Tag Archive: parenting

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.

Help Your Child Create an Empowered Positive Mindset

Help Your Child Create an Empowered Positive Mindset

This Father is helping his son get the right mindset for his day. The right mindset is what makes the difference between success and failure.

This Dad is doing a better job than 99% of the parents I’ve ever seen (including me). I would change the wording a bit (see below).

Partial translation:

I’ll be educated by my teachers and empowered by my teachers with the tools to be successful within my community and throughout the country.

I apply myself daily.

I study.

I ask questions when I don’t understand.

When I’m confronted with a problem or a conflict I think before I react.

I ignore all negative influences in the classroom and throughout my school day.

I am extremely proud to be the next generation of Christian leaders.

I accept responsibility and I love the challenge.



What I would change:

I would not say “empowered by my teachers.” This says the power is the teachers to give. It’s not. The teacher can offer the knowledge. It is up to us whether or not we take the knowledge and how we apply it today and in the future.

Here is an example of what I would say instead of the “empowered by my teachers” line:

“God will bring me teachers who know what I need to know and who know how to help me learn what will help me the most. By continually learning, I will have the tools to be successful in my community and throughout my country.

I will appreciate my teachers for all they do for me.

I love my empowered positive mindset”

I absolutely adore that he ends with Peace and the power with which he says it.

This can be modified to suit any religion or to be non-religious.

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.

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.

















Children Can Thrive. Help Them. Learn How.

Children Can Thrive

Let’s focus on the solutions

  It is interesting to note the arguments back and forth about why some students do not thrive.

 Some stating it is the teachers fault if a student does not thrive.

 Some stating it is the lack of an interested adult in the home.

 Let’s get to the root of it. Either could make a huge beneficial difference.

 The true reason many students do not thrive is that they have developed beliefs that they cannot, or that their actions do not matter “Learned Helplessness”, or they have been told often enough that they are ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’ or other lies. They have been labeled and are living up to the expectations put upon them. They have been judged as lacking and are living up to those expectations.

 Going backwards and trying to uncover where it originated is a waste of time and effort.

 Where time and effort belongs is in helping students understand that their actions do matter – that their life is not determined by their current circumstances.

 That others opinions do not have to be their own opinion. Henry Ford said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you are right”. Unfortunately we have ill informed parents and others who will label children and then the child begins to believe the label and perform to that standard.

 Society also does not understand that the happier you are the more intelligent you are. I know many are going to scoff at this statement but read further. Have you, or someone you know, ever been so stressed that you literally could not think?  Perhaps you put your head in your hands and said “Give me a moment, I can’t think”?  There is an example of an individual at a low emotional place not being as intelligent. Intelligence, creativity, and resilience exist along a continuum and increase in step with increases in happiness, positive emotions, optimism and positive expectation. There is a great deal of science behind this statement. Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D.’s (UNC – Chapel Hill) book, Positivity, is probably the easiest read on the topic.

 Much of the world views happiness as a fluffy topic and as something that will come after a goal is achieved or as a transitory thing that feels good for a day.

 The happiness I am describing is defined as that deep sense of inner stability, peace, well-being, and vitality that is consistent and sustainable. It is not dependent upon circumstances but upon beliefs, expectations, emotions, and focus. Mindset is powerful.

 Not only does happiness contribute beneficially to the ability to learn but to health, relationships, and success. There are even studies showing that it has a positive impact on reducing crime, alcohol and drug abuse and even teen pregnancy.

 Right now the research on this topic is scattered across many silo’d fields including positive psychology, neuroscience, behavioral theory, sociology, quantum physics, resilience, emotional intelligence and more.

 I have a passion for the topic and have been researching it for years. I have never cared which field had relevant research which has resulted in a connection of the dots in a way that brings the knowledge being gained in many fields together.

 Using techniques to empower students, to help them achieve a positive expectation and focus and ensuring they have skills to bring themselves back to that point if they get a bit off path would make such a tremendous positive impact on their lives and future potential.

What are the real basics?

What are the real basics?

Reading, writing, and arithmetic is what most people think of when they hear ‘back to basics’ in education.

Like many things, the common belief about something is often an unexamined belief that was formed and accepted by many others without giving it real thought.

Are these subjects really the basis of creating citizens who will contribute to society in the future?

I am not saying that these subjects are not important but are they the most important contributing factors to becoming successful adults?

What do I mean by successful adults?  Let me define that first. A successful adult, according to my definition, is an individual who is self-sufficient and contributes positively to others and society. Self-sufficient encompasses self-motivation. Contributes to others and society means their actions are beneficial beyond their self interests.

For example, having a job or running a business creates a contribution to others. As an employee, there are typically many contributions including to the employer, customers, co-workers as well as your family (by supporting yourself and possibly your family), and society (by being a contributing taxpayer). Contributions can extend well beyond these examples, but these basic ones are pretty universal.

Self-sufficient does not mean an individual who does not establish and maintain connections to others. Symbiotic relationships are healthy and increase the ability of an individual to be successful.

Are there factors that are more basic than reading, writing, and arithmetic?

I believe there are.

For many years, there has been a push to help children develop self-esteem. Many of these programs have not understood the nature of self-esteem and how it is really developed.

Not having an opportunity to fail or loose is a grave disservice to children. It is far more important to have those experiences and learn that failure is another name for a learning opportunity. Losing is an opportunity to learn that life does not end because you did not win today. In fact, learning to rise up again after losing and that losing can actually prepare you for greater success than you would have ever experienced if you had never lost develops resilience.

Another problem with using contrived self esteem builders is that children are not stupid. They can tell when someone really means a compliment and when they are saying it just to try to make them feel better. Think about it. They can read the truth. If someone feeds you a line to ‘build you up’ and you know they have made it up could you not think “there must not be anything true that is good enough to say so he/she has to make up something”. While not every child would have this thought process, some would. For those children such actions are especially detrimental. What happened to “Honesty is the best policy”?  Where did we loose sight of that?

If I had a magic wand I would stop all the false self esteem building that goes on everywhere, in schools, homes, on the sports field, and in work places. Most of communication is non-verbal and most people know on some level whether the person offering the compliment is being honest. They may not read it clearly but it will feel “off” on some level.

False compliments teach children that the person offering the compliment cannot be trusted.

True self esteem comes from understanding yourself, your own worth, from a platform of understanding that everyone has great value and worth and it is, in fact, their unique perspective that creates that value. No one else in the world perceives the world exactly as they do. It also comes from understanding that bad behavior does not make you bad. Bad behavior is a symptom of being in a negative emotional state. Individuals who are in a generally positive state of mind are not bothersome (from their behavior) to society.

In fact, building a child up by comparing to others, teaching them to rely upon a positive comparison to others does an even graver disservice. Our comparison should be “Are we growing?”, “Are we more than we were yesterday, last week, last year, last decade?”, “Am I moving in the direction of that which I want to become?”. When we teach children to gain their self-worth by comparing themselves favorably to others we are actually putting some of them in an early grave. Yes, I know this is a very bold statement. I base it upon research that shows that health, well-being, and longevity is lower when the income disparity is greater than when it is closer together combined with research about the health benefits of positivity.[i]  This is not an inherent problem with varying incomes. The problem rests with the emotional result of comparing oneself with others and deciding that you are less than another.

There are many skills and tools children can use to self manage their emotions and help themselves feel better when something makes them feel badly. They are empowering and can create a stable platform of well-being for the child.

Unfortunately, families, schools, religious institutions, and society all tend to direct the child away from their inborn guidance to less reliable outside sources. All of us are born with an emotional guidance system.[ii]  The unfounded belief that without external guidance individuals would behave poorly is partially at the root of this tendency to train our children away from their own guidance system. Again, science does not support this belief. It is clear that when individuals feel better they behave better. The socially unacceptable behaviors stem from negative emotions that individuals do not know how to improve. I am working on another paper that addresses this topic. The working title is “The Importance of Understanding Emotions”. When we train children away from following their emotional guidance system we take away their compass.

When a child does not believe they have the ability to change how he or she feels their ability to learn is diminished. Some children learn from their environment that their actions do not matter so they give up. This belief is never a truth and the belief can be changed. Changing that belief is far more important than efforts to teach the basics. In fact, this belief, in my opinion, is a factor that contributes greatly to those children who do not seem to make progress regardless of the resources sent their way. Learned helplessness must be unlearned before progress can be made. When learned helplessness is overcome the potential for post traumatic growth is tremendous.

Unfortunately, there are environments where children are told many untruths by adults in their lives. Some examples are that they are stupid, dumb, will never amount to anything, and other statements along those lines. There is some possibility of helping adults understand the impact they can have on their children (and children in their lives) with such statements but I believe the larger opportunity is to help the children understand that they do not have to define themselves by the opinions of others. They can make up their own mind about who they are and what their potential is. What the child believes will be a self fulfilling prophesy. The evidence is clear that we do not exceed our expectations.

The impact of the placebo and nocebo effect sheds some light upon the power of belief to determine outcome.

So, if we want a level playing field for children we need to empower them. We need to help them understand that they have an emotional guidance system. This system is actually highly personalized. The guidance is based upon the desires of the individual. For example, someone who wants to marry young and have children will receive different guidance than someone who wants to delay children and pursue a career or more education. Life teaches us what we prefer, often by showing us what we do not desire. Once that personal preference is determined our guidance system will guide us in the direction of our desires.

We all have what I call 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 rude to someone we create a “Higher Self” that is nicer. If someone is rude 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.

Our guidance provides us positive feedback in the form of better feeling emotions when we are moving in the direction of our Higher Self and negative emotions when we are moving away from our Higher Self. The Higher Self represents your best current potential. That includes your best behavior. So you see, if children understand how to listen to and understand their emotional guidance they will always move in the direction of becoming more. Many of us do this anyway because even when we do not understand we have guidance the guidance has a strong influence. It is just a far straighter line towards where we want to go when we understand and consciously follow our emotional guidance.

We are born with the innate tendency to move in the direction that feels best. It is when you have conflicting information that things become confusing. For example, take a teenager who feels love for another but that person does not, for some reason, satisfy the parents’ standards. Now the teenager, who does not know he or she has guidance, is trying to please the parents, trying to please this person he or she loves, and being called by the guidance. This creates conflicting feelings. If the teen and the parents understood that the emotional guidance system always called you towards your best potential self, I mean really understood this and trusted it (the way they would if they understood they also had guidance and that it was reliable and trustworthy), they could trust the teenager to follow the guidance. In fact, if the parents would check in with their own guidance they would feel that the better feeling place is allowing the teenager to decide. The angst they feel at the person they have judged as inappropriate in some way is because they are moving in the opposite direction of their own Higher Self when they make that judgment. Their own guidance system is wise enough to know that their child has his or her own guidance and that the guidance the child receives from the internal system is more reliable than their guidance. This is a huge hurdle for many to overcome. Most believe the child requires our guidance. Social institutions have inserted themselves between individuals and their emotional guidance. A parent can learn to trust that his or her child has guidance and accordingly. When this is done the relationship between parent and child becomes so much more loving.

Science has already shown that cognitive ability, creativity, resilience, and success increase along a continuum with increased positivity. Likewise, self mastery and emotional intelligence would be increased with an understanding of the emotional guidance system. Science has also shown that many social problems are positively impacted by increased positivity including reductions in crime, teen pregnancy, and substance abuse.

Our emotional guidance system guides us to better feeling emotional states and provides unfailingly accurate answers to what would feel better for us.

Helping children understand their own emotional guidance system and that with an understanding of the system they will be guided to whatever they decide is best for themselves. The system does not care if someone else has said the child “can’t”, as long as the child believes in his or her own ability the system provides guidance.

There is another factor that comes into the mix and that is the filters in the brain each of us have. Each of us has a brain that is programmed and our brains are good at following our individual programming. Our beliefs form part of the programming system. Problems arise if the child comes to believe that he or she “can’t”, can’t read, can’t learn, can’t survive, can’t be successful, can’t amount to anything, the filter will take that belief into consideration. The emotional guidance system will be wiser than this programming. It will give clues by making such thoughts feel awful while thoughts of “I can” will feel better. A child who has had one or more experiences that have created an “I can’t” belief can overcome this belief by understanding the emotional guidance system and how to read it and then checking this belief against the response from the emotional guidance system.

“I can’t” beliefs belong to a class of beliefs called “Limiting Beliefs”. The child (or adult) will not generally check a limiting belief against the guidance system by asking the right question because of the brain filtering process. This is an area where a little help and guidance from social institutions would be very worthwhile. Upon noticing that a child (or anyone) makes comments such as “I can’t” or “I want to but” encouraging the child who understands their emotional guidance system, its accuracy and utter trustworthiness to check in with their own guidance as to the truth of the “I can’t” or the “but statement” the child will quickly have irrefutable evidence that their guidance says otherwise.

Teaching a child to follow his or her own guidance is pretty simple. It is as simple as the children’s game you may remember playing. It was a game that could be played almost anywhere. An object would be hidden and someone else look for it. The person who knew the location would say “You’re getting warmer” if you were getting closer to the object and “You’re getting colder” if you were moving away.

Emotional guidance works the same way. While it does feel different to move from despair to anger than from anger to frustration or from hope to joy each of these steps is a step in the right direction, each is “Getting warmer”. The common aspect is that the feeling of relief (a releasing of tension or stress) is felt in each of these steps. The emotion that is in the warmer direction always feels better than the one that is further away.

Emotions come to us in response to our thoughts. If I think about something pleasing (past, present, or future) I will have positive emotional guidance. If I think about something unpleasant (past, present, or future) I will have an emotional response that feels worse. I can think about someone or something and focus upon an aspect that feels good or a different aspect that feels bad. My guidance tells me which is more like my Higher Self by giving emotional feedback.

It is not difficult for a child, even a young child, given information about his or her emotional guidance system to check it out for his or herself. Asking questions about what feels better will elicit answers.

Unfortunately, I did not know about the emotional guidance system when my children were young so I taught them to rely upon my guidance (which was also not always based on listening to my emotional guidance system). But today when one of my young adult children ask me “Should I do __________” my response is to direct them back to their guidance. “How does the thought of doing that feel?”   “How does the thought of not doing that feel?”   I have found I also have to give them permission to put their guidance ahead of other considerations. For example, my youngest daughters friends wanted to go to a club. She asked me if she should go. I asked her what her guidance said and she said it felt better not to go. Then she said “But my friends want me to go”. She was wanting to take into consideration that external guidance (what her friends wanted).

I explained to her that her emotional guidance system knows all her goals and desires including her desire to be friends with these individuals. Her guidance would take all her priorities into consideration when providing the guidance. She was getting a clear “Don’t go”. Her guidance knew her friends were not going to stop being her friend just because she chose not to participate in this one activity with them. Her brain could have created all sorts of false fears and worries of how they would react but her guidance KNEW that it was not only fine but best for her long term goals and desires not to go.

I encourage you not to take my word about this emotional guidance system. You have your own. Begin asking yourself “What feels better?”. Begin listening and see what it is telling you. Begin following it on little things and build your trust. It takes much more for an adult who has been trained to listen only to the brain to begin to trust this emotional guidance system than it does for a child.

Children are born listening to their emotional guidance. How do you think they so quickly go from crying to laughing when tears are still wet on their face?  Their guidance calls them and they listen. But children are not here long when we begin telling them to listen to outside guidance. Listening to these others is not very harmful if they are following their own guidance and in good emotional places (other than it teaches them not to listen to their own guidance which is very life-limiting) but most of the time that is not the case. Sometimes it is far from the situation. It also teaches them to take their cues as to their worth and value from outside sources, sources that may have a much lower view of their potential than their emotional guidance system KNOWS. As they begin accepting a view of their worth that comes from outside themselves they become vulnerable. If those around them hold them in high regard things can go well. But if those around them tell them they are not smart and they do not know how to check this statement against their own guidance they may begin believing that this other person is right.

Think of the utter empowerment of the child who understands his or her own emotional guidance and understands that good behavior is found in good feeling emotional states and poor behavior is found in lower emotional states. This wise child is told by another student “You’re stupid”. The wise child can, if he has any concern at all about the validity of this statement use his guidance to check on it. Checking is as simple as asking “Does it feel better to believe I am stupid”? or “Does it feel better to believe I am smart”?  A child that has learned the trustworthiness of his emotional guidance system will immediately know that the statement is not accurate. There will be no reason to dwell on it, no reason to ruminate upon it, and certainly no reason to adopt it as his own belief and make it into a self-fulfilling fantasy.

But let’s look further. This child has also been taught about the relationship between emotional state and behavior. What will the child equipped with this knowledge know?  The child will know that the child who made this comment is not in a good emotional place. Now, the child who was called the name will not have gone to a negative mindset because of the name calling because he had a quick, easy, and accurate way not to take it personally. To, in fact, KNOW it was not personal because it was not a true statement about their person. But the child knows that the other child would not have said that from a good feeling state. Could that child then feel empathy for the child who lashed out from a negative state, enough empathy to do something to try to help that other child move to a better feeling state?  I believe a child equipped with this knowledge not only could but often would.

  • It is a fact that we have an emotional guidance system (EGS).
  • It is a fact that we behave better when we are in better emotional states.
  • It is a fact that our EGS always guides us to better feeling states.

Sometimes, in this paper, I use KNOW and KNEW in all caps. This is to highlight the fact that KNOWing is a sense. A sense an individual can read as accurately as what they see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. In fact, a developed ability to read ones EGS is the most accurate sense we have. The other senses are more colored by the filters in the brain which can alter perception.

There is one more false premise I want to address before I conclude this paper. The belief that our inherent nature is competitive is false. Our inherent nature is cooperative and when we follow our guidance we are very cooperative, especially when we reach and often maintain high emotional states of well-being.

Our bodies are made of 70 trillion or so cells, all of which cooperate beautifully together. There is mounting scientific evidence of our connection with all others. When attempts are made at the quantum physics level to study separate entities they find we are all connected at that level. Only at the level of our natural sight are we perceived as separate.

Your EGS is aware of this connection and of the deep rooted desire to cooperate and live harmoniously with others.

In conclusion, helping children understand their own emotional guidance system and the impact of emotional state on behavior would create a platform that would facilitate an excellent learning environment. It would mitigate the impact of negative home environments to a great degree. In my opinion, this is the most important basic of basics.

I could write entire books about the positive changes that would be brought about by this approach. For example, teenagers tend to put great stake in their friends’ opinions. (By the way, this is because we taught them to look outside themselves for guidance when they were young.)  We have the choice to teach them that it is their choice whether they buy into another s opinion of them or form their own. We can teach them that they can be anything they want to be if they believe in themselves but if they do not believe in themselves they will be only what they believe they can be.

By teaching them to put less emphasis on negative outside input and to be kind to themselves with their own internal conversations they can be in a better feeling place. If they know their emotions are their own personal guidance, how to read it and listen to it, outside influences that are in the opposite direction of their Higher Self will be minimized. If we do this at a young age by 9th grade they will be doing so well dropping out won’t even be on their radar.

Note:  The science that demonstrates that emotions are a sense (like taste, touch, smell, hearing, and seeing) has newly been put together by Katherine Peil based on solid research conducted by many others in many fields (10 pages of citations). She connected the dots and saw clearly what others had either failed to see or were not brave enough to report. There is a saying that science moves forward by funeral because old ideas and paradigms are clung to for the sake of having been right. I commend her for her bravery in publishing these very important results and appreciate to the core of my being her willingness to do so because, having known about and understood this emotional guidance system for quite some time, I have contemplated the benefits society could reap if many others understood it.

There are those who have KNOWN and understood this emotional guidance system for a long time and understand how perfect it is and how beneficial it is when followed.

Recently there was a movie called Limitless. The basic story line was that someone developed a pill that, when taken, allowed the brain to function more fully. Following the emotional guidance system has results similar to those in the movie without the need for a pill.

Let’s get the real basics in place.

© Jeanine Broderick, 2012


[i]  The research has been clear. It is not that the lower incomes have too few resources. This has been determined by looking at research subjects in areas with less income diversity, same cost of living, and looking at the lower end of the income. For example, in an area where incomes are between 50,000 – 60,000 (fairly close) the longevity is about the same. In another area where incomes range between 50,000 – 120,000 with the same cost of living those near the lower end of income have worse health, well-being and even higher mortality (worse than that of the ones with the same income in an area with less disparate incomes). It is the adverse comparison of self to others that creates the negative emotions that contributes to the lower level of health. Positive emotions, optimism, and happiness are linked to a 50% risk reduction in cardiovascular disease and benefits against many other diseases. Essentially, by negatively comparing themselves to others they bring on their own negative emotions, which then creates the lack of well-being.

[ii] Peil, K. T., Emotion: A Self-regulatory Sense, published in Biophysical Psychological Review, 2012, (Northeastern University; Harvard Divinity School; EFS International)

Empty Nest Getting You Down?

Empty Nest Getting You Down?

Enjoy It Instead.

There is so much to enjoy and appreciate about being an empty nester.

My daughters come and go right now. One finished college a year ago and is now pursuing her dream of being a massage therapist attending school in Sedona, AZ which is 2,000 miles away. She wanted to be a massage therapist before college but she did college to please me and was four hours away then.

My other daughter is away at college in her 1st senior year. She changed majors this Autumn so she will have more than one senior year.

When they first went away I soothed myself with the knowledge that I did my best to raise them to make good decisions and be good people (according to my definition of good). I had to trust that the work I had done was enough. I knew that I had not always been perfect (far from it many times) but that even that prepared them to go forth and thrive.

I also find that I enjoy them and their blossoming so much more because I do not hold up an idea of who I want them to be and compare who they are to that idea. Instead I look at them and look at their positive attributes. In this way I see so much potential and am sometimes overwhelmed at how well they do when I let go. In fact, I have seen that they do better than I would have encouraged them to do – by following their own dreams and passions.

Trust. Trust that you have done your job. Trust that they know you are always there and will always love them – even after you depart your body that love will be there to strengthen and uplift them.

As my daughters became young ladies I began giving myself the freedom to pursue my own passions so by the time they left I was absorbed in my own pursuit of understanding how to help humans thrive. This had a double benefit. I know my children have benefited from the knowledge I gained along this path and the example I have set. It also gave me an entire world to love, appreciate and uplift.

I look forward to the unfolding of the future. I hope for grandchildren but not too soon but also know that I can find “grand babies to love, spoil and return” anywhere so I do not feel a need to pressure my daughters into having children. Their choices are theirs to make. There is no need to please or satisfy Mom.

There are things you can do, such as keep a journal where you express your love of them. You can give them these or keep them for them to find eventually and what a gift that would be.

You have 24 hours every day. In those 24 you sleep about 8. In the 16 remaining you have choices about what to focus upon. When you think of your children you can think about their absence or about their thriving. You get to decide. One feels better and the other not so good. Why would you choose to feel less than you could?

Be kind to yourself. Read books you have wanted to read. Eat what you want to eat instead of catering to varied desires of children with vastly different food tastes (mine were born to be opposites). Take long walks. Take bubble baths. Nurture friendships with others who are positively focused.

Although dogs and cats are wonderful unless you have no desire to travel or a readily available pet sitter I do not recommend getting a pet at this stage.

Since my girls left for college I have been to Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Alaska, a Panama Canal cruise, Barcelona, Venice, a Mediterranean cruise, several Caribbean cruises, Cabo San Lucas and many other trips. I love to travel and have developed friendships around the world since my children went to college. My youngest has her dog at home with me and arranging care of her when I travel keeps me home more than I would be if she was not a consideration.

You can be a great Mom or Dad and not suffer at their doing the natural thing – growing up and being on their own.

I look forward to a future when they come for visits with their partners and their children and think about how I want those times to be. In fact, I make decisions based on maintaining the great relationships I have with them to facilitate that future vision. The new home I am planning considers their comfort on visits – not only theirs – but sufficient privacy so that a partner will feel comfortable having a nice long visit and so that grandchildren will have enough freedom in Grandma’s house to feel welcome and comfortable yet allow me to have a home with adult treasures.

Make a list of things that feel good when you think about them. If you find yourself dwelling on the absence of your children pull out the list and re-direct your thoughts to something that feels better. In time this will develop a new habit of thought and you will no longer have to consciously make that effort. If you are consistent three months should be more than adequate. But, you will feel better in minutes – as soon as you re-direct your thoughts. It is the habit that takes time – don’t worry about the long-term – just take steps to feel better in the short-term and the long-term will take care of itself. One day you will realize it has been ages since you had  unhappy-feeling thoughts about your children growing up.

If you are finding this transition less than enjoyable contact us. The same journey can be heaven for one and hell for another – their perspective makes the difference. Our programs are designed to make the journey not only more enjoyable but understandable. The journey to a better-feeling outlook can be easier than you’ve ever imagined and its very nature will strengthen your relationships.

Contact us  for information on upcoming programs or to be the first to learn the details of our new portable CD programs coming soon.

You can enjoy your life at any stage.

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 can ripple outward and bring humanity one step closer to peace.

Comments are welcome

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 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


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

Do You Love Your Child? Really?

Do You Love Your Child?  Really? Unconditionally?

Many parents believe they love their child but they actually love an image of what they want their child to be more than the child.

Parents form an image of an ideal son or daughter in their mind. They often begin forming this image long before the child is even conceived.

Once the child arrives the child is compared to this “ideal image” and judged by how well the child meets or fails to meet the expectations of this ideal.

I see this played out in countless ways by countless parents.

To me the saddest parts are:

  1. The parent really wants to love their child but does not know how – they only know how to compare the child to their ideal – approving when the child matches the preconceived image and disapproving when the child differs from the image.
  2. The parent does not really know their child.
  3. The child feels pressured to become the “ideal” which may have nothing to do with what would allow the child to thrive in the best possible ways.
  4. The child feels the love of the parent must be earned.

I see parents with intelligent young children who are very capable of making good decisions for themselves insisting that the child do as the parent believes best (based on the “ideal image”) rather than who the child really is.

Even children who have made good decisions again and again are pressured into decisions that are not right for them by parents who love the “ideal” child instead of seeing the beauty of their own child with the individual traits and characteristics that make that child unique.

These children are chastised for making decisions that do not conform to the “ideal” even when they are making what is clearly a correct decision to observers.

The parents don’t see themselves as loving an ideal. They truly believe they love their child but the “best for the child” in their eyes is to follow the ideal they have constructed in their own minds instead of what would best suit their unique child.

Recently, I watched a man with two beautiful, intelligent, interesting, and delightful daughters reduce one to tears through his insistence that she made a mistake in a decision that, to anyone who knows the full situation, sees she made great decisions. Only someone comparing her to an image that has nothing to do with who or what she is would see it otherwise.

Instead of getting to know and love who his daughters are he projects a stereo-type of what he wants and then judges them based on whether or not they live up to his expectations. As a young man, he did as his parents wanted him to do instead of following his own desires and still expresses regrets about the things he did not do as a young man to please his parents yet he is attempting to repeat the same scenario’s with his daughters. Just because he acted to please his parents who were comparing him to their own “ideal son” does not mean it was the best course of action for him at the time nor does it mean he should or must continue the chain of pain and insist his daughters follow his desires instead of their own dreams and desires.

We are taught to honor our parents but at some point our parents must honor who we are and allow us to do what suits us best. If you are continuing this chain of pain in your own life ask yourself how your life might be different if your parents had supported who you were instead of judging you based on how you lived up to what they wanted you to be?  How many generations of pain do you want that to continue?  We each get to live our own lives but we do not live our children’s lives for them – that is their job, their life.

Is it time for you to give some serious, inward thought to what you want rather than what you had in your relationship with your parents? What would have been better? Would it have been better if they just loved you and you knew they always loved you no matter what choices you made? If they trusted you to make the determination of what was best for you? You have guidance (all of us do) that guides our lives to the best they can be.

The guidance tells us what is best for ourselves. It does not tell us what is best for anyone else, including our children. When you teach your children to listen to you instead of their guidance you are leading them away from the absolute best guidance they can have, the guidance that is aware not only of all their hopes and dreams but of also the path of least resistance to fulfillment of those dreams.

Both science and all major religions speak of this guidance although many are not as clear about the message and guidance as our programs.

When we second guess our children it only serves to undermine their confidence and, when they want to please parents who are comparing them to an ideal, makes them sad that following her own guidance makes the parent unhappy.

Parents (and other adults – Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, etc.) could have a much better relationship if they focused on knowing who the child really is, what are their hopes, dreams, and heartfelt desires?

We all tend to assign the same reasons to others actions that we believe we would have if we had taken those actions but we are seldom right about the reasons we assign — not just you — all of us are woefully inadequate in figuring out why another does what they do — because it is complex and based on ALL that they have lived. Even two people growing up in the same household experience it differently because of the “back stories” they assign. I go into this in detailed explanations in my book. Far better to ask, without judgment, but with curiosity and a desire to understand.

What do you want with your children? Do you want to be a distant authority figure that they try to please or do you want them to really know you and you to really know them? As you project what you want on them you close the door to their being able to openly be who they really are with you. Is that what you want? To not know them but just know how much they live up to, or fail to live up to, what you want them to be? Do you not trust them to be very wonderful if they choose their own path? Look at their accomplishments so far.

Given the belief that they are loved for their wonderful and unique selves children will make good choices. Won’t it be interesting to see what choices they make going forward?

Look inside yourself. Think about your children and their choices so far. How much influence do you really believe a parent can have on whether they choose to do things we do not want or things we want? How many parents do you know who have raised several children who turned our well but one who insisted on making bad choices? Parental influence really does not have that big of an influence. What it does do, however, is influence the relationship between the parent and child. When the parent attempts to control (an impossible task – completely out of the parent’s control) rather than loving unconditionally (an achievable goal that is totally within the parent’s control) the relationship suffers. Can you find a place inside yourself where you can trust your children? When you think, “My children are smart and make good decisions” does it not feel better than “I have to second guess the decisions my children make and point out when I think they have made a mistake”? Which thought feels better?

Do you not believe that your child’s guidance, which considers all their hopes, dreams and desires, does not contain a desire to please their parents – to have good relationships with family? I know it does. I know their guidance considers all the factors they want to consider without them having to spend a decade figuring it out.

When I tell my children to do what their guidance tells them to do I know that guidance is going to consider their desire for a good relationship with not only me but with others in their life. I do not have to assert my desires on them, I can trust that their guidance, just like my own, just like yours, just like everyone’s — is always pointing out the best path for them.

I hope that this helps you build deeper relationships with your children by trusting them more. Set an intention to love your child – whoever that is – not your ideal child. I would love to hear how this decision changes your life and your relationship with your child.

We hope this article stimulates discussion. If this article stimulates thoughts, questions, or comments please post them below. The comments are moderated so they will not appear immediately. Comments and questions are taken seriously. By sharing them here rather than sending them by private mail you share with other readers and not just the author. All comments are read and all earnest questions are responded to. If you have something to say that truly applies only to you and me then send me an email. Please feel to share this article with others using the share buttons or by sending them a link to this page. Comments that are not related to the topic of this website or that are blatant advertisements are deleted to preserve the integrity of the site. We look forward to your feedback. If you would like to register for or are interested in additional information on our classes, one-on-one coaching, or speakers for your event please contact us.

Is Your Child Happy?

An Open Letter to Parents Regarding the Happiness of Their Children

Does your child’s happiness matter? As parents we want the best for our children. We willingly make many sacrifices to ensure they have not only what they need but opportunities we want them to have.

Why do we do this?  In the final analysis, whether it is good grades, a college education, a car, being on a winning team or a wide circle of friends the reason is that we believe they will be happier in the having of the experience, education or thing. We want our children to be healthy, happy, and productive.

In our opinion every parent would benefit from being aware of the new research on happiness.

I will share some of the relative details of that research including:

  •      Happy children have better relationships
  •      Happy children do better in school
  •      Happy children do better on examinations including the SAT
  •      Happy children are healthier
  •      Happy children are more likely to accomplish their goals
  •      Happy children are less likely to become addicted to drugs and alcohol
  •      Happy children are less like to get pregnant
  •      Happy children are less likely to commit crimes

Happy children do better in school and on examinations including SAT examinations. Scientists have actually demonstrated that happiness increases our level of both intelligence and creativity. The same individual is not an intelligent or creative when they are in a negative state of mind as they are when they are in a positive state of mind.

Don’t worry. I am not about to suggest that you give in to every whim your child has in order to ‘keep him or her happy’. In fact, happiness does not work that way. It is not about ‘getting your way’ but about how you respond to the circumstances of your life. It is what I call the ‘back-story’ you tell yourself.

For example, take two children who want the same thing and their parent tells them they cannot have it. A negatively focused child might, in their own mind, explain your unwillingness to allow them to have the desired thing by telling themselves things such as “Mom/Dad would let me have this thing I want if they loved me; they must not love me” or “I must be a disappointment to Mom/Dad; if they were proud of me they would let me have this thing I want” and so on. You can see where those thoughts lead. They lead to low self esteem and associated problems including depression.

On the other hand, the positively focused child might, in their own mind, explain your unwillingness to allow them to have the desired thing by telling themselves things such as “Mom/Dad would let me have this if they thought it was best for me; maybe I can help them see the benefits of my having this thing”, or “Even though they said no today they may change their mind” or “Maybe Grandma or Grandpa will get this thing I want for my birthday”, or “Maybe I could earn the money and get this thing I want myself”.

As you read the types of thoughts a negatively focused child might have and imagine others along those same lines also think about the drama and anxiety that might be associated with the thoughts.

The negatively focused child, if they have tied how much their parent loves them to the outcome of getting this thing or not will experience the parents’ unwillingness to provide the thing as a severe emotional blow (and rightly so considering what they have tied to the outcome).

The positively focused child feels secure in being loved, would never think to tie being loved or not to a question of receiving something. These feelings really have little or nothing to do with the parents’ behaviors but with the back story the child tells him or herself. An average parent with a child that has developed this type of back story cannot change their behavior enough to make the child feel more love. The child has to change the back story in order to feel the love that is already there.

The interesting thing about back stories is that we all create them to explain things that happen in our world. There are as many different back stories to every situation as there are people.

Listen to your own thoughts as you move through your day. If someone is rude to you how do you explain it to yourself in the privacy of your own mind?  Do you see the world as full of rude people or do  you shrug it off as that person having a bad day and taking it out on someone who just happens to be handy?

If you receive a promotion was it luck, your hard work, your education, who you know, right place and right time or something else?

Everyone creates back stories for events in their life. It is something we usually do unconsciously. Most of us do not say to ourselves “What sort of back story am I going to tell myself about this situation?” and then create one that makes us feel good. We could do this but most of us do not. Then we begin believing the back-story we tell ourselves and will staunchly defend the truth of our back story which is just something we made up to make sense of something and then thought about repeatedly.

Another interesting thing is that most of us do not talk about our back stories as such. We do not have conversations that are that deep into the privacy of our own minds.

When we are more consciously aware that we are creating back stories we have the opportunity to question them before they become rooted as beliefs. For example, the child who first ties being loved to receipt of some ‘thing’ could, if the child understood back stories, ask the parent or another trusted source if that back story that feels so awful is true and avoid thoughts that would fester and create trouble in the future.

That is enough about back stories for now. They are just one aspect of how a negatively focused individual experiences the same situation so differently than a positively focused person experiences the same circumstances.

Let’s return to the fact that happy people (children and adults) do better in school and on examinations than those who are not. So, if one of your dominant desires for your child is to do well in school so they will be happy would you not want to help them learn to be happy now so they can do better in school?

Depression has reached epidemic levels in America with 1 in 10 individuals experiencing depression[1] and depression being rampant among those in the 18 – 24[2] year range.

Learning how to be more optimistic has been demonstrated to both help alleviate depression and prevent depression. There is a separate letter in the Benefits section of our website which is focused on depression that you may wish to read.

Good relationships are very important to a life that feels good. Science has also shown that happier individuals have better relationships including family, friends, co-workers and other loved ones. There are too many factors that impact relationships to cover them here but if you consider the ‘back-story’ example above you can clearly see how the negatively focused individual is not feeling the love even if it is there. Many people suffer from feeling unloved when they are very loved. It is their back-stories that interfere with being able to feel loved. Happier individuals are also more likeable and tend to be able to maintain friendships and other relationships in healthier and more satisfying states.

Finally, the benefits of happiness on health are tremendous. In one study, which I am very glad I did not participate in, positively focused and negatively focused individuals were deliberately infected with the same cold virus. They were also kept in an isolated floor of a hotel for monitoring throughout the experiment. The results were astounding.

All the negatively focused individuals became ill. Some of the positively focused individuals did not become ill.

The positively focused individuals who did become ill suffered fewer symptoms and a shorter duration illness than the negatively focused individuals. Because they had isolated the participants they were even able to measure true symptoms (not just reported symptoms).

This and other studies have shown a direct correlation between immune system function and level of positivity.

Other studies have shown that individuals in like circumstances who are more positively focused can live as much as 10 years longer than those who are negatively focused even when family history is considered. Additionally, those who were positively focused were more likely to remain fully functioning until much closer to death than those who were negatively focused. The chronic and debilitating illnesses tended to impact those who were negatively focused.

Other research has shown that the risk of ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and Alzheimer’s are reduced with increased levels of happiness.

Regardless of whether your desire for your child is just not missing class due to illness as much or a longer and healthier life increasing happiness now can have positive impacts on all of these things.

The positive impact of increased happiness on an individual is tremendous. It will improve their relationships, their results in school and their health and general well-being.

Our classes are available for individuals age 16 and up and mature 14 year olds are welcome to attend classes with their parent(s) if both/all are enrolled.

Please consider giving your child the gift of happiness. Your child’s happiness matters.

See our programs tab for information on classes. We are also available for programs in schools.

Closing with a sincere wish for a happy life and all that entails for you and your child.




Jeannine Joy, President

Happiness 1st Institute

For Younger Children

Please Note:  In the future classes for younger children will be developed. If you are interested in classes for younger children please let us know as demand can influence the resources we put towards development of the course. We would also be interested in hearing about your experiences with younger children, what worked and what did not, to help us develop effective tools and techniques to help them.

For now the best we can do for younger children is recommend some reading material.

For the parent:

Martin Seligman’s “The Optimistic Child” as reading material to parents of younger children.

For the child:

We like:

S. M. Mawe’s “Dandelion: The Extraordinary Life of a Misfit”

“The Little Engine That Could” – Any age appropriate version should be good


[1] Healthline, What is Depression, Retrieved on December 8, 2011, from http://www. healthline. com/health/depression-overview

[2] Tartakovsky, M. (2008). Depression and Anxiety Among College Students. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 8, 2011, from http://psychcentral. com/lib/2008/depression-and-anxiety-among-college-students/