Tag Archive: positive psychology

Are you confused by the Happiness Movement?

Are you confused by the happiness movement?

Are you one of the people who believe the Happiness Movement is telling you that you should pretend everything is okay and ignore what is actually happening?  

Let me help you understand the research and what the happiness movement encourages and why.

Some people pretend to be outwardly positive but it is not how they really feel. It isn’t good for them. This group is small in comparison to other groups who are positively focused because they use skills to authentically feel positive emotions—they aren’t faking positive emotions.

Positive Psychology

Since Martin E. P. Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology encouraged psychologists to begin studying what makes humans do well instead of just studying pathology (things that have gone wrong). Great strides have been made in understanding how to thrive, or flourish, as Dr. Seligman refers to it. Human minds and bodies function better when we are positively focused.

Emotions and Emotion Regulation

Because of research, the very definition of the purpose of emotions has been re-defined.[1] We now know that the purpose of emotions is to let us know how stressed we are so that we can do something about it. Our minds and bodies are not designed to function optimally when we are chronically stressed. Negative emotion tells us that we are stressed. The worse the negative emotion, the more stress is being experienced. Positive emotions let us know that we are not stressed.

Emotions are a sensory feedback system designed to guide our behavior.[2] Because we have misinterpreted their meaning, partially because of research published in 1939, emotions weren’t (and for most people, still aren’t) serving the purpose for which they were designed.[3][

Basically, emotions serve a function similar to our other senses.When you eat something good for you, it tastes good. Many poisonous substances taste bad. When your stress level is good for you, it feels good. When you are too stressed, you feel bad.

When you touch something and it hurts you, you now that touching it is not good for you. In the same way, when your perspective about a topic hurts emotionally, the perspective you chose about that subject is not good for you. Note that it is your perspective, not necessarily anything wrong with the situation that determines if you hurt.

Finally, researchers in fields as diverse as medical science, sociology, biochemistry, psychoneuroimmunology, quantum physics, psychology, positive psychology, psychiatry, emotion regulation, motivation theory, organizational behavior, and more have added to the body of knowledge that tells us that humans have greater success in every area of life when they experience more positive emotions.

Authenticity is Important to Health

Authenticity is an important contributor to good health. Jobs that require emotional labor, such as putting on a positive front even when it is not authentic, lead to worse health outcomes for employees.[4], [5],  [6], [7], [8]   

The positivity movement does not encourage plastering a smile on your face when you are miserable. So, the Happiness Movement encourages you to use skills and strategies that allow you to authentically feel good more often.

Also, individuals who have more positive emotions live an average of 10.7 years longer based on two longitudinal studies that followed men and women for seven decades.[9], [10] Positively focused individuals do not spend as many years chronically ill before their death, even though they die at older ages.

As a result, we know, for sure, that positive emotion is good for us. 

Wellness Benefits of Positive Emotions

The Happiness Movement began when researchers began learning about the benefits of experiencing fewer negative emotions and more happiness. Positive emotions lead to better outcomes in every area of life. Positive emotions indicate you are not stressed which is good news for your health. When viewed from a long-term perspective your mental health should be your first priority.

Mental health affects every aspect of your life.The Happiness Movement is based on research that demonstrated the benefits of experiencing more positive emotions, which improves both mental and physical health.

Good physical health:

[11], [12]  

  • We automatically choose healthier foods when we feel good emotionally.
  • We are less likely to exercise when we are stressed, even if we know exercise will help us feel better.
  • We sleep better when we aren’t stressed and sleep is a critical component of good physical health.
  • We eat higher fat and higher calorie foods when we are stressed.
  • About 60% of people who still smoke cigarettes suffer from anxiety and use smoking to help them cope with anxiety.

Good behavioral health

  • People who are mentally healthy make more pro-health decisions about what they eat, exercise, sleep, and risky behaviors.[13]
  • People who are mentally healthy are less likely to become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, suicide, self-harm, and crime, and violence[14], [15], [16], [17], [18], [19]

Better relationships including:

[20], [21], [22], [23], [24]  

  • Better romantic relationships
  • Better relationships with their parents
  • Better relationships with their siblings
  • Better relationships with their children
  • Better relationships with their friends
  • Better relationships with co-workers
  • Better relationships with bosses and subordinates
  • Better relationships with their neighbors

Increased success in:

[25], [26]  

  • Academics
  • Sports
  • Career

After reviewing all the research, the difference in lifetime earnings between the happiest and the least happy people is about $250,000. The interesting part of this is that we now know that happiness comes first. It is the reason I named Happiness 1st Institute as I did. When you’re happy first, every area of life is better!

You see that the Happiness Movement isn’t about wanting anyone to pretend they are happy. The Happiness Movement is about sharing the research about what makes human thrive with everyone. For that reason, we help people learn emotion regulation and stress management skills that increase the frequency of positive emotions. Although you’ll be more cheerful and easier to get along with when you experience more positive emotions, that’s not the reason for the Happiness Movement.

The most noteworthy aspect of the research that supports the Happiness Movement is that it doesn’t matter which branch of science you look at for evidence, research from all of them support the conclusion that increasing positive emotions improve health and well-being.

Primary Prevention

Preventative medicine is what the Happiness Movement is all about. Primary Prevention is something that is designed to prevent illnesses and diseases from developing instead of waiting for them to show up before attempting to deal with them.

The most affordable and effective method of improving the health and well-being of large numbers of people is via Primary Prevention. Clean drinking water and waste treatment plants are both forms of Primary Prevention because they prevent illnesses and diseases from manifesting. It’s the same reason you wash your hands before you prepare food and the reason you want people to cover their moths when they cough or sneeze. Primary Prevention is smart. The Primary Prevention encouraged by the Happiness Movement is the best of all because it prevents illnesses, diseases, and suffering and feels good, too!

For that reason, the Happiness Movement is about improving Public Health and well-being. Because all the new research has uncovered quite a few false premises that hamper success, education about the Happiness Movement is an important step.

Habits of Thought

Depending on where you are with respect to your mental health, putting your mental health first can mean many different things. Depending on your situation, taking care of your mental health can mean anything from going into a full-time resident program to deal with severe issues to simply deciding that you will prioritize your life in ways that support good mental health.

The first step is figuring out how you’re doing. Then make a plan to develop healthy habits of thought. We all think about 60,000 thoughts each day. Most of the thoughts we think aren’t thoughtful. That’s why it is so important to change our habits of thought. 

Fighting against individual thoughts doesn’t accomplish or change much. Steps you may want to take could include:

  • Developing Healthy Habits of Thought.
      • Defined as habits of thought that research has repeatedly shown lead to optimal outcomes in the above areas of life.
  • Avoiding or changing Unhealthy Habits of Thought.
      • Defined as habits of thought that research has repeatedly shown lead to sub-optimal outcomes in the above areas of life.
  • Developing or maintaining healthy self-esteem.
  • Develop or maintain an internal locus of control.
      • An internal locus of control is the belief that your thoughts, words, and actions affect the outcomes you experience,
  • Learn the new definition of the purpose and use of emotions as a sensory feedback system designed to guide you toward self-actualization.[17]
      • Learn how to apply the new definition of emotions to reduce stress and improve healthy habits of thought,[18]
  • Develop or maintain healthy relationships with others including:
      • Avoiding emotionally toxic environments and people.
      • Being willing to let go of unhealthy associations.
      • Making being happy as a higher priority than proving a point.
  • Establishing goals in every area of your life.
  • Self-compassion will help you feel better.

In conclusion, there are many paths that help you experience more authentic positive emotions.

Have more Fun

When you are mentally healthy, it is as if life’s rough edges are smoothed out. Life feels easier. It doesn’t mean you don’t face challenges. It means you are more capable of facing challenges and coming out whole and healthy on the other side of the challenge.

Your habits of thought can add to, multiply, subtract from, or divide the amount of stress you experience from a situation. Negative rumination adds to (and can potentially multiply) stress. When you learn how to regulate your emotions, you have more fun. 

As a result, the better you feel, the better other areas of your life become. People like to spend time with people who are happy. Many people avoid unhappy people. 

I’m sure you have noticed that not everyone responds to stressful situations the same way. People who do not become as stressed tend to be resilient. They are resilient because they have healthy habits of thought that make them feel more capable of dealing with life. Habits of thought can be changed. When an individual changes unhealthy habits of thought to healthier ones it creates transformational changes.

Unhealthy Habits of Thought

Life + Unhealthy habits of thought = stress

Unhealthy habits of thought include:

  • Catastrophizing (or Awfulizing)
  • Seeing problems as:
    • Permanent
    • Pervasive
    • Personal
  • Negative rumination or negative co-rumination

Healthy Habits of Thought

Life + Healthy habits of thought = less stress

Healthy habits of thought include:

  • Realistic optimism
  • Healthy self-esteem
  • Self-compassion
  • Using metacognition to think about what you are thinking and why and making adjustments to lower stress
  • An internal locus of control

The research and strategies that support the Happiness Movement can make your life more of what you’ve always wanted it to be–fun and happy. If you’re faking happiness, try real happiness and you’ll never go back to faking it.

Your life and your emotions are up to you. That’s not wishful thinking. It’s science.

In conclusion, if you are ready to feel better, my latest book, Mental Health Made Easy: Maintain and Restore Your Mental Health: Develop Health Habits of Thought, The Smart Way to Permanently Reduce Stress provides information about how to develop healthy habits of thought. You’ll like Mental Health Made Easy because it does double duty as both a book and a workbook.

Click here for more information on research that supports my work.

I love the Happiness Movement! I want to Help. What can I do?

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to learn how to regulate your emotions in healthy ways. 

The second most important thing you can do it to share information like this post with your friends and family. But don’t insist. If they aren’t ready, they will become more resistant the more you pressure them. 

Instead, learn the skills and then they will ask you why you’re so much happier or why your life is going better. That is the best time to share the information because that’s when they are receptive.

Because sharing this information is so important, in 2019 I am going to walk from Santa Monica, California to Charleston, South Carolina on an awareness walk. We’re calling this cross-country trek the Joy Walk because this knowledge increases the amount of joy in people’s lives. You can follow the planning and the walk at the link. We’ll set up special social media accounts and updates daily. 

 

Finally, during the Joy Walk, I want to talk to as many people as possible. We want to speak at colleges, universities, high schools, and to organizations and city counsels, medical and mental health professionals. I hope to see you along the way.

Bibliography

American Academy of Pediatrics. (2012, October 22). Children with Mental Health Disorders More Often Identified as Bullies. Retrieved from aap.org: https://www.aap.org 

Baumeister, R. F., & Beck, A. (1999). Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty. New York: Henry Holt and Co.

Baumeister, R. F., Vohs, K. D., DeWall, C. N., & Zhang, L. (2007, May 16). How Emotion Shapes Behavior: Feedback, Anticipation, and Reflection, Rather Than Direct Causation. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 11(2), 167-203.

Boehm, J. K. (2012, July). The heart’s content: The association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health. Psychological Bulletin, Epub April 2012, 138(4):655-91.

Cheung, F., Tang, C. S.-k., & Tang, S. (2011). Psychological capital as a moderator between emotional labor, burnout, and job satisfaction among school teachers in China. International Journal of Stress Management, 18(4), 348-371.

Clark, P. (2010, April). Preventing Future Crime With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. National Institute of Justice Journal No. 265, 22-24.

Danner, D. D. (2001). “Positive Emotions in Early Life and Longevity: Findings from the Nun Study.” . Journal of Personality and Social Psychology., 804-13.

Dollard, J., Doob, I. W., Miller, N. E., Mowrer, O. H., & Sears, R. R. (1939). Frustration and aggression. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Gardner, W. L., Fischer, D., & Hunt, J. (2009). Emotional labor and leadership: A Threat to authenticity. The Leadership Quarterly, 20, 466-482.

Garland, E. L., Fredrickson, B., Kring, A. M., Johnson, D. P., Meyer, P. S., & Penn, D. L. (2010). Upward spirals of positive emotions counter downward spirals of negativity: Insights. Clinical Psychology Review, 849-864.

Glomb, T. M., & Tews, M. J. (2002). Emotional labor: A conceptual and scale development. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 64, 1-23.

(2013). Conceptualizing Emotional Labor: An Emotion Regulation Perspective. In J. J. Gross, A. A. Grandey, J. M. Diefendoff, & D. E. Rupp (Eds.), Emotional Labor in the 21st Century: Diverse Perspectives on the Psychology of Emotion Regulation at Work (pp. 288-294). Routledge.

Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012, October 1). The Efficacy of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: A Review of Meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427-440.

Joy, J. (2017). Mental Health Made Easy: Maintain and Restore Your Mental Health: Develop Health Habits of Thought, The Smart Way™ to Permanently Reduce Stress. Concord: Thrive More Now Publishing.

Lépine, J.-P., & Briley, M. (2011). The increasing burden of depression. Neuropsychiatric Disorder Treatment, 7(Suppl 1), 3-7.

Lyubomirsky, S., & Porta, M. D. ((in press)). Boosting Happiness and Buttressing Resilience: Results from Cognitive and Behavioral Interventions. In J. W. Reich, A. J. Zautra, & J. Hall (Eds.), Handbook of adult resilience: Concepts, methods, and application. New York, NY, USA: Guilford Press.

McCarthy, B., & Casey, T. (2011). Get Happy! Positive Emotion, Depression and Juvenile Crime. American Sociological Associaion Annual Meeting. Las Vegas: UC Davis.

Okunda, M., Balán , I., Petry, N. M., Oquendo, M., & Blanco, C. (2009, December). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Pathological Gambling: Cultural Considerations. American Journal of Psychiatry, 166(12), 1325-1330.

Peil, K. (2012). (In press). Emotion: The Self-regulatory Sense. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, x(x), xxx-xxx.

Rosenberg, T. (2015, January 15). For Better Crime Prevention, a Dose of Science. The New York Times, p. The Opinion Pages.

Salami, S. O. (2007). Management of Stress among Trainee-Teachers Through Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy. Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences, 4(2), 299-307.

Shani, A., Uriely, N., Reichel, A., & Ginsburg, L. (2014). Emotional labor in the hospital industry: The influence of contextual factors. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 37, 150-158.

Stutzer, A., & Frey, B. S. (2006, April). Does marriage make people happy, or do happy people get married? The Journal of Socio-Economics, 35(2), 326-347.

Vaillant, G. E. (2012). Triumphs of Experience: The Men of the Harvard Grant Study.

Citations:

[1] (Baumeister, Vohs, DeWall, & Zhang, 2007)

[2] (Peil, 2012)

[3] (Dollard, Doob, Miller, Mowrer, & Sears, 1939)

[4] (Cheung, Tang, & Tang, 2011)

[5] (Gardner, Fischer, & Hunt, 2009)

[6] (Glomb & Tews, 2002)

[7] (Gross, 2013)

[8] (Shani, Uriely, Reichel, & Ginsburg, 2014)

[9] (Danner, 2001)

[10] (Vaillant, 2012)

[11] (Danner, 2001)

[12] (Lépine & Briley, 2011)

[13] (Boehm, 2012)

[14] (Lyubomirsky & Porta, (in press))

[15] (McCarthy & Casey, 2011)

[16] (Rosenberg, 2015)

[17] (Hofmann, Asnaani, Vonk, Sawyer, & Fang, 2012) 

[18] (Clark, 2010) 

[19] (Baumeister & Beck, Evil: Inside Human Violence and Cruelty, 1999)

[20] (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2012)

[21] (Hofmann, Asnaani, Vonk, Sawyer, & Fang, 2012)

[22] (Okunda, Balán , Petry, Oquendo, & Blanco, 2009)

[23] (Stutzer & Frey, 2006)

[24] (Lyubomirsky & Porta, (in press))

[25] (Garland, Fredrickson, Kring, Johnson, Meyer, & Penn, 2010)

[26] (Salami, 2007)

My latest book, Mental Health Made Easy: Maintain and Restore Your Mental Health: Develop Health Habits of Thought, The Smart Way to Permanently Reduce Stress provides information on how to develop healthy habits of thought.

(c) Jeanine Joy, 2018


Burnout Prevention and Recovery, Resilience and Retention Evidence-based, experience-informed, root cause solutions

Burnout Prevention and Recovery

When we were asked to participate and be a resource to the NC Consortium on Physician Resilience and Retention ( a Committee of the NC Medical Society), we were moved to develop a white paper for an upcoming meeting. We began pulling research on burnout. Jeanine’s dissertation was on Employee Engagement so she was very familiar with the other end of the spectrum. Within two days, 300 journal articles had been identified. At that point we knew it would have to be a book; not just a white paper.

After reviewing over 500 articles, we elected to address, burnout prevention and recovery through two distinct lenses:

  1. What an individual can do to protect themselves and/or recover from burnout, and,
  2. What healthcare organizations can do, individually and collectively, to prevent burnout and help employees recover from burnout syndrome.

Designed to be easy

Recognizing that both physicians (read as “all providers of care”) and healthcare organization executives are busy and may not have time to read the entire book, we wrote the book so that a physician who just wants to know how to prevent or recover from burnout can get all the information needed without having to digest the full text of information for the healthcare organization. The information for the healthcare organization executive or manager who wants to know what the organization can do also stands alone.

Executives may want to review the section for individuals because training your staff to understand the knowledge and skills presented there will increase resilience, emotional intelligence, and create a more positively focused workforce. It will also help them deal with daily stressors in your role including workplace politics.

A brief overview of the problem with current statistics about burnout is provided at the beginning.

The Appendices have questionnaires for burnout, depression, coping, and anxiety.

Build Resilience by applying Science

The section for physicians provides actionable steps that increase resilience, self-compassion, and foster development of healthy habits of thought. The research consistently shows that this is the difference between those who are burned out and those who are not–not the amount of stress inherent in their role.

Healthcare Organizations Have Work To Do, Too

The need for resilience does not mean that there is not a great deal of work that can and should be done by healthcare organizations to make the work environment less stressful and more supportive of the physical and mental health of its employees. Some of that work could be done quickly in organizations that are motivated. Much of the organizational work will require concerted actions between organizations to change the environment including legal, regulatory, and payers.

Why the Authors are Qualified to Write This Book

Dr. Joy’s prior books on Employee Engagement, Suicide Prevention, and Resilience, her dissertation on empowering employees, and years of research on building resilience prepared her to write this book. She asked Phil Geissinger to join her to add his expertise on the leadership and management of healthcare organizations and the many burdens that have been added to the roles of healthcare clinicians over the last several decades because she knew his insights would focus on how to accomplish what has to be done in ways that reduce the likelihood of burnout.

It is clear that healthcare organizations and care providers must act to prevent and recover from burnout. Physicians experience stress from:

·         Lack of time ·         Financial Pressure ·         Lack of purpose and meaning
·         Malpractice costs ·         Long Hours ·         CME
·         Paperwork ·         Board Certification(s) ·         Erosions of Autonomy
·         Work-Life Conflicts ·         Inadequate sleep ·         Business of Medicine
·         Secondary Trauma

·         Collegial pressures

·         EMR/EHR

·         Practice economics

·         Insurance Companies

·         Human resource issues

 

People making their living off Physicians

One key aspect that enhances the ability of the approach to burnout applied is the change in the purpose of emotions that was validated in 2007. Understanding and applying the new guidance on the purpose and use of emotions make it much easier to develop resilience and to understand how to use cognitive restructuring to reduce stress. We expect healthcare providers will find it helps them help their patients.

Learning advanced and transformational coping skills means physicians and other healthcare providers experience less stress on a daily basis. Chronic stress leads to burnout and the adverse physical and mental health outcomes associated with burnout. 

Coping Skills Make a Difference

People will use the best coping mechanisms available to them but if they don’t know how to use healthy coping strategies they will use a coping strategy they can access–even if it is maladaptive or dysfunctional. Primary Prevention for maladaptive and dysfunctional coping strategies such as drugs and alcohol requires training in healthier stress management strategies.

When you know good coping skills you don't use bad ones

You’ll find it interesting that most of the commonly recommended stress management strategies are dose-dependent palliative strategies. 

Stress Coping Strategies

Our book, Burnout: Prevention and Recovery, Resilience and Retention, is available on Amazon. Both Phil and Jeanine are available for keynote presentations and training to reduce burnout and provide the other benefits described in their book.Please let us know if you are interested in discussing training or speaking needs that we provide.

Burnout prevention and recovery can be easy, permanent, and relatively quick when the plan is based on research.

Together, we will make working in healthcare better for everyone which improves patient care and outcomes. 

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You Shouldn’t BE Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes to you on having the life you want.

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

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


Beating Depression

Beating Depression, The Smart Way, is easier than you may have been led to believe.

The stress of feeling powerless is insidious—it robs us of motivation. It makes life seem hopeless. The current rate of depression (globally) is 350 million people of all ages[1]. In the US alone, the health care costs for depression for adults were 22.8 billion in 2009.

No one wants to stay depressed, but in that emotional state, it can be hard to think of a thought that feels even slightly better.

I reject the concept of a chemical imbalance causing depression in isolation.

Gradually, our brain chemistry becomes conditioned to react to negative stimuli in a particular, predictable way. One thing’ll go wrong and it’ll automatically switch on its blender and mix us that black cocktail, the ol’ doomsday daiquiri, and before we know it, we’re soused to the gills from the inside out. Once depression has become electrochemically integrated, it can be extremely difficult to philosophically or psychologically override it; by then it’s playing by physical rules, a whole different ball game. Tom Robbins, Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates

Prolonged chronic stress and/or a major stressful event must play a part in almost every case of depression. Depression is more difficult when the physical body has been trained to respond to adverse circumstances in a certain way, but it can be overcome. It is amazing how much progress can be made when one-step is taken at a time. If we begin addressing chronic stress in a healthier way, the epidemic levels of depression will be greatly reduced. If all the cases with unmanaged chronic stress as the root cause are eliminated, we’ll see more clearly any that have other origins, which will speed solutions for them.

Good stress management has the ability to address both prolonged chronic stress and a major stressful event. The way we perceive an event determines how stressful the event is to our minds and bodies. We have far greater control over how we perceive events than most realize. At Happiness 1st Institute, we teach how to develop and use skills that lower stress.

In True Prevention–Optimum Health, I describe how mood affects our body chemistry—it can make exercise and food either more or less beneficial. Stress also decreases the effectiveness of our immune system.[2]

Stressful life events often lead to depression.[3] However, if evaluated at a deeper level we see that not everyone reacts to the same type of circumstances in the same way. Some become depressed, others are energized toward action. It is the individual perception of the situation that determines the level of stress. Learning how to manage stress reduces the strain caused by life’s uncertainties and calamities. Individuals who do not experience the event as highly stressful will not be tossed into depression.

Depression has its direct costs to an individuals, families, employers and health care system as an illness. It also carries many other costs. Cognitive abilities diminish as emotional state decreases. The same employee is not capable of the same level of thinking when depressed as she is when not depressed. The same employee is not capable of the same level of thinking when stressed as he is when he is not stressed. What is being lost because an employee is too stressed to see the perfect solution to your company’s biggest issues? What is not being invented because the person who could imagine the solution is too stressed to think at the required level?

Positive reappraisal has an inverse relationship with depression. In other words, individuals who use positive reappraisal as a coping mechanism are less likely to become depressed than those who do not use this coping style.[4] They also experience less stress from similar events than individuals who do not use this technique. The main goal of the techniques provided in all The Smart Way books is to develop positive reappraisal skills.

Individuals who self-blame, blame others, ruminate, and catastrophize are more likely to experience depression, anger, and anxiety.[5]  Fortunately, these are just habits of thought and can be changed with the right techniques. They are not who you are, they are who you are being at the time–something you have the ability to change.

If you often feel stressed or are depressed or have experienced depression in the past, one of the best things you can do to improve your future is learn positive reappraisal skills. Individuals who develop this skill feel more in control of their lives and have better outcomes.

Pick up one of my books today or enroll in a course at Happiness 1st Institute. You’ll be glad you did.

[1] (Wittayanukorn, Qian and Hansen)

[2] (Dockray and Steptoe)

[3] (Hidaka)

[4] (Martin and Dahlen)

[5] (Martin and Dahlen)


Stressed Employees and Business Owners

Stressed employees and business ownersStressed employees and business owners

Helping Stressed Employees and Business Owners

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

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

The changes become permanent and life is less stressful thereafter.

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

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

 


Empower Yourself

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

Default programming is not optimal programming.

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

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

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

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

Empower Yourself

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

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

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Chapel Hill Shootings

Chapel Hill Shootings

I am currently taking a Positive Psychology course with Dr. Barbara Fredrickson at UNC-Chapel Hill. I made the following post in our class forum but wanted to share it here as well.

This news is so sad. Every life has value and at any point someone can begin contributing enormously to society. It sounds as if those the world lost were already doing that and there is no reason to believe they would not have continued to do so for decades. The magnitude of loss, of their young lives and the potential good they would have done, saddens me enormously. It also saddens me that this may increase the feeling of those who share the faith of the deceased that the world is not always friendly to those of their faith. I want my voice to be one they hear that says for me, that is not at all the case. I am not at all religious but I am 100% spiritual. I have no doubts about the existence of God, I just see no reason to attempt to impose my faith on others. I’ve met many Muslims here in the US and in my travels around the world. They are as human as everyone else, as valuable as everyone else, and as welcome in my world as everyone else. I believe most of the world believes this.

The man who is in custody was obviously not living in a positive emotional state. Behavior and emotion are inexplicably linked. There are other variables but happy people do not do the types of things he did. Allow this to reinforce your desire to find and sustain as much positive emotions in yourself as possible and for those who wish to help others, allow it to reinforce the importance of this work. Because of the tie between behavior and emotion I truly do not believe there is any more important work to be done–especially when you consider the health and mental health benefits that are also linked to positive emotions.

Today the world ignores this link and I believe that when we begin consciously recognizing it we will be able to predict those at risk of this sort of behavior with more ease and develop interventions to prevent them. I believe that teaching children, from a young age, how to develop and maintain more positive emotions will prevent so much that we do not want in the world.

Just as Candy Lightner created MADD to make sense of a tragedy, we can use this to increase our impetus to create a better world for all. Together we have more than enough power to create the momentum required to effect great positive changes. We cannot change what happened but we can give it meaning that feels better than that of a senseless tragedy by using it to fuel our desire and work toward building a better world.

My condolences go to not just the family, but the world, because the loss of these young individuals is a loss to the world.

Namaste,

Jeanine

For those of you who are reading this on LinkedIn or my Website, I urge you to gain skills to achieve and sustain positive emotional states. It matters.


Jeanine Joy Author Biography

Jeanine Joy Author Biography

Jeanine Joy Author of TRUE Prevention—Optimum Health:Remember Galileo, Prevent Suicide: The Smart Way, and a contributing author to Perspectives on Resilience and Coping.

Jeanine Joy is the Founder of Happiness 1st Institute, where the knowledge and skills necessary to become adept at utilizing one’s emotional guidance system are easily learned. She is a leading expert in helping individuals learn how to reduce stress and become more positively focused and optimistic.

Science is advancing our knowledge of the benefits of increased positivity and optimism at a rapid pace. Knowing the benefits achieves little without the knowledge and skills to help people become more positive and optimistic so they can take advantage of the benefits.

Jeanine has a phenomenal capacity to identify the root causes of people’s struggles and share her understanding of how to nourish the thoughts that lead to a better life. Limiting beliefs disappear when her wisdom is shared. Health, well-being, clarity, dreams, success, and relationships thrive under her tutelage.

Ms. Joy has conducted almost twenty years of work in the field of human thriving — from science, spirituality, biographies, and philosophers including research in philosophy, positive psychology, sociology, quantum physics, psychoimmunology and other sciences as they relate to what cultivates human thriving. Her education is rich, broad, and deep. The analytic skills that brought her to an executive position, from which she is retired, facilitated her research. Her burning passion to find answers that help others thrive has created a depth and breadth of knowledge for accelerating human thriving beyond common psychology practices and theory, where the focus continues to emphasize what can go wrong.

She is a game changer focused on bringing better living to all with knowledge and skills she has woven together into books and programs. Ms. Joy is a powerful author and motivational speaker, inspiring others to achieve more of their potential.

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50 word bio

Jeanine Joy, author of TRUE Prevention—Optimum Health and Founder, Happiness 1st Institute, where knowledge and skills necessary to become adept at utilizing one’s emotional guidance system are easily learned. Ms. Joy has conducted almost twenty years of work in the field of human thriving across many scientific disciplines and philosophies including research in philosophy, positive psychology, sociology, quantum physics, psychoimmunology and other sciences as they relate to what cultivates human thriving. Her education is rich, broad, and deep. The analytic skills that brought her to an executive position, from which she is retired, facilitated her research. Her burning passion to find answers that help others thrive has created a depth and breadth of knowledge for accelerating human thriving beyond common psychology practices and theory, where the focus continues to emphasize what can go wrong.

Twitter Friendly Bio

Jeanine Joy is a human thriving expert bringing health, relationship, success, and well-being solutions that work to the world.


Go Confidently in the Direction of your Future

Go Confidently in the direction of your future

Live the life of your dreams

Learn how in this course, designed to increase resilience, self mastery, optimism, happiness, emotional intelligence, and well-being.

The same skills and knowledge can help you improve all your relationships.

You will feel more empowered and feel more confident in your ability to succeed in anything you set your mind to.

Young adults face many challenges. You are making decisions about your future both when you choose a college and when you decide whether or not to participate in particular activities.

For some, peer pressure exerts undue influence and leads them away from their real goals. This class will help you feel more confident about where you really want to go and what you want to do. The tools provided are effective, even in the moment, to help you stay on track.

Science has demonstrated that increasing happiness literally makes you smarter. You will do better on examinations, including the SAT, when you are happy than when you are not happy.

Your decisions about exercise, nutrition, getting adequate sleep and even crime and substance abuse will be healthier when you experience generally positive emotions.

Depression is at epidemic levels around the world and the rates are especially high for teens and young adults. The good news is that you live at the perfect time. Many branches of science have been exploring happiness and resilience. We have taken the best of that leading edge science and used that knowledge to develop our courses. We believe this class will equip you with skills and tools to greatly reduce your risk of depression and which would shorten the duration of depression should it still occur.

It has been shown that depression during pregnancy has many adverse impacts on the baby including sleep and behavior problems, depression and asthma. These scientific findings point to the importance of learning these skills. In fact, depression has been shown to be a risk factor for teen pregnancy.

The benefits provided by this class have been shown to increase many life skills that make the difference between a mediocre life where dreams are put aside and one where thriving is the order of the day.

We want you to thrive. We know you can. All you need is some knowledge and skills.

Almost every other course you have ever taken has been focused on providing you with knowledge that it has been determined will help you please others. This course is focused on empowering you, giving you the tools and knowledge you need to be successful. Some would say this is selfishly oriented. We (and science) disagree. When you are capable of managing your own life you require fewer resources from others and science has shown that when individuals are happy they are far more likely to help others. The bottom line is that science has shown that an individuals happiness does not just benefit that individual but also his or her family, friends, co-workers and community.

Your very capacity for kindness and ability to love will increase.

The benefits of increased happiness are tremendous. You will learn why relationships are easier when you are happy.

Happiness also provides health benefits including 50% risk reduction for heart disease, reduced risk for some cancers, reduced risk of diabetes and Alzheimer’s, improved immune function, fewer colds and flu and so much more. See our website for more information on the scientifically proven benefits.

Many will tell you to be more positive. We do not just tell you, we show you how.

 

We have over 50 skills and techniques that can be used to increase your happiness in the moment and to become happier naturally for the long-term. Some of the techniques can also be applied to improve your results in sports.

Taking this class is a wise decision. Your life will be better because of it.

Please click on our program tab for additional course information and  to register for this life changing program.

The terms we use to refer to areas the class will benefit are defined differently by different people. This is especially true of happiness. Our meanings are reflected below.

Happiness is a deep sense of inner stability, well-being, peace and vitality that is consistent and reliable.

Resilience is an individual’s ability to cope with stress and adversity. Increased resilience helps individuals recover from setbacks (illness, depression, adversity, etc. ) faster than they would without the coping strategies that our course strengthens.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to effectively understand oneself and others which impacts the ability to relate well to people and higher EQ levels help individuals be more successful in meeting the demands and pressures of life.

Optimism is an inclination to project a positive point of view upon actions and events and to anticipate favorable outcomes. Optimists tend to be much more successful than pessimists and to experience better health throughout life.

Self Mastery is the ability to be aware of your emotions and rule them rather than have them rule you. Self mastery is the ability to make the most out of your physical, mental, and spiritual health, to be the best you can be.

Well-Being ~ high levels of well-being mean that we are more able to respond to difficult circumstances, to innovate and constructively engage with other people and the world around us. As well as representing a highly effective way of bringing about good outcomes in many different areas our lives, there is also a strong case for regarding well-being as an ultimate goal of human endeavor. It contributes to the individual ability to realize his or her own potential, to cope with the normal stresses of life, to work productively and fruitfully, and the ability to make a contribution to her or his community.


A Happier You

A Happier You

 ~ Benefits everyone in your life ~

Your increased happiness benefits your family, your friends,

your community, your health, well-being, and success.

This course is designed to increase resilience, self mastery, optimism, happiness, emotional intelligence, well-being and improve relationships.See the programs tab to check out the course offerings and register to make your life better.

You will understand and be able to implement the keys to sustainable happiness.

You will feel more empowered and feel more confident in your ability to succeed in anything you set your mind to.

The benefits provided by this class have been shown to increase many life skills that make the difference between a mediocre life where dreams are put aside and one where thriving is the order of the day.

We want you to thrive. We know you can. All you need is some knowledge and skills.

Some would say increasing your happiness is selfishly oriented. We (and science) disagree. When you are capable of managing your own life you require fewer resources from others and science has shown that when individuals are happy they are far more likely to help others. The bottom line is that science has shown that an individuals happiness does not just benefit that individual but also his or her family, friends, co-workers and community.

Your very capacity for kindness and ability to love will increase.

The benefits of increased happiness are tremendous. You will learn why relationships are easier when you are happy.

Happiness also provides health benefits including 50% risk reduction for heart disease, reduced risk for some cancers, reduced risk of diabetes and Alzheimer’s, improved immune function, fewer colds and flu and so much more. See our website for more information on the scientifically proven benefits.

It has been shown that depression during pregnancy has many adverse impacts on the baby including sleep and behavior problems, depression, and asthma. These scientific findings point to the importance of learning these skills.

Many will tell you to be more positive. We do not just tell you, we show you how.

You’re made a wise decision. Your life will be better because of it.

Click on the Programs tab for course and registration information.

The terms we use to refer to areas the class will benefit are defined differently by different people. This is especially true of happiness. Our meanings are reflected below.

Happiness is a deep sense of inner stability, well-being, peace and vitality that is consistent and reliable.

Resilience is an individual’s ability to cope with stress and adversity. Increased resilience helps individuals recover from setbacks (illness, depression, adversity, etc. ) faster than they would without the coping strategies that our course strengthens.

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to effectively understand oneself and others which impacts the ability to relate well to people and higher EQ levels help individuals be more successful in meeting the demands and pressures of life.

Optimism is an inclination to project a positive point of view upon actions and events and to anticipate favorable outcomes. Optimists tend to be much more successful than pessimists and to experience better health throughout life.

Self Mastery is the ability to be aware of your emotions and rule them rather than have them rule you. Self mastery is the ability to make the most out of your physical, mental, and spiritual health, to be the best you can be.

Well-Being ~ high levels of well-being mean that we are more able to respond to difficult circumstances, to innovate and constructively engage with other people and the world around us. As well as representing a highly effective way of bringing about good outcomes in many different areas our lives, there is also a strong case for regarding well-being as an ultimate goal of human endeavor. It contributes to the individual ability to realize his or her own potential, to cope with the normal stresses of life, to work productively and fruitfully, and the ability to make a contribution to her or his community.


Some of the Scientifically Proven Benefits of Happiness

Some of the Scientifically Proven Benefits of Happiness

The benefits of increased positive emotions, optimism and happiness extend to all areas of life.

Scientists in many fields have been working, primarily in the past 20 years, on discovering the benefits of happiness. The results have been conclusive and surprising.

Positive emotions, optimism and happiness have positive impacts on health, well-being, relationships, emotional intelligence, creativity, cognitive ability, decision-making, resilience, substance abuse, crime, teen pregnancy, imune system function, and of course, depression.

Some Scientifically Shown Benefits of Increased Happiness

Positive emotions, optimism, and happiness have been scientifically shown to:

·                                 Reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 50%[i]

·                                 Provide a protective defense against breast cancer[ii]

·                                 Increase resilience “We contend that the cognitive broadening that accompanies states of positive emotion expands and improves the ways people cope during crises”. [iii]

·                                 Increase problem solving abilities and negotiating skills[iv]

·                                 Have the potential to create chains of events that carry positive meaning for others, positive emotions can trigger upward spirals that transform communities into more cohesive, moral and harmonious social organizations. [v]

·                                 Reduce stress  which is being researched as contributing to Alzheimer’s disease[vi] and [vii]

·                                 Be the best coping strategies for life’s ‘downs’. [viii]

·                                 Significantly reduces risk of stroke (study only considered optimism)[ix]

·                                 Improved relationships of all types[x]

·                                 Increase success[xi]

·                                 Research suggests that negativity in social relationships is an important predictor

·                                 of (adverse) mental health in its own right[xii]

 

This is just a sample of the scientifically proven benefits. Research has found enough benefits to fill several books. I apologize for the copious citations but I wanted you to see that the statements are based upon solid research.

•         Improved immune system function

•         Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke

•         Reduced risk of Type II diabetes

•         Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease

•         Reduced risk of depression

•         Reduced incident of illness

•         Shorter duration when illness occurs

•         Reduced inflammatory response to stress

•         Increased longevity

•         Lower blood pressure

•         Less pain

•         Improved sleep

•         Greater resiliency and adaptability

•          More likely to make good choices

•         Increased creativity

•         Increased success

•         Increased productivity

•         Increased optimism

•         Improved relationships of all types

•         Improved social support networks

•         Feel love and appreciation more

•         More likely to marry

•         More likely to be happily married

•         Become more likable

•         Greater clarity of thinking; the mind sees more possibilities

•         Increased ability to see the ‘big picture’

All of our course offerings provide health and well-being benefits

Citations and greater details are in programs and books by Jeanine Joy available on Amazon and other fine book sellers.

 

[i]Boehm, J. K. , & Kubzansky, L. D. The heart’s content: The association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health. Psychological Bulletin, April 2012

AmericanAcademyof Neurology (2001, July 13). Keeping up your overall health may keep dementia away, study suggests. Science Daily

Cardiovascular disease is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s so this risk is also reduced. AmericanAcademyof Neurology (2001, July 13). Keeping up your overall health may keep dementia away, study suggests. Science Daily.

[ii]Ronit Peled, Devora Carmil, Orly Siboni-Samocha and Ilana Shoham-Vardi. Breast cancer, psychological distress and life events among young women. BMC Cancer

[iii]What good are positive emotions in crisis? A prospective study of resilience and emotions following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11th, 2001. Fredrickson, Barbara L. ; Tugade, Michele M. ; Waugh, Christian E. ; Larkin, Gregory R. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 84(2), Feb 2003, 365-376. doi: 10. 1037/0022-3514. 84. 2. 365

[iv]Content analyses revealed that physicians who felt good were faster to integrate case information and less likely to become anchored on initial thoughts or come to premature closure in their diagnosis. In yet another experiment, Isen and colleagues showed that negotiators induced to feel good were more likely to discover integrative solutions in a complex bargaining task. Overall, 20 years of experiments by

Isen and her colleagues show that when people feel good, their thinking becomes more creative, integrative, flexible and open to information. The Value of Positive Emotions. Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph. D.

[v]The Value of Positive Emotions. Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph. D.

[vi]Ioannis Sotiropoulos, Caterina Catania, Lucilia G. Pinto, Rui Silva, G. Elizabeth Pollerberg, Akihiko Takashima, Nuno Sousa, and Osborne F. X. Almeida. Stress Acts Cumulatively to Precipitate Alzheimer’s Disease-Like Tau Pathology and Cognitive Deficits. Journal of Neuroscience, May 25, 2011; 31(21):7840-7847 DOI:10. 1523/JNEUROSCI. 0730-11. 2011

[vii]Robert A. Rissman, PhD, assistant professor of neurosciences, said the findings may at least partly explain why clinical studies have found a strong link between people prone to stress and development of sporadic Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which accounts for up to 95 percent of all AD cases in humans. Robert A. Rissman, Michael A. Staup, Allyson Roe Lee, Nicholas J. Justice, Kenner C. Rice, Wylie Vale, and Paul E. Sawchenko. Corticotropin-releasing factor receptor-dependent effects of repeated stress on tau phosphorylation, solubility, and aggregation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012 DOI: 10. 1073/pnas. 1203140109


An Open Letter About Optimism

An open letter about Optimism

Is the glass half full or half empty?

For many years we have just taken our ‘seemingly’ natural slant toward optimism or pessimism as a fact of life, as something that is an intrinsic part of ourselves, unchangeable.

Those with a pessimistic attitude have not fought against or resisted their ‘seemingly’ natural state, believing it unchangeable and probably not all that important.

Science has now shown us that we do have control over whether we are optimistic or pessimistic. If we decide to change ourselves we can do so. Both outlooks are merely habitual patterns of thought.

Science has also shown us that there are many benefits to being more optimistic than pessimistic. These benefits, in general, include:

Optimists are healthier

Optimists live longer

Optimists are better salespeople

Optimists are more successful in most endeavors

Optimists are not as susceptible to depression

Optimists have better relationships

The saying “Blondes have more fun” might be more accurately stated as “Optimists have more fun”.

So, what can you do about it?

You can  take our Keys to Happiness course which not only increases happiness but optimism, emotional intelligence and resilience. The course is fun and easy and will give you all the skills and knowledge necessary to shift your focus from being pessimistic to optimistic.

Does your pessimism serve you in your profession?  One of the other benefits of our course is that you can choose to be flexible. You can focus upon becoming more optimistic in your personal life while retaining your professional skepticism. The two can cohabitate successfully when you consciously choose this path. Even if your pessimism serves you in some aspects of your profession it is not benefiting your relationships with co workers, bosses and employees. You can fine tune your optimism/pessimism switch so that the attitude that is most beneficial to you in the moment is the one you apply.

Pessimists may have difficulty believing they can change or that this course will be helpful. Feel free to check out our Science section where citations from many studies are provided. You can use the citations to locate and read the studies. You will also be able to see for yourself as students answer a questionnaire about optimism and pessimism at the beginning and end of the course to determine their progress.

Deciding to take the course is a small investment of time and money that has the potential to improve your life experience in countless ways.

If you would like to be happier, if you would like to feel less trepidation, fear, anxiety, worry and concern take the class.

If you tend to focus on the negative aspects of your family and friends take the class.

If you have dreams and goals that you believe are impossible to reach take the class.

You will be happy you did.

Best Wishes for a happy life,

Jeanine Joy, President

Happiness 1st Institute

www. happiness1st. com

PS:  Recent findings show that optimism is a trait associated with a 50% risk reduction in the nation’s # 1 cause of death, cardiovascular disease.


An open letter to charities about happiness

An open letter to charities about happiness

Happy people are more giving. Scientists have shown that those who are happier are more likely to give to others. It is not how much money a person has that determines their charitable inclination but their level of happiness.

Charities who would like donors to increase their donations might consider giving significant donors happiness classes in order to increase the level of giving.

Research shows that helping other people contributes to happiness but Not when it is done from obligation or to obtain something else, even our own happiness, if we are not already happy.

The key to happiness lies in becoming happy first and then doing for others from an inspired place where we do it for the joy of it rather than from obligation, guilt, coercion, or to try to make ourselves feel better.

Of course the research shows that those who are happiest do for others but that is doing from a place of wanting to do it because it feels good and right to do it; not a place of someone putting external pressure on another to do for others.

You can probably do your own reality check on this. Think about a time when you did something for someone else when you had said ‘yes’ when you really wanted to say ‘no’ or when you were ‘guilted or coerced’ into doing it. Did it raise your level of happiness?  Probably not. It probably raised your frustration level, at the least and maybe more, perhaps you began berating yourself for your inability to say ‘no’, etc.

Now think of a time when you did something for another ‘just because’ the thought of doing it felt great.

Do you feel the difference?

It is huge.

One is life giving.

The other is life draining. It isn’t even all that great for the one who is being ‘done for’ because they can feel the emotional resistance of the giver on some level.

We are giving further thought to ways charities might leverage our classes to increase donations.

The science is clear that happy donors give more. Please feel free to collaborate with us on ideals to help us help you.

We would be very interested in offering discounted rates to the first charity that offers our classes to donors if an agreement that data reflecting the impact of the course was collected and shared so that we could document the effectiveness of the program for this purpose. Individual identities would not be needed in order for the data to be of value.

Together we can contribute more toward making the world a better place for everyone.

Sincerely,

 

Jeanine Joy, President

Happiness 1st Institute

 


Having a Positive Focus Increases Longevity

Having a Positive Focus Increases Longevity (The Nun Study)

 Studies show that maintaining a positive attitude and positive emotions results in greater health and longevity.

One particular study followed nuns, using their childhood journals to rate the nuns’ positivity levels. Many years later the nuns with positive attitudes were shown to live longer and maintain their health longer than those with less positive attitudes. “The Nun Study” is considered especially reliable because the subjects’ vocation (being a Nun) meant they shared many more lifestyle factors than is usually found in study participants, allowing for other variables to be ruled out as causing the differences in aging and health deterioration. Family history was considered when comparing the experiences of the nuns.

This study also speaks to the causative nature of happiness contributing to longer lives since the Nuns could not have known in their youth that they would live longer. The longer life did not cause the higher level of positivity.

The less positive nuns not only died an average of 10 years earlier, their health deteriorated further in advance of death. For example, a positive nun might have begun experiencing debilitating illnesses 2 – 3 years prior to death (or not at all) while the more negatively focused nuns began experiencing debilitating illnesses many years prior to death resulting in even fewer years of quality life. For many this addresses a health risk that is often found surrounded by more fear than death itself which is inevitable, eventually, for all of us. That factor is the fear of not being able to care for oneself or being confined to a nursing home. The greater positivity reduces this risk.

Citation: Danner, D. D. , D. A. Snowdon, and W. V. Friesen (2001), “Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 80: 804-13

Happiness 1st Institute takes the best information from a variety of disciplines including Positive Psychology, neuroscience, quantum physics, emotional intelligence and ancient philosophies to create courses that provide skills and tools individuals can use to make themselves happier, more optimistic, more resilient and more emotionally intelligent.

Click on the Programs link for more information about our programs. 

© Jeanine Joy 2011-2014