Tag Archive: Happiness

What common mistakes do people make when choosing a life partner?

advice column choosing a partner

Dear Dr. Joy,

“The heart wants what the heart wants,” or do we go for a cold judgment approach.

What should be some good guidelines and misconceptions to be careful about

Dr. Joy’s Advice:

Settling.

They settle for someone who isn’t exactly what they want in a partner and:

  • Think they can live with the absence of the missing qualities, or
  • Think they can change the person (The only person who can change anyone is the person who is changing and that doesn’t happen unless/until they want to change.)

Many people make these mistakes without conscious thought. They want the fantasy they build around the person they are dating and don’t think thoughtfully about whether traits that they’ve overlooked will always be acceptable. For example, Terri loved Ron’s adventurous and spontaneous nature. He made her life more fun and she envisioned a future that was better than she’d ever dreamed of with Ron at her side. But she had also always dreamed of being a mother and when the first baby arrived her outlook about Ron’s adventurousness changed.

It was no longer a good thing that he often did things that were somewhat dangerous and always seemed to be learning a new sport that put his life at risk (sky-diving, deep sea diving, motocross, etc.) Then her best friend’s husband was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way to work when her friend was expecting their first child and Terri began worrying even more about ending up raising their child on her own if Ron had an accident during one of his adventures. She attempted to convince Ron to stop risking his life but that only drove a wedge between them. Ron felt that he hadn’t changed and he shouldn’t have to change. Even if Terri had thought far enough into the future to consider how she would feel once they were parents, she probably would have assumed Ron would change the way she planned to change. Most people make such assumptions and don’t have the conversation.

They don’t wan to rock the boat now that they think they’ve found the perfect partner.

The time to rock the boat is before you get married.

Do you really want to marry someone who frequently becomes intoxicated or high?

Consider how that could impact your ability to accumulate assets. If your spouse is busted with illegal drugs in your home or car the assets can be seized. If your spouse gets a DUI, the legal bills and increased auto insurance costs will be a significant financial burden and if an accident that harms someone occurs it could wipe you out.

Consider who will take care of the children if your spouse is frequently intoxicated or high.

Someone needs to be sober to save the children in case the house catches on fire. That sounds a bit worrisome, but how would you feel if a fire occurred and your child died because both parents were intoxicated? While it may be a lot of fun to get a good buzz by sharing a bottle or two of wine when you’re dating, it is not nearly as much fun when one of you needs to remain sober to take care of the children or when you can’t drink because you’re pregnant.

Many people marry for looks. When one of my daughters was about 11 she was very into how guys looked and went gaga over ones she thought were hot. I told her that looks weren’t everything and that when she considered a relationship with a guy she should ask herself if she’d still like him if she lost her sight or his appearance was changed in an accident. Surprisingly, she listened to me and I’m glad. But many men and women focus their partner’s physical appearance. While you want to find your partner attractive, looks should not be one of the top 5 criteria.

One way to avoid making a mistake is to decide what you want in a partner before you are in a relationship. Don’t set the bar too low. I spoke to a woman one time who said, “My next boyfriend is going to have a job and a car.” She didn’t say “a safe car” or a “reliable car.” Just a car. She also didn’t say “a steady job” or a “good job.” Apparently, any car and job would make a man good enough for her.

Don’t set your sights too low.

Go for an equal and if you have low self-esteem, aim high and work on your self-esteem.

Talk about your long range plans and desires. My husband has never lived in the country and I long to return to country living when we retire. He is okay with country living as long as we are close to a college because he wants to teach during retirement. I decided I was okay with that limitation to the location of our retirement home. There are many rural areas with great Universities in the area. But what if he hadn’t been willing to leave the city and we hadn’t talked about it?

We didn’t talk about my husband’s desire to go back to school to earn his Doctorate but fortunately, I believe in lifelong learning and am supportive. But many spouses would resist this undisclosed goal because of the cost involved.

Deep conversations and a willingness to let the relationship go if you discover things you don’t want to spend the rest of your life living with. The willingness to let go is what is most often lacking. It is easier when you realize that you can love someone and let them go and not feel heartache if you continue loving them in a fond way. It is when we attempt to stop loving someone we love that our heart aches. Our hearts know how to fall in love. They don’t know how to stop loving. But loving does not mean we have to stay together.

Letting go also requires trust that this isn’t our last chance or our best chance. I went through a lot of shenanigans (blind dates, internet dating, going to mixers, etc.) looking for love after my divorce. Where did I meet my husband? He was in my backyard golfing with a friend of mine’s husband. He lived 1/2 mile away. We’d both been invited to their Christmas party but he didn’t go one year and I didn’t go the next.

Opportunities for love are all around us. We will not find the right one when we are clinging to the wrong one.

I wish everyone as much love as they can handle in their life.

All the best to you.


How can I know what I want from life or why am I alive?

Advice about life and goals

I’m 23 yo guy. I just graduated with a major I don’t like (architecture), I got refused in an interview yesterday for a teaching job. even my love for my family is fading, they’re great, I am just not capable of loving. I have no life goal, I don’t know what I love in life. I feel like a dead man!

Dr. Joy’s Advice:

 

Please consult your doctor to check for depression.

Most people don’t have a life goal, especially not at 23. If they do, it usually changes many times over the course of their life. You’re holding yourself to a high standard and no one else is doing that (unless you have a parent who likes to find problems with you and fix them). If that is the problem being found, you’ve got a lot more going right than many 23-year-olds.

You’ve got a degree under your best. Okay, so you’ve decided you don’t like what you studied but the thing is many jobs require a degree but not a specific one.

What don’t you like about what you studied? You know what to avoid when you’re looking for jobs.

Were you really refused for a job, or was another candidate simply viewed as a better choice for that particular job? Some jobs have hundreds of applicants and to feel refused because they selected another candidate is being very harsh on yourself. Try seeing it as one step closer to getting a job. Also, even if you did crash and burn during the interview, you got some experience and you now know that you need to practice. Ask a family member or friend to give you mock interviews so you can practice and ask them to be hard on you so you’re ready for anything that comes up.

Many people don’t interview well and the cure is practice to gain confidence and seeing an interview as one out of many opportunities and trusting that the right opportunity will feel easy, not terribly difficult.

Many young adults your age are pulling further away from their birth family. It is not an unusual feeling. Non-human animals often leave their parents upon maturity and never return. I’m not saying you should do that, just that pulling away isn’t all that unusual.

Everyone, even you, is capable of loving. Your early life experience may have taught you to suppress emotions so they may be buried, but you are capable of love. Pay attention to how you feel. Tell yourself that you will notice your emotions. Emotions are not your enemy. They are actually designed to guide us toward self-actualization by feeling good when we’re moving in that direction and tell us we’re heading the wrong way with negative emotion.

Your post was brief but in many ways, it had elements that sound like catastrophizing or awfulizing, which is making a single incident (job interview) into a permanent and pervasive problem. Learning to see things as temporary situations will help you feel good. Nothing in life is permanent.

The “feeling like a dead man” comment makes me think that you’ve either been taught to suppress your emotions so you can’t feel their guidance (this is reversible) or that you’re depressed. In either case, I do encourage you to seek help. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to feel better.

I wish you all the best.


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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Understand Your Brain More = Thrive More

When you understand your brain more, you thrive more because your brain affects your perception.

Your perception becomes your reality.

You do not perceive an actual static reality. Two people standing next to one another do not see exactly the same world.

What I refer to as your vivid senses (because you have many senses that are more subtle) hear, see, smell, taste, and feel everything in your environment, but you are not consciously aware of all that data. Between your subconscious awareness and your conscious awareness is a filtering process. Everyone’s filtering process is unique and your filtering process is not static, it continually changes. The process is affected by many things, but there are several main filters that you have the ability to change that impact how you perceive your reality.

There are four main filters that have a tremendous impact on how you experience reality. If they are programmed for success, success comes easily to you. If they are not programmed for success, achieving success is a constant struggle.

One of the ways your filters impact your experience is by looking for things you are used to finding. Unless you change your programming to do something other than that, the filter just keeps sending information to the conscious mind that will feel like the other things you have been aware of.

Ever had a frustrating day only to go home to your family and found yourself frustrated by them. Perhaps in ways you later regretted because you can see that your mood affected your perception of their words and actions? That was the filtering process highlighting what you had been focused on–things that frustrate you.Perfect Rose

Here is a picture of a rose that looks perfect. If you appreciate its beauty, savor its aroma, enjoy existing in a world that can produce such a delightful rose, your filtering process will send other information to your conscious mind that will lead to your feeling appreciation, or savoring the moment. But, if you look closely enough, this rose has a flaw. Some people have programmed their minds so that they don’t see the beauty, they only see the flaw.

If you keep finding pictures with a flaw and focusing on the flaws you are literally training your mind to find exactly that–more pictures with flaws. If you deliberately focus only on what you like in pictures and as soon as you notice yourself finding something that you do not like you deliberately re-focus your attention on what you like, you will re-program your brain to find things you like.

Every brain is programmed. Their program is NOT based on “What serves your interests or desires best.” The programming is impacted by several major factors and what you have been focused on is one of the main factors your unconscious uses to determine which information to make you consciously aware of. All the factors can be consciously controlled or adjusted. The results are well worth the effort it takes.

Every area of your life, from your physical, mental, and behavioral health, your relationships and your level of success and enjoyment in life can be improved by understanding more about how your brain works.

Our programs provide you with the skills you need to reprogram all the main filters that impact every minute of your life so that they better serve your highest good. If you’re doubting that you are consciously unaware of information in your environment, perhaps the following Nose Blind Commercial will help you recognize how common it is for us to be unaware of information our senses detect.

Nose Blind Commercial

The commercial below is highlighting the filtering process making someone “nose blind,” one of many millions of examples of how the filtering process affects our perception of reality.[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDtGFaI27CM[/embedyt]


Anger is Optional

Anger is Optional

Can I share a little story with you?

The story is about the first time I really recognize how different I was after I reconditioned my mindset. At the time, my home was about five years old of this incident I’d been in my brand new home about five years (I’ve been here 11 years now). A friend was my kitchen getting a treat for my dog. He leaned on the cupboard door while he bent over to look into the cabinet.I was in the next room when I  heard a sudden large crash. The cherry cabinet door had broken in half under his weight. He sheepishly looked at me, expecting an explosion. I could tell he expected me to be angry, very angry. Many would say I had a right to be angry. But I knew something that most people still don’t know. I know that anger is not healthy for me, not in the moment, and not long-term. I have deliberately reconditioned my mind, over a period of years, to the point where I’m not sure what it would take to get me really angry. Certainly not something that is fixable.

Instead of angry, my mind went immediately to thoughts like it’s just a door. I’m glad he wasn’t hurt I’m sure it’s fixable.
Ten minutes later, he was still waiting for an explosion that never came.

I remember realizing that the old me would have been angry. The old version of me would’ve interpreted the accident to mean he was disrespectful of my home. That thought would’ve just made me more angry with my guest . I would’ve worried about how much it would cost to repair the door. The old me would’ve worried about whether or not I could even find someone to fix the door. The old me would have stressed about having one more thing on my to-do list.
The old me would have been angry for a good while area the old me would’ve told others about a half a dozen times while fanning the flames of my anger again, making myself feel horribly.

The new me thinks it is no big deal.

I had been deliberately working on my emotional stance for a few years at that time, so my automatic response was substantially different than the one I had been conditioned by society to feel in such circumstances.

The new me sees much more clearly.

If I had been angry, would that have fixed the door?

If I had been angry, would that have helped or hindered my friendship–a friendship I value?

If I had been angry, would my friend have been more likely to fix or have the door repaired? Believing this would be evidence that I did not trust my friend to do the right thing. Is that the sort of friendships I have? No.

If I had become angry it would not have served a purpose and it could have interfered with my personal goals, such as to maintain a good relationship with this friend.

Understand that this is not suppression of anger (which is not healthy). It is seeing the situation with greater clarity in a way that allows me to be aware of the best response for all (and especially the best response for me) to the circumstance in the moment the experience is happening.

This is just one of thousands of examples of how learning how to re-program your mindset to healthier habits of thought can improve your life.

If you would like more information, please contact us or register for one of our programs. Anyone can do as I’ve done.

Oh, the door? You can’t even tell it was ever broken.Anger is Optional


Teach Children the Right Skills Once. They will Benefit for Life

Teach Children the right skills once and they will benefit for life.

Research shows that teaching children stress reduction (resilience building) skills has a significant positive effect on outcomes longitudinally. Even children who are not expected to do well because of early hardships do better than expected if they learn these skills. Improvements seen include:

  • More likely to graduate from high school
  • More likely to go to college
  • More likely to graduate from college
  • Less likely to abuse drugs
  • Less likely to abuse alcohol
  • Less likely to commit crimes
  • Less likely to smoke cigarettes
  • Less likely to have a baby during teens
  • Less likely to die from street violence
  • Less likely to become depressed
  • Less likely to commit suicide

What do parents want that isn’t on that list? Why aren’t we teaching this to all children?

These skills create beneficial habits of thinking that reduce stress throughout the lifespan, regardless of the source of the stress.

For the citations, see Our Children Live in a War Zone.

Give your children a better chance at success. Learn the skills that matter and share them with your children.

I am very excited about the release of Our Children Live in a War Zone,  A Plan to Bring Peace to our Homes, Streets, and World on November 24, 2015. Now parents and teachers don’t have to wait for the government to implement programs that will improve the lives of children. They can learn the skills and teach the children they nurture how to be more resilient and less stressed today.

Jeanine Joy teaches, speaks and writes about human thriving. She is an expert in teaching people how to adjust their mindsets in any way they deem helpful in reaching their dreams and goals.  Her books are available here.

If this helped you, please share so that others may be helped. Thank you.
For more of my articles on LinkedIn and at Happiness 1st Institute.


You Shouldn’t BE Happy

In Alison Beard‘s article, The Happiness Backlash, in the July-August 2015 issue of Harvard Business Review, it is clear to me that she makes herself more unhappy by believing she should be happy when she isn’t. You shouldn’t be happy, you can be, but it’s not a should.

I wanted to share my comment on her article with you because I think what she is doing is common and it increases misery.

This is a modified version of what I wrote to Alison. Quotes are excerpts from her article:

Your premise that you should be happy is false, “The huge and growing body of happiness literature promises to lift me out of these feelings. But the effect is more like kicking me when I’m down. I know I should be happy.”

“Social scientists tell us that even the simplest of tricks—counting our blessings, meditating for 10 minutes a day, forcing smiles—can push us into a happier state of mind.” The reason their simple tricks are not effective at increasing long-term happiness is that they address symptoms of unpleasant feeling moods, not the root cause.

Your emotional state is not dependent upon your life circumstances and is especially not dependent upon a comparison of your life and those of others–if you have developed psychological flexibility.

Your emotional state is the function of two major things and some less important things that affect it.  The first is whether you’re moving toward your unique personal goals. It does not matter what those goals are. They could be to become the richest person on the planet or to become a stay-at-home Mom who has time for bubble baths each or simply someone who has time to get enough sleep or the ability to get enough food for one day, or any other goals that are meaningful to you. If you’re moving in the direction of your goals, you feel much better than if you’re moving away from them. If you’re staying equal distance (not toward or away) your emotion varies by how long you’ve been there and how far you are and whether you believe you’ll ever get there. That brings us to the second major factor–mindset.

Mindset is, to me, the habitual pattern of thoughts that an individual usually uses. Because they are habits, they are the default mode of that individual. Like all habits, they can be changed, but not by simple tricks in a few minutes. Habits of thought include many things, but one that is important to this topic is whether a person tends to react to situations with appreciation, irritation, frustration, anger, envy, despair, etc.  Our chronic emotional state is the product of our habits of thought. Two people can have the exact same meal with the exact same waiter at the same table and one can thoroughly enjoy it while the other is frustrated because he finds it lacking in many ways. Both are right, from their personal perspective. We can choose the perspective from which we view any situation. It’s a function of psychological flexibility and a key element of resilience, both of which strongly support good mental health (even following trauma), good relationships, and greater success in all areas of life. In fact, research shows that being resilient before experiencing a trauma (and even learning resilience afterwards) can lead to posttraumatic growth instead of PTSD. It’s not just our veterans that experience PTSD. It can be the result of accidents, crime, and even giving birth.

Other factors come into play. The level of your personal resources such as adequate sleep, nutrition, hydration and whether your body is in pain or ill will affect your emotional state and your behavior.

There are no shoulds in happiness. You are where you are. Should-ing yourself will usually make you feel worse. You can choose what to do from where you are and if being happier is not important to you, leave it to those who want to be happy. It’s not difficult to be happy while pursuing goals that are important to us personally if our habits of thought aren’t sabotaging us.

New research, published in Global Advanced in Health and Medicine informs us that emotions are sensory feedback from a sensory system that even one-celled organisms have, which guide us away from danger and toward self-actualization (Peil, 2014).

Don’t worry if what you’re doing is not the same as what others are doing. They may not want what you want. We are all beautifully unique and life is more fun when we don’t think we have to embrace things others are embracing that don’t appeal to us.

Best wishes to you on having the life you want.

Jeanine Joy teaches, speaks and writes about human thriving. She is an expert in teaching people how to adjust their mindsets in any way they deem helpful in reaching their dreams and goals.

If this helped you, please share so that others may be helped. Thank you.
For more of my articles on LinkedIn and at Happiness 1st Institute.


Adult Play

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changing the way we think about play in relationship to being an adult can greatly increase physical activity during the adult years. The paradigm through which society currently views play is that it is something children do–when you become an adult, play stops (or moves to adult-only activities). We’re forgoing a lot of fun and many health benefits by perceiving play as for kids.

Adults can enjoy play if they give themselves permission and don’t allow it to interfere with their self-definition as an adult. We all define ourselves and the behaviors that are appropriate for us, though many do not do it consciously. There are tremendous benefits of deciding for yourself, instead of allowing society to dictate to you, what is appropriate for you.

See if you can increase the fun and reduce the stress in your life by playing. Try it, you’ll like it.
Make Play OK Physical Activity v022014 Final

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Your Programming is Like Pandora, not Spotify

With the online radio station Pandora, you can listen to music all day based on a single song you choose that represents the type of music you want to listen to. Your one song lets Pandora know the mood of the music you want and Pandora does the rest. With Spotify, you choose exactly which songs are in your playlist so nothing unexpected shows up.

Most people approach life as if they have to (and can) control what happens in their lives. They work for years instructing their children in the way they expect them to behave in the hopes that doing so will control their children’s behavior. They demand their spouse behave in specific ways, some even require their mates wear specific styles of clothing or hair. They insist their friends adhere to specific rules. They spend inordinate amounts of time attempting to get the government to do what they want it to do. They want their employer to behave in certain ways and expect specific responses to their work. For most people, these attempts to control are a lot of work for very little return.

Our children decide what they want and do it–eventually. Spouses who are initially willing to do things we want just to please us eventually resent the requirement. Friends find other friends who are more easy-going or their reciprocal demands become more than we are willing to do. Efforts to change the government, well, if it’s worked out well for you–send me a note. I’d love to hear your story.

It’s as if people think they can choose specific songs (behaviors/experiences) and that is all they will experience–as if life is like Spotify. But life is not like Spotify, we can’t pick and choose the exact experiences that will happen around us.

Life is like Pandora. We can choose how we will feel about what happens, we can choose between fear and excitement, between worry and trust, between love and hate and so much more. That’s great news if we know how to program in the type of song (emotions) we want to experience. But when we don’t understand how to program the type of experiences we want, life feels messy and confusing, hard and frustrating.

If you program your day for anger, you’ll have lots of it–all day long. Just like if you tell Pandora to play Machine Head – Ten Ton Hammer your day won’t be Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. Most of us have been taught to live as if our world runs by Spotify rules. It doesn’t.

You have to set the tone of your day. Or you can begin with just setting the tone of a moment and expand outward from there.

What kind of day do you want?

Top of the World

Top of the World – The Old Fashioned Way

Hot Rod Lincoln

Life is hard and then you die

When a Man Loves a Woman

How do you choose the tone of your day?

We all have emotional set points–emotional states that are our default emotional state. Horrible things can happen to someone and within two years they typically return to their pre-tragedy emotional state. Wonderful things, like marriage and winning the lottery happen and within two years people return to their previous emotional state.

But the reason they return to their original emotional state is not because of genetic predeposition. It is because emotional state is the result of habits of thought and most people don’t even realize they have the ability to change their habits of thought, much less how to do so. Like any habit, it requires time to change habits of thought. But with the proper skills you’ll be amazed at how much can change in three months.

Why bother?

If your chronic state is not positively focused (i.e. hopeful, appreciation, joy, enthusiasm, passion, interest, and other good-feeling emotions) it negatively impacts everything that is important to you–your physical, mental, behavioral health and relationships, your success, and even how long you live. Your life also just does not feel as good as it could.

One technique you can use to improve your habitual thoughts is to appreciate three things each day. Research has shown that appreciation helps more than a practice of gratitude for 66% of the people who use the technique. For many other ways, including a technique that helps you become an expert in setting the emotional tone of your day, see any of my The Smart Way books.

Jeanine Joy teaches, speaks and writes about human thriving. See more posts on LinkedIn and at Happiness 1st Institute.

If this helped you, please share so that others may be helped. Thank you.

If you want help learning to set the tone of your day, check out the classes we offer.


Prevention Saves Lives and Money


 

No, Giving People More Health Insurance Doesn’t Save Money” read the headline in a recent New York Times Article.


The reason preventative care is not saving money is that it is not true prevention. It’s early detection of illness and disease, not prevention in the true sense of the word.

True prevention would be Primary Prevention. Examples of Primary Prevention include washing one’s hands after engaging in activities that may expose one to germs and/or bacteria and before handling food. Another example is safe drinking water delivered to homes.

Primary Prevention is possible in healthcare. Primary Prevention is not early detection; primary prevention actually prevents the illness and/or disease from manifesting in the first place.

There is overwhelming science evincing that stress is at the root of between 67% – 99% of illness and disease (results of studies have varied). Even if it is just 67% it represents a tremendous portion of our healthcare expenses.

For 40 years the recommendations for stress management have been dose dependent and research is clear that when people need to reduce stress the most they are least likely to do so—even when they know engaging in dose-dependent stress reductions will help them feel better. The reason the vast majority of methods recommended are dose dependent is because they do not address the root cause of stress. Many recommendations increase stress, such as telling people to think positive without telling them how to do so. Another one is telling people to reduce activities when their life will not allow them to do so, which creates stress about how stressed they are.

We all know that the same situation elicits different levels of stress in different individuals and that the amount is not directly tied to how devastating the situation appears to be to the individual. The reason some individuals experience lower stress is because their minds are programmed in ways that reduce their stress because of the perspective they take. All of us have minds that are programmed. Most of the programming is completed by age 6 and happens as a natural result of being alive. But it is possible to change the programming so that it helps us instead of hinders us. Doing so increases resilience while it lowers stress. The benefits also extend far beyond health care. Stress is a significant contributing factor to other socially undesired outcomes including crime  racism, teen pregnancy, divorce, and drop-out rates.

For healthcare, a positive mental attitude reduces the risk of heart disease by 50%. (Boehm, 2012) Heart disease is responsible for about 1/3 of all deaths.

Stress is a significant initial cause of mental illness.

Stress decreases our immune, digestive, and cognitive functions. Science evincing the speed of these changes using biochemical markers is definitive.

Provide society with the skills to reduce stress at the root cause and the financial benefits will far exceed the cost. The non-financial benefits will be even greater. If you don’t want to wait for society to distribute this life-saving and life-enhancing information, you can get it now in True Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo.

 


Personality Models: The Flaw

Personality Models: The Flaw

Can greater accuracy and completeness of personality models be obtained using emotional state data? I believe it can.

Existing personality models seem to explain behavior because most individuals maintain a relatively consistent chronic emotional state throughout life.

Emotional State (ES) is a way of referring to the emotion someone is feeling in-the-moment. (i.e. happy, sad, depressed, hopeful, hopeless, frustrated, angry, anxious, eager, etc.)

Chronic Emotional State (CES) is the set point, or emotional state a specific individual tends to return to repeatedly in the absence a significant reason to feel otherwise.

The behavior individuals exhibits is tied most closely with the current Emotional State. The personality model research I’ve reviewed looks at behavior, but not emotional state at the time the behavior is observed. Self-reports of behavior also do not gather data on emotional state at the time of the behavior.

An individual whose Chronic Emotional State is happy exhibits behaviors consistent with that Emotional State. There will be variances due to occasional lower Emotional States and during times of resource depletion (i.e. illness and sleep deprivation). High stress will cause temporary changes in Emotional State.

The consistency of Emotional State is well documented in the scientific literature. Lottery winners, newlyweds, and newly disabled individuals typically return to their Chronic Emotional State within two years after these significant life changes. The reason for the stability of Chronic Emotional States is not because it is genetic or a fixed human trait.

Chronic Emotional State is the result of habits of thought.

Why isn’t this commonly recognized? First, because researchers do not tend to explore individual difference at the level of thought. The work would be extremely time-consuming and would lack consistency because at the level o thought the uniqueness of each one of us becomes very apparent. Even two people who make identical choices follow very different thought processes to reach the decision.

Secondly, because habits of thought are habits–but not recognized as such and we are taught our personalities are who we are, few people change their thought patterns. Many people have a fear that if they change their personality they will no longer be the same person. Some fear they will no longer know their self. The truth is, those who deliberately change their habits of thought know their self better than they ever did before they experienced the liberating power of changing habits of thought that weren’t serving them well.

Like any habit, changing habits of thought takes commitment and does not happen overnight.

Patience with oneself is required, but the knowledge and establishment of realistic expectations about how long it takes to create new habits of thought is not readily available. While we can think, and can even believe, new thoughts immediately. But even when we believe something that opposes our former habits of thought, the old habitual thoughts will continue coming to mind until the thought-paths that supported the beliefs are allowed to diminish and new thought-paths that support the new belief are developed. Until this process is completed, you may find yourself thinking (and in the early stages) even speaking things you no longer believe. It’s just old programming that is still stronger than the new programming you’re creating. It’s natural and it does not mean you can’t change the habit of thought, just that the process is not yet complete.

What we do and why

We do what we believe will feel better, via it is via approach or avoidance.

Long-term vs. Short-term Goals

Whether we’re looking long-term or short-term when we make decisions about what will feel best depends on a variety of factors, but mostly on which ones we’ve focused on more. If long-term goals aren’t given a lot of airtime in our mind, short-term goals will steer our decision-making because we have not created thought-paths to thoughts about the potential consequences of our actions as they related to our long-term goals.

Focusing on long-term goals increases the consideration we give the consequences of our words and actions. However, it is important that the goals be our own–not goals others attempt to impose upon us.

Recommended Research Direction

If personality trait researchers would begin collecting data about mood (Emotional State), they would see more clearly why inconsistencies between their models and research findings continue to appear. The connection between Chronic Emotional State and behavior would become more apparent.

If personality trait researchers did a study where they collected the usual data and mood and then put the study group through my 40-hour program where they are taught the effect habits of thought may have on their lives and how to develop new habits of thought that support their ability to thrive more in all areas of life, they would be amazed at the results. By collecting the usual data and mood before and after (at the end of the course, 3-months post course and 1-year post-course), they would see clearly why there are so many inconsistencies.

An additional step that would be labor intensive but provide very valuable insights would be to collect and analyze answers to brief essay questions before the course and again one year later. Using questions that pertain to common life events would provide significant insights to the value to individuals and to society of empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills that allow them to deliberately change their habits of thought.

As a starting point, I suggest the following questions:

Instructions: Read each question and imagine yourself in the situation described. Write the first thoughts that come to your mind. There are no wrong answers. When it asks “What do you do,” your answer can reflect what you think because thinking is doing something. Biological functions (i.e. go to the bathroom) should not be reported unless they are related to the emotional state you’re imagining. Please limit your answers to 300 words, but be sure to answer each element of every question. Thank you.

  1. You are in a restaurant. Your spouse/date/significant other is late meeting you and has not called or texted. What do you do? A) When s/he is late (immediate response)? B) How do you feel (emotion)? C) If you wait, what do you do while you wait?, and D) When you see him/her, what do you do?
  2. Your boss gives an assignment you wanted to someone else. What do you do and how do you feel?
  3. You’re in a bad mood. A) What do you do and how do you feel? B) Define bad mood as it personally applies to you.
  4. You’re given an opportunity that requires you to do something that makes you anxious, but doing this could lead to something you want but don’t know how to achieve/get otherwise. The thing that makes you uncomfortable is legal, ethical and moral. What do you do and why?
  5. You want two things that seem to conflict. You don’t see how you can have both. What do you do and why?
  6. Someone is rude to you. A) Describe the situatiorgiveon. B) What do you do? C) Why?
  7. You disagree with someone close to you (i.e. parent/sibling/spouse/child/sibling/long-term best friend). How do you feel and what do you do?
  8. You find someone’s wallet and there is cash in it. What do you do and why?
  9. Someone who hurt you a long time ago asks for forgiveness. What do you do and how do you feel?
  10. You decide you want something you have no idea how to get or achieve. What do you do and how do you feel?
  11. You have company over and the dog eats dinner before it is served. What do you do and how do you feel?
  12. You’re on your way home from somewhere that you go frequently and you miss your turn. What do you do and how do you feel?
  13. Before you go to sleep at night, how do you usually feel and what do you usually do?
  14. When you wake-up in the morning, how do you usually feel and what do you usually do first?

I would be happy to participate in research with any interested researcher.

 

 


The Smart Way: What is it?

People frequently ask me, “What do you mean by The Smart Way?” Today, while reading some research on happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and one of my favorite Psychologists, Ed Diener the way they described their research helped me create the briefest explanation ever of the difference between The Smart Way and The Common Way.

Most of the world lives their lives using The Common Way. It’s not because they lack intelligence. It’s simply a lack of knowledge. It’s what they don’t know they don’t know.

The diagram below shows the difference. The Common Way is passive. Life happens to you. When you apply The Smart Way, it begins feeling like you have some control over how you experience life. It’s a more empowered way of viewing your reality and experiencing your life. A life lived using The Smart Way feels better than a life lived The Common Way. The results of your efforts are better when you use The Smart Way.

The Smart Way is at the root cause of human thriving. Because it is at the root, every improvement affects many branches (areas of life).

I’m pragmatic. I like things simple. I like things that work. I don’t like reinventing the Beams radiate from a sillouette of a headwheel if I already have a solution that works. I love helping people thrive more. I love sharing the knowledge I’ve found in my search for answers to the question, “What empowers humans to thrive?” I don’t want to just help some people. I want to help everyone I can possibly help. The Smart Way works. It increases the frequency of positive emotions an individual feels.

What good is feeling good?

Turns out feeling good does a lot of good. It improves your physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral results. It is less stressful and stress is at the root of most illnesses and diseases. Happy people aren’t committing crimes. In fact, people commit crimes because they are so stressed about their situation that the only way they can perceive of feeling better is through the commission of a crime. Only happy people can feel at peace with others.

Once I identified the root cause of human thriving, I began building bridges that would help people understand and, more importantly, use the knowledge to make their own lives better. I created bridges that helped individuals who were religious to understand how The Smart Way fit with their worldview. I created bridges that helped individuals who want a scientific basis to understand the science that supports The Smart Way.

In The Smart Way books, all the basic elements of The Smart Way are included, plus information relative to the subject of the book. As I find more supporting research, I add it to the newer titles. I change examples based on the subject of the book. But if you have one, The Smart Way book, you have all the key elements of any book in the series. I don’t reinvent the wheel for each subject because the root of thriving in all of them is the same.Experience Life The Smart Way

Today only one The Smart Way book is published, but four more are in the pipeline. So remember, if you have one The Smart Way book you don’t have to buy others. It might be easier to figure out how to apply it to the subject of the book and if you want it to help with that, it’s worthwhile. But if you have one and you’re not thriving more you read the book instead of studying it and using the techniques. Try them. You’ll like it.

Prevent Suicide: The Smart Way is available. New books about building resilience, reducing crime, improving health, and improving relationships are in the works.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Robin Williams: Reflections a Year Later

One year ago my “to do” list for this week included “Finish editing suicide prevention book.”

Then I logged on to the internet and learned that Robin Williams had died by suicide.

I felt a lot of different emotions that day. I remember wondering if I had written the book sooner if I could have made a difference. I was very certain that I did not want to appear to be capitalizing on Robin Williams death. I was saddened by the loss, knowing that his was a rare and beautiful talent that brought so much that was good to our world. I worried about my daughter who was in another state visiting a friend because she had to be one of his biggest fans. I worried about the contagion effect, how someone who was suicidal might think that if Robin Williams could not make his life feel better than how could they expect to do so.

I remembered times in my life when I was suicidal and did not act on those feelings and felt grateful. I remembered those who had been suicidal whom I had helped feel better and felt more gratitude for the knowledge I had gained that allowed me to be of benefit and for being in the right place at the right time.

I put the book aside for a while. I thought the world was too raw to receive it as it was and perhaps I was also too disheartened not to have been in the right place at the right time for Robin Williams. I’ve always had an overactive sense of responsibility for others. This was no exception.

I had a month across the pond planned and I decided to finish editing the book after that trip. The week before I left I had lunch with a friend who knew nothing about the book I was writing. During lunch, she shared with me that a close friend of hers was suffering because her boyfriend had ended his life. I took that to be a sign that I needed to get the book finished.  I was too late to help Robin Williams, but there were hundreds of thousands of others who were still suffering and thousands of them would make a fatal mistake each year.

When I returned from my time overseas, I finished the book and it was published last Autumn. I’ve still been hesitant about being perceived as attempting to capitalize on Robin Williams’ death so I worked hard to put the book on Smashwords in an electronic version–something that had a steep learning curve for me. I did not really like the electronic format because citations and other helpful information did not translate well into the electronic format. I’m still not satisfied with the version on Smashwords, but it contains the essence of the helpful information. I frequently give electronic copies away. The current coupon code for Smashwords is JW78C. The print version is better, in my opinion. The print version is available here.

The focus of Prevent Suicide: The Smart Way is to prevent suicide through the use of Primary Prevention. Hand washing is an example of primary prevention of disease. Primary Prevention is something done that is truly preventative–not just early detection. Via early prevention, the undesired outcome is actually prevented. Hand washing prevents the spread of illnesses. Primary Prevention for suicide prevents the sustained low emotional states that can lead to suicidal ideation and suicide and also builds strengths. It is not just for those who are already in low emtional states, although it is beneficial to them. The time to use primary prevention is before there is a problem so the problem won’t develop. Every adult and child can benefit from this form of primary prevention.

I wish everyone a wonderful life. If my work helps you live a better life, it fills my heart with appreciation of where my life had led me and the knowledge I’ve gained along the way.

Be Well,

Jeanine Joy

If you are thinking that maybe you’d rather be dead or that those you care about would be better off if you were, call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline now at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor. Or, call your doctor, dial 911, or go to an emergency room. For a free detailed booklet on depression and its treatment, go to:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/complete-index.shtml

International Emergency Numbers

International emergency numbers

 


Another Opinion: Retirement Adjustments

In my Another Opinion posts, I answer questions that were asked of syndicated advice columns–providing another opinion.

In the July 30, 2015, Charlotte Observer a recent retiree asked Amy Dickinson how to respond to the question, “What do you do all day?” The retiree stated he was feeling put down for no longer working full time and signed his letter – Retired and Happy

Amy’s advice was fine, as far as it went, “Use it to begin a conversation that might be interesting.” (paraphrased)

Going deeper with the answer would be of more benefit to Retired and Happy.

Humans use labels to describe ourselves. Many labels are attached to us even before we’re born (i.e. our age, racial heritage, socioeconomic class, etc.) Others labels are attached to us as soon as we’re born (gender, healthy, unhealthy, fussy, good, etc.). This pattern continues throughout life.  We then internalize those labels and use them to define who we are. Our self-esteem is often tied to the labels we accept as self-defining. Life is a series of stages that we pass through. We define ourselves by the labels attached to us at specific stages (student, adult, single, married, divorced, doctor, graduate, lawyer, businessman, athlete, parent, retiree, etc.)

When we transition from one stage (label) to another it is important that we stop judging our worth based on a label we have outgrown.

  • The former student who continues to judge herself by always being right becomes afraid to take risks she should take because she is still attempting to get straight A’s. As a businesswoman, she has to learn to take risks if she wants to succeed.
  • The newly married individual can experience significant adjustments such as making sure the plans he makes don’t conflict with his wife’s plans.
  • The college football linebacker has to adjust his diet when he gets a desk job because he is no longer burning as many calories.
  • The working woman decides to stay home to raise her children has to adjust her perception of self or she will be frustrated at the lack of intellectual stimulation and adult interaction she receives, which can result in her seeming needy to her spouse who is still going to an outside job each day.
  • The wife whose stay-at-home husband returns to the workforce after the children go to college must adjust her expectations about the chores he will continue doing at home, or he will feel overburdened.
  • The recently disabled individual must adjust the basis of his self-worth if it was tied to his physical prowess or face extra and unnecessary problems with plummeting self-esteem on top of dealing with the physical challenges.

The recent retiree who feels a bit defensive when people ask him what he does all day is reflecting that he feels less valuable now that he is no longer going to working. Seniors have significant value that is unique to them–the wisdom each of us gains from life experiences. He is simply using old criteria to judge the worth of his current activities. A simple adjustment in the basis for his self-worth will enable him to see the question about how he spends his days as the innocent conversation it is and not a condemnation of his choice to retire. It may take a little work to adjust the basis because many of us are taught that we are only valuable when we are contributing through work, but a change of perception is possible and will make life better for him.

Until he makes this shift, he will have difficulty taking this common question into stride, despite his great answer, “Whatever I want.” He’ll enjoy his ability to do whatever he wants far more when he’s not fighting a sense that his value as a human being is less because he is retired. It’s not.

 

 


Stressed Employees and Business Owners

Stressed employees and business ownersStressed employees and business owners

Helping Stressed Employees and Business Owners

Most stress reduction techniques taught provide temporary improvements and are dose dependent (you have to repeatedly do them to get the benefit), much like medicines that treat symptoms instead of curing the problem.

Our program teaches skills that create mindsets that are more adaptable and that actually experience less stress than untrained minds in the same circumstances.

The changes become permanent and life is less stressful thereafter.

Lower stress means more engaged and productive employees. This is a competitive edge that keeps increasing.

Because we address stress relief from the root cause, the benefits spread throughout the system (physical, mental, behavioral).

 


Empower Yourself

Your mindset is really programming, specifically it is how your brain is programmed. We all have programming and most of it was created by default, by our experiences, upbringing, thoughts, examples, and conclusions. All these things shaped our mindset.

Default programming is not optimal programming.

Realizing that your programming may be hindering your success in all areas of life and that you can change your programming are the two most empowering things most people can learn.

Understanding this is the 1st step to changing your mindset.

Your mindset creates filters that determine which of the millions of bits of information your senses pick up are made available to the conscious mind. The unconscious mind processes millions of times the information the conscious mind is ever aware of. When you change your mindset, your filters change and the world literally changes–not because anything actually changed other than your perception.

You can’t live a great life with sub par programming.

Empower Yourself

If you’re ready to improve your programming, contact us.  We have the best techniques and can help you understand how changes will change your outlook so you can decide for yourself what programming you want in your head.

Jeanine Joy is an inspiring and life-changing author, speaker, and scholar. The purpose of her life is to seek out knowledge that increases human thriving, create explanations and processes that provide practical ways for individuals adopt strategies that enhance their lives. Her programs, books, and speeches empower people to fulfill their dreams and enjoy more loving, happy, and successful lives. Her ultimate goal is to help create a better world for everyone.

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Stress Culture to Health Culture

Since the 1970’s, it has been widely recognized that stress is bad for our health. Researchers agree that at least 60% of illnesses and disease are the result of stress.

During the years since the 1970’s we have learned many details about the path stress takes and how it harms our physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Those pathways are helpful in creating pharmaceutical bandaids (which I know are needed by many people today). But, the reason they are needed is because the recommendations for dealing with stress have not changed or advanced much in the last 40 years. Oh meditation and yoga have moved out of the cult or woo woo classifications they once suffered and become more mainstream, but the root of stress is still not being widely addressed.

As Thoreau said,

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

If you substitute stress for evil, I would say,

There are a thousand hacking at the branches of stress to one who is striking at the root.

Happiness 1st Institute exists because I came to understand the root cause of stress and how to eliminate it and recognized the significant benefits to society’s around the world that could come from sharing what I had learned. Unlike much of the advice given today, eliminating the root cause of stress does not require anyone to give up activities they enjoy. In fact, doing so is counter to what reduces stress.

Addressing stress at its root is a perfect example of another old saying, one Ben Franklin believed,

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Addressing stress at its root is what we call Primary Prevention. It prevents the illness or disease from developing in the first place. Stress disrupts numerous functions critical to healthy living including immune function, cognitive function, digestive function and some central nervous system functions. It can also lead to adverse epigenetic changes that turn on genes that lead to adverse consequences. Cumulative stress (both pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy) have adverse impacts on duration of the pregnancy (causing pre-term births) and adverse outcomes including increased asthma, sleep and behavioral problems, and depression in the children.

A recent infographic produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) shows many of the adverse consequences of stress (although their solutions are not Primary Prevention–they address the symptoms of stress instead of the root).

The negative impact of stress on the body begins immediately. If you’re one of the people who doubt this, recall a time when you were nervous. Perhaps that good looking person you’d been hoping to talk to unexpectedly stepped into the elevator with you at the last moment. If that doesn’t do it, imagine you’re 11 years old when it happens. You remember the instantaneous perspiration, the sweaty palms, perhaps the blush that swept across your cheeks. How long did it take to have that reaction in your body? That was stress. Those are signs of stress you can feel immediately. What you don’t feel is the slowing down of your immune function and digestive function or the cognitive constriction of your ability to think clearly (or maybe you did feel that if that person stepping into the elevator made you tongue tied).

The negative effects begin immediately.

Stress Culture to Health Culture

Our bodies are designed to respond to stress and return to a relaxed state but our society’s beliefs and structure do not support that. We are trained to remain in hypervigilant states of worry, fear, and concern. We are trained to live with stressors like frustration, anger, grief, depression, hopelessness, irritability and more rather than deal with the negative emotions as they arise. Many people suppress their emotions. Others have felt them so long it has become their norm and they don’t realize that it is killing them–literally.

To truly move from a culture of stress to one of greater health and wellbeing for everyone we must begin using primary prevention to reduce stress. If we don’t, the epidemic chronic illnesses like Type II diabetes, heart disease, addictions, obesity and numerous social problems like crime will all continue to increase. Stress is the root cause and primary prevention is the only way to avoid the undesired outcomes. It is a significant factor in disparate outcomes, one that can be solved today.

We are designed to deal with stress when we experience the negative emotion. When we do, we thrive. When we don’t, we suffer. So do our relationships, our careers, and our level of happiness. New research has pointed the way to do this without having to give up what we love (or even family members we find difficult to love). We can have far greater control over our stress level than most have ever experienced. That’s what we teach at Happiness 1st Institute. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us for details on upcoming classes.


Believe in Yourself

Our Gifts

Everyone has gifts they have the potential to give the world, their community and their family. Too often these gifts remain hidden because we do not believe in our ability or our potential.

If you ever discourage a dream–your own or someone else’s–ask yourself what gifts your discouragement may be holding back from the world.

Humans have an amazing capacity to rise to the occasion when given the chance. Without hope of success, we don’t give ourselves the chance.

If this post can inspire even one person to at least try to follow one of their dreams, it has succeeded.

We barely know what hidden depths lie in ourselves. So often people are surprised by what they are capable of given the opportunity (or sometimes, the challenge). How can we possibly know what another could do?

Believe in Yourself

Christopher Maloney did not believe in himself for years. He filled out the application to be on X-factor five times and then tore it up because he did not have enough faith in himself to be on the show. Others discouraged him and told him he was not good enough. Finally, after moving in with his Nan to take care of her, her faith convinced him to try. Here is the result:

One of my teachers once said something that I think is totally appropriate to say to everyone, “What right do you have to deprive the world of your gifts?”

Magic happens when you believe in yourself.

The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking. Motivational Background

The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking. Motivational Background

What would it take for you to believe in your dreams? Whatever that is–Do it. Trust yourself.

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Pessimists Don’t Die Peacefully In their Sleep

Researchers have begun looking at how mindset affects health. Their findings are telling.

Optimists live an average of 10.7 years longer but they enjoy 18 healthier years because the debilitating end of life diseases visit them much closer to the end than they do pessimists.

Illness likes to visit pessimists and illness likes to stay longer when it visits pessimists.

Science can tell us why this is true. Our immune system works best when we feel positive emotions. The decline in our immune function is instantaneous when we feel negative emotions. Decreased immune function equals increased illness and in later life, increased chronic illness.

Digestive function also suffers when negative emotions are felt. Sometimes it is an immediate response when someone throws up upon seeing a distressing sight. The lucky ones among us only have the experience of watching others do this in movies or reading about it in books. Others have first hand experience. More of us have experience with the stomach feeling upset almost immediately after hearing distressing news. Long-term negative emotion (often referred to as stress) leads to long-term digestive problems including a greatly increased risk of diabetes and of obesity.

Cognitive function also worsens with stress and the choices we make about things like foods, smoking, drugs, and alcohol are worse when our emotional state is worse.

Pessimists tend to develop chronic illnesses about 7 – 8 years before death, on average. Some do it far sooner and a few don’t suffer as long. When compared to optimists whose average pre-death illness is no more than two years, pessimists have it rough.

Pessimism effectively creates a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Most people think being pessimistic or optimistic is an innate trait. The truth is that both are simply habits of thought. Like all habits, they can be changed to healthier habits. Leaving pessimistic tendencies behind does not discard the essence of who you are–it allows the beauty of you to shine through in new ways. It also feels good.

We are experts in helping people who have decided they want to change their habits of thought successfully do so. Ask us how we can help you today.