Tag Archive: root cause

Stress Culture to Health Culture

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

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

As Thoreau said,

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

If you substitute stress for evil, I would say,

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

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

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

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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

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

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

The negative effects begin immediately.

Stress Culture to Health Culture

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

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

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


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.

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All-in-one Wellness Programs are Flawed, Incomplete

Workplace Wellness: missing Ingredient

All In One Wellness Programs are Flawed

Right now I am giving companies the benefit of the doubt when they promote an “All In One Wellness Program” and a review of the program reveals that it does not contain a substantial element to decrease stress (or increase employee positivity and optimism, which is essentially the same thing).

Why am I giving them the benefit of the doubt?

Because much of the information and research on the benefits is still silo’d among various branches of science. It is only my deep and burning passion for the subject that has led me to look across disciplines and see the whole picture.

It is still common for me to read research and books from that indicate about some findings “But we don’t know why” when I do know why from research in another branch of science.

Also, even if they are aware of some of the stunning scientifically proven benefits (such as 50% risk reduction for the number one killer, cardiovascular disease just knowing the benefits does not help they much if they do not know how to help people become more optimistic and positively focused. With depression rates at epidemic proportions worldwide it might seem futile to consider this path but that is a false premise.

Classes have been developed classes that can teach anyone with the desire how to increase their level of optimism and positivity. It is not hard and or expensive to do. In fact, when the benefits are weighed against the cost it is cheaper than dirt.

A combination of knowledge and skills has been masterfully woven together to create classes that not only increase positivity and optimism but also many other aspects that are beneficial to employers such as emotional intelligence and resilience.

The results address not only health care issues such as costs, absenteeism, and presenteeism but also increase productivity, reduce turnover and employee bickering and improve relationships of all types.

Utilizing many evidence based skills these classes have been carefully crafted to benefit each individual in ways that are suitable for them.

When you consider that increased positivity and optimism have greater health benefits than quitting smoking or losing weight and that a more positively focused individual is more likely to be self-motivated to make good choices about nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and sleep the benefits of increased positivity double.

So, for now, they get the benefit of the doubt.

What do those who adopt a program to increase employee optimism and positivity get?  They get a competitive advantage that will propel them ahead of other companies who are late adopters.


A Sure Path to Peace

A Sure Path to Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Dalai Lama XIV

And later still, I found this one:

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

And then this one:

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

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

~ St. Francis of Assisi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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