools and techniques that make the increased level of happiness easily sustainable.

All the goals of corporate wellness programs (and much more) can be accomplished by increasing the happiness level of employees.

Many businesses have been using well-known methods to obtain a competitive advantage. New scientific breakthroughs are changing the definition of the best way to gain competitive advantage. At Happiness 1st we use information supported by recent scientific studies to help businesses gain a competitive advantage by developing the most valuable resources that they already have – their employees. Our methods will increase productivity, sales, engagement, and retention while reducing health care costs, absenteeism, and turnover. This can be done with a minimal investment of time and resources, yet the returns are fantastic. This has been shown over and over again in businesses ranging from insurance sales to high tech engineering to law enforcement. The theory of developing employees’ strengths toward a culture of hope, confidence, resilience, optimism and happiness makes sense, and the benefits have been proven by scientific research.

This is not a program that requires managers to offer compliments and be the motivator of employees.

Everyone wants to be happier. Increased happiness in employees confers great benefits on the employer. When an employee begins feeling happier the employee is self-motivated to continue practicing the skills we teach because it feels good. These skills work for anyone willing to do the work. Pessimists can learn to have a more optimistic outlook.

Plato said it best in The Republic when he wrote, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” During these challenging economic times, employers are seeking alternative solutions to control rising health care costs in order to maintain market share and profitability while continuing to provide benefits their employees rely upon. According to the National Coalition on Health Care, employee health care costs are rising at a rate of 6.9 percent annually, which is two times the rate of inflation. Health care spending in the United States represents 17 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the average cost of care for each person in the United States is around $7,900 per person.

Much of the burden for covering the cost of care for employees falls upon employers. In 2008, the annual premium for an employer health care plan covering a family of four was $12,700. This was the first year that the annual employee health care premiums surpassed the gross pay of full-time, minimum wage workers at $10,712.

Other more inventive employers are actively looking for alternative ways to reduce health care costs through a variety of cost cutting methods. Corporate wellness programs are quickly becoming the solution of choice with an average return of $3 for every $1 spent. There are many reasons employers choose to offer employee wellness programs. While the return on dollar spent is an average of $3 the programs are not as effective as they could be.

New scientific findings are causing a paradigm shift that feels as big as the shift from believing the Earth was flat to round. These findings are neon signs pointing to a fairly simple strategy that is scientifically proven to work and achieve the goals hoped for from a corporate wellness program.

What is this shift?  Increased happiness causes:

Improvements in health including fewer illnesses, less severe illnesses when there is illness, and quicker recovery.

  • Significant reductions in absenteeism
  • Significant reductions in turnover
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased clarity of thinking
  • Increased ability to make good decisions and good evaluations of facts

The same employee is literally more intelligent and more creative when they are happier.

The same employee is healthier when they are happier.

The same employee has better relationships with others when they are happier.

Think about how good it would feel to come to work every day and feel good yourself and work with others who feel good. Staying in such an environment would be very attractive to employees.

We love sharing with businesses, organizations, governments, veterans and individuals information about the scientific studies that show that every goal of corporate wellness programs (and then some) is addressed beautifully by increasing the happiness level of employees and that there are proven methods of not only increasing employee happiness levels but sustaining them.

Please visit  Happiness 1st for more information on the science behind happiness and how to enroll in our classes.

Scientists have also shown that happiness can be learned through development of new skills.

The benefits of happiness are too great to list here. Here are some results of increased happiness:

  • Happy sales people do much better than even more qualified but pessimistic sales people in sales and their turnover is lower.
  • One company experienced a 1.5 day per month per employee reduction in absenteeism with 1,000 employees (18000 days a year equivalent).
  • Being happy vs. unhappy contributes more to longevity than smoking status!
  • Intelligence (IQ), creativity, emotional intelligence (EQ), and resilience all increase in tandem with increased happiness.
  • Even when they become sick, happy people recover faster and do not experience as many symptoms as an unhappier person with the same illness.
  • The higher level of emotional intelligence means less time dealing with petty grievances that steal valuable time.
  • Happy people see solutions more than problems.
  • All relationships tend to improve with increased happiness, so the impact at work from turmoil at home lessens.

Imagine working in an environment where employees have learned happiness skills. How difficult would it be to leave such an environment for one where that training had not been provided?

We need many things to make our company one of the leaders that comes out of the decline in a great position to thrive.

We need intelligent leaders with creative solutions and high levels of emotional intelligence.

We need to retain our key employees. Turnover is one of the biggest risks during recovery.

We need competitive edges. Happiness is a huge competitive edge and it increases the chances of developing other creative and inspired competitive edges.

Is it time to lift your company out of the doldrums?

Get Happiness 1st Institute to help you capture these benefits of happiness.


How can employee happiness benefit your business?

Happiness?  What does happiness have to do with your business?

Far more than most have ever imagined.

Happiness provides a solid foundation for success.

Do you wish your employees were smarter or more creative?

Do you long for healthier employees who are at work more often?

Would your life be easier if turnover declined?

Can you imagine a work environment where co-workers get along with one another fairly well?

Do you want your customers to be delighted after encounters with your employees?

Some people are just naturally energizing to be around. Happy employees are likely to be that way.

Happiness is the answer!

Scientists have been studying happiness and found that happiness contributes to success rather than being caused by success.

The same individual is smarter, healthier, more creative, more resilient, and has higher emotional intelligence when he or she is happy than when unhappy.


Your 6th Sense–Use it

Your 6th Sense

The one they will soon be teaching in schools near you

In early elementary school children are taught about the five senses, sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch. What would it be like to not understand that these senses were providing information about the world around us to help us navigate the path to our desires?  What if we did not connect what the senses told us to our environment?  How much less functional would that make us?

We all have a sixth sense that has been ignored. We actually have far more than five senses. The sense of urgency to use the bathroom is a sense. Hunger and thirst are senses. But this one, revealed by new research, is often ignored and that equates to lives lived far below their potential. Their potential for what? Health, happiness, great relationships, emotional well-being, success, and achievement.

New research from Harvard, courtesy of the brilliant mind of Katherine Peil, and ten pages of cross disciplinary scientific research cited in her paper, Emotion: A Self-regulatory Sense, demonstrates clearly that our emotions are a sense. In fact, her position is that emotion is our oldest sense and she uses molecular biology and the biophysical processes of living systems to lead us step-by-step through this idea.

The world is about to get much better for many people. Those who have not understood that our emotions provide us with guidance, a True North feedback guiding us to divine goodness and love, have been living in more darkness than a lack of vision would cause.

Positive Psychology has been giving us a great deal of information about the benefits of positive emotions, optimism, and happiness over the past few decades including that they reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 50%, improve the immune function, help us create better relationships and be more successful among many other benefits. Our website has documented benefits to individuals, businesses, charities, communities, and health with many scientific citations.

I have copied heavily from Ms. Peil’s paper with quotes indicated in italics. Please follow the link to her full paper and read it if you are at all interested in this topic. The excerpts below, while copious, do not begin to have the depth contained in her paper. The excerpts are primarily focused on information that lends itself to the import of our emotional guidance system and our best responses. The detailed science that leads to this conclusion is not covered at length via these excerpts nor are other pertinent details to a full understanding and discussion. All page number references are to Ms. Peil’s paper, Emotions: A Self-regulatory System.

Katherine Peil’s model is “the first model devoid of neurocentricity and rooted in the fundamental hard-science biophysical principals beyond the conventional interpretation of Darwinian evolution“.

In addition to unifying many seemingly separate and unrelated bodies of literature, this model affords science a pioneering inroad into the territory of values – the “spiritual judgments’ according to the great William James (1958). (pg 22)

Much of the positive psychology literature points to feeling that we are fulfilling a larger purpose is important to individual happiness. Ms. Peil’s model provides great insight in how to obtain a sense of purpose, “the model places purpose in an evolutionary context, with both positive and negative relating to universal self-regulatory purposes to which the biovalues of all living systems are tethered. Indeed, to recognize our teleological end directed purposes is to fill a “gaping hole” in our understanding of our world and our place within it — “the intrinsic value in humankind” (Deacon, 2011). In fact, given the emerging global village, science is clearly needed to weigh in on the issue of values lest we retreat into conflicting religious fundamentalisms (Kaufman, 2008; Harris, 2010).

Ms. Peil has great courage in presenting this model which has, to my delight, presented a“much more optimistic portrait of human nature — if not of nature itself. It suggests that cohesion, cooperation and adaptive creativity are as deeply rooted in our evolutionary history as red-in-tooth-and-claw competition and random mutation. It suggests that nature is green with grace and embrace; balancing self-preservationary necessities with self-developmental synergy.” 

She describes our emotional sense as “a feedback loop in a circular stimulate-response relationship where the output of a system is fed back into itself serving as stimulus for a subsequent round of output responses. It provides feedback in perfect accordance with harmful or environmental stimulus. In doing so, it accomplishes an optimizing developmental adaption – saying “yes” to beneficial changes — or a self-preservationary intervention, saying “no” to potentially self-destructive harms.” 

In other words, listening to and understanding the information from our emotional guidance system (EGS) helps us optimize our self-development and helps us avoid harmful environments and situations. The guidance from our EGS is customized to our own specific goals. An individual who wants to become a nurse will receive guidance from her EGS that furthers that goal. An individual who wants to become a great ball player will receive guidance from his EGS that furthers that goal. Our guidance leads us to better feeling emotions, whether it is away from fear in a harmful environment or toward becoming the most we can imagine being. The science has been very clear that those who are stable in higher emotional states contribute more to others, their families, co-workers, communities, and beyond. They are more altruistic and more apt to lend a helping hand to friends and strangers alike. Following our emotional guidance is the way to achieve sustainably positive emotional states.

Ms. Peil’s model refutes the value of suppressive forms of emotion regulation. “In this new view our binary feel-good/feel-bad hedonic feelings remain the conscious mind’s only valid informational tether to the biophysically right/wrong conditions required for life itself. and an innate safeguard against its more volitional -yet potentially dishonest (Greene & Plaxton, 2009) — rationalizations and hypocrisies (Valdesolo & DeSteno, 2008). Instantly, they (emotions) offer both a reality check and a behavioral fix. Their elegant stimulus-response mechanics moves us to actively avoid self-destruction and create evolutionary self-development, and their simple tit-for-tat logic constantly reminds us of these dual universal purposes.”

“Moreover, suppression does not work. For whether or not the informational component of the emotional message is deliberatively and rationally incorporated into the cognitive schemata (building conscious, reasoned motives) the coupled corrective response will simply forge them into the mindscape.”

“It conceptually reunites “the self” as a functional whole bridging the gap left by the Cartesian severance of mind from body and the many illusory divides, judgments and assumptions that would follow. Particularly those that privileged reason over emotion and conscious and intentional processes over intuitive, embodied cognition and Naïvesensory perceptions.” 

The HeartMath Institute conducted a study that showed the heart registered responses in a predictive manner, while the brain responded after the fact to the same stimuli.[i]  Placing reason over intuition and discounting intuition has been a mistake that it is time to rectify.

“Indeed, the appraisal themes of the four basic negative emotions – loss (sadness), imminent danger (fear), contamination (disgust), and disempowering obstacles to agency or social violations (anger) – move us to either change the immediate environmental circumstances or alter our location, to “fight” or “take flight”. To which I would add: to make right, a previously unacknowledged more adaptive, creative problem solving response to emotional distress, born of the self-developmental imperative and the approach mode of behavior.”

To me the above statement found on page 14 of her paper, is the most empowering and important aspect. It highlights a higher road that humans can take from the traditional ‘flight or fight responses”. This is the path on which solutions to many social concerns we have been wrestling with for decades (and in some cases, centuries) will be solved.

“Indeed, instead of suppression or behavioral avoidance, a Right Response (RR) is one that involves an active, adaptive, rebalancing of the ecologically optimal (biophysically favorable) rational state between the organism and the environment. The RR has been captured in the stress literature as problem-focused coping (Pearlin & Schooler, 1978); Folkman, Lazarus, Gruen, & DeLongis, 1986) or transformational coping (Chen, 2006), as perhaps the most adaptive way of reducing the psychophysiological arousal tension (Haines & Williams, 1997). This can happen in one of two ways. It can involve an active adaption of the immediate external environment, which is what we call creative action or “work”, and it is how we accomplish cultural evolution.”  See page 14 of the paper for specific examples.

“Likewise, the RR can also be affected to the internal environment, the personal mindscape, in conscious knowledge acquisition, in an act of deliberate learning and personal growth, an accountable answer to the distress call. Another mental tactic is to invoke optimal belief structures to reappraise (Lazarus, 1991) or temporarily endure a challenging or uncontrollable situation; or to bear an injustice or misfortune with relative grace and ‘resilience.” (Seery, 2011). This internal RR is also known as “self-control” (Tabibnia, Satpute, & Lieberman, 2008; “self-discipline” (Duckworth & Seligman, 2005), or perhaps “grit” (Duckworth, Kirby, Tsukayama, Berstein, & Ericsson, 2011), the ability to endureshort-term pain in order to cultivate long-term complex pleasure (captured by the body builder’s lament “no pain no gain). But there is a vast difference between a RR and suppressive emotion regulation, as the corrective action itself is informed by the specific emotional message, is consciously undertake, and it self-preserves through open, approach behavior, adaptive development and social cooperation.”

“In Short, the RR is a self-developmental response more indicative of the neurally well-endowed, culturally creative human being, if not all social primates. In fact, the developmental benefits of the internal RR also concern the perceived boundary between self and other, delivering what philosopher Peter Singer (1983) deems “the expanding circle” of concern for non-kin social others. This occurs when the empathic understanding of universal distress allows the broadening of one’s identity boundary such that the concerns, well-being and interests of unfamiliar others (or ‘outgroups’) become “self-relevant” as well.”

“In short, in context of the feedback cycle, despite the primacy of pain, the modern behavior toolkit includes a creative approach response as well as avoidant reactions to emotional distress. When feeling out of balance, we can take flight or fight in defense, or we can capitalize upon our neural endowments, stay in approach mode and correctively “right” the problematic agent,  Indeed, the RR should be the first choice reaction and constitute the greatest percentage of all corrective responses. But, despite such efforts, unacceptable environmental conditions persist over time, then more assertive and aggressive (yet non-hostile) confrontational “fight” responses become appropriate, until finally a “flight” to more habitable and just environments becomes the only viable options. But whether the situation dictates a Right, Flight, or Flight response, the primary objective is to immediately identify and reduce the internal or external environmental conditions that are triggering the distress in order to self-preserve.”

“The complex feelings[ii] call for internal environmental corrections — righting one’s personal mindsscape as a captain would right his sailboat in response to winds of change. Indeed, when it comes to the mindscape, fight and flight defenses are tantamount to denying the wind itself, they are maladaptive, they are wrong”.

“In sum, RRs are the mechanism for conscious, intentional, and ultimately “reasoned” learning. Such optimal self-regulatory responses promote good health (Bandora, 2005), spur both individual and social self development, and create neural structures that deliver optimal feed forward control, including empathic understanding that afford others the egalitarian respect, compassion and forgiveness required by the trial and error nature of emotional sensory self-regulation. …. It should be no surprise that unresolved emotional distress is unhealthy — if not self-destructive — as an abundance of literature suggests (Sternberg, 2001; Segerstrom & Miller, 2004).”

“The good news, however, is that suppressive approaches to emotion regulation often overlook the positive eustress signals and their “Yes!  Go! – This-is-good-for-me!” messages, the natural rewards for optimal self-regulation.”  See page 15 for details on benefits to individuals and society.

“Indeed, the positive emotions pull us onto an optimal — right track — of life, a richly meaningful (Peterson, 2007), morally virtuous (Aristotle, 1985), spiritually integrated and evolved (Wilber, 2006; Vailant, 2008), creatively engaged, and socially connected state of flourishing (Seligman, 2011), all by simply “following our bliss” (Campbell, 2004). Indeed, the fourfold over representation of basic negative emotions is counterbalanced by a “positivity ration”, where nearly three times as many positive as negative interactions are required to prevent group fragmentation and individual languishing (Losada & Fredrickson, 2005), which I would ague, occurs naturally if we are responding ‘rightly’ to our painful emotional messages.”

“Indeed, the moral logos of the emotional sense suggests that win-win cooperation motivated by positive emotion is the long-term rule, and that win-lose fight-and-flight competition driven by self-preservationary pain is the short-term exception. Likewise, it suggests that the role of emotions such as basic anger, sadness, disgust, and complex trust, gratitude, love, and compassion have largely gone unnoticed in rationalist models of economics, game theory, and interpersonal decision making (Lerner, Small, & Lowenstein, 2004; Han, Lerner, & Keltner, 2007). In sum, it suggests that nature is green with grace and embrace, that we enjoy a self-developmental impetus for creative adaption, that evolution is constructive because of cooperation (Novak, 2006), and that as Dacher Keltner (2009) put it, we are “born to be good”.

The implications for social advancement are enormous. “In sum, the universal right track of human development delivers an optimal suite of complex emotional perceptions and a fully functional moral compass, perhaps even at surprisingly young ages,  Furthermore, the moral wisdom delivered by this optimal trajectory is also echoed in common religious mores, the virtues and values identified by the Institute of Global Ethics (Loges & Kidder, 1996), the positive psychology Values-in Action taxonomy of human strengths (Peterson & Seligman, 2004,) and it resonates from within well-being advice across the mental and physical health sciences. But in terms of evolutionary theory, emotion has never been given its rightful due, and the tremendous adaptive value of positive emotion has remained obscured by the notion that all pleasure is simply the handmaiden of sexual reproduction.”

Emotions have been given a bad rap despite great scientific evidence to the contrary. See page 19 for examples. “Such slander about our visual, auditory, “olfactory, or gastatory sensory processes would be unlikely and we consider ourselves disabled unless all senses are interact yet this attitude prevails (regarding our emotional guidance sense). Clearly, we have blamed the messenger while missing its primal self-regulatory message. We have chosen to suppressively regulate our emotions instead of allowing them to regulate us. Indeed, while suppression is little more than self-deception, our cultural traditions encourage us to deny our feeling signals with strategies ranging from religious taboos and admonishments to socially refined and politically correct manners, and even to powerful psychotropic drugs. But in doing so, we’ve run our optimal moral rails onto the wrong track.”

The biological emotion of disgust, for example, is designed to apprise us of contamination, diseases, bacterial overgrowth, and the avoidance of infection threat (Curtis, 2001, 2007). “Maladaptive beliefs can harness and redirect the basic emotions to preserve ideologies rather than the body itself. . . . In short, conserving maladaptive beliefs can completely and “disregulate” our emotions (Bauneister, 1997, Peterson & Flanders, 2002, Dias-Ferreira, Sousa, Melo, Morgado, Mesquita, Cerqueira, Costa & Sousa, 2009), and ultimately help manifest the host of psychiatric ‘affective disorders’ described by the DSM. in sum, by choosing the suppressive strategy humanity has not only violated the simple directive to reduce the physical and sociocultural conditions that elicit painful emotions, but we have compromised them by adding an entirely new man-made layer of social distress to the external environment – the complex negative emotions.’

Furthermore, given the emotional system’s ancient roots in self-regulatory signaling, such tactics are a recipe for personal disaster. As noted above, sociocultural structures that exploit negative emotion in this manner create a lingering state of distress (Dickerson & Kemery, 2004) that sets the epigenetic stage for compromised immune function, ill health, and maladaptive development. Indeed, through epigenetic pathways, stressful events become biologically embedded — they get ‘under the skin’ — during developmental windows crucial to the forging of neural circuitry (Hertzman & Boyce, 2010) as well as DNA damage that accelerates degerative aging (Hara, Kovacs, halen, Rajagopal, Strachan, Grant, Towers, Williams, Lam, Xiao, Shenoy, Gregory, Ahn, Duckett, & Lefkowitz, 2011). It is now well documented that environmental factors such as maltreatment, family adversity, marital conflict, maternal depression, and even financial distress are being linked with cognitive deficits and socio-emotional behavioral problems in children (Kahnsari, Murgo, & Faith, 1990), Burchinal, Roberts, Hooper & Zeisel, 2000; Boyce et al, 2001; Tsigos, & Chrousos, 2002; Caspi et al, 2002; Cummings & Davies, 2002; Essex, Klein, Cho & Kalin, 2002; Patel & Kleinman, 2003; Mastern & Shaffer, 2006; Van Ijzendoorn & Bakermans-Kraneriburg & Van Ijzendoorn, 2007; Boyce, 2007; Kleinman, 2010). ………..(see page 20 for different descriptions) …. but by any name, they reflect the self-regulatory feedback dynamics — and epigenetic manifestations of the emotional sense.”

So, the five senses we learned about in school was a woefully incomplete story. Our emotions are sensory output (just as the color of something is sensory output from the interpretation our brain has made about the input). Just like something that tastes bitter is communicating necessary information to us, so too do our emotions communicate information necessary to both maintain health and to thrive.

Suppressing emotions on the negative (bodily preservation) side would be akin to putting Novocain in ones hands and then putting your hands on a hot stove, you might notice that something smelled funny but you would not feel the pain of the hot stove even though your hands are burning. Suppressing negative emotions is no less unhealthy. 

Suppressing emotions on the positive side (self-development) would be like eating your favorite delicious high calorie dessert while your mouth is desensitized by Novocain. You would miss all the joy of the experience and not gain the pleasure response.

Suppressing emotions is not the answer.

There are three basic proper responses to emotional output from your emotional guidance system. These are Right, Fight and Flight. Right Responses (RR’s) are by far the preferred method in most situations. Right Responses can be learned. In fact, that is the main purpose of the classes offered by Happiness 1st Institute, to teach individuals Right Responses. 

This is new language to us because although we have long recognized that emotions provided guidance it was not until Ms. Peil’s paper that we had scientific support for this knowing or the term Right Responses.

Another aspect that has been well documented by many research studies is that when we become happier we become better behaved individuals. We will be posting a white paper we have been working on for a while, since before we became aware of Ms. Peil’s fabulous research, on the topic of the Importance of Understanding our Emotions. The intent is to offer a plain-English explanation.

When new information becomes available that changes the playing field, the typical slow progress of science, sometimes termed “progress by funeral” indicating it is often not until the old school has passed that new insights can be brought to light and benefit humanity is unacceptable. This is one of those times. I so appreciate Ms. Peil’s willingness to publish this paper with her meticulous research and findings that overturn many prior beliefs across many disciplines. I appreciate her ability to see the potential benefits for humanity that sharing this information can bring about and her willingness to do so.

A new sense is not really that startling. Even though schools continue to teach five senses the emotional sense is not the first new one to be known. Senses are, by definition, the physiological capacities in organism that provide inputs for perception. Far more than five are documented including thermoception, equilibrioception, kinesthesioception, proprioception, and noiception to name a few. Some natural abilities (facilitated by senses) are hunger, thirst, sense of time, fullness of stomach, need to perform bodily functions and more. I make note of this here so that the non-scientist can understand that calling emotions a sense is not far fetched. It is a new, more accurate way of looking at something we have always been aware of. This way of viewing emotions has many advantages for both scientific study and for mankind because of what it says about social problems and their solvability. We are miles closer to solutions as a result of Ms. Peil’s work.

There are many aspects to her paper including an in depth discussion of the difference between basic emotions and complex emotions. There will be resistance from many quarters to retain the status quo for a variety of reasons. This paper, when fully understood, is very empowering to individuals. It also will threaten the ‘need to be right’ that many defend forgetting that they could instead celebrate knowing more than they did when they used to think what they knew was right. A Right Response (RR) would be to understand that prior opinions and/or beliefs were based upon the best information you had at the time. It is fully appropriate to incorporate new information to support new opinions as such information comes to light. In the past you did the best you could with what you had and that is no different than what you are doing today.

In time this paper will be accepted as a historical masterpiece leading to global improvements. Further research and study will increase the already well documented evidence supporting the positions put forward in this paper.

The concept that humans are good and will behave well based upon following their own internal moral compass will be accepted in time as it is demonstrated. 

For those who feel their world view is threatened by this they need only change their internal mindscape slightly to remove the threat. Doing so would be considered a Right Response and lead to self development. Within the Biblical scriptures there is great evidence to support that we have guidance so maintaining a Biblical worldview and accepting the premises put forth in this paper is not that far of a stretch. The Bible says that “God is Love”. It also said that “Man was created in His image”. If God is Love and man was created in the image of God then Man is Love. If Man is Love than Man is good. The concept of man as flawed negates our having been made “In His image”. Furthermore, there are many quotes that indicate that we have guidance. A separate document on Happiness 1st Institute’s site discusses this in greater detail, see “Are Emotions Guidance from God?”.

For those who are uncomfortable viewing the emotional guidance system as God leading the way can just see it in the biological sense. If one listens to the guidance, understands its messages and follows the guidance the same benefits will be derived regardless of whether the guidance is attributed to God or something else (at least while here on Earth and I will not take this discussion beyond the Earthly plane).

Understanding emotions as a sense has the potential to positively impact every ‘social problem’ that is of grave concern to many today.

The faster this understanding spreads and is incorporated into our policies, attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs the faster the benefits will be derived.

The science is clear. It is amazing that emotions as a sense has not been discovered/proven previously. The benefits of positive emotions, so well documented over the past 20 years, lends great support.

Positive emotions are more important to our well-being than nutrition, exercise, or even whether we smoke or not based on scientific studies and meta-analyses that have been published. There is a reason for this. We were born to follow our bliss.

Update on citations. Katherine Peil’s groundbreaking paper required expertise from several areas of science for proper peer review. Our scientific system is not set-up to take advantage of groundbreaking research that does that because they want one reviewer to be able to review the entire paper–rather than adopt an intelligent idea–having a committee comprised of experts from each field review the paper. Hopefully this will become acceptable in the future. As a result the paper was not able to be published in the original form as it was cited “in press” in various blogs on my site. It was modified and eventually peer reviewed and published in Global Advances in Health and Medicine in March 2014. I had access to early versions and many have quotes from those versions in various parts of my work. The inability to be successfully peer reviewed is not due to a lack in her work but to a lack in the current scientific norms for evaluating groundbreaking work. It was humanity’s loss that this work was delayed several years in reaching the public because of this.

[i] Rollin, McCraty, Mike Atkinson, and Raymond T. Bradley, “Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition. Part 1: The Surprising Role of the Heart,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 10(1) (2004), pp. 133 – 143

[ii] For a complete explanation of “complex feelings” please see Emotions: A Self-Regulatory System cited above.


A Sure Path to Peace

A Sure Path to Peace

True inner happiness puts you in reach of finding peace in your own heart.

The world will only have peace when individuals make the choice to put peace in their own hearts.

No one has to wait for ‘world peace’ to enjoy a peaceful heart. In fact, as they wait, the world will never achieve peace.

To achieve ‘world peace’, we need to, find the peace in our own hearts. Each of us can find peace within our own hearts at any time. We cannot make the world be at peace but we can make our world at peace with a peaceful heart which leads to feelings of peace and love and unity with all.

Politicians and soldiers cannot put peace in individual hearts. Each of us has the power to do that in our own heart, now. Even when the governments declare peace there is no peace unless and until peace resides in the hearts. Look at the US civil war… there are still those who do not have peace in their hearts over this yet I do not believe anyone remains alive in the body they inhabited during that conflict. . . . because they have been taught not to be peaceful in their hearts regarding that. As we move toward finding peace in our own heart wonderful things happen in our lives. No one can stop you from having peace in your heart now, except yourself. It is your choice. I chose peace as soon as I understood this and love living in peace with the world. Bless you. Bless everyone. May the true wisdom of each soul shine forth.

Superficial happiness will not get you anywhere close but deep and stable happiness can and will bring you within reach of finding peace in your own heart because the path to both is the same. It is about understanding what you can and cannot control and not needing others to be different to validate you.

Some months after I wrote the above I found this quote:

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”

~ Dalai Lama XIV

And later still, I found this one:

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

And then this one:

Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

When you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Education will help bring peace but it must be the right kind of education. Education that empowers individuals to believe in themselves, to believe not only in their own worth and capability, but that as magnificent as they are, all others are magnificent being as well. The differences are strengths.

Years ago, here in the South where I have made my home, there was a blight on the American Chestnut trees which were once dominant in the forests. Other varieties of trees were not affected by this blight that eradicated vast areas of trees that once provided food and shelter to humans and animals. If only American Chestnut trees had existed, if we had not had the variety of trees, today there would be no trees. Variety provides great strength. We need to look for the value of the differences we see in one another.

The only reason we want others to be “like” us is because we are insecure in who we are. When we ask others to believe as we do, look as we do, act as we do, we are really asking them to validate our choices. When we begin to understand that the blessings that come from the differences, the different perspectives, the different thought patterns, the different actions, and the different appearances are of far greater value than any value there is in sameness we will be ready to embrace who we are fully. We will be free to express who and what we are.

Many believe that there is danger in someone being different. They do not understand that the real danger lies in attempting to make everyone conform to a set mold. We did not come into this life to be copycats. We came to create ourselves anew and explore our potential. At our very cores, we are all the same. At our cores we are all benevolent and loving beings. It is when we are constrained and held captive to expectations that limit us that we become less than loving. When an individual is truly happy they want others to share that happiness. Science shows this again and again in their research. It is the rules and constraints of society that create the behaviors we are attempting to prevent with the rules. A circular malfeasance is being created and only deeper knowledge will release the masses from the ever tightening circle. No one is trapped within that circle when they realize they control whether or not they will abide there but most have been so trained that they must remain in the circle that the pressure is mounting.

Look for the beauty and potential in all others. It is always there. Your inability to see it is your own self-created limitation. Failure to see the beauty and potential in all others speaks about who you are Being in the moment; not about them. Most self-created limitations are really acceptance of limiting beliefs and false premises that others teach to us. Examine your beliefs and their basis. What must be true for your beliefs to be true?

We have to see the world as we want it to be in order to inspire it to be that which we desire.

As we move toward finding peace in our own heart wonderful things happen in our lives. No one can stop you from having peace in your heart now, except yourself. It is your choice. I choose peace as soon as I understood this and love living in peace with the world. Bless you. Bless everyone. May the true wisdom of each soul shine forth.

I am often very aware of the energetic differences in things and just that small change shifts the energy considerably.

Some time ago I made a decision that we live in a benevolent universe. Einstein had a quote about this, “You can make conscious decisions to believe that you live in a benevolent universe or that you live in an evil place”. He followed the quote with an explanationthat the decision will determine your actions. If you live in a benevolent universe your actions will reflect that and if you live in an evil place you will do things like build bombs.

I find that Henry Ford was exactly right “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you are right” meaning that your life reflects the truth of your own, personal beliefs back to you. Since making the decision that I live in a benevolent universe (complete with a higher power that is not only very aware of each of us but flowing the goodness we will allow to us).

Since deciding that people are good at their core even people who are not always nice to others are nice to me. I believe they sense on some level that I see the truth of them and that part of them responds. There have even been times when I could see their own confusion as to why they were being so polite to me. It is my desire to share my awareness of this path to peace with others to help them find the comfort and security peace brings.

Please consider sharing this with your friends and family. You never know who you may help by passing it on. It is a random act of kindness that will ripple outward.

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Senseless Tragedies: Prevention

Corporate wellness

Root Cause of Senseless Tragedies

Prevention: One person at a time

 

This publication represents the first installment in Happiness 1st Institute’s series of White Papers on the importance of understanding emotions. The papers in the series are intended to offer plain-English descriptions of the foundational elements of the importance of understanding emotions, as well as insights and practical steps you may consider for incorporating the concepts within your own organization or life. In the following pages, you will find a discussion of concepts necessary for understanding emotions an integral part of managing their impact. We believe application of these concepts will help create what we consider the epitome of enlightened emotional management.

The subject was the focus of my thesis and my later book based on my thesis, Is Punishment Ethical? We have the ability to stop crimes before they occur, before anyone suffers because of them and before someone irrevocably changes their life into one where they will be incarcerated. Why aren’t we doing it? Let’s do it. Step 1: Learn about the solution until you see it as clearly as I see it.

Keep in mind that the application of these concepts is new information for most. The study of human thriving is a relatively new area for scientific discoveries as prior efforts focused more upon decreasing the impact of problems instead of enhancing potential. This addresses the root cause of many unwanted things by creating an environment of thriving in which those undesired elements cannot flourish. Most current programs – for health, mental health, societal problems, relationship problems are directed at treating symptoms. This is directed at the root cause.

Open communication is a key characteristic of a educating others on these concepts. Consider sharing this whitepaper with other executives, board members, and key managers in your organization as well as important people in your life and the lives of your children. The new understanding of emotions has the potential to beneficially impact the world. The more information that is shared the faster those benefits can be enjoyed by people around the world.

When actions can affect human well-being or change the world, it’s not business as usual. New research in one field often takes years to reach professionals in other fields. The information about emotions coming out of may areas of science have the potential to positively impact health and well-being around the world, as well as many social issues including substance abuse, teen pregnancy, crime, recidivism rates, productivity, divorce rates and depression. We believe it is contains the keys to peace.

The issues and concepts outlined herein should provide an excellent starting point for a crucial dialogue on enhancing your organization’s understanding of emotions. For additional information, visit www.Happiness1stInstitute.com.

We are available to provide classes, private consultations as well as coaching services and collaboration with schools, prisons and non-profits.

LabelsMohawk Boy with Aerosol Can

Humans label by characteristics, behavior, and appearance. We then apply judgments based upon the labels we assign to others and ourselves.

 

Labels save time and help us navigate life but they can also greatly diminish outcomes.

Individual behavior varies largely due to the current emotional state of the individual. When we judge based on behavior without an understanding of the impact of emotional state on behaviors, individuals at lower emotional states tend to be judged harshly and their potential greatly underestimated.

For example, the same individual feeling despair would not respond to the same situation the way he or she would when happy.
Impact of Emotional State

In order to see the true potential in others the link between emotional state and behavior must be understood and considered during our interactions.

An individuals current emotional state has significant impacts on all of the following:

·         Behavior ·         Intelligence ·         Emotional Intelligence
·         Health ·         Well-being ·         Resilience
·         Relationships ·         Motivation ·         Creativity
·         Decisions (including lifestyle, i.e., diet, exercise, alcohol, drugs, and risky behavior)

 

In general, you can assume that someone behaving in undesirable ways has negative emotions that have not been responded to in of the three constructive methods.

The best response to most negative emotion in modern society involves ‘Right Responses[A] (RRs). This involves some action or a deliberate and conscious change in mindscape.

Emotions provide information to guide us. The other two appropriate responses are Fight (non-violent assertive resistance) or Flight. Suppressing or denying emotions is dysfunctional and leads to many other problems.

Ignoring a negative emotion is just as unhealthy as putting your hand on a hot stove and leaving it there to burn while ignoring the pain inflicted. Pain is information that tells us to take some action. Likewise, emotions are guidance that helps us recognize unhealthy thoughts or circumstances.

If we are judging an unhappy person based upon their behavior we are not seeing their potential. When we see their potential we are more likely to inspire them to achieve more of their potential. Potential is a terrible thing to waste.

In general, emotional states can be defined (broadly) with the following feelings:

Emotional Guidance Scale (EGSc)

Sweet Zone

·         Joy ·         Appreciation ·         Freedom
·         Empowered ·         Love ·         Awe
·         Passion ·         Enthusiasm ·         Eagerness
·         Happy ·         Positive Expectation ·         Belief
·         Inspired ·         Trust ·         Faith
·         Optimism ·         Serenity ·         Satisfaction
·         Fulfilled

Hopeful Zone

·         Hopefulness ·         Gratitude

Blah Zone

·         Contentment ·         Boredom ·         Pessimism
·         Apathy

Drama Zone

·         Frustration ·         Irritation ·         Impatience
·         Overwhelmed ·         Disappointment

Give Away Zone

·         Doubt ·         Worry ·         Blame
·         Guilt ·         Discouragement

Hot (Red) Zone

·         Anger ·         Revenge

Powerless Zone

·         Hatred ·         Rage ·         Jealousy
·         Insecurity ·         Fear ·         Unworthiness
·         Grief ·         Depression ·         Despair
·         Powerlessness ·         Learned Helplessness ·         Guardedness
·         Hopelessness

 

Emotions and Thoughts

Emotions are the response to thoughts. This fact is easily demonstrated by taking someone through a guided visualization of scenes designed to elicit emotions. As the scene changes the emotional state changes.

There are actually three levels of emotions. The most basic are felt below conscious thought. For example, if the hairs on the back of your neck stand up because of a danger you have not yet consciously been aware of that is the most basic level.

The second level consists of simple emotions that come in response to actual thoughts. For example, fear is one such emotion.

The third level is also emotions that come as the result of conscious thoughts but the thoughts are more complex, the responses are not necessarily inborn responses but trained by external third parties (parents, church, society, teachers, etc.). For example, shame. A baby and small child have no shame about their body when they are naked. This emotion is taught by third parties and would be considered a complex emotion.

Emotions are information that we are designed to be acted upon. When third party imposed negative emotions do not provide a path to better feeling emotions they set the stage for all sorts of problems including behavioral, emotional (See DSM), and health. We were not designed to suffer negative emotions on a long-term basis and when we endure them we do suffer.

Emotional Set Points

Emotional set points impact how an individual will feel in response to stimulus. For example, someone who is experiencing a lot of frustration will find more things that are frustrating in new circumstances and a person with a generally hopeful attitude will notice aspects they find generally hopeful in new situations.

Reticular Activating System (RAS)

The emotional set point is assisted by the Reticular Activating System (RAS) Filter in their brain. The RAS  Filter sifts external input based on filters such as:

  1. Beliefs held by the individual
  2. Expectations of the individual
  3. Emotional set points of the individual[B]
  4. Focus of the individual

This filter only passes some information to the conscious brain and filters out a great deal of information that our senses record. This is beneficial because otherwise we would be overloaded with too much information.

However, the filters have often been programmed in ways that do not serve the individual well.

Beliefs & Limiting Beliefs

For example, if someone has a limiting belief the filter will keep information from passing to their conscious brain, thus, their ability to overcome the limiting belief is blocked or minimized.

Many individuals RAS filters are impacted by a belief that their actions will not make a difference. This condition has been termed “Learned Helplessness.” Individuals with this condition will not take actions that others (who do not hold the same limiting belief) clearly see would make a difference for the better in their life experience. They literally don’t see some beneficial actions as possibilities because their filter holds back the information. Even if they see the actions as possible their RAS filter does not allow them to imagine the potential benefits of the positive actions the way someone in a more hopeful mindset could. The RAS filter does not allow the information that conflicts with the current beliefs, expectations, and emotional set point to flow to the conscious mind. The filter does not do this out of malice or because the person lacks worthiness or societal value. The RAS filter is unbiased in that way. The belief that their actions will not make a difference results in the filter not placing opportunities (or their potential beneficial outcomes) in their conscious mind.

Learned Helplessness can apply to life in general or to a specific subject or subjects. For example, someone who does well in one area may feel paralyzed in another . This indicates that on that topic they have developed a belief that their actions will not matter.

The detrimental impact of learned helplessness are often seen in long-term poverty, addictions, and remaining in dangerous relationships.

Learned Helplessness is an example of being at the lowest end of the Emotional Guidance Scale. This belief can be changed. When the belief changes the individual will begin seeing the opportunities. The potential for positive change is amazing.

There are as many limiting beliefs as there are individuals. The best way to overcome them is to decide what beliefs would serve you best, not to try to figure out what beliefs may be limiting to you.

The filtering effect results in your conscious mind not receiving information that contradicts your beliefs so it is difficult for you to identify your own limiting beliefs. Reading inspiring books such as “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz or “Unlimited Power” by Anthony Robbins can help identify beliefs that could be beneficial to positive motion forward. A contemporary book that is good is “Infinite Possibilities” by Mike Dooley.

Another technique is to write about your life and then ask someone else to read what you have written and help you identify limiting beliefs.

One key to identifying limiting beliefs is to look for statements with “but”. I want to, “but”, followed by some reason the individual believes he or she is limited and cannot do as desired.

Many people will argue for their limitations quite vehemently. It is best not to point out limiting beliefs unless someone is asking as they will just take a stronger position in defense of what their life has shown them to be true. If they do not understand the role of their RAS filter they won’t understand why they see so much evidence supporting their position even though their position is only true for them because of their belief. Those with different beliefs have different experiences.

Expectations

Expectations will also impact what the RAS filter allows through to the conscious mind. This has a tremendous impact on perception of others. For example, if one has formed a negative impression of an individual, he will expect to see behaviors that reflect his negative impression. It will be difficult for him to see progress, especially in the initial stages of change.

Perhaps the best advantage of understanding that our expectations color how we see others is that, once we understand this, we can see people clearly. Instead of seeing people as colored by our previous experience, we allow ourselves to develop new expectations and we will be able to see others in a different light.

If you have defined someone or something (to yourself) by their potential, your expectation (filter) will look for evidence of becoming more of who they can be. Whereas, if you have defined them (to yourself) as someone with bad behavior your filter will look for further evidence of bad behavior and ignore improvements or change.

Emotional Set Points

The emotional set point of the individual will impact what gets through the RAS filter. The filter trusts that you are intelligent and deliberately determining your focus. So, in essence, if you are frustrated often (by traffic, by co-workers, by your family, friends, and house, by spilling the coffee or tripping on something, etc.) your filter says “Oh, she/he wants to feel frustration. Look here …. here is something else that is frustrating. Oh, and look here, this is also frustrating.”  Again, there is no malice. Your filter assumes you understand that you get more of what you focus upon.

Let’s take an example of this. Two individuals can go to the same restaurant, have exactly the same food, prepared in the same way to their specifications, even sit in the same place and have the same server. One who has been focused on enjoying life can have a wonderful time. The one who has been predominately frustrated will find things about the experience that are frustrating that the individual focused on enjoying life does not see (because their filter does not highlight the things that are frustrating).

The ‘big deals’ will still show up. This is not about burying ones head in the sand. It is about, however, having a positive bias on life. When you expect things to go well your filter will show you evidence of things going well. Is it a ‘big deal’ if your waitress takes two extra minutes to refill your water glass?  If your focus is on enjoying life you may not even notice until she is there pouring the refreshing water – you will notice in time to thank her. If you are living in frustration you will notice that your water glass is getting low and as soon as it is empty you will feel frustration that it has not been replenished.

This is just an overview of how the various factors impact the filter.

Emotional State – Impact on Behavior

When you understand that higher emotional states equate to more desirable behaviors you will understand the importance of focusing upon helping the person move to higher and higher emotional states. Punishments tend to keep people at low emotional states and progress is very slow, if it happens at all. Helping someone with undesirable behavior feel better goes against what almost everyone has been taught from a young age. On the other hand, when you look at how things really unfold you will understand that this is the only path to permanent improvement and I will even say, eradication of much of the socially unacceptable behaviors (in time when this is understood by the masses).

Regrets & Self-criticism

Often the greatest punishments come in the form of negative self-talk.

While it is good to have a conscious about our own behaviors,  understanding that we re-create ourselves throughout life and being self-critical about past mistakes just keeps us from moving forward.

When I encounter someone who has deep regret over a past decision I often ask them “If you were in that situation right now would you make the same decision?”. The answer is frequently an adamant “no!”.

 

My response is then “Clearly you are no longer the same person who made that decision/mistake. Why punish your current self for who you used to be?  The person you are today would not do that action so why punish the person you are today?”

I believe fully understanding this not only provides relief from self condemnation but inspires others to want to continue forward motion and become even more.

Although it is a subject for another paper, long-term guilt and regret have negative health consequences.

“Higher” or “Ideal Self”

We all have a “Higher Self” or an “Ideal Self”. We create this self as we live and make decisions about who we really want to be. If we are mean to someone we create a “Higher Self” that is nicer. If someone is mean to us we create a “Higher Self” that others are nicer to. This Higher or Ideal Self” calls us. The Higher Self has achieved all the dreams we have dreamed and our job is to move in the direction of the Higher Self we have created through the living of our life. The “Higher Self” is not a stagnant ‘ideal’. It is ever evolving as we experience life. The “Higher Self” is unique to each of us. No two of us want the same exact things although there are many commonalities.

This differences in individual desires is another area where greater understanding would serve us well. We perceive the actions of others through our own lenses. If our dream is to be married to the same partner for 50+ years we may not be able to understand the perspective of another who chooses not to marry. Understanding that we each have unique desires and perspectives and that this is a wonderful thing would help not only personal relationships but national relationships. We can desire what we desire (we actually can’t help but desire what we desire) because our life has shown us that is what we believe is best for us. However, when you look for someone else to validate your desires and dreams you are asking if your desire and or dreams satisfies their perspectives which really have nothing to do with your own.

Where we are the same is that the higher we get on the EGS the better our behaviors become from the perspective of treating others well.

Violent criminals sometimes appear happy at their own actions but what is being witnessed is a sense of relief they feel in moving up the scale from somewhere in the vicinity of despair (which feels totally powerless) to somewhere like revenge where some of their power has been taken back. Their seemingly positive emotions are not joy, appreciation, or love. They are a sense of relief.

It is not necessary to commit violence in order to move up through the hot (red) zone and stabilize oneself at higher emotional set points. In fact, violence does not usually happen until they have tried to move up and someone or society has sent them back down, repeatedly.

It is quite possible to move up from despair and hopelessness through anger, rage, and revenge just using thoughts. Actions are not necessary to move up the scale. A guide in this process is often helpful.

It may seem that I am blaming those who have held others down or pushed them back down for their resulting violent behaviors. In actuality, I am not interested in trying to figure out who is to blame. Someone taught the person that pushed them back down beliefs that punishing them and limiting their power was the right way to act and the person who taught them learned it from another and so on back through time.

Your higher self says “Yes You Can” and you can verify this by thinking (and believing) “I can” and feel your emotional response to it. Your emotional response will feel better than it will when you think and feel “I can’t”

                         Yes, I can!

A Better World

My interest is in a better world for everyone going forward. I cannot impact or change the past but I can impact and change the future.

What is clear is what has been done in the past has not worked well for many members of the human race.

Understanding how our emotions impact our behavior and focusing on helping one another reach and sustaining ourselves at higher emotional levels will have a tremendous positive impact on the future.

Success requires that we set our intentions on the loftier goal of creating a better world and cling less to the ‘need’ to have been right in our opinions and judgments in the past.

Celebrate knowing new knowledge rather than regreting what you once did not know. Everyone has always done the best they could in the moment. Even when ‘the best in the moment’ is not good, it was the best possibility for them in that moment. Their best in other moments could be better.

There is never a time in this life when we know everything. Like children who gain new knowledge as they learn to walk, we are continuously gaining new knowledge as we live and are exposed to new concepts, ideas, experiences, and scientific discoveries. Embrace the new knowledge and leave any regrets for what you once did not know in the past. If you know enough to regret something now the person you are also knows better than that person you used to be knew. Love who you are and who you are becoming.

Benefits of Increased Positivity

When individuals reach a sustainable place in the Sweet Zone one of the first things almost everyone does is exhibit a desire for others to also enjoy that sort of emotional stability.

There are many processes to help individuals move up and to stabilize at higher emotional set points. At Happiness 1st Institute we teach over 50[C] processes to help individuals manage their own emotional set points.

We are not speaking of transient forms of happiness that are usually based upon some event, possession or other person. We are speaking of a type of happiness that provides a deep sense of inner stability, peace, well-being, and vitality that is consistent and sustainable. This sort of happiness is available to anyone who gains a greater understanding of self.

In addition to the behavioral benefits to society, there is a great deal of research that supports the benefits of happiness for individuals, their family, friends, and society in general. These include: happiness leads to greater success (Harvard Study), greater longevity (Nun study), improved health (too many studies to list – see our website for many citations and examples), better relationships of all types (again, too many studies to list), higher earnings (too many studies to list), lower crime and substance abuse[D], and increased intelligence and creativity (especially see Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D.’s work and her “Broaden and Build” theory in either her research or her book, Positivity).

The type of happiness we are talking about is different. It is being who we are authentically, at our core, connected to our Higher Self and focused upon becoming as much like the Higher Self we have created as we can. This type of happiness increases resilience and gives us confidence to pursue our dreams. It does not require continual happiness but the knowledge, desire, and sureness that you can easily and quickly return to that state using skills and knowledge is always present. You are in control of you and your responses to life.

Purpose of Emotions is Guidance

Emotions are guidance. They let you know whether you are moving in the direction of becoming more like your “Higher Self” or away from who you have decided you want to be.

Think of it like the children’s game of finding a lost object where clues of ‘you’re getting warmer” or “you’re getting colder” are given and it becomes simple to follow your guidance. Positive emotions mean you are moving in the right direction and negative emotions indicate you are moving away from your goal.

Appreciate the emotions for the guidance they are.

The ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ is a view of ourselves at our best having achieved our greatest (believable) potential. This ‘Ideal self’ taps our passions, our values, and our past achievements.

“A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

“There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.”

~ Hindu Proverb

This ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ is different from the ‘ought self’ that is the construct of things you believe that you should or ought to do based on expectations and requirements of others.

The ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ motivates you from within. The ‘ought’ self is using external criteria to motivate and may or may not be in alignment with your true goals.

What is the difference between your ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ and who you usually are in your day to day interactions?  The ‘gap’ has a lot to do with what you believe you are capable of being. There is always a gap because the ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ is a moving target and this is a good thing. Some of the greatest athletes of all time focused on moving toward their ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ and continued to improve even when they were great. The ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ is a self-created self that is the best you can imagine being in any given moment. As long as you are moving in a direction that is closing the gap you can feel joyful.

Take the idea of the ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ and then look at the EGS. You will be able to easily see that the ‘Ideal or Higher Self’  is calling everyone up the scale. Our ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ lives at the high end of the scale, loving and appreciating.

You will also see that the higher you go on the scale the more empowered you feel. The lower you are on the scale the more powerless you feel.

When you feel more empowered you can often see many paths to your goals (which is why science has found that

individuals are more creative and intelligent when they are happier) – their filter has been set with a greater belief in their abilities. Therefore, they see more ways to achieve their goals.

When someone is held down, either by society or their own limiting beliefs the pull

to regain some of their power and to move up the scale gets larger and larger. When the only path(s) that are visible to the individual are ones that society abhors, they will take those paths if and when that pull becomes stronger than any resistance they have to those actions.

At the lower levels often the only path visible that will allow the individual to regain some of their personal power is a path that would never be chosen if they saw another path.

The above point is so important for understanding. Because of the feelings of being powerless the path(s) to regaining some power seem very limited. Perhaps they have tried repeatedly to regain some power in more acceptable ways but have not been understood so they were pushed back down. Over time this would result in a belief that those more socially acceptable paths are not the way because they did not work. As that happens repeatedly the paths that remain open become more appealing. Paths that would never have been considered if the socially acceptable paths had not been blocked begin to seem like the only option. Feelings of desperation begin to work on the individual until they become causative to  actions. They do feel relief in those actions even when the consequences can be potentially terrible.

When society begins helping individuals move from feelings of powerlessness to better feeling places, rather than pushing them back down (because they are easier to handle in depression, despair, and helplessness than in anger or revenge) we will see massive positive changes in our crime rates. Eventually we will have the nice problem of trying to figure out what to do with all the excess capacity in our incarceration facilities.

We will see thriving among those who previously were thought to have no hope. We will see the gap for those children who today still seem unable to achieve begin to close as we help them overcome learned helplessness.

We will see massive amounts of post traumatic growth. The individuals who have come from disempowered situations who learn how to manage their own place on the EGS will be huge beneficiaries of post adversarial growth. By their experiences they have created a “Higher Self” that is far greater than the one created by someone who has lived a mild life. When they understand how to move in the direction of closing the gap consistently and deliberately we will be amazed and delighted.

Emotions are literally guidance from one of our senses. The concept of ‘five senses’ is a fallacy. We have far more than five. New research from Harvard, courtesy of the brilliant mind of Katherine Peil, and ten pages of cross disciplinary scientific research cited in her paper, Emotion: A Self-regulatory Sense, demonstrates clearly that our emotions are a sense. In fact, her position is that emotion is our oldest sense and she uses molecular biology and the biophysical processes of living systems to lead us step-by-step through this idea.

Our emotions are output from a hitherto unrecognized sense. In fact, the emotional sense is present even in simple organisms. It appears the function of the basic ‘negative’ emotions are information that helps us keep our bodies safe. The function of the positive emotions is to point us toward self-development and well-being.

The difference between the simple organisms and most humans is that they actually listen to and respond to their emotional sensory output.

Humans, on the other hand, have a tendency to ignore emotions. to suppress them, and to suffer the negative consequences of doing so in lives that are not as robust as they could be.

There is no benefit to us in ignoring the output from our emotional system, it is providing information which will improve our lives if we act upon it appropriately. Ignoring output from the emotional system leads to senseless tragedies.

Ignoring negative emotional output is no different than ignoring pain from our sense of touch. We would not put our hand on a hot stove and notice that our hand was burning and leave it there to continue to burn. When we ignore or suppress negative emotions it is no less harmful to our well-being than leaving a burning hand on a hot stove.

Emotions are information designed to guide us.

Proper Response to Emotions

The best response to most negative emotion in modern society involves ‘Right Responses[E] (RRs). This involves some action or a deliberate and conscious change in mindscape.

In an early version of K. T. Peil’s paper (Global Advances in Health and Medicine, March 2014), she stats “the modern behavior toolkit includes a creative approach response as well as avoidant reactions to emotional distress. When feeling out of balance, we can take flight or fight in defense, or we can capitalize upon our neural endowments, stay in approach mode and correctively “right” the problematic agent,  Indeed, the RR should be the first choice reaction and constitute the greatest percentage of all corrective responses. But, if despite such efforts, unacceptable environmental conditions persist over time, then more assertive and aggressive (yet non-hostile) confrontational “fight” responses become appropriate, until finally a “flight” to more habitable and just environments becomes the only viable options. But whether the situation dictates a Right, Flight, or Flight response, the primary objective is to immediately identify and reduce the internal or external environmental conditions that are triggering the distress in order to self-preserve.”

Emotions are guidance and we were never designed to tolerate negative emotions for longer than it takes to complete our corrective action. That is why the many benefits of positivity are coming to light as we study positive emotions. We were designed to feel good. We were also designed to be good, which we are when we feel good.

Societal systems designed to make us feel bad and maintain that negative state are fighting against our very nature. These same systems literally create the very undesired behaviors we want to avoid.

Right Responses can be taught with knowledge and skill to become the default mode of response. Happiness 1st Institute focuses upon doing exactly that in our classes.

Morals and Values

Morals and values do have a place in the structure of things. Someone with a strong moral fiber who is repeatedly pushed to the low end of the EGS may choose options other than violence against others. Suicide is one of the options that can be more palatable to such an individual (slow or fast – in other words drugs and alcohol or those actions we currently call suicide). There are so many variations that influence the path(s) that will become acceptable and there is really no reason to analyze them extensively. Our time is much more productively spent understanding how to help individuals move up the scale where the subject of what path they would choose from a position of powerlessness is irrelevant.

Substance Abuse

In most cases, drugs and alcohol begin as a way to feel better. Individuals who know how to feel good by managing their own place on the EGS tend to drink far less. I have a large social network of such individuals and often vacation with them. Drugs and alcohol are not a big factor in our fun for the vast majority of us. We are high on life.

Drugs and alcohol are a form of self-medication. Whether addiction becomes an issue or not, learning to consciously and deliberately respond appropriately to emotional guidance can help any individual make healthier choices.

Peer Pressure

I can hear protests “What about peer pressure?”. Think about it?  Isn’t giving in to peer pressure an attempt to feel better?  To feel more accepted?  To feel a part of something more?

Emotion can affect decisions about risk-taking in all age groups, not just adolescents, the emotion doesn’t necessarily have to be triggered from the decision situation itself even, for example. if you’re angry about an argument, you might later drive too fast on the highway.[F]

Our emotions provide guidance but what has been happening for a very long time is that the children (who are born knowing how to be joyful) are taught to pay attention to pleasing others instead of following their natural guidance. Parents, teachers, ministers, and peers say “Do this so I will feel better” and because the pressure is intense they eventually begin using others as their barometer about how to behave. This is very problematic if you are trying to please more than one other person and even more problematic if one of those people is inconsistent in what pleases them.

Society has developed a belief that without external guidance our behavior would be unacceptable. Recent findings in positive psychology refute this premise. When individuals are in a positive state they exhibit not only behaviors that society requires as ‘socially acceptable’ but behaviors that go far beyond the minimums with altruism and cooperation increasing substantially when higher levels of positive emotion are present.

Helping children understand that listening to their own emotions is important. We often speak of animals having instincts and humans having intellect. We (humans) do have instincts but we are trained not to listen to them. We all have guidance coming from within and we can hear it when we quiet our minds. What most do not do is listen to it or understand how it communicates. Our minds are powerful and important but our hearts are even more intelligent. The HeartMath Institute conducted a study that showed the heart registered responses in a predictive manner, while the brain responded after the fact to the same stimuli.[G]

Our bodies have great intelligence. We often take them for granted and overlook the intelligence of our bodies. They know how to take a single cell and turn it into a full grown human. From that single cell all the other cells are formed, ones that are eyes and ones that are toe nails. They know how to take nutrients from food and nourish our cells. They know how to regain balance when many undesired elements are introduced. When we listen to our guidance we will also receive information about what our bodies are asking for to maximize our vitality.

Studies are revealing that we make healthier choices when we feel positive emotions.[H]

Make Decisions When you Feel Happy

Education

The first step is to spread the knowledge of how to understand and use our emotional guidance systems for our own benefit and the benefit of others. This must include a deep understanding that helping those who are not behaving in acceptable ways increase their level of positive emotion is the path to their becoming productive and contributing members of society.

Pain Management

So much of medicine treats symptoms. It has been shown repeatedly and conclusively that positive emotion and optimism treat the root cause of both life threatening illnesses including cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s as well as illnesses that are usually less threatening such as the common cold and flu.

Positive emotion can also have an immediate impact on pain. Someone who has chronic pain that comes and goes will notice, if they pay attention, that when their emotions are more pleasant their pain decreases. The opposite is also true, the worse the emotional state, the greater the pain. According to Dr. Scott, Chief Nursing Officer of Grady Health Systems in Atlanta, Georgia, they noticed this when they became cognizant that requests for pain medicine decreased during afternoon football games prompting the hospital to add ESPN to the channels available to patients[I].

Science has come a long way in proving the many benefits of happiness over the past two decades but they have not come close to understanding the potential impact on human thriving that is possible. This will be realized when the topic of this paper has become common knowledge.

We are on the brink of seeing the dreams of many generations become reality. Let’s go.

Jeanine Joy’s upcoming book, Stress Kills: Happiness Heals will provide a clear path to the vision explored in this White Paper. Watch for it in book stores in the autumn of 2014.

Please consider sharing this with your friends and family. You never know who you may help by passing it on. It is a random act of kindness that will ripple outward. This information is too important to move forward at the speed of science – Pass it on and help create a better world sooner.

[A] See:  Emotion: A Self-Regulatory Sense, K.T.Peil

[B] Each individual has an emotional set point on each topic. For example, emotional set point about Mother may be different on topic of money than set point on topic of food and so on. However, people tend to live in the same emotional range across a variety of topics.

[C] See separate list of processes.

[D] University of California – David (2001, August 22). Happiness can deter crime, a new study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from http://www.sciencedily.com/releases/2011/08/110822091859.htm

[E] See:  Emotion: A Self-Regulatory Sense (www.emotionalsentience.com) by K. T. Peil, Harvard, 2012

[F] Association for Psychological Science (2011, July 27). Who takes risks?

[G] Rollin, McCraty, Mike Atkinson, and Raymond T. Bradley, “Electrophysiological Evidence of Intuition. Part 1: The Surprising Role of the Heart,” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 10(1) (2004), pp. 133 – 143

[H] The Heart’s Content: The Association between Positive Psychological Well-Being and Cardiovascular Health,” Julia K. Boehm and Laura D. Kubzansky, Psychological Bulletin, online April 17, 2012, Published by the American Psychological Association, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of  Happiness 1st Institute. Happiness 1st Institute is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, financial, investment, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business  Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional.. Happiness 1st Institute, its affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

© 2012-2014 Jeanine Joy All rights reserved.

[I] Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2012


Increasing Resilience–Worldwide

We are so honored to have contributed to this book.

The curriculum used to train most psychiatrists and psychologists focuses on things that can go wrong. At Happiness 1st Institute, our interest is on what makes things go right. My passion is to find out what helps humans thrive and build bridges from wherever someone is to the information that will help them thrive in new and better ways. I have built bridges that help individuals who are not unhappy become far happier and to help individuals who have spent much of their life feeling depressed become happier than they had ever imagined was possible for them.

My passion is about helping people thrive.

Happy people are more resilient. Resilience is what allows someone to bounce back from a setback. The happiness I teach is not about always being really happy – it is about often being happy but ALWAYS knowing that you know the path to happiness so that even when life throws you something undesired you can have the confidence of knowing that you know the way – that returning to happiness is not only possible for you but a certainty.

Our emotional guidance system is one of the best tools to understand and use to ensure this return to happiness. Understanding our emotional guidance ensures a high level of resilience.

Last summer I was honored with a request from Dr. Venkat Pulla (Charles Sturt University – Australia) to contribute a chapter to a textbook type book on resilience. The book was subject to peer review. My chapter was accepted for inclusion in the final book. I feel truly honored and blessed by this experience. It is available on Amazon. The book is published by IRIS (International Resilience Institute – Sydney). The publisher is generously willing to donate copies to Universities and libraries. If you have a library or University that would like a copy please let me know.

First, I want to express my appreciation to Dr. Venkat Pulla for reading my blog and then inviting me to participate in this important work as well as for his guidance and encouragement during peer review. I would also like to thank the anonymous peer reviewers for their hard work, effort, feedback, and encouragement. I want to express my sincere thanks to my life partner, Phil, for supporting me while I took the time to write and respond to peer review of the chapter, to my eldest daughter, Courtney, who helped edit the chapter with her magnificent command of the English language, to my youngest daughter Ashley for her confidence in me. To my brilliant friend, Katherine Peil, my heartfelt appreciation for the scientific work she has done on the emotional guidance system. To my knowledge, she is the first scientist to document this extremely important sensory system and without her scientific efforts I do not believe the chapter would have passed peer review as I would not have had the science to support critical areas of the chapter. My thanks, also, to all the scientists and authors whose works I cited in the chapter for their efforts. If my contribution is helpful to humanity it is because I am standing on the shoulders of many giants.

To me this experience is one that can serve as an example to others that passion and perseverance can move mountains.


Perspectives on Coping and Resilience

, Perspectives on Coping and Resilience

We are delighted to announce that the book we contributed to (shown left) has been published. Many distinguished contributors worked together to create this peer-reviewed book with the goal of helping increase the resilience in the peoples of the world. This was an international effort.

Perspectives on Coping and Resilience may be ordered on Amazon.

 The editors are: Venkat Pulla, Andrew Shatté, and Shane Warren

The chapters include the following topics by the authors mentioned:

1. Contours of Coping and Resilience: The Front Story 
By: Dr. Venkat Pulla
2. Toward a Philosophy of Resilience
Thomas W. Dukes 
3. Using Metaphors to Develop Resilience 
Robin Hills and Doug Haynes
4. Developing Personal Resilience in Organizational Settings 
Linda L. Hoopes
5. Emotion Regulation in Children: Towards a Resilience Framework 
Jennifer Hudson and Venkat Pulla
Strengthening the Capacity for Resilience in Children 
By: Alyce White and Venkat Pulla
6. Resilience Building Using Art Therapy with Adolescents in Australia 
By: Jo Kelly
7. Out of the Shadows: Into the Light: Resilience and Coping Skills through Arts Practice 
By: Anne Riggs
8. Resiliency and Recovery from Intimate Partner Violence 
Linda A. Douglas 
9. Resistance to Resilience: Addiction, Co-dependency and Doing Life Differently 
Sharalyn Drayton
10. Trauma–Creating Beneficial Change 
Richard Hill 
11. Trusting Ones Emotional Guidance Builds Resilience 
Jeanine Broderick 
12. The Role of Language in Promoting Trauma Recovery and Resilience 
Pamela Trotman and Leisha Townson
13. The Community Resilience Profile: A Framework for Assessing Community Development Efforts 
Lynn Varagona and Linda Hoopes
14. What World Bank Metrics Don’t Tell Us About Per Capita GDP: How a Nation’s Resilience
Affects Its Prosperity 
Lynn Varagona 
15. Building Resilience in the Next Generation and the Power of Higher Self-efficacy 331
Anndrea Wheatley
16. Revisiting Emotional Regulation: Evidence from Practice 
Shane Warren
17. Strengthening the Capacity for Resilience in Children 
Alyce White and Venkat Pulla
18. Life Narratives Mirroring the Feminization of HIV and AIDS Trauma: Zimbabwean Perspectives
of Coping and Resilience 
Sindiso Zhou and Nhlanhla Landa
19. Resilient Reintegration During Adversities: Case of Young People with Disabilities
Nur Aishah Hanun, Lynne Briggs and Wayne Hammond
20. “Resilience at Work and in Life” 
Dr. Andrew Shatté

 I hope our efforts increase your ability to bounce back and help you help others learn to do the same.

  Jeanine