Tag Archive: well-being

What common mistakes do people make when choosing a life partner?

advice column choosing a partner

Dear Dr. Joy,

“The heart wants what the heart wants,” or do we go for a cold judgment approach.

What should be some good guidelines and misconceptions to be careful about

Dr. Joy’s Advice:

Settling.

They settle for someone who isn’t exactly what they want in a partner and:

  • Think they can live with the absence of the missing qualities, or
  • Think they can change the person (The only person who can change anyone is the person who is changing and that doesn’t happen unless/until they want to change.)

Many people make these mistakes without conscious thought. They want the fantasy they build around the person they are dating and don’t think thoughtfully about whether traits that they’ve overlooked will always be acceptable. For example, Terri loved Ron’s adventurous and spontaneous nature. He made her life more fun and she envisioned a future that was better than she’d ever dreamed of with Ron at her side. But she had also always dreamed of being a mother and when the first baby arrived her outlook about Ron’s adventurousness changed.

It was no longer a good thing that he often did things that were somewhat dangerous and always seemed to be learning a new sport that put his life at risk (sky-diving, deep sea diving, motocross, etc.) Then her best friend’s husband was killed in a motorcycle accident on his way to work when her friend was expecting their first child and Terri began worrying even more about ending up raising their child on her own if Ron had an accident during one of his adventures. She attempted to convince Ron to stop risking his life but that only drove a wedge between them. Ron felt that he hadn’t changed and he shouldn’t have to change. Even if Terri had thought far enough into the future to consider how she would feel once they were parents, she probably would have assumed Ron would change the way she planned to change. Most people make such assumptions and don’t have the conversation.

They don’t wan to rock the boat now that they think they’ve found the perfect partner.

The time to rock the boat is before you get married.

Do you really want to marry someone who frequently becomes intoxicated or high?

Consider how that could impact your ability to accumulate assets. If your spouse is busted with illegal drugs in your home or car the assets can be seized. If your spouse gets a DUI, the legal bills and increased auto insurance costs will be a significant financial burden and if an accident that harms someone occurs it could wipe you out.

Consider who will take care of the children if your spouse is frequently intoxicated or high.

Someone needs to be sober to save the children in case the house catches on fire. That sounds a bit worrisome, but how would you feel if a fire occurred and your child died because both parents were intoxicated? While it may be a lot of fun to get a good buzz by sharing a bottle or two of wine when you’re dating, it is not nearly as much fun when one of you needs to remain sober to take care of the children or when you can’t drink because you’re pregnant.

Many people marry for looks. When one of my daughters was about 11 she was very into how guys looked and went gaga over ones she thought were hot. I told her that looks weren’t everything and that when she considered a relationship with a guy she should ask herself if she’d still like him if she lost her sight or his appearance was changed in an accident. Surprisingly, she listened to me and I’m glad. But many men and women focus their partner’s physical appearance. While you want to find your partner attractive, looks should not be one of the top 5 criteria.

One way to avoid making a mistake is to decide what you want in a partner before you are in a relationship. Don’t set the bar too low. I spoke to a woman one time who said, “My next boyfriend is going to have a job and a car.” She didn’t say “a safe car” or a “reliable car.” Just a car. She also didn’t say “a steady job” or a “good job.” Apparently, any car and job would make a man good enough for her.

Don’t set your sights too low.

Go for an equal and if you have low self-esteem, aim high and work on your self-esteem.

Talk about your long range plans and desires. My husband has never lived in the country and I long to return to country living when we retire. He is okay with country living as long as we are close to a college because he wants to teach during retirement. I decided I was okay with that limitation to the location of our retirement home. There are many rural areas with great Universities in the area. But what if he hadn’t been willing to leave the city and we hadn’t talked about it?

We didn’t talk about my husband’s desire to go back to school to earn his Doctorate but fortunately, I believe in lifelong learning and am supportive. But many spouses would resist this undisclosed goal because of the cost involved.

Deep conversations and a willingness to let the relationship go if you discover things you don’t want to spend the rest of your life living with. The willingness to let go is what is most often lacking. It is easier when you realize that you can love someone and let them go and not feel heartache if you continue loving them in a fond way. It is when we attempt to stop loving someone we love that our heart aches. Our hearts know how to fall in love. They don’t know how to stop loving. But loving does not mean we have to stay together.

Letting go also requires trust that this isn’t our last chance or our best chance. I went through a lot of shenanigans (blind dates, internet dating, going to mixers, etc.) looking for love after my divorce. Where did I meet my husband? He was in my backyard golfing with a friend of mine’s husband. He lived 1/2 mile away. We’d both been invited to their Christmas party but he didn’t go one year and I didn’t go the next.

Opportunities for love are all around us. We will not find the right one when we are clinging to the wrong one.

I wish everyone as much love as they can handle in their life.

All the best to you.


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

World You Want

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

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

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

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

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

Preferred Future

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

 What the Preferred Future looks like:

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

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

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

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

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

      Low stress = High Happiness

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

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

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

  Employee Engagement has been high for years

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

  Relationships of all type are better, divorces are not common

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

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

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

What is emotional guidance?

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

What is metacognition?

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

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

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

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

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

There are some fundamentals informed by science, including:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


Understand Your Brain More = Thrive More

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

Your perception becomes your reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nose Blind Commercial

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


Teach Children the Right Skills Once. They will Benefit for Life

Teach Children the right skills once and they will benefit for life.

Research shows that teaching children stress reduction (resilience building) skills has a significant positive effect on outcomes longitudinally. Even children who are not expected to do well because of early hardships do better than expected if they learn these skills. Improvements seen include:

  • More likely to graduate from high school
  • More likely to go to college
  • More likely to graduate from college
  • Less likely to abuse drugs
  • Less likely to abuse alcohol
  • Less likely to commit crimes
  • Less likely to smoke cigarettes
  • Less likely to have a baby during teens
  • Less likely to die from street violence
  • Less likely to become depressed
  • Less likely to commit suicide

What do parents want that isn’t on that list? Why aren’t we teaching this to all children?

These skills create beneficial habits of thinking that reduce stress throughout the lifespan, regardless of the source of the stress.

For the citations, see Our Children Live in a War Zone.

Give your children a better chance at success. Learn the skills that matter and share them with your children.

I am very excited about the release of Our Children Live in a War Zone,  A Plan to Bring Peace to our Homes, Streets, and World on November 24, 2015. Now parents and teachers don’t have to wait for the government to implement programs that will improve the lives of children. They can learn the skills and teach the children they nurture how to be more resilient and less stressed today.

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

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


You Shouldn’t BE Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best wishes to you on having the life you want.

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

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


Your Programming is Like Pandora, not Spotify

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of day do you want?

Top of the World

Top of the World – The Old Fashioned Way

Hot Rod Lincoln

Life is hard and then you die

When a Man Loves a Woman

How do you choose the tone of your day?

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

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

Why bother?

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

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

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

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

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


Prevention Saves Lives and Money


 

No, Giving People More Health Insurance Doesn’t Save Money” read the headline in a recent New York Times Article.


The reason preventative care is not saving money is that it is not true prevention. It’s early detection of illness and disease, not prevention in the true sense of the word.

True prevention would be Primary Prevention. Examples of Primary Prevention include washing one’s hands after engaging in activities that may expose one to germs and/or bacteria and before handling food. Another example is safe drinking water delivered to homes.

Primary Prevention is possible in healthcare. Primary Prevention is not early detection; primary prevention actually prevents the illness and/or disease from manifesting in the first place.

There is overwhelming science evincing that stress is at the root of between 67% – 99% of illness and disease (results of studies have varied). Even if it is just 67% it represents a tremendous portion of our healthcare expenses.

For 40 years the recommendations for stress management have been dose dependent and research is clear that when people need to reduce stress the most they are least likely to do so—even when they know engaging in dose-dependent stress reductions will help them feel better. The reason the vast majority of methods recommended are dose dependent is because they do not address the root cause of stress. Many recommendations increase stress, such as telling people to think positive without telling them how to do so. Another one is telling people to reduce activities when their life will not allow them to do so, which creates stress about how stressed they are.

We all know that the same situation elicits different levels of stress in different individuals and that the amount is not directly tied to how devastating the situation appears to be to the individual. The reason some individuals experience lower stress is because their minds are programmed in ways that reduce their stress because of the perspective they take. All of us have minds that are programmed. Most of the programming is completed by age 6 and happens as a natural result of being alive. But it is possible to change the programming so that it helps us instead of hinders us. Doing so increases resilience while it lowers stress. The benefits also extend far beyond health care. Stress is a significant contributing factor to other socially undesired outcomes including crime  racism, teen pregnancy, divorce, and drop-out rates.

For healthcare, a positive mental attitude reduces the risk of heart disease by 50%. (Boehm, 2012) Heart disease is responsible for about 1/3 of all deaths.

Stress is a significant initial cause of mental illness.

Stress decreases our immune, digestive, and cognitive functions. Science evincing the speed of these changes using biochemical markers is definitive.

Provide society with the skills to reduce stress at the root cause and the financial benefits will far exceed the cost. The non-financial benefits will be even greater. If you don’t want to wait for society to distribute this life-saving and life-enhancing information, you can get it now in True Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo.

 


Personality Models: The Flaw

Personality Models: The Flaw

Can greater accuracy and completeness of personality models be obtained using emotional state data? I believe it can.

Existing personality models seem to explain behavior because most individuals maintain a relatively consistent chronic emotional state throughout life.

Emotional State (ES) is a way of referring to the emotion someone is feeling in-the-moment. (i.e. happy, sad, depressed, hopeful, hopeless, frustrated, angry, anxious, eager, etc.)

Chronic Emotional State (CES) is the set point, or emotional state a specific individual tends to return to repeatedly in the absence a significant reason to feel otherwise.

The behavior individuals exhibits is tied most closely with the current Emotional State. The personality model research I’ve reviewed looks at behavior, but not emotional state at the time the behavior is observed. Self-reports of behavior also do not gather data on emotional state at the time of the behavior.

An individual whose Chronic Emotional State is happy exhibits behaviors consistent with that Emotional State. There will be variances due to occasional lower Emotional States and during times of resource depletion (i.e. illness and sleep deprivation). High stress will cause temporary changes in Emotional State.

The consistency of Emotional State is well documented in the scientific literature. Lottery winners, newlyweds, and newly disabled individuals typically return to their Chronic Emotional State within two years after these significant life changes. The reason for the stability of Chronic Emotional States is not because it is genetic or a fixed human trait.

Chronic Emotional State is the result of habits of thought.

Why isn’t this commonly recognized? First, because researchers do not tend to explore individual difference at the level of thought. The work would be extremely time-consuming and would lack consistency because at the level o thought the uniqueness of each one of us becomes very apparent. Even two people who make identical choices follow very different thought processes to reach the decision.

Secondly, because habits of thought are habits–but not recognized as such and we are taught our personalities are who we are, few people change their thought patterns. Many people have a fear that if they change their personality they will no longer be the same person. Some fear they will no longer know their self. The truth is, those who deliberately change their habits of thought know their self better than they ever did before they experienced the liberating power of changing habits of thought that weren’t serving them well.

Like any habit, changing habits of thought takes commitment and does not happen overnight.

Patience with oneself is required, but the knowledge and establishment of realistic expectations about how long it takes to create new habits of thought is not readily available. While we can think, and can even believe, new thoughts immediately. But even when we believe something that opposes our former habits of thought, the old habitual thoughts will continue coming to mind until the thought-paths that supported the beliefs are allowed to diminish and new thought-paths that support the new belief are developed. Until this process is completed, you may find yourself thinking (and in the early stages) even speaking things you no longer believe. It’s just old programming that is still stronger than the new programming you’re creating. It’s natural and it does not mean you can’t change the habit of thought, just that the process is not yet complete.

What we do and why

We do what we believe will feel better, via it is via approach or avoidance.

Long-term vs. Short-term Goals

Whether we’re looking long-term or short-term when we make decisions about what will feel best depends on a variety of factors, but mostly on which ones we’ve focused on more. If long-term goals aren’t given a lot of airtime in our mind, short-term goals will steer our decision-making because we have not created thought-paths to thoughts about the potential consequences of our actions as they related to our long-term goals.

Focusing on long-term goals increases the consideration we give the consequences of our words and actions. However, it is important that the goals be our own–not goals others attempt to impose upon us.

Recommended Research Direction

If personality trait researchers would begin collecting data about mood (Emotional State), they would see more clearly why inconsistencies between their models and research findings continue to appear. The connection between Chronic Emotional State and behavior would become more apparent.

If personality trait researchers did a study where they collected the usual data and mood and then put the study group through my 40-hour program where they are taught the effect habits of thought may have on their lives and how to develop new habits of thought that support their ability to thrive more in all areas of life, they would be amazed at the results. By collecting the usual data and mood before and after (at the end of the course, 3-months post course and 1-year post-course), they would see clearly why there are so many inconsistencies.

An additional step that would be labor intensive but provide very valuable insights would be to collect and analyze answers to brief essay questions before the course and again one year later. Using questions that pertain to common life events would provide significant insights to the value to individuals and to society of empowering individuals with the knowledge and skills that allow them to deliberately change their habits of thought.

As a starting point, I suggest the following questions:

Instructions: Read each question and imagine yourself in the situation described. Write the first thoughts that come to your mind. There are no wrong answers. When it asks “What do you do,” your answer can reflect what you think because thinking is doing something. Biological functions (i.e. go to the bathroom) should not be reported unless they are related to the emotional state you’re imagining. Please limit your answers to 300 words, but be sure to answer each element of every question. Thank you.

  1. You are in a restaurant. Your spouse/date/significant other is late meeting you and has not called or texted. What do you do? A) When s/he is late (immediate response)? B) How do you feel (emotion)? C) If you wait, what do you do while you wait?, and D) When you see him/her, what do you do?
  2. Your boss gives an assignment you wanted to someone else. What do you do and how do you feel?
  3. You’re in a bad mood. A) What do you do and how do you feel? B) Define bad mood as it personally applies to you.
  4. You’re given an opportunity that requires you to do something that makes you anxious, but doing this could lead to something you want but don’t know how to achieve/get otherwise. The thing that makes you uncomfortable is legal, ethical and moral. What do you do and why?
  5. You want two things that seem to conflict. You don’t see how you can have both. What do you do and why?
  6. Someone is rude to you. A) Describe the situatiorgiveon. B) What do you do? C) Why?
  7. You disagree with someone close to you (i.e. parent/sibling/spouse/child/sibling/long-term best friend). How do you feel and what do you do?
  8. You find someone’s wallet and there is cash in it. What do you do and why?
  9. Someone who hurt you a long time ago asks for forgiveness. What do you do and how do you feel?
  10. You decide you want something you have no idea how to get or achieve. What do you do and how do you feel?
  11. You have company over and the dog eats dinner before it is served. What do you do and how do you feel?
  12. You’re on your way home from somewhere that you go frequently and you miss your turn. What do you do and how do you feel?
  13. Before you go to sleep at night, how do you usually feel and what do you usually do?
  14. When you wake-up in the morning, how do you usually feel and what do you usually do first?

I would be happy to participate in research with any interested researcher.

 

 


Beating Depression

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] (Wittayanukorn, Qian and Hansen)

[2] (Dockray and Steptoe)

[3] (Hidaka)

[4] (Martin and Dahlen)

[5] (Martin and Dahlen)


Empower Yourself

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

Default programming is not optimal programming.

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

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

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

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

Empower Yourself

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

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

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

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


Smart Employers Know . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(704) 25 one -51 five zero

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

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

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject

Your Message

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

 


FREE life enhancing book: When Only You Can Prevent Suicide: Transformative Empowering Processes Provide A Better Way to Prevent Suicide

When Only You Can Prevent Suicide
Jeanine Joy, in conjunction with Happiness 1st Institute and Achieve Affinity (a 501(c)3) is giving away 10,000 copies of her life-saving book, When Only You Can Prevent Suicide. Worldwide suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and it is 100% preventable.

When Only You Can Prevent Suicide FREE book giveaway

The information in this book has so much potential to save lives that Jeanine Joy was not satisfied with just writing it and making it available. She wants every person who is depressed, who is or has considered suicide, who has a hurting heart, who is lonely, who feels rejected, who feels shame, who feels “not good enough”, who feels the world is against him or her, who feels hopeless, trapped, or lost to read this book. She knows its power to help and she wants to help. She also wants others who want to help to read it–to help them help others.

The techniques explained in this book have already saved lives.

Based on twenty years of research guided by one dominant question: What makes humans thrive? Jeanine has put her heart and soul into providing practical solutions that work with examples that will resonate with a wide audience.

We have the knowledge to prevent suicide now. It requires a primary prevention attitude where we strengthen the hearts and minds of people before they are in crisis mode. These methods work during a crisis, they have worked then, but they are best used long before the crisis when they can help the person ensure he or she will never reach that dark moment.

It just makes sense to increase resilience and each person’s ability to thrive even when circumstances are not perfect. I’m not sure anyone ever has a life where things always work out just as they hoped they would, but we can have a world where people are more nimble in their response–where they suffer less–much less. That world is possible now. Today. Jeanine Joy

For your copy of When Only You Can Prevent Suicide: Transformative Empowering Processes Provide A Better Way to Prevent Suicide, please complete the form below. We do not sell your information and will only use it to in accordance with our Terms of Service. Our Privacy Policy is here. You will also be added to the mailing list for our newsletter.

Once you complete the form a special coupon code will be sent to you that allows you to download When Only You Can Prevent Suicide: Transformative Empowering Processes Provide A Better Way to Prevent Suicide from Smashwords, a leading e-book publisher where you can obtain the book in the best format for your e-book reader.

If you do not want to complete the form, you can buy the electronic copy from Smashwords, Apple’s ibookstore, Oyster, Kobo, OverDrive for $4.99 or a paperback version from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine booksellers for $12.99 USD. It is also available overseas. You may also ask your library to order it for you.

Please share with your friends, family, and social media. So often, we don’t know who is hurting until it is too late to help. This book has techniques that will help people enjoy their lives more no matter where they are, from depression to joy–they can feel better by using the information in When Only You Can Prevent Suicide. It just may help them save someone else.

The e-mail should be there within five minutes. If you do not see the e-mail with the code in your in-box, please check your spam filter.

 

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Subject
[Free Book Registration]

Submission of this form means you agree to the Terms of Service. You will receive an Email with the special coupon code to obtain When Only You Can Prevent Suicide in the format best suited to your e-reader.

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


Happiness and Stress are two ends of the same Continuum

Happiness and Stress Continuum

Chronic stress can lead to debilitating diseases and shorten your life by a considerable number of years. In one large longitudinal study that followed the participants for life, the negatively focused participants had 18 fewer healthy years. They not only died about 10 years earlier, they also spent about 8 years being sick when the positively focused participants were able to enjoy 18 healthier years. In the positively focused group the debilitating end of life diseases came at much older ages and much closer to the time of death.

Sometimes people don’t want to live longer because they don’t want to linger in unhealthy bodies. If you tend to be negatively focused, stressed, and unhappy your chances of living more unhealthy years is much greater.

Every bit of that is a choice you make. Focusing on the negative is a habit of thought that can be changed. Stress is not a matter of the situation, but of how we respond to the situation. There are skills that can increase your resilience, emotional intelligence and decrease (literally) the amount of stress you feel without changing the circumstances.

The great news is that when you decrease stress, happiness shows up. In recent years there has been a great deal of research on the benefits of happiness. Guess what? They are the same as the benefits from reducing stress. Why? Because stress and happiness are two ends of the same stick, they are on the same continuum.

High stress decreases your brain function. You’re literally not as smart when you’re stressed as you are when you’re not stressed.

In other words, you’re smarter when you’re happy.

High stress diminishes your immune function.

In other words, when you’re happy your immune system is working well.

Your digestive function, endocrine system, and more have the same relationship with stress and happiness. When stressed they don’t work as well, and when happy they are at their optimum.

Even the decisions you make about risky behavior, exercise, food, and sleep are better when you’re happy and worse when you’re stressed.

Many undesirable behaviors are simply attempts to reduce stress by someone who does not know a healthier way.

TRUE Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo gives you techniques to reduce stress and increase happiness. We also have online and in person classes to teach these techniques to groups.

Give yourself or your employees the gift of greater well-being.


Workplace Stress: The New Asbestos?

danger stress

According to a research brief completed by Rand Corporation, “Approximately 730,000 people have filed claims for asbestos injuries in the United States through 2002. At least 8,400 defendants and insurers have paid $70 billion to settle these claims.”

That is less than 1 million claims and a 70 billion price tag.

About 100 companies have filed for bankruptcy because of their asbestos exposure.(1)

Why were companies held liable for asbestos? They knew the risk to employees (or should have because the risk was known) and they did not provide adequate protection for their workers. Rand states it this way, “Asbestos litigation, the longest-running mass tort litigation in the United States, arose as a result of individuals’ exposure to asbestos and the failure of many product manufacturers to protect their workers.”(2)

The risk to your organization from not protecting your employees from workplace stress could bankrupt your company.

It does not matter who you are, or how big you are because the pool of potential litigants expands as your workforce expands. Some of the more conservative estimates I’ve seen estimate that 26% of the population has unhealthy stress levels and that 70% of that is due to workplace stress. Let’s do the math.

314,000,000 x .26 = 81,640,000 x .7 = 57,480,000

People in USA x low estimate of those with unhealthy stress levels = 81.6 million

70% attributed to workplace stress brings the number down to 57.4 million

That equates to more than 78 times the number of asbestos litigants.

And, unlike asbestos, risk cannot be stopped by no longer using the product. Workplace stress risk will continue as long as the business is in business. The best you can do it mitigate it. The good news is our program takes stress management a giant step forward.

Pay Attention: Think Long-Term

The research is compelling. TRUE Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo touches upon many of the stress related illnesses including heart disease which accounts for 1/3 of all deaths. In early 2015, Stress Kills:Happiness Heals will tell the full story–not just the health impacts, but the social problems exacerbated by stress, including divorces, depression, and suicides.

If the potential of corporate liability due to workplace stress that employers know, or should know, are harmful to their employees mental and physical well-being does not make you afraid you need to talk to a risk manager. The potential threat is real. Once the research is clear and compelling, businesses are held to a standard that they should know the risks of placing demands on their employees that lead to chronic stress.Workplace Stress

Putting your head in the sand and ignoring the issue will not make it go away. But there are ways to manage the risk without doubling your workforce.

Stress management skills are not taught in school. The vast majority of your employees have no idea how to lower the stress they feel in any given situation. You already know some of them handle stress better than others, but not why.

The stress reduction techniques touted by most of the books and stress management teachers are dose dependent and stressed people are less likely to actually do them. It is not the reason they are stressed, stress decreases motivation. It is part of the problem. It is also part of your engagement problem. Employees who understood how to manage stress might find their environment challenging instead of stressful.

Face it, we cannot eliminate the stress from every job. Performing surgery is stressful, caring for a preterm infant with serious complications is stressful, regulations that increase and change frequently is stressful, taking up the slack from disengaged co-workers is stressful. Eliminating stress is not an option.

The connection between workplace stress and health is irrefutable. Already, in some large cities like New York and Los Angeles, police officers who die from heart disease–even if they are on vacation when they die–are considered work-related deaths. But stress does not have to involve real life or death situations for the human body to experience the negative health effects.

Long-Term May Mean… Tomorrow

The number of asbestos claims is a drop of water in the ocean compared to the potential stress claims from employees. The future that I’m talking about is not that far in the future. To those who are familiar with the state of the research connecting stress to mental and physical illnesses, it is already clearly visible. When will the first case be filed? It could be tomorrow. The evidence is compelling enough and accumulating on an almost daily basis.

What can you do to manage this risk?

The economics will not allow you to double your workforce to reduce the workload, so that is not an option.

Dose dependent stress management techniques like exercise, helping others, going outside,meditation, massage, yoga, and tai chi are dose dependent and the evidence that those suffering from the highest levels of stress are least likely to do them. The fact that they are not doing them is not a defense because evidence demonstrating that it is the high stress that makes it less likely just points the finger back at the cause of the stress.

There is a way to teach employees to manage the stress at the root cause that empowers them to perceive the stressful situation in less stressful ways. Why is this the best method? Because it addresses the issue at the root cause, it affects the entire experience. It shows the employee they have more control over their stress than they know. Increasing employee’s locus of control in this way has multiple benefits including improved health and engagement. That’s three boxes checked in one program.

  • Reduce risk of stress-related litigation
  • Improve Employee Wellness Efforts
  • Increase Employee Engagement

But the benefits do not end there. The program delivers considerably more. Relationships between co-workers (and their relationships outside work) improve because of what they learn in the program. This not only makes the workplace more harmonious, it lessens the amount of outside relationship stress that is adversely affecting the work day. This is not just romantic relationships, but also relationships with children, parents, and friends.

How much does relationship drama impact your organization’s productivity? How much of management’s time is spent dealing with personality conflict type issues?

There is another benefit. From years in risk management, I am well aware that some lawsuits employers have to defend against are for things that one employee interprets as threatening but another one would not even remember a few days later. It is the perception of the event, rather than the actual event, that creates the problem. Our programs provides employees with skills that enable them to perceive situations from perspectives that feel better to them. While it is never possible to quantify lawsuits avoided (a bane of compliance officers and risk managers everywhere), the dots can be connected and the relationship can be clear enough that the CFO will understand the benefits.

Let’s return to the wellness program for a minute. All those healthy habits you’re attempting to get your employees to do are hindered by high stress. In fact, the link between high stress and obesity has changed the paradigm of calories in – calories out = BMI. Stress affects how the body processes the food a person eats and increases the risk of obesity, which increases the risk of diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease. Stress also increases the risk of high blood pressure which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Chronic stress also diminishes the effectiveness of the immune function, increasing the risk of colds, flu, and even cancer. All of this is already scientifically documented. Many of the citations are in TRUE Prevention–Optimum Health, but Stress Kills:Happiness Heals, which is in the editing stage expands the picture further.

Other Benefits

The benefits of our program seem too good to be true but the reason they are so expansive is because they address the root cause. Almost everything else that is done to improve health and stress today addresses symptoms, not the root cause. Now is the time to take action. There are other benefits from our program detailed throughout our website.

Take Action…Today

If this sounds frightening, it is. What can you control? Can you control the job responsibilities in a way that makes them not stressful? Can you control the work loads employees are tackling?

What you can do is empower them with skill based training that insulates them from much of the stress in their lives–both work-related and personal. This training would go a long way toward demonstrating that you took every possible precaution to help your employees. Of course, it should be combined with other  things you’re probably already doing, such as an EAP program. But when you wait for the situation to be at the point where most employees will reach out to an EAP, the stress has already caused damage.

We measure a variety of things in a host of different ways before and after the training, including stress, depression (expect about 10% of your employees to be suffering from depression in the pre-training testing), resilience, and emotional intelligence. You can choose to add other measures. The program is provided in large groups so the cost is surprisingly affordable. Smaller employers can combine to form a larger group to keep their costs reasonable. In large organizations, we have train the trainor programs.

Contact us today, sleep better tonight.

(1) http://www.crowell.com/files/List-of-Asbestos-Bankruptcy-Cases-Chronological-Order.pdf

(2) http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB9155/index1.html


Thrive…Even if You Have Student Debt

A recent Gallup survey showed that students who had high student debt are not doing as well as their peers with lower debt based on findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index. The Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index is designed to measure well-being in five areas(1), including:

  • Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
  • Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
  • Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

At Happiness 1st Institute, we have studied what makes humans thrive for over two decades. What we know is that the debt is not what lowers the ability of individuals who have high student (or other) debt to thrive.

It is the way the individual thinks about their situation and prospects

that determines how well they do and how happy they can be.

 

While they may not be able to change their debt substantially in the next three months, they can change how they think about it. The reason we exist is that we love to help and this survey by Gallup, released today, has our wheels spinning. We want to put hope out there right now because news like this can lower thriving even more–because when a trusted organization like Gallup tells people that high debt makes them less likely to thrive they tend to believe it. Believing you won’t thrive makes it far more likely that you won’t thrive. As Henry Ford said so long ago, “Whether you believe  you can or you believe you can’t, either way you’re right.” He understood the power of belief.

Change your dynamic – help is here

 

Our first thoughts are to help with our programs but our usual programs are not inexpensive and we don’t want to add to the debt burden. Off the cuff, we’re thinking we could provide a 40-hour course over 12 weeks for $39.99 per customer. That should cover our costs while remaining affordable. By providing the course online we will avoid travel costs for the participants and the cost of renting a large hotel room and be able to provide flexibility in when the student watches by recording the live classes.

The earliest we can begin class, based on our current schedule, is October 15th.

Stress, specifically unmanaged stress, is at the root of almost all physical, emotional, mental, and social problems. All of our programs address the root cause of stress, which is mindset. We understand and explain in easy to understand language things about the way our brains work that everyone should know but that are not taught in school. Those things are critical because they have a direct impact on whether or not an individual thrives in every area of life: their health, relationships, success, and more.

Essentially, we teach individuals how to reprogram their neural pathways so that their thought processes help them thrive instead of hindering their ability to thrive. We teach mental strength and resilience, enabling anyone to develop the type of mind all the great minds of the past used to create their achievements. Because this involves learning new habits–habits of thought–it takes time to make them automatic. Although we can and do help individuals make positive changes in their lives with 1-hour presentations, we believe that the best approach, whenever possible, is a 40-hour program over a minimum of a 12-week period. That is what we’re going to do with this course.

We’ll come up with an exact schedule and post it soon but for now know we’ll avoid scheduling class on major holidays so with a start date of October 15th, the program will run until about the end of January 2015. Forty hours of class time for $39.99 is less than $1.00 an hour.

We change lives for the better. We do it because we love it. We do it because it matters. We do it because we’ve developed leading edge techniques that work. Most stress reduction programs are dose dependent and do not address the root cause. The next best solution to what we have developed is individual one-on-one therapy where one hour can cost five times what we are offering our 40-hour program for.

You deserve to have the best possible life.

We want to help  you do that. Now. You used student loans so you could have a better life. Our program helps you achieve that goal better and faster.

Send us a note if you want to register. We will let you know as soon as we have the registration process set-up.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

We do not share your information. See our Privacy Policy.

Citations:

(1) http://www.gallup.com/poll/174317/student-debt-linked-worse-health-less-wealth.aspx?version=print


How can employee happiness benefit your business?

Happiness?  What does happiness have to do with your business?

Far more than most have ever imagined.

Happiness provides a solid foundation for success.

Do you wish your employees were smarter or more creative?

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

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.


Positivity Reduces the Risk of Needing Long Term Care

Positivity Reduces the Risk of Needing Long Term Care

For many the fear of being unable to care for oneself is greater than the fear of death itself. Most of us accept that we are not going to live forever but we hope that the end comes in very old age and that it is not preceded by a period where we are not able to care for ourselves or are living in pain.

Science has been studying the benefits of positivity for a few decades now and the findings have clearly shown that a generally positive person, on average, (all other factors being equal) lives an average of 10 additional years than the person who is a generally negative person.

But beyond that, despite living longer, the positively focused individual has fewer years of life with chronic debilitating diseases. 

Isn’t that what we all want?  A long life in which we are able to enjoy living in our bodies?  Blessed with health and vitality?

The purpose of this article is not to depress those who are generally negative and/or pessimistic. Science has also shown that individuals who chose to and who are equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to become more positively focused and optimistic can do so. 

It is not something that an individual can generally just decide to do and succeed because their neuro-pathways have been trained in the habits of thought they have been thinking. But it is not hard to change when the knowledge and tools are known. It is also a very fun thing to do. Perhaps, for someone who has been negatively focused, the most fun thing they have ever experienced.

Science has also shown that the absence of negative emotions is not the same as the presence of positive emotions. It is the presence of positive emotions that is associated with the health and well-being benefits.

Decreasing negativity even a little improves health and well-being, but the further the individual progresses toward feeling positive emotions the greater the benefits they derive.

It does not matter how many attempts an individual has made to be more positive they can do it with the right tools. Most programs do not provide all the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed. There are pitfalls along the way that will cause someone who dos not know about them to feel they cannot become more positive or that they have failed. The trick is recognizing the pitfalls and saying to yourself “Oh yeah, I knew this might happen, it does not mean I cannot do it. I have tools to help me get past this hurdle and when I do it will be wonderful.” 

We have continuously searched for new information across many disciplines including positive psychology, neuroscience, resilience, sociology, emotional intelligence, quantum physics, psychoneuroimmunology, and behavioral science over many years. Our confidence in the tools and knowledge we have woven together is such that our classes come with a money back guarantee.

Most people do not succeed because they try one tool and then another or learn one piece of the puzzle and apply it but do not see the results they desire so they give up. Perhaps making multiple attempts over years but not using a masterfully developed plan.

Life is better in so many ways when you are positively focused, optimistic, and happy. Every day contains more life, energy, and vitality. 

Living in a negative and pessimistic state feels like having a thorn in the bottom of your foot and just putting up with it, allowing it to impact your experiences. You don’t realize how good it was without the thorn until it is removed and you wonder “Why didn’t I do this sooner”?

Increased positivity reduces the risk of your needing long term care but it does so much more. Relationships are better. Your immune system functions better. You thinking is clearer and your level of creativity increases. Success is easier to attain. In another study the incomes of optimistic and pessimistic individuals were tracked from college and for 20 years after college. The earnings of the more optimistic individuals were significantly more 20 years later.

While we cannot guarantee that you will never need a nursing home if you increase your level of positivity the science is clear that it reduces the risk.

How do you want your grandchildren and great grandchildren to remember you?  Positive and able to enjoy life with them or ?

If you have a daughter do you know that the daughter often pays a heavy price caring for her parent(s) who need care?  Often giving up her own career aspirations and sometimes attempting to balance the care of a parent while still raising her own children. If you won’t do it for yourself, will you do it for your daughter?

The sooner you begin this journey the sooner you will begin enjoying life more. Even if you are young, there are benefits to your children who are living at home to your increased positivity. We discuss these in greater detail on our website.


Your 6th Sense–Use it

Your 6th Sense

The one they will soon be teaching in schools near you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suppressing emotions is not the answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Are You Passionate About the Well-being of Your Family?

Are you passionate about the well-being of your family?

If you are you will want to know about the research results that are slowly (too slowly in my opinion based on their importance) making their way out of the scientific research facilities and into the knowledge bank of both scientists and non-scientists in other fields.

The new research points the way to improved health, well-being, relationships, emotional intelligence, creativity, cognitive ability, decision-making, resilience, immune system function, depression. as well as reductions in racism, substance abuse, crime, teen pregnancy, and other social concerns.

One thing that can improve your relationships, your health, and your success?

One would think this information would be shouted from the rooftops.

The science is very solid. The proof is in.

Why isn’t it being talked about on every channel?  I don’t know.

Science, I have learned, typically progresses slowly in adopting new ideas and beliefs.

Although they don’t tend to chop off their heads for radical new ideas these days the fear instilled about moving too far away from the norm is not far from that which a potential separation from ones head would invoke. New research in one field often takes years to reach professionals in other fields. There is a saying “Science progresses one funeral at a time.” — Max Planck

Many people are under the misconception that current scientific theories come to prominence in science because the new discoveries changed the minds of the old guard through proofs and experimentation. Closer to the truth is that, proof and experimentation changed the minds of younger scientists, and only when old guards die off, the new theories rise to take their place and make prominent the new theory. This is true even when the old beliefs are proven clearly false. Much of the progress we see (for example, advances in medical advances), comes not from science but from business building on science.

When actions can affect human well-being or change the world, that pace is entirely too slow. The information that has come to light can literally improve health and well-being significantly,  reduce crime, reduce racism, reduce substance abuse, reduce teen pregnancy and, it is my belief that it is the path to peace.

When evidence from different scientific disciplines is combined the science is solid and compelling.

Positive emotions, optimism, and happiness provide these benefits and much more.

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

Science has even shown that pessimists can become more optimistic and our own level of positive emotions is within our control.

All it takes is a little knowledge and a few skills to manage your emotions to a place where you can benefit from increased positive emotions, optimism, and happiness.

New research from Harvard even shows us why the benefits of positivity are so great. Our bodies were not designed to tolerate negative emotions for long periods of time. We were designed to respond to negative emotions the way we respond to other sensory input, by making changes to make things more comfortable for us. We do not leave our hands on a burning stove and ignore the pain. Neither should we ignore negative emotions. We are supposed to feel good most of the time. The research is available at www.emotionalsentience.com.

In addition to the typical flight and fight responses we all know about there is something called a “Right Response” (RR) described in this scientific paper that is most appropriate to most situations humans encounter in their day-to-day lives. Learning how to use RRs provides a level of self-mastery over ones emotions that is followed by thriving.

Positivity has a better impact on longevity than whether an individual smokes or not. How passionate are you about making sure your children do not take up this habit?  If you put that much passion into helping them develop skill at RRs you will benefit them far more and they are more likely to make good decisions including the decision not to take up that habit.

Classes that teach Right Responses are available. See our website for details.

© Jeanine Joy, 2012-2014

President, Happiness 1st Institute


An Open Letter About Optimism

An open letter about Optimism

Is the glass half full or half empty?

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

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

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

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

Optimists are healthier

Optimists live longer

Optimists are better salespeople

Optimists are more successful in most endeavors

Optimists are not as susceptible to depression

Optimists have better relationships

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

So, what can you do about it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will be happy you did.

Best Wishes for a happy life,

Jeanine Joy, President

Happiness 1st Institute

www. happiness1st. com

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