Tag Archive: Positivity

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

World You Want

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

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

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

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

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

Preferred Future

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

 What the Preferred Future looks like:

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

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

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

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

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

      Low stress = High Happiness

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

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

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

  Employee Engagement has been high for years

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

  Relationships of all type are better, divorces are not common

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

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

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

What is emotional guidance?

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

What is metacognition?

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

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

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

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

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

There are some fundamentals informed by science, including:

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

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

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

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

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

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

 


Understand Your Brain More = Thrive More

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

Your perception becomes your reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nose Blind Commercial

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


Anger is Optional

Anger is Optional

Can I share a little story with you?

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

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

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

The new me thinks it is no big deal.

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

The new me sees much more clearly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


Your Programming is Like Pandora, not Spotify

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of day do you want?

Top of the World

Top of the World – The Old Fashioned Way

Hot Rod Lincoln

Life is hard and then you die

When a Man Loves a Woman

How do you choose the tone of your day?

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

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

Why bother?

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

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

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

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

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


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)


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.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Smart Employers Know . . .

Smart Employers Know the effect of chronic stress on the success of their employees and therefore, their business.

The smartest employers are implementing programs that teach employees psychological flexibility that considers the human drive for autonomy and reduces stress far more than any of the dose dependent stress reduction methods.¹ ²

Smart Employers Know that focusing their efforts on Primary Prevention which is designed to prevent problems from occurring, rather than waiting until after they occur to address them, will always be ahead of those whose strategy is reactive.

Smart Employers Know that the level of stress most employees experience in modern society is typically enough to be in the harmful level. Our society routinely tolerates far higher levels of stress than is healthy, often wearing the level of stress tolerated as a badge of honor. This tactic is completely ignorant of the facts that living with chronic stress:

  • Decreases the function of our immune system, leading to more illness and earlier deaths
  • Decreases cognitive function, leading to more unhealthy decisions and a lower ability to solve problems
  • Contributes significantly to the high percentage of GNP we spend on health care while receiving poor results
  • Increases the chance of addictions
  • Is the leading contributor to mental health issues from depression, anxiety to bipolar disorder and more
  • Increases the prevalence of chronic diseases that rob people of a high quality of life far too often and at young ages
  • Significantly reduces the quality of relationships of all types, from spouses and children to co-workers and neighbors
  • Is the # 1 factor that prevents good results in:
    • Employee Engagement
    • Turnover
    • Absenteeism
    • Creativity
  • The impact of stress begin almost instantaneously and compounds over time
  • The risk of preterm delivery of our offspring when we’ve endured chronic stress for years
  • The negative impact on physical, mental, and behavioral health of our children

Smart Employers Know that employees who have been trained in psychological flexibility experience significantly lower harmful stress under situations that produce harmful levels of stress in those who do not deliberately use their ability to be psychologically flexible to reduce stress.

What could your team do that it is not doing now?

Contact us today to learn how we can help your team develop winning mindsets and the psychological flexibility it takes to go the distance and arrive healthy.

(704) 25 one -51 five zero

¹ Kashdan, Todd B., Psychological Flexibility as a Fundamental Aspect of Health, Clin Psychol Rev. 2010 November 1; 30(7): 865–878., doi:  10.1016/j.cpr.2010.03.001,

² Gorin, Amy. A., Powers, Theodore A., Koestner, Richard, Wing, Rena R., Raynor, Hollie, Autonomy Support, Self-Regulation, and Weight Loss, Health Psychology, 2014, Vol. 33, No. 4, 332–339, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0032586

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

 


A Happier Huffington?

I was delighted to read Arianna Huffington’s post this weekend about how the Huffington Post changed its policies to present the news in a more balanced light.

A Happier Huffington is welcome news.

I’ve written several times about the fact that the news does not report to inform, but to get ratings, in several posts on LinkedIn and on my website, Happiness1st.com, including this post on how worry is killing you–unnecessary worry. Research in the past showed the media that ratings improve when people are frightened. I’ve seen the direct research and Bernard Goldberg’s 2002 book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, clearly describes the bias inherent in media reporting.

Despite the well documented bias, most people say they watch the news to stay informed, not consciously recognizing that the news is very skewed toward the negative. There are far more things that go right in this world every moment than those that go wrong. The predominant view seems to be that the news provides an accurate portrayal of the reality of our world–a view that is factually inaccurate.

In my writing, I’ve been doing my best to educate individuals and organizations about the benefits of positivity and detriments of negativity (pessimism). Our bodies function far better when we are positively focused–so much so that positively focused individuals live, on average, 10 years longer and enjoy 18 healthier years because the debilitating end of life diseases come much sooner to negatively focused individuals.

Doesn’t make sense, you say? That is only because the research on how positivity and negativity affects the body has not reached mainstream awareness yet. The sooner the better, if you ask me. Our bio-physical processes are directly affected by our mood. Immune function, cognitive function, digestive function, mental health, and neurological function are all optimized by a positive emotional state and become dysfunctional when an individual experiences more negative emotions.

In my first non-fiction book, True Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo, I detail the link between health and emotional state and provide techniques that help individuals change to a more positive focus. In my first novel, Shades of Joy, I write at length about the potential for class action attorney’s to find fertile ground using the negative bias of the news and the known detrimental effects of negativity–which are worse than the impact of smoking cigarettes. Shades of Joy is currently with the editor and will be out later this year. I have been attempting to get legislators to introduce a safe harbor against such suits contingent on the media no longer taking advantage of the negative bias and providing public service announcements to educate the public about positivity and programs that teach the public how to benefit from the new knowledge.

Stress and happiness are two ends of the same continuum. In this post, I wrote about the potential liability to employers from this knowledge, which it can be argued they should know. I think the media has a similar potential liability.

Apparently the old paradigm about negative news selling, “If it bleeds, it leads,” has a flaw in an era when sharing of stories has a tremendous effect on their reach. New research has shown that we share more stories that make us feel good than those that make us feel bad. That is good news all around. As far as I know, Arianna Huffington is the first major news supplier to recognize this and adjust the policies of her organization to fit the new paradigm better. I hope others follow her lead.

 


Public Health Manipulation?

Public Health Manipulation?

While researching my upcoming book, Become More Resilient: The Smart Way, I came across some research that I find quite disturbing.

The research was attempting to determine the reason for optimistic bias and whether or not it could be eliminated by increasing the subjects information about the risk, for example, the risk of getting cancer.

They theorized that in order to get people to do the preventative behaviors that would lower their risk, they had to reduce their optimistic bias. In order to do that, they wanted to determine if the reason for optimism was to reduce anxiety, to maintain self-esteem, or to maintain a positive emotional state.

What they did not consider in this misguided attempt was that positively focused individuals (optimists) have a lower risk of cancer. If you take the total risk of the population and ask an optimist to accept that risk as his or her own, it would be an overestimation of the individual risk. Why?

Research has shown that the presence of positive emotions has a beneficial impact on the bio-chemical function of our bodies. Specifically,

  • Improved immune function
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Increased likelihood of making good decisions about behaviors (diet, exercise, alcohol, etc.)
  • Improved digestive function

The very health promoting behaviors the researchers want more of are more likely to be done by those who feel positive emotion than those who are pessimistic, stressed, or in negative emotional states.

Their idea of making people feel less optimistic, which would lower the degree to which they feel positive emotions, flies in the face of strong evidence that demonstrates that positive emotions provide a protective effect against chronic illness and dread diseases. The improved immune function translates directly into a lower risk of cancer, which is supported by the evidence. The presence of positive emotions reduces the risk of heart disease (the #1 cause of death worldwide) at least 50% and some newer research is showing 70%.

Negative emotions have been shown to reduce the likelihood of an individual engaging in health promoting behaviors. Even individuals who know exercise is good for them and will make them feel better readily admit that they forgo their usual exercise routine when they feel too stressed. Food choices vary by mood, which negative emotion highly correlated to the less healthy choices. Alcohol and drug use are the method of choice for millions who do not have the skills necessary to reduce their level of stress (negative emotions).

In addition to being misguided for the above reason, the research was not considering the underlying cause of optimism and pessimism. The questions they asked were never going to address individual differences. Optimism (and pessimism) are the result of habits of thought individuals developed and then continue to repeat throughout life (unless they elect to deliberately change their habits). Thoughts are influenced by underlying beliefs about the self, others, and the world combined with the way the individual perceived past experiences. The number of unique permutations possible cannot be accurately modeled in a simple theory of reducing anxiety, maintaining self-esteem, or maintaining a positive emotional state.

Every individual has unique beliefs about every topic. For example, with respect to one’s mother, there will be beliefs that pertain to Mom and money, Mom and food, Mom and shopping, Mom and education, Mom and alcohol, Mom and cleanliness, Mom and family, Mom and other siblings, Mom and transportation, Mom and flowers. The list is endless. An individual may feel good about some of the beliefs about Mom, and bad about others.

How you feel about each of those topics depends on the perspective you take. If Mom was very frugal you may feel guilty when you buy anything that you do not consider necessary—even if you are able to easily afford luxuries. There are many ways to handle every scenario. You could behave frugally, not enjoying the prosperity available to you to avoid the guilt. Some people self-sabotage their career or investments so they do not have enough funds to violate this internalized rule about frugality. There are dozens of ways to handle this underlying belief but the best way is to develop a belief that serves your highest good. That’s easy—when you know how. Attempting to understand why any individual behaves in a specific way is not easy, or necessary.

Human behavior cannot be understood in a simple construct with three reasons for optimism. My own optimism comes from a variety of perspectives—and deliberate conscious choices. First, maintaining a positive state of mind is important to me because I want to feel good. But I also know that doing so is the absolutely best thing I can do for my health and my relationships. I developed skills that enable me to do this very well on a consistent basis regardless of circumstances. I also found a solid platform for healthy self-esteem, one that does not require defense against attacks and that does not place my worth or value above that of any other—but also not less than any other.

The details, the thoughts that support a positive emotional state vary widely depending on the circumstances focused on in any given moment. We think about 60,000 thoughts each day. Each thought results in an emotional response that either feels better, worse, or the same as the prior thought felt. To attempt to classify 60,000 thoughts into three buckets and derive meaningful and useful information from it is an exercise in futility.

Citations for the statistics in this article are included in True Prevention—Optimum Health: Remember Galileo. Many of them are also in other blogs on my website.

Jeanine Joy teaches others how to develop beliefs that create sustainable positive emotions. Her programs increase resilience, optimism, happiness, self-esteem, internal locus of control, and help them develop supportive relationships. Her programs are available for organizations, schools, and individuals.


What Do Lack of Employee Engagement, Altruism, Volunteerism have in Common?

What Do Lack of Employee Engagement, Altruism, Volunteerism have in Common?

They are all symptoms of the same root cause.

Our behavior is closely connected to our emotional state. Almost every beneficial behavior increases when an individual feels good emotionally and worsens when the individual feels less than positive emotions.

Our chronic emotional state, which is our dominant emotional state, affects how we perceive the world around us. Below our conscious level of awareness, the inputs from our senses are sorted and only some of the information is passed to our conscious mind. Our senses receive so much information the filtering process is necessary. Much of the information is irrelevant. If you continuously felt every place your clothes touch you skin, it would make it difficult to think about other things.

These filters make a lot of decisions before we are even aware the information is available–deciding what to send to the conscious mind and what not to send. One filter is based on how we feel emotionally. There is more than one filter that uses emotion. Your current mood is the basis of one filter. Have you ever noticed that when you’re angry you suddenly remember other things you were angry about in the past that are like the thing you are currently angry about–things you haven’t thought about in a while.

Another filter is based on your chronic emotional state. Your chronic emotional state is simply the emotional state you’re often in. Some people might even consider it their personality–it isn’t, but it can seem that way because our chronic state is based on habits of thought that most people do not change throughout life. We even have archetypes, such as the Drama Queen that represent a chronic emotional state characterized by frustration, irritation, impatience, being overwhelmed and frequent disappointments.

Because of the filtering process, someone who is frequently frustrated will focus on areas of life that are frustrating while ignoring areas that would be easy to appreciate. Likewise, someone who is frequently angry will focus on things that make her angry–even when there is much to appreciate in her environment. Someone who is frequently in a state of appreciation will focus on things he appreciates and be less aware of things that would make him frustrated or angry.

Engagement

Being engaged at work requires interest in and a desire to do the work with a positive attitude. Someone whose filters are continually highlighting less than positive aspects about their job, their performance, their boss, their co-workers, and the company they work for will find it difficult to be engaged at work. Even when the company makes an effort to make sure they provide a good work environment, the employee’s filters continue to primarily highlight the negative more than the positive.

The recent economic downturn shifted a lot of people who were more fearful than usual during the downturn, to a lower chronic emotional state. At that same time, many companies had to ask employees to do more with less. It is not surprising that Gallup is reporting low employee engagement numbers worldwide. In Gallup’s most recent report only 30% of American workers were engaged, 20% were actively disengaged and 50% were not engaged. The annual cost estimated by Gallup for the actively disengaged workers lack of engagement was 450-550 billion dollars.

Better Managers

Gallup’s recommendation include improving management but even a wonderful manager will not be perceived as wonderful by an employee whose filtering system is highlighting the worse–or interpreting the manager’s words and actions in a negative way.

Praise of an employee’s work is easily received by an individual who is in a state of appreciation. Praise the work of an employee who is chronically frustrated and the employee may misinterpret it to mean you’re getting ready to ask for things that are frustration (buttering up instead of honest praise). The manager cannot control this. The emotionally intelligent manager may be more aware of what is happening and able to get through the filters for some frustrated employees some of the time–but it is the hard way of going about it.

Also, managers have the same sorts of brains with their own filtering system. Many of them were affected by the economic downturn.

It is not just the people who were directly affected whose chronic emotional state slid lower. The level of fear rose in many people who never experienced negative economic impacts from the downturn.

Altruism and Volunteerism

Countries with low employee engagement also report low rates of altruism and volunteerism. Researchers have already linked good corporate citizenship, altruistic behavior, volunteerism, and kindness to strangers to positive mood. Researchers have found that when people feel good, they do good. Being kind can also promote a sense of community, which is known to increase engagement.

When someone does something nice for someone else, more kind behavior is inspired by feelings of gratitude.

There is some evidence linking guilt to positive behavior and some charities attempt to guilt donors into giving but this is not recommended because guilt causes stress that is associated with negative health outcomes. Guilt is more about restoring a perceived imbalance -1 + 1 = 0, a zero sum game. Whereas pure altruism adds value to the world.

Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation is one of the reasons employee engagement is so beneficial to employers. Positive mood is associated with greater intrinsic motivation.

The Effect of Resilience

We all know that one person can remain engaged even under the most trying of circumstances while others engagement rapidly declines when stressors are present. Resilience is a critical trait in the workforce. Without resilience employees will not function well when something makes them lose their mental-emotional balance. No one can control what happens to them during their life, marriages fail, loved ones die, people become ill and require care or perseverance to get through difficult treatments, business struggle and sometimes our fears about safety, for ourselves, our family and even our country seem eminent. The ability to bounce back and function in the aftermath of such events is crucial.

Every business continuity plan requires employees to be able to act. If the employees are not resilient, some of them will not meet the challenges. Resilience is a skill that can be built in advance–a skill that increases when positivity is increased.

Employee Wellness

Another area that Gallup links to increased engagement is higher levels of employee wellness. That is no surprise to me because wellness goals are far more likely to be achieved in the positively focused individual.

I’ve already outlined the link between chronic stress, positivity, and wellness program outcomes in The Key Ingredient Your Corporate Wellness Program is Missing and a few other articles (links below) so I won’t elaborate on them here. Increasing positivity improves the root cause of wellness. For a full discussion, see my book TRUE Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo.

The Root Cause

The root cause of engagement, altruism, volunteerism, intrinsic motivation and resilience can be traced directly to chronic emotional stance. With the right skills and tools, improving chronic emotional state is easy. It is a new approach to engagement and wellness. Prepare for results that exceed expectations.

Twenty years of cross disciplinary research has gone into developing and fine tuning our methods. The early adopters will achieve significant advantages over their slower competitors. There is nothing to lose and much to gain. We offer a free consultation to businesses and for individuals, our premier programs come with a money back guarantee. Call today for a better tomorrow.

***

Jeanine Joy is an author, speaker, and CEO focused on improving human thriving. For techniques on defusing stressful thoughts so you can relax and enjoy life more, try one of my books or programs. Also watch for a book focused on optional aspects of aging and not taking those options. It may be late 2015 or 2016 before that one is out but it will address this issue in more detail.

Please consider sharing this information with your network. If you found it valuable, they may also find value in what I have written.

I wish for you many blissings. (Blissings = blissful blessings)

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

Available Now

Coming in 2015

 


The Negative Voice In Your Head Should Shut-up

Negative voices in your head

Negative, self-critical voices hold you back

If you have a discouraging voice in your head, it is not helping you achieve your full potential.

If the voice in your head bullies you, look for that inner part of you that knows how awesome you can be and ask it to help you defeat the bully living in your head.

Refute the message. Look at the evidence–you are always more and better than that disparaging voice. Just because you think it does not make it true. It is a habit of thought and a bad one at that.

 

Be aware of what you’re saying to yourself with the negative voice in your head. Compare the facts to the conclusions the voice reaches.
Is what the voice is harping on always true? Is there another way to perceive what the voice is saying?

If it thinks you failed, could you look at it as “I’ve learned.” Failure is just a stepping stone on your way to success. No one achieves success without some missteps along the way.

You have the ability to choose whether to listen to the negative voice or not. There is a simple trick you can use. If what the voice says makes you feel worse, there is a better way for you to look at the situation than the one the voice is coming from. If it feels good when the comment is made, go with it or look for one that is even better.

Feels bad = is bad. In other words, if it feels bad, it is not the absolute truth.

For more methods of refuting and eliminating the negative voice from your life, read TRUE Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo or take one of our classes.

You’re smarter than that voice. It is a liar and a cheat. It cheats you out of living up to your potential.


Corporate Wellness: Is Yours Missing a Critical Ingredient?

Corporate wellness

The Current State of Corporate Wellness Programs

Workplace wellness programs are missing the key ingredient to true prevention. They focus on early diagnosis, symptom and lifestyle management while ignoring the elephant in the room–the one common factor at the root of everything.

While meeting with a representative of a large regional health system’s workplace wellness division, I asked him what their solution was for addressing stress. He mentioned their EAP (employee assistance program) offered counseling but said that was all they had. He also said many employers recognize that stress has both a negative effect on worker’s health and on their contributions at work. He was excited by our program but when he took the information back to his employer they said they had all the knowledge they needed in-house. If that is true, why are they excluding stress management skills training from their workplace wellness program?

The research about stress is clear. Workplace wellness programs tend to focus on the same areas and stress management skills would help improve the results in every one of them.

Smoking cessation.

Stress plays a role in the ability of individuals to quit smoking and maintain their status as non-smokers. Anxious individuals find it the most difficult to quit. Anxiety and smoking behavior are highly correlated.

Weight Management/Obesity/Anorexia/Bulimia

Researchers have demonstrated that the old paradigm of weight management is too simplistic because it ignores the impact of stress on the digestive system. The digestive system does not function as well when an individual is stressed and chronic stress contributes significantly to the development of diabetes. Stress also results in unhealthy food choices. Food is the number one anxiety drug.

Eating disorders often have their roots in low self-esteem. The design of our program leads to increases in self-esteem, which could provide relief for those who have eating disorders and prevent their development by those who are at risk of developing an eating disorder.

Diabetes Disease Management

The impact of stress on the digestive function has been linked to the development of diabetes. In 2007, the direct cost of diabetes in the United States was 174 billion. Indirect costs included 2.6 billion for absenteeism, 20 billion reduced productivity during work for the employed population, 7.9 billion unemployment from disease-related disability, and 26.9 billion lost productive capacity because of early mortality. Stress also has a direct impact on adherence to recommended treatments.

Physical Inactivity

Stress levels affect whether or not an individual will be active and choose to engage in physical activities. Highly stressed individuals who do not have an ingrained habit of physical activity are unlikely to develop the habit while they are stressed. Despite the fact that physical activity/exercise is often recommended as a dose dependent stress reduction method, such increases in physical activity do not consistently help stressed individuals because they do not feel sufficiently motivated.

Depression

By the time depression has developed, the individuals has typically been suffering from chronic stress for a sustained period of time. We need to educate employees (and the entire population) that tolerating stress is not the appropriate response. Coping until we’re depressed is a strategy that has made depression an epidemic with 10% of the US population suffering from it, according to the CDC.

Why are they not recommending early intervention to address stress? Because they think it requires expensive one-on-one treatment and because of the ridiculous stigma’s associated with mental health. Stress Management skills are simple to understand and implement. They are simple enough that kindergartners can understand the basics. Adults are a little more difficult and take a little longer to teach because they have developed a lot of false premises throughout their life that hinder their ability to adopt strategies that come quickly and easily to younger children. But it is still far from something that requires expensive one-on-one treatment. I can teach auditoriums full of people how to manage stress in meaningful ways that have a positive impact on their work and home lives right away and continue to increase as the techniques are applied.

Even individuals who suffered from repeated bouts of depression have now reported that they have been free of depressive episodes since learning these skills.

Poor Diet/Nutrition

Stress and happiness are opposite ends of the same continuum. Researchers have linked happiness with better food choices. Individuals in the top 25% of optimism scores ate more fresh vegetables, salads, berries, fruit and low fat cheese that other subjects in a research report comparing optimism to dietary habits. A meta-analysis done by researchers at Harvard and published in 2012 concluded that positivity and optimism led to better food choices and better choices about risky behaviors. Our stress management program increases happiness, positivity, and optimism.

Chronic Stress

The common recommendations for managing stress are all dose dependent. That would be fine if there wasn’t a better way, but there is. Dose dependent stress management is the same as taking a prescription pill to manage the symptoms–it does nothing to affect the underlying cause. Dose dependent means you have to do it in order to receive the positive results and if you don’t do it, you don’t get any results.

Because our program helps individuals change the root cause of the stress, it functions more like a cure. It does not prevent bad things from happening, but the response is more resilient, emotional intelligent, and less stressful than it would have been before they learned to use the skills we teach. The way the individual responds to the same stimulus that may have once made him or her highly stressed may not be at all stressful once the techniques have been applied for a while.

We all know that everyone reacts differently to circumstances. What stresses one person out may be fun to another person. I’ve studied what makes humans thrive for two decades and then developed programs that teach individuals how to develop the habits of thought that help them thrive.

The frequently recommended dose dependent stress reduction methods include exercise, going out in nature, helping someone else, petting your cat or dog, meditation, yoga, tai chi, and massage. While these methods are a good “pill,” they do not provide long-term benefits with the exception of a consistent meditation practice. But even consistent meditation does not address stress at the root cause.

Some recommendations can be counter-productive. One commonly recommended stress reduction method is to discuss the problem with a friend. The outcome of that discussion can go either way. I definitely have friends who would make it worse by focusing on the worse aspects of the situation and reminding me of other bad situations like the current one. I also have friends who would be beneficial to talk to but I’ve never seen this type of recommendation come with recommended parameters for the discussion.

Employee Engagement

This is not a typical focus of Corporate Wellness Programs although the hope is that the program will be perceived in a positive light. Our program also helps engagement in a variety of ways. The first is that it helps create a more inclusive and positively focused employee base. Working with people who are energetic, focused, and optimistic creates synergy and an environment that makes being at work enjoyable. The way any individual views his employer or any other aspect of his life reflects how he views everything in life. Someone who is generally dissatisfied with life is generally dissatisfied with her work. The reason for this is because our habits of thought play a tremendous role in the aspects we focus on in every area of our lives. If we focus on the aspects that we don’t like, we’re not engaged. If we focus on aspects that we find exciting, our engagement increases.

The inherent nature of our program increases the likelihood that employees will focus on aspects of their jobs and the company that they like.

Turnover/Retention

One of the most frequently cited reasons for turnover is not liking the people. A working environment where relationships are harmonious, where workplace conflict is unusual, where conversations are fruitful, and others are supportive would be very difficult to leave. The techniques I teach can accomplish this type of shift in corporate culture. Individuals who understand how to use the skills can even ignore outright attempts to upset their equilibrium without feeling stressed or a need to retaliate. The techniques provide individuals with tremendous stability and equilibrium in their chosen emotional stance.

There is a song by Pharrell Williams that describes the steady emotional state:

“Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,Workplace Wellness: missing Ingredient
Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold it back, yeah,
Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
No offense to you, don’t waste your time
Here’s why

Because I’m Happy”

I know, that to someone who is not generally happy the thought of being around a bunch of happy people is not very appealing but when everyone understands they can be happy and most are, the whole dynamic changes. Those who need a bit of help find it everywhere they look because one of the most natural and frequent behaviors those who learn to be happier demonstrate is a desire to help others do the same.

Research shows that positively focused people are kinder and demonstrate better corporate citizenship.

Cognitive Ability

Stress diminishes our cognitive abilities. The same person is smarter when happy than he is when stresssed. Do you want your employees to make better decisions? Teach them how to reduce the stress in their lives. You can keep the same employees and gain a smarter workforce.

Absenteeism

Immune function decreases as stress increases. Research has shown that the severity of colds and flu are directly tied to positivity, wth the most positively focused experiencing the fewest symptoms and duration of illness. The most positively focused have sometimes not developed an illness at all, even after being deliberately exposed to the virus. The symptoms are not just self-reports. One study in particular actually measured symptoms, going as far as to weigh used tissues so that the results would not be slanted by the more pessimistic attitude. The pessimists reported more symptoms but they also had more symptoms.

Productivity/Presenteeism

The level of productivity is important to employers. In all except the most mindless, repetitive occupations repeated research has shown that optimists produce more than pessimists.

Although you may believe optimism and pessimism are inborn traits, they aren’t. They are habits of thought and individuals can change their habits of thought to make their life feel better.

Optimists are more successful than pessimists in study after study.

Sales

There is very solid evidence that even less qualified optimists outperform more qualified pessimists based on traditional measures of qualification. If optimism is not one of the considerations for hiring your sales staff you are leaving a lot of untapped potential on the table. Teaching your sales staff our stress management techniques would improve sales.

Ethics/Morality

The research is very clear that ethical behavior improves as positivity increases. Think about it. When the economy dips, white collar crime increases. The same stress that reduces cognitive ability leads individuals to faulty conclusions that result in them deciding to commit a crime.

Education Components

There are a number of false premises that hinder individuals from becoming happier and less stressed. One of them is that they should just be strong when they are faced with stressful situations. But the advice, such as think positive and decrease the stress in your life, is worthless without teaching them how.

Stress adversely affects every system in the body fairly quickly. It is something that should be dealt with as soon after it is experienced as possible. I’ll give you an example. Jealousy creates stress in the body. I am almost never jealous of anyone about anything. I recognize that feeling jealous is my seeing someone else experience something that I want but am perceiving I can’t be, do, or have. Earlier today I learned a friend was at a lecture at Harvard on psychoneuroimmunology and I felt jealous. I told my partner to tell our friend I was jealous (he was going to see him before I did). But I manage my emotional state to a really good place. I had not felt jealousy in a very long time. It did not feel good. Within less than five minutes I realized what I was doing and said, “Why am I feeling jealous? Why do I think that is something I can’t do?” Very quickly my jealous was gone, replaced by an attitude of being delighted that I have friends who attend those types of lectures and can intelligently discuss such subjects. I also affirmed that there was no reason I could not also attend a lecture like that. My jealousy is completely gone and I am now excited about the next time I’ll see my friend. I’m looking forward to hearing what he learned and comparing ideas. I can even ramp my emotional state up even higher. I know this man’s heart wants to help a lot of people, especially those who are the last to receive help, whether here in the USA or abroad. I can think about what he might have learned that will help him do that and feel even more positive emotions. I’ll stop there but the process could keep going. I’ve already shifted from jealousy to a bit of a natural high just by changing my perception but I have not begun to tap the potential positive emotions I could milk from this situation.

Do, however, notice that the circumstances did not change. He is still the one who attended the lecture. The only thing that changed was the only thing I could change, my perspective about it. My emotions improved as I assumed a more empowered perspective. My body no longer feels stress from assuming an unhealthy perspective.

I’ve been using these methods for years but it is not much more difficult for a novice to shift perspective and gain similar advantages.

We need to change our tolerance of stress. We need to help everyone understand that they should do what they can as soon as they can. It makes all the difference.

There are other false premises that interfere with optimal health that our program identifies and changes.

Attracting Quality

Attracting quality employees is critical to the success of your business. The iconic work cultures of our era will not have anything on a company that has incorporated the techniques in our program. You’ll have your pick of the best of the best–provided you provide a healthy work environment with opportunities to advance. Our program won’t change what your company does, only how it does it. There is another benefit I have not yet mentioned, that can help create an irresistible work environment.

Creativity

Creativity is just like cognitive ability as it related to stress. Creativity increases as happiness increases and decreases as stress increases. Ideas flow more readily to individuals who are positively focused. There is a second advantage that comes from our program that relates to this area. Many good ideas are wasted because the person who thinks them is afraid of how others will perceive the idea. Our program increases self-confidence and also the ability to feel good even if someone does not agree with us. The impediments that cause many good ideas to die before they are born is eliminated.

Diversity

Even diversity is positively impacted by our program. Research shows that positively focused individuals are naturally more inclusive. We have the ability to take your diversity initiatives to a higher level.

Resilience

We spend a lot of time planning for business continuity in the event of problems from busted water lines to epidemics and wars. But we tend to ignore the fact that people are required to execute those plans. In the disaster planning milieu, we assume people who are not directly taken out by the disaster will be functioning in their assigned roles. We forget that different people respond to stress in different ways and that the stress of a disaster could take out people who are not affected by the direct cause.

The best disaster plan you can create is worthless if your employees lack the resilience to persist during a disaster. Can they fulfill their duties in the midst of so much uncertainty?

I would far rather have resilient people and a mediocre plan than a great plan and staff with mediocre resilience levels. The resilient individual will retain the ability to think in dire circumstances that will be lost to someone who is less resilient. The best planning cannot predict all the variables. The resilient individual will be able to respond in the moment–when it counts. Those hero’s we love to watch on TV, who come through when bullets and bombs are all around? They’re resilient. Whether you adore MacGyver or Jack, it is their resilience that makes them able to persevere. My Dad tells me, Jeanine you could fall into an outhouse and you’d come out with a diamond ring. He has seen me repeatedly respond to circumstances that would devastate less resilient individuals in ways that make the outcome better than if the adversity had never happened.

Our program increases individual resilience, the ability to bounce back will be improved. It won’t matter if the strife is at work or personal, it will not drag them down as long as it would have without our training.

Sleep

Stress can adversely affect the ability to get a good night’s sleep in a number of ways. Stress can cause individuals to stay awake worrying about problems and it can cause them to wake up too early and be unable to go back to sleep. The stress of too many competing priorities can result in individuals simply not giving themselves enough time for adequate rest.

This is a significant concern to employers. Sleep deprivation can lead to more mistakes, including accidents. Inadequate sleep increases the risk of an automobile accident by three times.

Stress management skills reduce stress, allowing individuals to benefit from a better night’s sleep.

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Our program increases EQ in three of the four key areas because of the way the program is designed.

Final Question

Does your corporate wellness program offer a stress management solution that satisfies your needs? Does it address stress at the root cause? Why not?

Contact us today to learn more about how Happiness 1st Institute can help your company achieve a lot more of its potential.

corporate wellness


The Best Employee Engagement Solution

Employee engagement

The Best Solution for HR’s Biggest Problem: Employee Engagement

Or, more specifically, how to increase employee engagement and retention.

Low engagement can act like a virus, spreading discontent throughout your organization, reducing productivity and increasing undesired turnover. The success of an organization can be tied directly to the level of employee engagement–it affects every area of the business.

The number of employees who would like to leave their current employer was more than 1 in 5 according to a Career Builder survey earlier this year. With turnover costs for lower level employees over $5,000 and many times that for higher level employees, retention is of tremendous importance to the ability of an organization to succeed.

What leads to engagement?

Workers who are dissatisfied with their jobs. Let’s chat about that for a moment. Presumably, at one point the employee was satisfied unless they were desperate for a job, any job, when they accepted the one they have. What changed? Often the employee became dissatisfied with one or more aspects of the role or the company and focused on the negative aspects until the perception of the job matched the perspective about a few undesired areas.

In many cases, this is changeable. It’s a matter of tipping the scale back in your favor and we know how to do that.

Dissatisfaction with advancement opportunities is another reason good talent leaves. It depends on the business model, but this is something that increased creativity can sometimes solve. The techniques we teach facilitate changes that increase creativity. That’s worth talking about.

Being highly stressed is another reason employees look for greener pastures. The skills we teach address the root cause of stress, easing that burden without requiring a change in circumstances. That’s powerful.

54% of the employees who have no intention of leaving their current employer cite liking the people they work with as the number one reason they won’t leave. That’s huge.

What makes co-workers enjoyable to work with? Kindness, collaboration, inclusion are a few of the words that come to mind and our techniques increase everyone of them. Research shows that happier, less stressed people are kinder to one another–even to strangers. They also demonstrate better corporate citizenship. The techniques we teach hit interpersonal conflict head-on and create employees who are able to get along with a wide variety of people and enjoy one another more. That’s gold.

Because our strategy addresses the root cause of so many problems, it improves the entire system.

Talk to us. We can help.

 


Self-Help with a Scientific Foundation; Suitable for Corporate Environments

Self-help with scientific foundation for companies

Helping to Create a Better World…

Until now, self-help and corporate environments have not been good friends. Happiness 1st Institute bridges the gap with scientifically supported stress reduction, optimism increasing skills that are both practical and effective.

The programs we offer are groundbreaking in numerous ways.

The tremendous benefits of decreasing stress and increasing optimism are great for employees, employers, and even customers. Employers benefit from increased engagement, reduced conflict, increased cognitive abilities, and increased emotional intelligence. Employees gain practical skills that make life feel more enjoyable without requiring circumstances to change. The skills improve their relationships at work and in their private lives. They also gain health benefits because stress decreases immune function which helps their bodies natural defenses keep them healthier. Customers prefer to deal with happy and positive employees so their level of satisfaction increases.

If you have salespeople, you may already know that optimistic sales people outsell even better qualified pessimists.

Our program checks all the boxes because the root cause of so many undesired things is the same — chronic stress.

Empowering employees with practical skills that enable them to reduce stress in every area of life, they become happier, more satisfied, healthier and smarter. Yes, smarter. Research is very clear that stress reduces cognitive function and optimism increases it.

Reducing stress has benefits that make many other things easier. Stressed bodies do not process food as well as bodies that are not stressed. Weight management is no longer defined as calories in–calories out. The new definition considers stress and mood, both of which impact how the body processes food and the food choices a person will make, with improved mood associated with healthier food choices.

Chronic stress is often the factor that leads to unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse, risky lifestyle behaviors, and even makes quitting smoking more difficult.

Ignoring chronic stress, or wearing it as a badge of honor–a common unhealthy habit–can lead to depression and other negative health outcomes. It increases the risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes among other things. TRUE Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo. Wellness from the Root Cause for the 21st Century provides citations that support the statements in this post.

Our society is operating with inaccurate information about the effect of stress and about how much stress is healthy (or not terribly unhealthy, to be more accurate). The decrease in immune function happens quickly enough that researchers have been able to measure changes in very quickly after a stressor is introduced to research subjects. We now know that the negative impact to the immune function, cognitive function, and endocrine systems happen quickly. Stress is not something to “let go” for a while and deal with later. Good stress management requires us to be aware of the increase in stress level when it happens and make smart decisions to proactively apply the stress management skills.

The skills we teach are not the dose dependent techniques commonly recommended. While those do help stress levels, their dose dependent nature has a few pitfalls. The first is that they do not provide long-term benefits. The second is that those who need them the most are least likely to do them. The third is that they treat the symptom, not the root cause of stress. Exercise, helping other people, going outside, petting your cat or dog, and the other most frequently recommended methods are best for short-term relief. For long-term benefits, a skill based approach is best. Even meditation, which varies between dose dependent for those who do not have a consistent practice to providing some long term benefits to those who use it consistently, does not address the root cause of stress.

That is actually good news because that means the best we knew to do in the past has been improved upon, making the potential for good outcomes better than it’s ever been. We refer to our program as self-help with a scientific foundation because each individual is responsible for applying the skills to their own life. But the greatest thing about our program is that applying the skills provides positive emotional feedback each step of the way–creating intrinsic motivation that results in priceless benefits for everyone.

Ask us how we can address your businesses pressing concerns. We’re glad to help.


The absence of negative emotions ≠ the presence of positive emotions.

The absence of negative emotions  presence of positive emotions.

“The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of positive emotions.

“The absence of the negative is not the same thing as the presence of the positive. We found that factors such as optimism, life satisfaction, and happiness are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease regardless of such factors as a person’s age, socioeconomic status, smoking status, or body weight,” said lead author Julia Boehm, research fellow in the Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health.

Chronic positive emotions, optimism, and happiness provide benefits that increase vitality and longevity but also benefits that improve relationships and even success.

Over the years I have found that many individuals accept their current emotional state and have no idea how to change it.

They attempt to be stoic and insist they are “OK” but being OK does not afford the health benefits that happiness does. Nor is it healthy for relationships and it does not contribute to the level of success you experience. We are not in a contest to see who can suffer or endure the longest. In the long run there are not prizes for ignoring your emotional state and toughing it out.

Many see weakness in asking for help yet the path to happiness is often not clear and quick fixes seldom work.

It is possible for anyone to enjoy more positive emotions, optimism and happiness if they know the skills and knowledge that helps them. Often skills are given without the knowledge so people give up because of the lack of knowledge. Sometimes the knowledge is given without the requisite skills.

When you have the whole puzzle the path to happiness is easy to navigate and there is truly no end to how happy an individual can become.

Once you are on the right path it becomes easier and easier as if circumstances are bending over backwards to help you. Those days when things are easy and things seem to fall into place easier than they used to is one of the symptoms you will experience continually as you move toward greater happiness. There are scientifically proven reasons for this and if you take the class you will understand those reasons.

The best health benefits are derived from the higher emotional levels which you would experience as things like love, appreciation, joy, enthusiasm, eagerness, interest, passion, awe, inspiration and so forth. If you are in a low emotional place you won’t get there overnight but you can get there and there are health benefits every step along the path. There are also benefits to your relationships and other activities as well.

Contented is not at the highest levels. It can make a good emotional resting place for a while but many people stop there, because feeling content is not a bad feeling, they stop moving toward the better feeling emotions. The trip is so worth while.

Many people have been taught to put others needs before their own and use that as their excuse to ignore their own emotional needs. Yes, you do need to be happy. Why do you think bodies function better when the person living in it is happy?  That evidence is clear and compelling.

So, let’s look at it from the perspective of helping others. The following is based upon scientifically proven benefits of increased positivity.

“When you are happy you are at your best. You are in the best health. You are in the best mood. You are able to think with greater clarity. You are able to see solutions to problems far more readily. You need less from others (pumping up, assistance of all types, etc.). You contribute more by being happy so being happy is a priority for you. When you are happy you contribute to others by inspiring them to happiness. You contribute to others because when you feel great you want to help others feel just as wonderful. Sometimes, when someone feels rotten it makes them feel better to see someone else feel rotten too or see someone who is even worse off then they are. When you are happy it lifts you even higher to help others up and you gain no happiness or relief from their not being in a good place. Minding your happiness is minding your health because when you are happy you will be inclined to make good decisions about your diet and exercise and other habits. Happiness reduces the stress on your body and enables it to more easily maintain or regain its health. Your happiness is good for you and good for the world. Happiness is the path to peace.”

Studies have shown that increased happiness actually reduces racism and increases corporate citizenship.

Aren’t the benefits of happiness the things you want to see in the world?  Healthier people being nicer to one another, family and strangers alike?  Children confident in themselves – not fake pumped up self esteem – but real, they understand to the core of their being that they can be successful, that they can find solutions to problems, that they can decide to pursue their dreams?  Better relationships among people and even peace. In our class you will understand the relationship between peace and happiness.

Interested in our classes?  We are accepting enrollments for new classes now.


How to be in the Flow at Work

More Great Days at Work

 

You know those days when everything just seems to go well?  You feel good, you feel like you look good, inspirations come to you, the day just flows?

Think about those days. Aren’t they the ones when you feel happy?  The day when you have a smile on your face when you get out of bed for some reason, something you were thinking about that makes you feel happy, some event you are looking forward or an encounter with someone that you are remembering with pleasure or looking forward to?

Now think about the days that seem like Murphy’s Law “If it can go wrong, it will” would be an accurate description of the day. Aren’t those days the ones when you did not feel all that great when you started the day?  Sure, maybe you stubbed your toe, but even before then, were you thinking about having to do something you did not want to do or trying to figure out how to do something you wanted to do but did not think you could?

How happy you are impacts greatly the type of day you have, which impacts the type of week, month and year you have.

Most people believe that some people are just naturally inclined to happiness more than others but that is a myth. It is something society has reached a false conclusion upon and most people buy into it.

Happiness can be learned. I don’t say it can be taught because the student must do the work; no one can do it for them. But, if the student is willing and has a desire to be happier and a belief that it is possible anyone can learn to be happier.

How happy can someone learn to be?  Very, very happy, joyful even is quite possible and it does not matter where the student is when they begin. They can get there. The 2nd best news, after knowing that anyone can learn to be happier is that the life circumstances of the individual desiring to be happier do not matter in the level of happiness that can be achieved.

However, life circumstances can improve greatly when the person becomes happier.

Not only can greater levels of happiness be reached by learning how to be happier, they can be maintained at a higher set point than they were before the individual learned how to deliberately choose happiness.

Why would an employer care about the happiness of employees?  There are myriad reasons but two areas are of high importance to employers.

There is a scientifically documented positive correlation between employee happiness and productivity. There is also a scientifically documented correlation between happiness and wellness.

Employers want productive employees. They also want employees who come to work and employees who tend to be healthy. Happiness is far more effective than gym membership benefits and other wellness initiatives offered by many employers.

A happy employee who feels good and feels good about himself or herself does not need to be incented to be physically active. They will feel like doing those things because the idea of doing them will feel good to them in ways it does not feel good when they are not happy or do not have a good self image.

It is not necessary to have a model-perfect body to feel good about oneself. Someone who does not feel good about themselves has thoughts flowing through their mind like “Why should I bother?  I won’t get a date with _____ anyway” or “I am uncomfortable going to a gym because I don’t like being looked at and I don’t like what I think others think when they see me there.”

Someone who is happy will have very different thoughts. “It feels so good to move my body. I really enjoy coming here. I don’t know why I did not do this sooner but I am glad I am doing it now.”

One of the major changes learning to be happy creates is a switch in the thoughts we think.

Additionally, recently there were 17 states that had passed or had pending legislation to protect against work place bullying. The consistent aspect of the legislation is putting the onus on the employer to prevent such behavior. When we really think about this we realize that, except in the most egregious of situations, bullying is in the eye of the receiver. Unfortunately, the legislation is not seeing it from this angle and puts employers in a somewhat untenable situation. While a co-worker or even a boss could say something to a happy person and it would be perceived as that person trying to get their way, perhaps being pushy but certainly nothing to call Human Resources about much less hire an attorney over whereas another employee, perhaps one who generally feels like a victim, experiencing the same circumstances would feel very bullied. This legislation seems to put employers in a powerless situation.

However, helping employees learn to be happy can totally remove that “I am a victim, I am powerless” attitude toward life that some individuals have developed. This would directly impact how the individual would respond to the same circumstances which would reduce the likelihood of them feeling they had been bullied.

Another major benefit of happier employees is better customer interactions. Don’t you love it when the person who serves  you is happy?  Whether it is the waiter or waitress, the airline steward, the receptionist who takes your call, or anyone else you interact with?

Think about the impact on your business if your employees begin smiling more often with genuine smiles. Happy people tend to feel more caring toward others so customers would feel more genuine warmth when the employee asks “How are you?”  The benefits of happier employees are vast. Also, it is very difficult to complain about someone who is very pleasant to you, even if they happen to make a mistake the customer is more likely to not make a big deal about it as long as it is resolved.

I want to circle back to the beginning now. To those days that just go well. Don’t the good ideas just flow to you on those days?  Imagine managers who deliberately tune themselves to a happy state and have those days routinely. Where the solutions appear almost before the problem is fully known. Think how smoothly your business would run with managers like that. You don’t need new managers to have that; you just need the ones you have to learn to be happier.

The positive impact on your employees and your business are assured when your employees learn to be happier.

Why does anyone do anything?  In the final analysis, they do it because they believe it will make them feel better. Even the individual who goes to a job they hate every day does so because they feel better getting the paycheck than they would if they did not get the paycheck. 

Happiness is equal to the highest of human desires. Only being authentic and love rank as high as happiness in study after study. Happiness consistently outranks wealth, success, fame, status, attractiveness, sex, health, and enlightenment in the same studies.

Many studies are cited on our website. 

Classes are offered in person and on-line. Everyone who does the work and is willing to believe they can be happier will experience a sustainable increase in the level of their own happiness. Prices vary based on class size and method of delivery. In person classes away from the Charlotte, NC area are available for groups. Classes can also be designed with a mix of both in person and online delivery. Individualized coaching sessions are also available and can be very beneficial for anyone enduring severe situations including severe health issues. Attitude can be everything in successfully overcoming health issues and individual coaching can contribute greatly to a positive attitude. 


Your 6th Sense–Use it

Your 6th Sense

The one they will soon be teaching in schools near you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suppressing emotions is not the answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Two Kinds of Happiness

Two kinds of happiness

There are two kinds of happiness. One is transitory and the other is sustainable.

The transitory type of happiness is the one many people think of when they think of happiness. Our advertising community promotes this type of happiness. The current Coco-Cola advertisement  is one example. The ad conveys that if you drink Coca Cola you will be happy.

Another ad campaign indicates that traveling to Costa Rica will make you happy.

Yet another ad indicates that having the right shoes will make you happy.

Because I am tuned into and understand happiness I notice this type of misleading advertising often.

The message people receive is to look outside themselves for happiness. That what they own, or do, is what will make them happy. There is nothing wrong with desire. It is natural and provides a natural, intrinsic form of motivation. It is our perception that achieving the desire is the basis of our happiness that prevents so many from ever achieving more than momentary bits of happiness.

Happiness, true happiness, provides life promoting benefits to all our bodily functions: brain, immune system, chemical balance and so much more. It is far too important to allow these misleading and damaging infomercials for momentary pleasure to continue.

It is true that a new car will make you happy, for an afternoon (maybe even for a week). But this type of happiness requires constant care and feeding. It is actually a prison. It can only be sustained with constant attention.

Research supports this. Even big life events such as your own wedding or a long awaited promotion provide only transient happiness.

We ask ourselves, is that all there is?

The empty feeling that accompanies the disappearance of the transient happiness, especially after achievement of a long sought prize, can be devastating.

Fortunately, there is a different type of happiness. This second type of happiness is sustainable without the need to constantly feed it with new achievements, acquisitions and relationship highs.

Those things help maintain it but this second type of happiness is more about how an individual perceives life. It about whether the glass is half full or half empty but with a deep understanding and deliberate choice to look on the bright side. Anyone, even life long pessimists, can learn to view life more optimistically.

Why would you want to do this?

Well, first and foremost, life is just more fun and feels better when you do. Isn’t that why you do everything you do, because you believe you will feel better if you do it (or in some cases if you do not do it)?  You want that promotion because you believe you will feel better if you have it than if you do not have it. You want the new car because that feels better than driving an unreliable old car. It is at the root of all your decisions, whether conscious or not.

But there are many more benefits. The last 20 years some scientists have turned their attention to studying human thriving. The findings have astounded them and are great news for us. Positive emotions, optimism, and happiness confer tremendous benefits in the form of improved health and immune function, better relationships and greater success. Information about these benefits and scientific citations supporting them are available on our website, Happiness1st.com.

Learning how to develop and maintain the sustainable type of happiness is fun and easy with the right knowledge and tools.

Jeanine Joy is the Founder and President of Happiness 1st Institute. We teach the skills that lead to sustainable happiness–the kind that can extend your life and more importantly, the number of healthy years in your life.


Negative Thoughts Kill Your Brain Cells

Negative Thoughts Kill (Brain Cells)

So many branches of science are demonstrating the benefit of positivity. Positive and optimistic thoughts are good for us — good for our health, our relationships, our success, and our very ability to think clearly.

I feel great appreciation for the scientists from so many different fields of study who have turned their attention to human thriving. Without their hard work and dedication I would not have been able to weave together a program that provides both the skills and knowledge needed for individuals to successfully think more positively.

I have heard that refrain for most of my life – “Be Positive” or “Look on the bright side” or “Don’t worry, be happy”?  It always sounded like good advice but I did not know how for a long time. As I learned how it became clear why so many people attempt to change in this area and fail — I learned the common reasons for not being successful and gathered the resources and knowledge necessary to overcome those common obstacles.

Information was gathered from countless bodies of knowledge. If it could contribute to the truth about how to create greater human thriving I was interested, passionately interested in understanding it.

The programs we offer stand on the shoulders of not one giant, but many giants who came before and without whom we would never have been able to create this magnificent program.

They have provided all the information necessary to help anyone thrive in ways they may have never believed possible. The program empowers individuals to succeed in their well-being, in their relationships, in their earthly pursuits, in following their passion, in understanding their purpose, in all that is important.

Today I happened upon another piece of the puzzle that I am going to share. I love it when science is presented in a clear manner that many people can relate to. I love the masterful way this material is presented. It starts out as if it is religious but it is not – any person of any faith, spiritual belief or atheism can find value in the message in this video.

But, as brilliant as the mind that created it is — he still includes a negative thought in his positive meditation – even though he intends for it to be a positive meditation. As he states, his deepest belief is compassion he pulls himself back to a negative thought by adding that he is not good at being compassionate. This makes it clear that even experts can gain by guidance — that learning to be positively focused takes both knowledge and skills. That is what we provide in our programs at Happiness 1st Institute.

Use the Contact Us area of our website to find out about the new and exciting classes that will help you build more brain cells as well as other products and services.