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.


Stressed Employees and Business Owners

Stressed employees and business ownersStressed employees and business owners

Helping Stressed Employees and Business Owners

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

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

The changes become permanent and life is less stressful thereafter.

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

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

 


Call for Peace

Call for Peace (Re-printed from a post originally posted on House of Peace and Love for All)

Learning about senseless tragedies saddens me deeply because there is a better way and because the pain that a senseless tragedy leaves behind creates ripples that can lead to more pain.

I am saddened by the recent loss of life in Charleston and saddened by the suffering of the families and saddened that we still live in a world where the connection between emotional state and behavior is not understood enough that someone who is angry is helped to find a better emotional state.

Anger that persists is a form of mental illness. It may not be a diagnosis code in the DSM, but it is a form of mental illness, or perhaps more accurately, a lack of skill in dealing with emotions.

Happy people aren’t killing anyone.

People who are unhappy and trying to find a way to feel more empowered kill people. Unhappiness can range from jealous all the way down to anger, rage, and depression.

Behavior is entwined with emotional state; it cannot be separated.

Emotions are indicators that we should take action. Joy is an indicator to continue doing what we’re doing with the way we’re perceiving our current circumstances.

Anger is an indicator that we’re harming our self if we continue perceiving our current circumstances in the way we are currently perceiving them.

Anger does not validate the rightness of your stance.

Anger merely tells you that your current thoughts do not support your long-term goals.

Your anger may feel justified. It may even be justified according to large numbers of other people. It is still hurting you.

Anger is better than depression, but it is not a good home. It is not even a good place to visit frequently.

It is not an emotion to allow yourself to steep in because doing so clouds your thought processes and frequently leads to actions that create more anger.

Anger comes from a dis-empowered perspective.

The best response to anger is finding a more empowered perspective from which to view the situation.

I was saddened to learn that the shooter in Charleston hoped to begin a race war in America. I am gladdened to see the response.

I heard Malcolm Graham speak on the news about the loss of his sister, Cynthia Hurd, saying that we need to learn to live together peacefully and my heart soared. To hear someone with a loss so close to his heart calling for peace tells me that we are closer than I thought.

Why does it make my heart soar? Because peace and harmony are possible. There is a way to live peacefully in the world even before everyone is doing so. In fact, peace can only come one heart at a time.

Politicians and soldiers do not bring true peace.

True peace only happens when individuals’ hearts have peace within them.

Hearts filled with anger and bitterness lead to senseless tragedies decades after peace has been declared by politicians and soldiers.

The path to peace is one of learning the real meaning of emotions. They are guidance from God letting us know how close to the way God sees the situation we are perceiving it. When we’re joyful, we are perceiving the situation the way God perceives it. When we are in love we are perceiving the person the way God perceives the person. When we are frustrated we are perceiving the situation differently from the way God is perceiving it. When we are angry we are even further from God’s perspective of the topic than we were in frustration.

The worse the emotion feels, the more variance there is between our opinion of the situation and God’s opinion of the same situation.

If you feel the Call for Peace:

The first step is to recognize what emotions are.

If you want a religious view on the topic, see the quotes in the Bibliography and if your worldview is not represented, look to the scriptures for your faith and find it there.

If you want a scientific view on the topic, see the publication by Katherine Peil in Global Advances in Health and Medicine, also cited in the Bibliography.

The second step is developing skills that empower us to see more in line with the way God views the world by developing mental agility that helps us take different perspectives.

The third step is to put peace in your heart. The first two steps are necessary first because you must release the resentment, anger, and other strong negative emotions before you can truly feel peaceful toward all others. This seems an impossible task before you understand the link between emotions and behavior and develop the skills that enable you to see the world more as God sees it.

When you understand those things and use them, putting peace in your heart feels like the natural thing to do.

As I said earlier, happy people aren’t killing anyone. People who feel dis-empowered and are trying to regain some of their power are the ones who do those things. What they need is a better way to feel more empowered. The first two steps above are that way.

But society needs to recognize what negative emotion represents and help those who get stuck in negativity take the first two steps. The more the understanding spreads, the easier it will be for even strangers to help someone who is in a low emotional place.

I say easier, because we can already to it.

We can give a smile to someone who needs one. We can offer encouraging words to harried Mom’s while we are waiting in line or grocery shopping. We can hold doors open for others and show that we value their humanity. We can be kind for no reason other than being kind feels good (when it is what we want to do).

Those things can help momentarily. But learning the connection between behavior and emotion, what emotions really are, and how to take different perspectives that allow us to feel better without requiring any circumstances to change in that moment help permanently.

One way to make a horrible situation feel better is to give it a different meaning. It is not my place to decide for any other what meaning to give any situation, especially not for the families, friends and church that lost so much. But I can and do encourage others to take Malcolm Graham’s call for peace to heart and I know that along that path is where the greatest solace and meaning will be found, as well as the best world for the future.

If I can be of help in building peace in your community, please contact me.

My heart goes out to the families of Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson.

This post, written by Jeanine Joy, was re-printed from a post on House of Peace and Love for all. Jeanine Joy is the founding minister of House of Peace and Love for All.

Bibliography

(Al-Qur'an), T. (or of the soul which is secure of its salvation, and free from fear or sorrow.). By this the reader will observe that the Mohammedans are no strangers to Quietism. Others, however, understand the words of the soul, which, having attained the knowledge of the truth, rests satisfied, and relies securely thereon, undisturbed by doubts; 
Bhagwath gita.  The Lord's mercy is therefore available both in the form of the instructing spiritual masters and the Supersoul within the heart...
Bhagwath gita. The Supersoul within everyone's heart, directly gives us guidance...the spiritual master in the heart, gives direct inspiration.
Proverbs 16:9.  A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. Bible.
Proverbs 3:5.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Bible.
 Buddhist teachings.  Wisdom is born of meditation deep, But lost by mind's distraction; knowing these Two paths of loss and gain, so let him live, Let him so direct his life that wisdom may increase. 282.
Confucius. By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.
Peil, K. T. (2014). Emotion: The Self-regulatory Sense. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 80-108.

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Stress Culture to Health Culture

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

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

As Thoreau said,

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

If you substitute stress for evil, I would say,

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

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

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

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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

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

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

The negative effects begin immediately.

Stress Culture to Health Culture

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

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

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


Verbal Abuse Worse Than Physical Abuse?

Resilience alters the outcome of childhood trauma and abuse in a positive way. This is important because the level of abuse (physical, sexual, and verbal) is over 30%. Recent research has also demonstrated that verbal abuse often has the worst long-term negative impact. This seems counter to what we feel the greatest revulsion to, but when evaluated for the day-to-day life-long effect, this outcome begins to make more sense.

Verbal Abuse

Verbal (psychological) abuse tends to create repetitive negative thoughts. Depending on your age, imagine a record, CD, or MP3 playing over and over again, undermining your ability to believe in yourself or even like yourself.

Psychological abuse of a child is a pattern of intentional verbal or behavioral actions or lack of actions that convey to a child the message that he or she is worthless, flawed, unloved, unwanted, endangered, or only of value to meet someone else’s needs.”

For the most part, Americans tolerate far higher levels of psychological abuse than are healthy. We welcome television shows into our home where abusive behaviors are modeled and often considered humorous. Just because such behaviors are common does not make them healthy. Our paradigm about healthy behavior needs to shift and education is the key. Many of the parents are merely repeating the behavior they witnessed as children or are emulating what they’ve seen on television with no awareness of the long-term consequences to children they love and want the best for. It is lack of knowledge, not lack of goodness, that leads to most psychological abuse. We remain silent when we witness parents demeaning their children in public. We do not have acceptable social interventions to help educate others about the potential long term consequences of their behavior.

I will probably always remember a young Mother in the grocery store telling her toddler how stupid he was for putting a can of food she had sat next to him in the cart into his mouth. There are times when I will say something but other times, such as that one, I felt any effort to educate her would be met with repudiations and possibly resentment for my interference. I was tired that day but what will be the long term consequences to that child of his Mother not knowing the damage she was doing by labeling her son stupid? Humans live up to the expectations others put upon us (Pygmalion effect (PDF)).
The damage is made worse by our tendency to teach our children to hide their feelings, to “keep a stiff upper lip” or “be strong.” There is nothing wrong with being strong but everyone needs a time and place where they feel they can safely release pent-up frustration, emotional hurt and anger or it becomes an infected wound that will eventually cause greater problems.

If the following behaviors are commonly tolerated in your home, consider modifying the behavior.

  • Frequent yelling or screamingVerbal Abuse
  • Using “the silent treatment” on family or friends to show displeasure or disappointment
  • Negative comparisons to others
  • Treating one another as if the person does not have significant value or worth
  • Destroying treasured possessions or memories
  • Mind games designed to make the victim question his or her sanity
  • Misplaced blame (i.e. blaming a child for a parent’s problems)
  • Sabotaging a child’s plans (such as withdrawing permission for a desired activity or making plans that interfere with the activity without a good reason and/or to deliberately interfere with the child’s ability to enjoy the activity.
  • Showing favoritism is a form of discrimination and can have life long consequences to self-worth to the disfavored child and neuroticism for the favored child.
  • Inappropriate conversations with children about other family members that create distrust, emotional pain, etc.
  • Compulsive lying and denial of promises madeVerbal Abuse
  • Deliberately painting the child in a negative light to others
  • Teaching the child to perceive the world in ways that will interfere with success (i.e. encouraging racism)
  • Encouraging socially or legally unacceptable behaviors (i.e. violence, bullying, alcohol and drug use, theft, lying)
  • Rage and ridicule of the child or of other members of the household
  • Isolating the child from appropriate social interactions
  • Too much or too little control over the child for age and development level (leaving the child alone for long periods of time or sitting with an older teen for hours every night supervising homework completion
  • Repeated and frequent sarcasm
  • Setting unrealistic expectations and then demeaning the child for not meeting the unattainable expectations

In time our society will recognize the undesired consequences of these abusive behaviors. All mentally healthy parents want the best for their children. Those with less than optimal mental health also usually want the best for their children but do not understand how to provide the nurturing environment. It is not that parents with the most emotional and mental damage do not want the best for their children so much as it is their own needs are far from met so meeting those of a child is beyond their ability unless and until their needs are addressed.

Many of our television shows demonstrate psychologically abusive behavior as if it is normal behavior. Well, it may be normal in our day and age but at some point in the future it will be widely recognized for the dysfunctional behavior it is.

You and your family will benefit from recognizing it sooner rather than later.

If you recognize some of these behaviors as your own but believe you cannot stop, please seek help. Professional help can work wonders when the individual is motivated to change. If you’re more inclined to seek improvement through learning, one of our classes will provide the information you need to know so that you can change ingrained behavioral and thought patterns. Behavior is largely the result of habit. When you understand how to successfully change the habits, you can change anything about yourself that you wish to change.Verbal Abuse

You don’t have to live with that negative voice in your head. It is not who you are. You are worthy of more, of a better life than you can enjoy with that repetitive negativity robbing you of your joy.

Children know at a very young age when the words hurt. When a child this young is covering his ears in response to the words being spoken it is a sign that the way the child is interpreting the words is damaging his self-esteem.

Healthy self-esteem is critical if the child is to fulfill his potential in life. It is much easier to sustain healthy self-esteem than it is to build it back up after it has suffered damage.

You want the best for your family. If behavioral patterns in your home do not support the best outcomes, take action. You are not stuck. Improvement is possible–but not if you continue doing as you’ve always done. Changing the outcome begins by changing behavior.

Contact us today to see how we can help.


Chapel Hill Shootings

Chapel Hill Shootings

I am currently taking a Positive Psychology course with Dr. Barbara Fredrickson at UNC-Chapel Hill. I made the following post in our class forum but wanted to share it here as well.

This news is so sad. Every life has value and at any point someone can begin contributing enormously to society. It sounds as if those the world lost were already doing that and there is no reason to believe they would not have continued to do so for decades. The magnitude of loss, of their young lives and the potential good they would have done, saddens me enormously. It also saddens me that this may increase the feeling of those who share the faith of the deceased that the world is not always friendly to those of their faith. I want my voice to be one they hear that says for me, that is not at all the case. I am not at all religious but I am 100% spiritual. I have no doubts about the existence of God, I just see no reason to attempt to impose my faith on others. I’ve met many Muslims here in the US and in my travels around the world. They are as human as everyone else, as valuable as everyone else, and as welcome in my world as everyone else. I believe most of the world believes this.

The man who is in custody was obviously not living in a positive emotional state. Behavior and emotion are inexplicably linked. There are other variables but happy people do not do the types of things he did. Allow this to reinforce your desire to find and sustain as much positive emotions in yourself as possible and for those who wish to help others, allow it to reinforce the importance of this work. Because of the tie between behavior and emotion I truly do not believe there is any more important work to be done–especially when you consider the health and mental health benefits that are also linked to positive emotions.

Today the world ignores this link and I believe that when we begin consciously recognizing it we will be able to predict those at risk of this sort of behavior with more ease and develop interventions to prevent them. I believe that teaching children, from a young age, how to develop and maintain more positive emotions will prevent so much that we do not want in the world.

Just as Candy Lightner created MADD to make sense of a tragedy, we can use this to increase our impetus to create a better world for all. Together we have more than enough power to create the momentum required to effect great positive changes. We cannot change what happened but we can give it meaning that feels better than that of a senseless tragedy by using it to fuel our desire and work toward building a better world.

My condolences go to not just the family, but the world, because the loss of these young individuals is a loss to the world.

Namaste,

Jeanine

For those of you who are reading this on LinkedIn or my Website, I urge you to gain skills to achieve and sustain positive emotional states. It matters.


Stress Management = Primary Prevention

 

 Stress Management = Primary Prevention

One reason we are having so little success stopping the growth of public health and welfare problems is because almost all society’s efforts are directed toward the symptoms, not the root cause of the problems.

It is like getting a flat tire because you have a strip of spikes on your driveway, so you fix your flat tire, but then you drive over the strip of spikes all over again. The problems are growing because the root cause is not being fixed. No one who realizes that is what they are doing would do that. The reason Road spikes preventionsociety does not realize it is because we’ve been misled about some very basic things that affect our health and wellbeing. Not misled on purpose, but because people have believed a variety of false premises for generations and only now is science demonstrating the falsity of those premises loud enough that some people are beginning to recognize it.

Our parents, teachers, clergy, and others teach us what they’ve been taught without realizing that they were given false information. We are very lucky to live in this time when science knows enough about how our brains work–about things that go on below the level of conscious thought–things that can help us or hurt us, depending on how they are programmed to work.

There are all sorts of conspiracy theories about why the poor are getting poorer and the rich richer but the primary reason is that this underlying programming that literally affects our ability to see and recognize opportunities and solutions has been programmed in a more success supportive way. Since we learn much of the programming by age 6, it is passed on by our parents and other early teachers. If their programming is not supporting success, then our programming probably won’t either.

But…we now understand how to change the programming in ways that improve success in all areas of life. Relationships, health, success, well-being and other areas can improve dramatically when you change the programming your automated responses use.

Today, very few people are enjoying optimal programming of their automated processes. Even among those who are wealthy, there are relationship problems, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, depression, addictions, and more. It is difficult for someone who is not wealthy to imagine how someone who has that many resources can have so many problems–but the root cause is the same. Their automatic programming is not optimized.

Understand that consciously you are usually focused on one thought at a time, but your automatic processes may be doing hundreds of things each minute. They filter the information your senses pick up and provide only the information the automatic processes have deemed relevant to your conscious mind. The automatic processes do not pass information to your conscious mind that conflicts with your beliefs. If you begin shifting your programming and changing beliefs that aren’t serving your highest good, you’ll be as amazed as I was by how changing an underlying belief changes the world that your mind is aware of. Until you try it is difficult to understand or believe. Once you try it, it is blatantly obvious.

In our programs we teach our students how to decide how they want to program their automatic processes and how to change established patterns of thought to reduce stress in their life and begin thriving more.

If you’re not ready for a class, try one of my books. TRUE Prevention–Optimum Health: Remember Galileo addresses the issue from the perspective of health but the stress reduction techniques that help you reprogram your automated processes will benefit every area in the chart. When Only You Can Prevent Suicide was written to address the growing depression and suicide problem with a solution that can be applied globally. The current suicide prevention strategies wait until someone is at a crisis point and focus on the warning signs that an individual may be considering suicide. We can do so much better. The same strategies that can improve health can greatly reduce the potential someone will someday become suicidal. My knowledge of the truth about some of the false premises mentioned previously has helped me bring more than one person back from the brink of suicide when the person was at a crisis point.

In When Only You Can Prevent Suicide I also provide guidance about how to help someone who has attempted suicide or suffered a loss in their life. Oftentimes individuals do not express their care and concern at such times, not because they don’t care, but because they are unsure of what to say. At a vulnerable time like that, the lack of contact can be misinterpreted to mean lack of caring and make matters worse. If someone you care about has suffered a loss–whether it is loss of a job, relationship, loved one to death, status, or physical health–contact from you can make a big difference.

Because we tend to become accustomed to whatever our normal circumstances are–even when they are less than ideal–we do not realize how good life can become. Wouldn’t you like to know?