Tag Archive: success

Academic Burnout Solutions

study life goals advice

Dear Dr. Joy: How can I study for 10+ hours a day without getting depressed and how can I make myself get used to it?

How can I study for 10+ hours a day without getting depressed and how can I make myself get used to it?

Q: I must study continually for 10 months non-stop, then I have exams in 7 subjects (only one exam for each in those 10 months) and the results will determine my future. I’m supposed to study +10 hours a day and I’m not used to such hours.

Alright, yes, I’ll admit it. I’d love to have an advice column. I’m receiving requests on Quora to answer more questions than I have time to answer. I’ve decided to start publishing my answers here. 

Dr. Joy’s advice:

If you find a way to relate to what you are studying and see it as an opportunity for rapid personal growth instead of a test that determines who you will become, it will be interesting.

Over the past six years, I’ve spent many months where I studied far more than 10 hours a day doing research for my books but I connected the reading/studying I was doing to my ultimate goal of helping people thrive more which gave it meaning that energized me to do more. Poke at the way you’re thinking about this and try to find different ways to look at the situation.

Find thoughts that feel better and then reinforce those thoughts so they become your main way of perceiving this situation. 

10 Hours is not as long as it sounds

Also, 10 hours sounds like a lot but it isn’t. Most workers have a commute to the job, work 8 hours and then have a commute home. After they do all of that many of them still find time to raise a family, fall in love, volunteer in their community, read for pleasure, and more. #1 is giving up the television and you’ll be amazed at how much time you have. Also, do take breaks to stand up, stretch, breathe deeply. The refreshment of that will more than make-up for the time it takes.

In good weather take the time to study outside.

Also, lessen the “determine your future” bit of this. It may determine your immediate opportunities but YOU determine your future. You aren’t creating a finished product through your studying efforts. You will never be a finished product. Humans continually evolve and grow. Some humans who became wildly successful didn’t even begin the activity that made them household names until they were past the age when most people retire. So let go of the “will determine my future” belief and make this a time of developing you into someone who knows more than you know today.

I wish you all the best.

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?

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Why Would You Settle?

Why Settle?

Why Settle?

You Don’t Have to Settle: Content ≠ Happiness

Content ≠ part of happy. Moving toward goals/desires with the belief that you can achieve what you wish to achieve = happy.

 Enjoy the Journey

Joseph Campbell

To understand contentment, imagine the first 5 minutes in a hot tub = content/relief. But if you had to stay there forever (content) you’d soon be bored and want to do something.

Humans are energized when we are moving toward what we desire with positive expectations.

Content is on the road to happy if someone is a low emotional state, but it is not where happy lives.

At Happiness 1st we teach you advanced and transformative skills that ensure you won’t have to settle for less than what you want.

Why Settle when you don’t have to?

You can achieve the dreams you dream.

You can become the person you want to be.

You can live the life you want to live.

You can do all this with integrity and while being a force for good in our shared world.

The only thing between you and what you want is a lack of knowledge or a confidence in yourself; both of which can be solved by increasing your skills.

The most important thing you can do is believe in you.

The next most important thing you can do is believe in the goodness of others. 

When you expect people to be good they will delight you with their goodness. Your expectation of their goodness has to be stronger than their expectation of something less and you will experience their goodness.

Your expectation of your own goodness works the same way.

What do you expect from yourself?

Could you expect more?

Why settle when you don’t have to?

All the best to you.

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]

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.

Stressed Employees and Business Owners

Stressed employees and business ownersStressed employees and business owners

Helping Stressed Employees and Business Owners

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

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

The changes become permanent and life is less stressful thereafter.

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

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


Students and Stress

 Students and Stress–most of the stress is optional if you have the skills.Stressed Students at desk flyer

Stressed Students at desk flyer

Interested in learning more? Sign-up for one of our FREE, no risk, no pressure introductory evenings where we give you helpful information that can help you and information about programs that can help you change your life to what you want it to be in every area.




Empower Yourself

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

Default programming is not optimal programming.

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

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

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

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

Empower Yourself

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

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

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Stress Culture to Health Culture

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

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

As Thoreau said,

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

If you substitute stress for evil, I would say,

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

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

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

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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

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

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

The negative effects begin immediately.

Stress Culture to Health Culture

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

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

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

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

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Graduate Summer Reading

Summer Reading!? I graduated. I don’t have to do any summer reading.

If you’re thinking that, you’re on the path to failure.

There is more new information every day than any one person can keep up with. You don’t have to know it all, but if you don’t make an effort to keep up with information in areas that interest you, you’re living in the slow lane.

So choose a career that excites you because that will make keeping up pleasurable. That is one of the big keys to success.

Beyond keeping up in your chosen field, creating a winning mindset is even more important to your success in life…in your relationships, in your career, and in your choices. That is what I encourage new graduates to read The Magic of Thinking Big

Yes, it’s an old book but it is timeless if you add zeros to the “big” salaries. The advice is sound and for almost everyone raised in the typical educational institution, it will change the way you think in positive ways. In school you were asked to conform but nonconformist thinking is the thinking that solves problems. Conformists are still looking at problems and believing they are roadblocks when successful thinkers are seeing the opportunities inherent within the solutions.

Pick up a copy and start your summer reading today. It may be the most valuable $10. you ever spend.

Oh, and don’t forget to have fun this summer. It’s important.

Best wishes for a future that is more than you dream of it being.

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.


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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Sustainable Happiness Defined

Why go for True or Sustainable Happiness?A Happier You

The real key to sustainable happiness is skill based, not circumstance based. If one relies on circumstances (environment, relationships,activities) only temporary happiness that lasts as long as circumstances are favorable. Perspective and mindset can be developed using practical skills and create sustainable happiness where the lowest emotional state a person dips to, even when circumstances are not good, is hopefulness. Hopefulness is above where much of the world lives. Life can be great. It’s up to you.

Sustainable Happiness Defined:


The state of true happiness does not require a constant state of bliss. It is a deep sense of inner stability, peace, well-being, and vitality that is consistent and sustainable. Awareness that one possesses the knowledge and skills to return to a happy state, even when not in that state, is a critical component of sustainable happiness. True happiness is sustainable because the individual deliberately and consciously chooses perspectives that create positive emotions and has cultivated this habit of thought until the natural and habitual response focuses on the positive aspects of any situation.


Anyone can achieve sustainable happiness because it’s skill-based, practical and easy to apply to your life.


Our programs teach you how or if you’re good at learning from a book, our founder’s books show you how. Look for Jeanine Joy’s offerings at your favorite book seller.

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Is Happiness Wrong When Some People are Suffering?

Is Happiness Wrong?

Recently someone told me I should not be happy because there are people in the world who are suffering.

I’d like to know your thoughts on this. Is happiness wrong?

Here are mine:

I have researched happiness for many years and understand that happiness is not the result of success or good health. Yes, those things help. But the research is exceedingly clear that individuals who are positively focused enjoy better health, better relationships, better mental health, and more career success. When you’re happy first, good health, great relationships, and success follow.

Happy people are literally smarter. The same person scores better on the SAT exam when he is happy than when he is not happy.

So, if we want to solve the world’s problems, it seems to me we want the happiest possible people working on the solutions because they are the ones who are more likely to find them.

Let’s take these one at a time.

The disease burden in the world creates a tremendous financial strain on every economy, it not only costs money to treat but also creates losses from lower productivity. Our immune system works better when we are happy. The Grant Study showed that a positive outlook delayed death by more than a decade and reduced the number of years with chronic and debilitating diseases by eighteen years because the dreaded end of life diseases came much closer to death.

That alone would be a tremendous boon to the economy. Diabetes, stroke, depression, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and even the common cold and flu are less likely to happen to someone who has a positive mental focus.

So, from a health standpoint, I say the more happy people the better. From a health standpoint my happiness benefits a lot of people beyond myself because it lowers the risk of my adding to the disease burden.

As researched in the Harvard Men’s Study, whether the graduate was positively focused or not meant more to his eventual success than his Harvard education. The negatively focused Harvard graduates were much more likely to become alcoholics, to divorce, to commit suicide, to experience business failures, and more than their positively focused classmates. Even though we live in an era where prosperity is beginning to be viewed as somehow undesirable by some who believe that one person’s success lessens their chances of success, I think most would agree that a business failure hurts not only the business owner but also the employees who are left without jobs. I don’t see much argument from society that not being an alcoholic and a lower divorce rate are both beneficial to society.

For the good of society, the more success the better. One person’s success does not diminish your chances of success. Today the real root cause of wealth is a well executed good idea.

Happy people are more likely to marry and more likely to remain married. Happy people have better relationships of all types–at home, work, in the neighborhood. Extended outward this even plays out in research that demonstrated unhappy people are more likely to commit crimes–something that is very bad for relationships. Happy people are more likely to be kind to strangers, to help someone in need, and display better corporate citizenship. I don’t think anyone would dispute that these are all pro-social benefits.

Happy citizens are good for society.

Now, if you were taught the false premise that happiness is the result of circumstances or that it is something you must chase, you may feel that this is sort of like someone sticking their thumbs in their ears, wiggling their fingers and saying “Ha Ha, I’m happy–you’re not.”

But the truth is that it is not circumstances that determine happiness. You can be sick and poor and worried and find a perspective that makes you feel hopeful and in the moment you find that hopeful thought and believe in its possibility, you feel better. In that same moment, your immune, cognitive, digestive, and endocrine system functions begin improving.

As your cognitive function improves, solutions you could not think of just minutes before occur to you.

Your happiness is determined by the perspective you take about your current circumstances.

It is possible to feel positive emotion even in the midst of a bad situation by finding the silver lining.

I’ve been studying what makes humans thrive for a very long time. I know how to help people thrive. I am best able to do that when my cognitive abilities and my health are in top form. My cognitive abilities and health are best when I am happy.

Therefore, I believe my happiness benefits me and all those (the world) that I am set on helping.

The old paradigm said, “You shouldn’t be happy until someone else/everyone else is happy.” But that paradigm did not have the benefit of the information researchers have published in the last few decades. The research leads us to a new paradigm, “If you want to help others, maintain your happiness as best you can because you will have greater clarity of thought and be in a better position to identify solutions.”

Thinking about the problems others are experiencing increases my stress level, which decreases my cognitive abilities, decreases my immune system function, my digestive system, endocrine system and mental health. I don’t think that serves anyone well.

What do you think? Is Happiness Wrong?

The research on happiness and health as well as techniques that help you develop the skills that allow you to be happy even when your circumstances are less than ideal are provided in True Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo. Right now I am working on an expanded follow-up to True Prevention (Stress Kills:Happiness Heals) that takes the conversation into uncharted territory applying the principles to eliminating disparate impact, creating peace, eliminating racism, education, and more. If you prefer classroom style learning, we provided classes in person and online.

When the research became so clear and compelling to me, I named my company Happiness 1st to remind myself and my clients that when you’re happy first, everything you want is easier to achieve.


What decisions would benefit you?

There is nothing as powerful as a made up mind. Do not give yourself another excuse to put off making up your mind. You know in your heart of hearts that once you do that you have got to act. You owe it to the world, your family, and most importantly, to yourself to live a life of no regrets. Stop worrying about what other people will think, say, or do. You only have one life to live…LIVE IT now! You deserve!  – Les Brown
Golden Compass
“A mind that is programmed to highlight flaws typically has a lot less fun and a more difficult time. The programming makes relationships of all types more difficult, it makes the world a less beautiful place, it makes problems bigger than they are and hides beneficial things. Science says a lot of our programming is done by age 6. It is not hard to
re-program ones own mind and make your own decisions about what to focus upon.” ~  Jeanine Joy
Decisions have power. If you have not made deliberate decisions your life is running based on default settings established by circumstances you’ve lived.
If your life is awesome, do nothing but appreciate your awesome life.
 If your life is less than awesome, you may wish to consider some reprogramming.
My fiction will provide techniques that will help. My novels demonstrate scientifically proven techniques that help us thrive without the boredom of a textbook. The story is the creation that keeps it interesting but it also helps us see how the processes work in real situations.
The nonfiction books provide a more direct route to the information that will help you thrive more in any area of your life you wish to improve.
If classes are more helpful to you, Happiness 1st Institute may have some that will help you achieve your dreams. http://www.Happiness1st.com

Children Can Thrive. Help Them. Learn How.

Children Can Thrive

Let’s focus on the solutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Do you Want Better Employees?

Do You Want Better Employees?


The benefits of increased happiness include increased intelligence, creativity, emotional intelligence, resilience, and improved health, relationships and well-being.

At Happiness 1st Institute, we know how to teach individuals to increase their level of happiness with tools and techniques that make the increased level of happiness easily sustainable.

All the goals of corporate wellness programs (and much more) can be accomplished by increasing the happiness level of employees.

Many businesses have been using well-known methods to obtain a competitive advantage. New scientific breakthroughs are changing the definition of the best way to gain competitive advantage. At Happiness 1st we use information supported by recent scientific studies to help businesses gain a competitive advantage by developing the most valuable resources that they already have – their employees. Our methods will increase productivity, sales, engagement, and retention while reducing health care costs, absenteeism, and turnover. This can be done with a minimal investment of time and resources, yet the returns are fantastic. This has been shown over and over again in businesses ranging from insurance sales to high tech engineering to law enforcement. The theory of developing employees’ strengths toward a culture of hope, confidence, resilience, optimism and happiness makes sense, and the benefits have been proven by scientific research.

This is not a program that requires managers to offer compliments and be the motivator of employees.

Everyone wants to be happier. Increased happiness in employees confers great benefits on the employer. When an employee begins feeling happier the employee is self-motivated to continue practicing the skills we teach because it feels good. These skills work for anyone willing to do the work. Pessimists can learn to have a more optimistic outlook.

Plato said it best in The Republic when he wrote, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” During these challenging economic times, employers are seeking alternative solutions to control rising health care costs in order to maintain market share and profitability while continuing to provide benefits their employees rely upon. According to the National Coalition on Health Care, employee health care costs are rising at a rate of 6.9 percent annually, which is two times the rate of inflation. Health care spending in the United States represents 17 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the average cost of care for each person in the United States is around $7,900 per person.

Much of the burden for covering the cost of care for employees falls upon employers. In 2008, the annual premium for an employer health care plan covering a family of four was $12,700. This was the first year that the annual employee health care premiums surpassed the gross pay of full-time, minimum wage workers at $10,712.

Other more inventive employers are actively looking for alternative ways to reduce health care costs through a variety of cost cutting methods. Corporate wellness programs are quickly becoming the solution of choice with an average return of $3 for every $1 spent. There are many reasons employers choose to offer employee wellness programs. While the return on dollar spent is an average of $3 the programs are not as effective as they could be.

New scientific findings are causing a paradigm shift that feels as big as the shift from believing the Earth was flat to round. These findings are neon signs pointing to a fairly simple strategy that is scientifically proven to work and achieve the goals hoped for from a corporate wellness program.

What is this shift?  Increased happiness causes:

Improvements in health including fewer illnesses, less severe illnesses when there is illness, and quicker recovery.

  • Significant reductions in absenteeism
  • Significant reductions in turnover
  • Increased productivity
  • Increased clarity of thinking
  • Increased ability to make good decisions and good evaluations of facts

The same employee is literally more intelligent and more creative when they are happier.

The same employee is healthier when they are happier.

The same employee has better relationships with others when they are happier.

Think about how good it would feel to come to work every day and feel good yourself and work with others who feel good. Staying in such an environment would be very attractive to employees.

We love sharing with businesses, organizations, governments, veterans and individuals information about the scientific studies that show that every goal of corporate wellness programs (and then some) is addressed beautifully by increasing the happiness level of employees and that there are proven methods of not only increasing employee happiness levels but sustaining them.

Please visit  Happiness 1st for more information on the science behind happiness and how to enroll in our classes.

Scientists have also shown that happiness can be learned through development of new skills.

The benefits of happiness are too great to list here. Here are some results of increased happiness:

  • Happy sales people do much better than even more qualified but pessimistic sales people in sales and their turnover is lower.
  • One company experienced a 1.5 day per month per employee reduction in absenteeism with 1,000 employees (18000 days a year equivalent).
  • Being happy vs. unhappy contributes more to longevity than smoking status!
  • Intelligence (IQ), creativity, emotional intelligence (EQ), and resilience all increase in tandem with increased happiness.
  • Even when they become sick, happy people recover faster and do not experience as many symptoms as an unhappier person with the same illness.
  • The higher level of emotional intelligence means less time dealing with petty grievances that steal valuable time.
  • Happy people see solutions more than problems.
  • All relationships tend to improve with increased happiness, so the impact at work from turmoil at home lessens.

Imagine working in an environment where employees have learned happiness skills. How difficult would it be to leave such an environment for one where that training had not been provided?

We need many things to make our company one of the leaders that comes out of the decline in a great position to thrive.

We need intelligent leaders with creative solutions and high levels of emotional intelligence.

We need to retain our key employees. Turnover is one of the biggest risks during recovery.

We need competitive edges. Happiness is a huge competitive edge and it increases the chances of developing other creative and inspired competitive edges.

Is it time to lift your company out of the doldrums?

Get Happiness 1st Institute to help you capture these benefits of happiness.

How does happiness impact human resources?

How does happiness impact human resources?   

Far more than most have ever imagined.

Do you wish your employees were smarter or more creative?

Do you long for healthier employees who are at work more often?

Is your corporate wellness program accomplishing everything you could hope for?

Do you want health care costs to decline?

Would your life be easier if turnover declined?

Can you imagine a work environment where co-workers get along with one another fairly well?

Do you want your customers to be delighted after encounters with your employees?

Some people are just naturally energizing to be around. Happy employees are likely to be that way.

Happiness is the answer!

Scientists have been studying happiness and found that happiness contributes to success rather than being caused by success.

The same individual is smarter, healthier, more creative, more resilient, and has higher emotional intelligence when he or she is happy than when unhappy.

Scientists have also shown that happiness can be learned through development of new skills.

The benefits of happiness are too great to list here. Here are some results of increased happiness:

  • Happy sales people do much better than even more qualified but pessimistic sales people in sales and their turnover is lower.
  • One company experienced a 1.5 day per month per employee reduction in absenteeism with 1,000 employees (18000 days a year equivalent).
  • Being happy vs. unhappy contributes more to longevity than smoking status!
  • Intelligence (IQ), creativity, emotional intelligence (EQ), and resilience all increase in tandem with increased happiness.
  • Even when they become sick, happy people recover faster and do not experience as many symptoms as an unhappier person with the same illness.
  • Even as happy people live longer, the debilitating diseases that disable arrive far closer to the time of death, thus alleviating years of dependency.
  • The higher level of emotional intelligence means less time dealing with petty grievances that steal valuable time.
  • Happy people see solutions more than problems.
  • All relationships tend to improve with increased happiness, so the impact at work from turmoil at home lessens.
  • Happiness has positive impacts on heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, depression, colds, flu, and many more common ailments.

Imagine working in an environment where employees have learned happiness skills. How difficult would it be to leave such an environment for one where that training had not been provided?

When you interview someone do you consider whether the person contributes to your energy (raising you up) or is an energy drag?  It matters. The energy they bring to the interview is much like the energy they will bring to their job. It matters.

We need many things to make our company one of the leaders that comes out of the decline in a great position to thrive.

We need intelligent leaders with creative solutions and high levels of emotional intelligence.

We need to retain our key employees. Turnover is one of the biggest risks during recovery.

We need competitive edges. Happiness is a huge competitive edge and it increases the chances of developing other creative and inspired competitive edges.

Is it time to lift your company out of the doldrums?

Get Happiness 1st Institute to help you capture these benefits of happiness.

What are the real basics?

What are the real basics?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I believe there are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We all have what I call a “Higher Self” or an “Ideal Self”. We create this self as we live and make decisions about who we really want to be. If we are rude to someone we create a “Higher Self” that is nicer. If someone is rude to us we create a “Higher Self” that others are nicer to. This Higher or Ideal Self” calls us. The Higher Self has achieved all the dreams we have dreamed and our job is to move in the direction of the Higher Self we have created through the living of our life. The “Higher Self” is not a stagnant ‘ideal’. It is ever evolving as we experience life. The “Higher Self” is unique to each of us. No two of us want the same exact things although there are many commonalities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s get the real basics in place.

© Jeanine Broderick, 2012


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

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