The Smart Way: Advanced and Transformative Coping Skills

What is The Smart Way?

We named the collection of knowledge, skills, and techniques we teach The Smart Way because it is a form of Primary Prevention, designed to prevent problems from occurring by healing (or maintaining the health of) the root cause.

Prevention is smarter than waiting for a problem to manifest and then curing it.      It avoids all the suffering.

 

Henry David Thoreau said, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” 

The Smart Way prevents and solves problems at the root.

Root cause

A root cause is an initiating cause of a causal chain which leads to an outcome or effect of interest. Commonly, root cause is used to describe the depth in the causal chain where an intervention could reasonably be implemented to change performance and prevent an undesirable outcome.

In plain English, a “root cause” is a “cause” (harmful factor) that is “root” (deep, basic, fundamental, underlying, etc).

Paradies would define a root cause as follows: “The most basic cause (or causes) that can reasonably be identified that management has control to fix and, when fixed, will prevent (or significantly reduce the likelihood of) the problem’s recurrence.”(encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com)

(from: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com)

Most techniques to address problems are reactionary and episodic, responding after a problem has manifested. The use of the metacognitive processes and emotional guidance can be used to improve or heal many problems that have already manifested, but The Smart Way is to teach adults and children how to use the skills in advance and prevent the problems from manifesting.

Areas The Smart Way can benefit:

The cost to individuals, companies, and nations of the problems The Smart Way prevents is tremendous. It has the ability to prevent problems in the following areas:

  • Physical Health 
    • Immune function is better when stress is low. Beneficial impact on everything from colds and flu to heart disease and cancer
    • Chronic stress greatly increases the risk of having a pre-term birth
    • Pro-health behaviors increase as emotional state improves
  • Mental Health
    • The pathway from stress to depression, anxiety, and even psychosis is clear in the scientific literature
  • Behavioral Health
    • Low emotional states are associated with crime. It is why white collar crime increases when the economy worsens
  • Relationships and Divorces
    • Emotional state affects every interaction people have. Low emotional states lead to more discord and relationship stress.
  • Crime and Violence
    • Happy people aren’t committing crimes. Crimes are an attempt to feel better (more empowered) by someone who doesn’t know a better way.
    • Teaching inmates The Smart Way techniques could greatly reduce recidivism
    • Teaching children The Smart Way techniques could halt the school to prison pipeline
  • Diversity Appreciation
    • The Smart Way leads to intrinsic motivation to appreciate diversity, a step beyond inclusion
  • Addictions
    • Stress (wanting to suppress or escape from it) leads to behaviors that can lead to addictions
    • Addiction recovery programs should include a robust stress management program like The Smart Way
    • Adolescents who use The Smart Way are vaccinated against negative peer pressure
  • Employee Engagement
    • Traditional engagement strategies aim at the wrong target. That’s why engagements numbers are hovering at around 30%.
    • Training employees how to use The Smart Way creates a positive culture
  • Stress reduction
    • Metacognitive processes guided by Emotional Guidance provide real stress reduction, not just dose-dependent methods that have to be repeated to be effective.
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
    • The way The Smart Way is taught significantly increases 3 of the 4 primary aspects of EQ. 

The Smart Way for Adults

The Smart Way Metacognitive Processes used in conjunction with emotional guidance provide a stable foundation for success throughout life. Evidence-based techniques address core skills that make the difference between choosing a path toward self-actualization and success or a less productive one.

The objectives of the curricula are:

  1. Foster skills and social competence through training that increases self-confidence.
  2. Increase participation and success by providing goal-setting training that reinforces inherent desires for autonomy and competence.
  3. Reduce susceptibility to negative external pressures and stress.
  4. Increase growth mindset and an intrinsic desire for continuous self-development.
  5. Develop skills that increase both happiness and resilience, which reduces stress.
  6. Develop a thorough understanding of how to accurately interpret emotions and respond to their signals in pro-health and pro-social ways (Emotional Intelligence Plus).
  7. Recognize the connection between emotional state and behaviors.

The Smart Way was designed by combining characteristics of individuals who thrive against the odds with the latest research in positive psychology, resilience, psychological flexibility, self-determination theory, and other research that points to the basis of human thriving.

Happiness and stress have an inverse relationship. Research on the presence of happiness and the presence of stress reveal the following benefits of higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress.

Increased pro-social behaviors

  • Reduced anti-social behavior
  • Better Citizenship
  • Increased kindness (even to strangers)
  • Intrinsically motivated diversity appreciation (a significant step-up from tolerance)
  • Reduced (or no) criminal behavior
  • Increased positive goal setting

Increased pro-health behaviors

  • Reduced likelihood of alcohol, drug, and cigarette use
  • Increased physical activity
  • Better dietary choices
  • Improved sleep habits and quality of sleep

Physical and Mental Benefits

  • Improved immune function
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved digestive function
  • Improved Central Nervous System Functioning
  • Reduced risk of mental illness (including depression/anxiety) and suicide, which are all are strongly correlated to stress

The Smart Way program is designed to build strengths associated with positive outcomes including:

 Autonomous Intrinsic Motivation Internal Locus of Control
Positivity/optimism Healthy self-esteem
Growth Mindset Metacognitive Skills
Emotional Intelligence Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health
Authenticity Positive self-image
Positive goal-setting Acceptance of responsibility for actions and results

 

The Smart Way has been compared to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the following way:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is done one-on-one and resembles having an expert marksman stand next to an amateur who is blindfolded while attempting to hit a target by obtaining instructions from the expert, who is the only one who knows the location of the target.

The Smart Way can be delivered in large group settings where hundreds can be taught at the same time because it removes the blindfold and makes the target fully visible to the individual, who is given skills that empower them to identify the right target and continually improve their aim. Intrinsic motivation occurs naturally because each step results in positive emotional feedback. Even when the overall emotional state is still negative, the student feels the relief of feeling better and the hope that comes from knowing one has the skills to shift to increasingly better feeling emotional states.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is further hampered by:

Stigma associated with mental illness High cost of one-on-one therapy
Recurrent need because CBT resolves current issues without necessarily developing skills to address future issues

Cognitive Behavioral and other types of therapies are reactive

Therapists have typically been trained to move people from a minus state to zero on the following scale:

Happiness Scale

The Smart Way is proactive, low-cost, develops skills that improve results throughout life, and is designed to help individuals achieve and sustain emotions in the +8 range (from hope to joy). Because it is educational and structured to correct prevalent misconceptions, some due to prior errors in scientific hypotheses, there is no stigma. It is an evidence-based form of Primary Prevention. Teacher training comes with added benefits, including improving morale, reducing burnout, enhancement of any existing wellness programs and reduction in any existing prejudices or biases.

Additional Information:

Mindfulness Training is gaining ground as a method of choice for improving behavior and emotional state. It is also receiving increasing resistance:

  • Objections that mindfulness has a religious basis in Buddhist teachings, including legal challenges to its use in secular educational environments.[1] The resistance may spill over into workplace programs.
  • There are increasing reports of adverse effects and recommendations for screening before use.[2]
  • Mindfulness is dose-dependent. It must be done repeatedly to have a positive effect and only rigorous practice over a period of time creates permanent changes

The Smart Way recommends meditation as one of over sixty techniques to improve mood, but as with all The Smart Way techniques, it is optional. We recommend meditation not be used as a blanket panacea and strongly encourage development and use of pre-use questionnaires that limit use to those with good mental health unless under the supervision of a trained mental health professional. We also recommend offering and disclosing the availability of mental health support, if needed or desired. While recognizing the significant benefits of meditation, we also recognize the problems some individuals have experienced.

The Smart Way techniques indicate which emotional states they are most effective in and provide flexibility so students can choose techniques that feel comfortable to them. Even some of the most common techniques, such as positive affirmations, can have negative impacts when used by individuals in certain emotional states. The metacognitive processes are capable of effecting permanent improvements in one’s emotional state on any subject.

Although religion is not necessary to use or benefit from The Smart Way because it is taught from a scientific platform, it is consistent with the religious texts of six major religions—a fact that may be important to many of the 86% of the population who have a religious worldview.

We encourage providing The Smart Way training classes and materials to employees and their families because it will provide consistent reinforcement and the techniques help families manage their own stressors, contributing to a more supportive and harmonious home environment. Improving the emotional state of any member of the family benefits every family member and the evidence suggests it can reduce family problems that eventually affect the quality of work and absenteeism.

Almost 90 years ago, a now debunked theory about emotions and behavior became widely accepted. The Smart Way is the only training program we are aware of that incorporates current scientific findings about the purpose and meaning of emotions, overturning false premises that often lead to adverse outcomes.[3]

 

The Smart Way for Children is much like the adult program, but designed with adolescents in mind

The Smart Way for Children

The Smart Way Metacognitive Processes used in conjunction with emotional guidance provide a stable foundation for success throughout school and life. Evidence-based techniques address core skills that make the difference between a child choosing a productive path or a delinquent one.

The objectives of the curricula are:

  1. Foster skills and social competence through training that increases self-confidence.
  2. Increase participation and success in classroom and school activities by providing goal-setting training that reinforces inherent desires for autonomy and competence.
  3. Reduce susceptibility to negative peer pressure.
  4. Increase growth mindset and the intrinsic desire for academic success.
  5. Develop skills that increase both happiness and resilience, which reduces stress.
  6. Develop a thorough understanding of how to accurately interpret emotions and respond to their signals in pro-health and pro-social ways (Emotional Intelligence Plus).
  7. Recognize the connection between emotional state and behaviors.

The Smart Way was designed by combining characteristics of children who thrive against the odds with the latest research in positive psychology, resilience, psychological flexibility, self-determination theory, and other research that points to the basis of human thriving.

Happiness and stress have an inverse relationship. Research on the presence of happiness and the presence of stress reveal the following benefits of higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress.

Increased pro-social behaviors

  • Reduced bullying
  • Better Citizenship
  • Increased kindness (even to strangers)
  • Intrinsically motivated diversity appreciation (a significant step-up from tolerance)
  • Reduced (or no) criminal/delinquent behavior
  • Increased positive goal setting

Increased pro-health behaviors

  • Reduced likelihood of alcohol, drug, and cigarette use
  • Increased physical activity
  • Better dietary choices
  • Improved sleep habits and quality of sleep

Physical and Mental Benefits

  • Improved immune function
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Improved digestive function
  • Improved Central Nervous System Functioning
  • Reduced risk of mental illness (including depression/anxiety) and suicide, which are all are strongly correlated to stress

The Smart Way program is designed to build strengths associated with positive outcomes including:

 Autonomous Intrinsic Motivation Internal Locus of Control
Positivity/optimism Healthy self-esteem
Growth Mindset Metacognitive Skills
Emotional Intelligence Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health
Authenticity Positive self-image
Positive goal-setting Acceptance of responsibility for actions and results

 

The Smart Way has been compared to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the following way:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is done one-on-one and resembles having an expert marksman stand next to an amateur who is blindfolded while attempting to hit a target by obtaining instructions from the expert, who is the only one who knows the location of the target.

The Smart Way can be delivered in large group settings where hundreds can be taught at the same time because it removes the blindfold and makes the target fully visible to the individual, who is given skills that empower them to identify the right target and continually improve their aim. Intrinsic motivation occurs naturally because each step results in positive emotional feedback. Even when the overall emotional state is still negative, the student feels the relief of feeling better and the hope that comes from knowing one has the skills to shift to increasingly better feeling emotional states.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is further hampered by:

Stigma associated with mental illness High cost of one-on-one therapy
Recurrent need because CBT resolves current issues without necessarily developing skills to address future issues

Cognitive Behavioral and other types of therapies are reactive

Therapists have typically been trained to move people from a minus state to zero on the following scale:

Happiness Scale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Smart Way is proactive, low-cost, develops skills that improve results throughout life, and is designed to help individuals achieve and sustain emotions in the +8 range (from hope to joy). Because it is educational and structured to correct prevalent misconceptions, some due to prior errors in scientific hypotheses, there is no stigma. It is an evidence-based form of Primary Prevention. Teacher training comes with added benefits, including improving morale, reducing burnout, enhancement of any existing wellness programs and reduction in the likelihood a teacher will have negative expectations that lead to adverse Pygmalion Effects in students.

Additional Information:

Mindfulness Training is gaining ground as a method of choice for improving behavior and emotional state in schools. It is also receiving increasing resistance:

  • Objections that mindfulness has a religious basis in Buddhist teachings, including legal challenges to its use in secular educational environments[1]
  • There are increasing reports of adverse effects and recommendations for screening before use.[2]
  • Mindfulness is dose-dependent. It must be done repeatedly to have a positive effect and only rigorous practice over a period of time creates permanent changes

The Smart Way recommends meditation as one of over sixty techniques to improve mood, but as with all The Smart Way techniques, it is optional. We recommend meditation not be used in schools without parental permission and strongly encourage development and use of pre-use questionnaires that limit use to those with good mental health unless under the supervision of a trained mental health professional. We also recommend offering and disclosing the availability of mental health support, if needed or desired. While recognizing the significant benefits of meditation, we also recognize the problems some individuals have experienced.

The Smart Way techniques indicate which emotional states they are most effective in and provide flexibility so students can choose techniques that feel comfortable to them. Even some of the most common techniques, such as positive affirmations, can have negative impacts when used by individuals in certain emotional states. The metacognitive processes are capable of effecting permanent improvements in emotional state on any subject.

Although religion is not necessary to use or benefit from The Smart Way because it is taught from a scientific platform, it is consistent with the religious texts of six major religions—a fact that may be important to many of the 86% of the population who have a religious worldview.

We encourage including The Smart Way training classes and materials for parents because it will provide consistent reinforcement and the techniques help parents manage their own stressors, contributing to a more supportive and harmonious home environment. Improving the emotional state of any member of the family benefits every family member.

Almost 90 years ago, a now debunked theory about emotions and behavior became widely accepted. The Smart Way is the only training program we are aware of that incorporates current scientific findings about the purpose and meaning of emotions, overturning false premises that often lead to adverse outcomes.[3]

[1] https://perma.cc/967K-6KHN

[2] Craven, J.L. (1989). Meditation and psychotherapy, Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 34, pp. 648-653

Kutz, I., Burysenko, J.K. & Benson, H. (1985a). Meditation and psychotherapy: a rationale for the integration of dynamic psychotherapy, the relaxation response and mindfulness meditation, American Journal of Psychiatry, 142, pp. 1-8.

Kutz, I., Leserman, J., Dorrington, C., Morrison, C.H., Borysenko, J. & Benson, H. (1985b). Meditation as an adjunct to psychotherapy, an outcome study, Psychotherapy Psychosomatics, 43, pp. 209-218.

Shapiro, D.H. (1982). Overview: clinical and physiological comparison of meditation with other self-control strategies, American Journal of Psychiatry, 139, pp. 267-274.

SHAPIRO, D.H. (1992). Adverse effects of meditation: a preliminary investigation of long-term meditators, International Journal of Psychosomatics, 39, pp. 62-67.

Perez-De-Albeniz, A. & Holmes, J. (2000). Meditation: concepts, effects and uses in therapy. International Journal of Psychotherapy, Vol. 5 Issue 1, 49-59.

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

Clore, G. L., & Palmer, J. (2009). Affective guidance of intelligent agents: How emotion controls cognition. (J. Gratch, Ed.) Cognitive Systems Research, 10, pp. 21-30.

Dan-Glauser, E. S., & Gross, J. J. (2013). Emotion Regulation and Emotion Coherence: Evidence for Strategy-Specific Effects. Emotion, 832-842.

King, R. B., McInerney, D. M., & Watkins, D. A. (2012). How you think about your intelligence determines how you feel in school: The role of theories of intelligence on academic emotions. Learning and Individual Differences(22), 814-819.

Kwong, J. Y., Wong, K. F., & Tang, S. K. (2013). Comparing predicted and actual affective responses to process versus outcome: An Emotion-as-feedback perspective. Cognition, 129, 42-50.

Peil, K. T. (2014). Emotion: The Self-regulatory Sense. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 80-108.

Wong, E., Tschan, F., Messerli, L., & Semmer, N. K. (2013). Expressing and Amplifying Positive Emotions Facilitate Goal Attainment in Workplace Interactions. Frontiers in Psychology, 188.

Contact us today for a free consultation about how The Smart Way can help you achieve your goals. Look for Jeanine Joy on LinkedIn or Twitter (@jeaninejoyJOY).

Her books are available at Amazon and other booksellers.

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