Help Your Child Create an Empowered Positive Mindset

Help Your Child Create an Empowered Positive Mindset

This Father is helping his son get the right mindset for his day. The right mindset is what makes the difference between success and failure.

This Dad is doing a better job than 99% of the parents I’ve ever seen (including me). I would change the wording a bit (see below).

Partial translation:

I’ll be educated by my teachers and empowered by my teachers with the tools to be successful within my community and throughout the country.

I apply myself daily.

I study.

I ask questions when I don’t understand.

When I’m confronted with a problem or a conflict I think before I react.

I ignore all negative influences in the classroom and throughout my school day.

I am extremely proud to be the next generation of Christian leaders.

I accept responsibility and I love the challenge.

Peace!

 

What I would change:

I would not say “empowered by my teachers.” This says the power is the teachers to give. It’s not. The teacher can offer the knowledge. It is up to us whether or not we take the knowledge and how we apply it today and in the future.

Here is an example of what I would say instead of the “empowered by my teachers” line:

“God will bring me teachers who know what I need to know and who know how to help me learn what will help me the most. By continually learning, I will have the tools to be successful in my community and throughout my country.

I will appreciate my teachers for all they do for me.

I love my empowered positive mindset”

I absolutely adore that he ends with Peace and the power with which he says it.

This can be modified to suit any religion or to be non-religious.


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.


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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Peace is Possible

Guest Post from House of Peace and Love for All

People say to me that there is too much pain in the world for peace to ever come. I know the beauty that resides within each of us and that deep within our heart of hearts we all want to live in harmony.

Our differences are not so much about what we want. Our disagreements are about the best method of achieving common goals.

If we would get to know one another on deeper levels this would be easier to see. With a common goal the disagreements evaporate. If I chose to take one path and someone else chooses another path to the same goal, no disagreement has to exist.

I am blessed to call a wonderful example of someone who has overcome hatred, anger, and fear, my friend. She has a heart that loves and works for greater peace in the world. Her name is Nomanono Isaacs. She is the author of Escaping Apartheid: A Letter to My Mother.

You can hear some of her stirring words in this video:

If you doubt that individuals can find peace because they’ve lived harsh lives, suffered painful loses, and are holding onto anger and resentment, read her book and ask yourself if she can be as she is after what she lived, who could not.

Nomanono is unique and special not because she has a greater capacity to find the love and peace within than others have, but because she allows herself to fulfill more of her potential in that regard. If she can do it, so can others. They simply have to make the effort and open their hearts and minds to the path that will allow them to heal and to feel better.

Are you making excuses to be less than you could be? Why? Are you ready to stop?

If you want help along your way to putting peace in your heart, tune in to our weekly services (or attend them when offered in person). We know the way and are happy to help you increase the peace in the world by putting it in your own heart.

Blissful Blessings be upon you.

Peace is possible.

Minister Joy


Curiosity is a Super Power

Curiosity is a Super Power

Sometimes, when someone comes into a conversation I’m having halfway through, they think I’m crazy or that the world I visualize will never exist but generally, if I can begin at the beginning with someone whose mind is not so closed to possibilities that a crow bar is needed to open it up enough for a breath of fresh air to blow through, I can lead them, step-by-step through the very logical steps to the point where they can see it too.

For quite a while after I realized that I had figured out each step and that there were no more missing bridges between what we know and a world beyond what most believe we could ever create I questioned why it was me. Like always, when I ask a question continuously, the answer comes. I remember the excitement I felt, to the core of my Being, when I saw an Einstein quote, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” Now, I’d always thought of Einstein as a genius of the greatest magnitude and revered his mind. When I saw this quote, it resonated with me because it said exactly what I felt about myself. I had a burning question, “What makes humans thrive?” that I sought clear answers to for more than a decade. Each piece of the puzzle gave me greater clarity and created many related questions that I sought answers to.

I had not seen my journey as allowing my inner, curious child to explore. I had seen it as more important and more serious than that because the journey began by knowing how much difference resilience could make in a life and a keen desire to help others become more resilient. When I began this journey I had no idea that the same root cause would improve every area of life or the far reaching consequences it could have not just for individuals, but also for society. If I had, I am sure I would have thought myself incapable of finding the answers or helping the world see the light of truth. But a funny thing happens when you learn things that will help someone else, your motivation to give that information to others, to help them thrive more becomes an insatiable desire–a desire of the best kind–because when I satisfy my desire I help others.

I came across this little video today and for those who can’t imagine the world I am sure is possible, I hope it might help you see that it may be more possible than you realize today. There is a saying that when the student is ready the teacher appears. I want to help everyone, especially those who aren’t thriving, but until the student is ready I can’t help. What is required to be ready? A willingness to ask “What if…” and “Could this be true?” instead of a mind that is closed to the possibilities.


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.


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 A Great Leader?

Are You A Great Leader?

Or part of the pack?

While everyone would agree that there are many required qualities for an individual to be a leader, an open mind is an often missing key ingredient. It is what makes the difference between a run of the mill leader and a truly great leader.

In this world information is moving at a very fast pace and sometimes innovations and advances change the paradigms we were taught.

Many issues that have plagued mankind throughout recorded history are still with us.

One of those is distrust of the new and a strong and often unsupported belief in what we believe we “Know”.

Most have never taken the time to examine the premises upon which their current beliefs are based. If they did they would find that many of them are false premises. Or, at the very least, have no more support than other ideas to which they have closed their minds.

History is full of examples of individuals with new ideas, innovations, insights and wisdom being ostracized, ridiculed, and condemned until later generations realize the truth of what they were trying to share with the world.

There are always some among us who are “ahead of their time”. If the advances that were delayed were truly considered society would be on the look out for such individuals and embrace them yet, as a society, we continue to close our minds to new possibilities.

One such example is Ignaz Semmelweis who, long before we knew about bacteria and germs, advocated physicians washing their hands between autopsies and tending a Mom in labor. He met with ridicule for his idea. Today we would be aghast at anyone who did not follow such a protocol. Today we cannot even board a cruise ship without being encouraged to wash our hands in anti-bacterial solution.

Advances in many scientific fields and social improvements have been delayed due to the same sort of stunted thought processes that a closed mind creates. It takes someone with vision and imagination to break through the barriers. There is a fairly common saying in the scientific community “Science advances one funeral at a time”. To me, this seems so tragic.

Those with new ideas are often persecuted. The stories associated with the following names demonstrate this throughout history

Jesus Edmond Halley
Giordano Bruno Georges Louis Leclerc Comte de Buffon
Galileo William Buckland
Campanella Charles Lyell
Rene Descartes Louis Agassiz
Tycho Brahe Adam Sedgewick
Johannes Kepler Robert Chambers
Martin Luther King, Jr. Gandhi
Jean Baptiste Lamarck Bertrand Russell
Charles Darwin Niels Bohr

While many would cite religious persecution, the persecution extends further than that. The scientific community often persecutes those with new findings that refute prior beliefs. Many hold back on publishing results that might generate the shunning and outright attacks on reputation and positions that occur. Others suffer the consequences while the greatest injury is suffered by society that must wait longer for new information that is beneficial to the whole.

Many scientists pay attention to their own field of investigation and are unaware of advances in other areas. Perhaps they have such a firm belief that they have spent their life studying the most important area.

Even information provided with citations referencing current, state-of-the-art science in fields such as quantum physics are rejected out of hand by some scientists without even a cursory glance at the cited research.

When one begins researching a specific topic across scientific disciplines it is not difficult to reach conclusions that are obvious when the information in viewed in its totality that the layperson wonders how so many scientists missed the obvious.

Most are not able to see past what they already know or believe to new possibilities and new information.

Steve Jobs could.

I see that as the type of difference it makes to success. There is the pack and then there are the few leaders who are truly great in their ability to see and perceive potential and to imagine.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” ~ Einstein

The world continues to be populated with many “leaders” to whom the following quote applies “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.” ~ Einstein. They take the position that if they don’t know it then the information is not worth knowing.

The amazing thing is the credence they give to their past teachers (to already know everything and to impart it to them) and to current media (to accurately report what is really beneficial and important instead of what will give them good ratings). This position can rest upon no other belief yet it is clearly, if given the slightest thought, a false premise.

While there are many qualities to good leadership, if we do not want to just go around in circles with the same problems tomorrow as today, we need vision and that requires an open mind to imagine the possibilities and to absorb new knowledge.

When you encounter a new idea do you dismiss it out of hand?

What might be different if you kept your mind open a bit longer and asked “What if this is true?”

Having an open mind does not necessitate accepting as truth everything you encounter but it does require not dismissing information that contradicts your current views without consideration.

How is wisdom gained?

Even when a new idea, once examined is not accepted, is it possible that the person presenting the idea has some truth from which you could build?

New more accurate belief foundations are often a co-creation, for example, the Constitution of the United States was a cooperative effort.

If the new idea is not palatable whole cloth, are there aspects of it that could be adapted to create something better?

There are many responses to new information other than outright dismissal that are beneficial.

We live in a wonderful time. There are new tools and focuses that allow science to go where no man has gone before. Be open to what is found on this journey.

If you are powerful you may just nudge the door open further for the benefit of all.

If you are not yet in a position of power you may find in one of the new ideas the seed of something that will help make your dreams come true.

Do you want to be a run of the mill leader, in the midst of the pack, or do you want to be a truly great leader?


Negative Thoughts Kill Your Brain Cells

Negative Thoughts Kill (Brain Cells)

So many branches of science are demonstrating the benefit of positivity. Positive and optimistic thoughts are good for us — good for our health, our relationships, our success, and our very ability to think clearly.

I feel great appreciation for the scientists from so many different fields of study who have turned their attention to human thriving. Without their hard work and dedication I would not have been able to weave together a program that provides both the skills and knowledge needed for individuals to successfully think more positively.

I have heard that refrain for most of my life – “Be Positive” or “Look on the bright side” or “Don’t worry, be happy”?  It always sounded like good advice but I did not know how for a long time. As I learned how it became clear why so many people attempt to change in this area and fail — I learned the common reasons for not being successful and gathered the resources and knowledge necessary to overcome those common obstacles.

Information was gathered from countless bodies of knowledge. If it could contribute to the truth about how to create greater human thriving I was interested, passionately interested in understanding it.

The programs we offer stand on the shoulders of not one giant, but many giants who came before and without whom we would never have been able to create this magnificent program.

They have provided all the information necessary to help anyone thrive in ways they may have never believed possible. The program empowers individuals to succeed in their well-being, in their relationships, in their earthly pursuits, in following their passion, in understanding their purpose, in all that is important.

Today I happened upon another piece of the puzzle that I am going to share. I love it when science is presented in a clear manner that many people can relate to. I love the masterful way this material is presented. It starts out as if it is religious but it is not – any person of any faith, spiritual belief or atheism can find value in the message in this video.

But, as brilliant as the mind that created it is — he still includes a negative thought in his positive meditation – even though he intends for it to be a positive meditation. As he states, his deepest belief is compassion he pulls himself back to a negative thought by adding that he is not good at being compassionate. This makes it clear that even experts can gain by guidance — that learning to be positively focused takes both knowledge and skills. That is what we provide in our programs at Happiness 1st Institute.

Use the Contact Us area of our website to find out about the new and exciting classes that will help you build more brain cells as well as other products and services.


A Sure Path to Peace

A Sure Path to Peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ Dalai Lama XIV

And later still, I found this one:

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

And then this one:

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

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

~ St. Francis of Assisi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Senseless Tragedies: Prevention

Root Cause of Senseless Tragedies

Prevention: One person at a time

 

This publication represents the first installment in Happiness 1st Institute’s series of White Papers on the importance of understanding emotions. The papers in the series are intended to offer plain-English descriptions of the foundational elements of the importance of understanding emotions, as well as insights and practical steps you may consider for incorporating the concepts within your own organization or life. In the following pages, you will find a discussion of concepts necessary for understanding emotions an integral part of managing their impact. We believe application of these concepts will help create what we consider the epitome of enlightened emotional management.

Keep in mind that the application of these concepts is new information for most. The study of human thriving is a relatively new area for scientific discoveries as prior efforts focused more upon decreasing the impact of problems instead of enhancing potential. This addresses the root cause of many unwanted things by creating an environment of thriving in which those undesired elements cannot flourish. Most current programs – for health, mental health, societal problems, relationship problems are directed at treating symptoms. This is directed at the root cause.

Open communication is a key characteristic of a educating others on these concepts. Consider sharing this whitepaper with other executives, board members, and key managers in your organization as well as important people in your life and the lives of your children. The new understanding of emotions has the potential to beneficially impact the world. The more information that is shared the faster those benefits can be enjoyed by people around the world.

When actions can affect human well-being or change the world, it’s not business as usual. New research in one field often takes years to reach professionals in other fields. The information about emotions coming out of may areas of science have the potential to positively impact health and well-being around the world, as well as many social issues including substance abuse, teen pregnancy, crime, recidivism rates, productivity, divorce rates and depression. We believe it is contains the keys to peace.

The issues and concepts outlined herein should provide an excellent starting point for a crucial dialogue on enhancing your organization’s understanding of emotions. For additional information, visit www.Happiness1stInstitute.com.

We are available to provide classes, private consultations as well as coaching services and collaboration with schools, prisons and non-profits.

LabelsMohawk Boy with Aerosol Can

Humans label by characteristics, behavior, and appearance. We then apply judgments based upon the labels we assign to others and ourselves.

 

Labels save time and help us navigate life but they can also greatly diminish outcomes.

Individual behavior varies largely due to the current emotional state of the individual. When we judge based on behavior without an understanding of the impact of emotional state on behaviors, individuals at lower emotional states tend to be judged harshly and their potential greatly underestimated.

For example, the same individual feeling despair would not respond to the same situation the way he or she would when happy.
Impact of Emotional State

In order to see the true potential in others the link between emotional state and behavior must be understood and considered during our interactions.

An individuals current emotional state has significant impacts on all of the following:

·         Behavior ·         Intelligence ·         Emotional Intelligence
·         Health ·         Well-being ·         Resilience
·         Relationships ·         Motivation ·         Creativity
·         Decisions (including lifestyle, i.e., diet, exercise, alcohol, drugs, and risky behavior)

 

In general, you can assume that someone behaving in undesirable ways has negative emotions that have not been responded to in of the three constructive methods.

The best response to most negative emotion in modern society involves ‘Right Responses[A] (RRs). This involves some action or a deliberate and conscious change in mindscape.

Emotions provide information to guide us. The other two appropriate responses are Fight (non-violent assertive resistance) or Flight. Suppressing or denying emotions is dysfunctional and leads to many other problems.

Ignoring a negative emotion is just as unhealthy as putting your hand on a hot stove and leaving it there to burn while ignoring the pain inflicted. Pain is information that tells us to take some action. Likewise, emotions are guidance that helps us recognize unhealthy thoughts or circumstances.

If we are judging an unhappy person based upon their behavior we are not seeing their potential. When we see their potential we are more likely to inspire them to achieve more of their potential. Potential is a terrible thing to waste.

In general, emotional states can be defined (broadly) with the following feelings:

Emotional Guidance Scale (EGSc)

Sweet Zone

·         Joy ·         Appreciation ·         Freedom
·         Empowered ·         Love ·         Awe
·         Passion ·         Enthusiasm ·         Eagerness
·         Happy ·         Positive Expectation ·         Belief
·         Inspired ·         Trust ·         Faith
·         Optimism ·         Serenity ·         Satisfaction
·         Fulfilled

Hopeful Zone

·         Hopefulness ·         Gratitude

Blah Zone

·         Contentment ·         Boredom ·         Pessimism
·         Apathy

Drama Zone

·         Frustration ·         Irritation ·         Impatience
·         Overwhelmed ·         Disappointment

Give Away Zone

·         Doubt ·         Worry ·         Blame
·         Guilt ·         Discouragement

Hot (Red) Zone

·         Anger ·         Revenge

Powerless Zone

·         Hatred ·         Rage ·         Jealousy
·         Insecurity ·         Fear ·         Unworthiness
·         Grief ·         Depression ·         Despair
·         Powerlessness ·         Learned Helplessness ·         Guardedness
·         Hopelessness

 

Emotions and Thoughts

Emotions are the response to thoughts. This fact is easily demonstrated by taking someone through a guided visualization of scenes designed to elicit emotions. As the scene changes the emotional state changes.

There are actually three levels of emotions. The most basic are felt below conscious thought. For example, if the hairs on the back of your neck stand up because of a danger you have not yet consciously been aware of that is the most basic level.

The second level consists of simple emotions that come in response to actual thoughts. For example, fear is one such emotion.

The third level is also emotions that come as the result of conscious thoughts but the thoughts are more complex, the responses are not necessarily inborn responses but trained by external third parties (parents, church, society, teachers, etc.). For example, shame. A baby and small child have no shame about their body when they are naked. This emotion is taught by third parties and would be considered a complex emotion.

Emotions are information that we are designed to be acted upon. When third party imposed negative emotions do not provide a path to better feeling emotions they set the stage for all sorts of problems including behavioral, emotional (See DSM), and health. We were not designed to suffer negative emotions on a long-term basis and when we endure them we do suffer.

Emotional Set Points

Emotional set points impact how an individual will feel in response to stimulus. For example, someone who is experiencing a lot of frustration will find more things that are frustrating in new circumstances and a person with a generally hopeful attitude will notice aspects they find generally hopeful in new situations.

Reticular Activating System (RAS)

The emotional set point is assisted by the Reticular Activating System (RAS) Filter in their brain. The RAS  Filter sifts external input based on filters such as:

  1. Beliefs held by the individual
  2. Expectations of the individual
  3. Emotional set points of the individual[B]
  4. Focus of the individual

This filter only passes some information to the conscious brain and filters out a great deal of information that our senses record. This is beneficial because otherwise we would be overloaded with too much information.

However, the filters have often been programmed in ways that do not serve the individual well.

Beliefs & Limiting Beliefs

For example, if someone has a limiting belief the filter will keep information from passing to their conscious brain, thus, their ability to overcome the limiting belief is blocked or minimized.

Many individuals RAS filters are impacted by a belief that their actions will not make a difference. This condition has been termed “Learned Helplessness.” Individuals with this condition will not take actions that others (who do not hold the same limiting belief) clearly see would make a difference for the better in their life experience. They literally don’t see some beneficial actions as possibilities because their filter holds back the information. Even if they see the actions as possible their RAS filter does not allow them to imagine the potential benefits of the positive actions the way someone in a more hopeful mindset could. The RAS filter does not allow the information that conflicts with the current beliefs, expectations, and emotional set point to flow to the conscious mind. The filter does not do this out of malice or because the person lacks worthiness or societal value. The RAS filter is unbiased in that way. The belief that their actions will not make a difference results in the filter not placing opportunities (or their potential beneficial outcomes) in their conscious mind.

Learned Helplessness can apply to life in general or to a specific subject or subjects. For example, someone who does well in one area may feel paralyzed in another . This indicates that on that topic they have developed a belief that their actions will not matter.

The detrimental impact of learned helplessness are often seen in long-term poverty, addictions, and remaining in dangerous relationships.

Learned Helplessness is an example of being at the lowest end of the Emotional Guidance Scale. This belief can be changed. When the belief changes the individual will begin seeing the opportunities. The potential for positive change is amazing.

There are as many limiting beliefs as there are individuals. The best way to overcome them is to decide what beliefs would serve you best, not to try to figure out what beliefs may be limiting to you.

The filtering effect results in your conscious mind not receiving information that contradicts your beliefs so it is difficult for you to identify your own limiting beliefs. Reading inspiring books such as “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Schwartz or “Unlimited Power” by Anthony Robbins can help identify beliefs that could be beneficial to positive motion forward. A contemporary book that is good is “Infinite Possibilities” by Mike Dooley.

Another technique is to write about your life and then ask someone else to read what you have written and help you identify limiting beliefs.

One key to identifying limiting beliefs is to look for statements with “but”. I want to, “but”, followed by some reason the individual believes he or she is limited and cannot do as desired.

Many people will argue for their limitations quite vehemently. It is best not to point out limiting beliefs unless someone is asking as they will just take a stronger position in defense of what their life has shown them to be true. If they do not understand the role of their RAS filter they won’t understand why they see so much evidence supporting their position even though their position is only true for them because of their belief. Those with different beliefs have different experiences.

Expectations

Expectations will also impact what the RAS filter allows through to the conscious mind. This has a tremendous impact on perception of others. For example, if one has formed a negative impression of an individual, he will expect to see behaviors that reflect his negative impression. It will be difficult for him to see progress, especially in the initial stages of change.

Perhaps the best advantage of understanding that our expectations color how we see others is that, once we understand this, we can see people clearly. Instead of seeing people as colored by our previous experience, we allow ourselves to develop new expectations and we will be able to see others in a different light.

If you have defined someone or something (to yourself) by their potential, your expectation (filter) will look for evidence of becoming more of who they can be. Whereas, if you have defined them (to yourself) as someone with bad behavior your filter will look for further evidence of bad behavior and ignore improvements or change.

Emotional Set Points

The emotional set point of the individual will impact what gets through the RAS filter. The filter trusts that you are intelligent and deliberately determining your focus. So, in essence, if you are frustrated often (by traffic, by co-workers, by your family, friends, and house, by spilling the coffee or tripping on something, etc.) your filter says “Oh, she/he wants to feel frustration. Look here …. here is something else that is frustrating. Oh, and look here, this is also frustrating.”  Again, there is no malice. Your filter assumes you understand that you get more of what you focus upon.

Let’s take an example of this. Two individuals can go to the same restaurant, have exactly the same food, prepared in the same way to their specifications, even sit in the same place and have the same server. One who has been focused on enjoying life can have a wonderful time. The one who has been predominately frustrated will find things about the experience that are frustrating that the individual focused on enjoying life does not see (because their filter does not highlight the things that are frustrating).

The ‘big deals’ will still show up. This is not about burying ones head in the sand. It is about, however, having a positive bias on life. When you expect things to go well your filter will show you evidence of things going well. Is it a ‘big deal’ if your waitress takes two extra minutes to refill your water glass?  If your focus is on enjoying life you may not even notice until she is there pouring the refreshing water – you will notice in time to thank her. If you are living in frustration you will notice that your water glass is getting low and as soon as it is empty you will feel frustration that it has not been replenished.

This is just an overview of how the various factors impact the filter.

Emotional State – Impact on Behavior

When you understand that higher emotional states equate to more desirable behaviors you will understand the importance of focusing upon helping the person move to higher and higher emotional states. Punishments tend to keep people at low emotional states and progress is very slow, if it happens at all. Helping someone with undesirable behavior feel better goes against what almost everyone has been taught from a young age. On the other hand, when you look at how things really unfold you will understand that this is the only path to permanent improvement and I will even say, eradication of much of the socially unacceptable behaviors (in time when this is understood by the masses).

Regrets & Self-criticism

Often the greatest punishments come in the form of negative self-talk.

While it is good to have a conscious about our own behaviors,  understanding that we re-create ourselves throughout life and being self-critical about past mistakes just keeps us from moving forward.

When I encounter someone who has deep regret over a past decision I often ask them “If you were in that situation right now would you make the same decision?”. The answer is frequently an adamant “no!”.

 

My response is then “Clearly you are no longer the same person who made that decision/mistake. Why punish your current self for who you used to be?  The person you are today would not do that action so why punish the person you are today?”

I believe fully understanding this not only provides relief from self condemnation but inspires others to want to continue forward motion and become even more.

Although it is a subject for another paper, long-term guilt and regret have negative health consequences.

“Higher” or “Ideal Self”

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

This differences in individual desires is another area where greater understanding would serve us well. We perceive the actions of others through our own lenses. If our dream is to be married to the same partner for 50+ years we may not be able to understand the perspective of another who chooses not to marry. Understanding that we each have unique desires and perspectives and that this is a wonderful thing would help not only personal relationships but national relationships. We can desire what we desire (we actually can’t help but desire what we desire) because our life has shown us that is what we believe is best for us. However, when you look for someone else to validate your desires and dreams you are asking if your desire and or dreams satisfies their perspectives which really have nothing to do with your own.

Where we are the same is that the higher we get on the EGS the better our behaviors become from the perspective of treating others well.

Violent criminals sometimes appear happy at their own actions but what is being witnessed is a sense of relief they feel in moving up the scale from somewhere in the vicinity of despair (which feels totally powerless) to somewhere like revenge where some of their power has been taken back. Their seemingly positive emotions are not joy, appreciation, or love. They are a sense of relief.

It is not necessary to commit violence in order to move up through the hot (red) zone and stabilize oneself at higher emotional set points. In fact, violence does not usually happen until they have tried to move up and someone or society has sent them back down, repeatedly.

It is quite possible to move up from despair and hopelessness through anger, rage, and revenge just using thoughts. Actions are not necessary to move up the scale. A guide in this process is often helpful.

It may seem that I am blaming those who have held others down or pushed them back down for their resulting violent behaviors. In actuality, I am not interested in trying to figure out who is to blame. Someone taught the person that pushed them back down beliefs that punishing them and limiting their power was the right way to act and the person who taught them learned it from another and so on back through time.

Your higher self says “Yes You Can” and you can verify this by thinking (and believing) “I can” and feel your emotional response to it. Your emotional response will feel better than it will when you think and feel “I can’t”

                         Yes, I can!

A Better World

My interest is in a better world for everyone going forward. I cannot impact or change the past but I can impact and change the future.

What is clear is what has been done in the past has not worked well for many members of the human race.

Understanding how our emotions impact our behavior and focusing on helping one another reach and sustaining ourselves at higher emotional levels will have a tremendous positive impact on the future.

Success requires that we set our intentions on the loftier goal of creating a better world and cling less to the ‘need’ to have been right in our opinions and judgments in the past.

Celebrate knowing new knowledge rather than regreting what you once did not know. Everyone has always done the best they could in the moment. Even when ‘the best in the moment’ is not good, it was the best possibility for them in that moment. Their best in other moments could be better.

There is never a time in this life when we know everything. Like children who gain new knowledge as they learn to walk, we are continuously gaining new knowledge as we live and are exposed to new concepts, ideas, experiences, and scientific discoveries. Embrace the new knowledge and leave any regrets for what you once did not know in the past. If you know enough to regret something now the person you are also knows better than that person you used to be knew. Love who you are and who you are becoming.

Benefits of Increased Positivity

When individuals reach a sustainable place in the Sweet Zone one of the first things almost everyone does is exhibit a desire for others to also enjoy that sort of emotional stability.

There are many processes to help individuals move up and to stabilize at higher emotional set points. At Happiness 1st Institute we teach over 50[C] processes to help individuals manage their own emotional set points.

We are not speaking of transient forms of happiness that are usually based upon some event, possession or other person. We are speaking of a type of happiness that provides a deep sense of inner stability, peace, well-being, and vitality that is consistent and sustainable. This sort of happiness is available to anyone who gains a greater understanding of self.

In addition to the behavioral benefits to society, there is a great deal of research that supports the benefits of happiness for individuals, their family, friends, and society in general. These include: happiness leads to greater success (Harvard Study), greater longevity (Nun study), improved health (too many studies to list – see our website for many citations and examples), better relationships of all types (again, too many studies to list), higher earnings (too many studies to list), lower crime and substance abuse[D], and increased intelligence and creativity (especially see Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D.’s work and her “Broaden and Build” theory in either her research or her book, Positivity).

The type of happiness we are talking about is different. It is being who we are authentically, at our core, connected to our Higher Self and focused upon becoming as much like the Higher Self we have created as we can. This type of happiness increases resilience and gives us confidence to pursue our dreams. It does not require continual happiness but the knowledge, desire, and sureness that you can easily and quickly return to that state using skills and knowledge is always present. You are in control of you and your responses to life.

Purpose of Emotions is Guidance

Emotions are guidance. They let you know whether you are moving in the direction of becoming more like your “Higher Self” or away from who you have decided you want to be.

Think of it like the children’s game of finding a lost object where clues of ‘you’re getting warmer” or “you’re getting colder” are given and it becomes simple to follow your guidance. Positive emotions mean you are moving in the right direction and negative emotions indicate you are moving away from your goal.

Appreciate the emotions for the guidance they are.

The ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ is a view of ourselves at our best having achieved our greatest (believable) potential. This ‘Ideal self’ taps our passions, our values, and our past achievements.

“A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

“There is nothing noble about being superior to some other man. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.”

~ Hindu Proverb

This ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ is different from the ‘ought self’ that is the construct of things you believe that you should or ought to do based on expectations and requirements of others.

The ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ motivates you from within. The ‘ought’ self is using external criteria to motivate and may or may not be in alignment with your true goals.

What is the difference between your ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ and who you usually are in your day to day interactions?  The ‘gap’ has a lot to do with what you believe you are capable of being. There is always a gap because the ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ is a moving target and this is a good thing. Some of the greatest athletes of all time focused on moving toward their ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ and continued to improve even when they were great. The ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ is a self-created self that is the best you can imagine being in any given moment. As long as you are moving in a direction that is closing the gap you can feel joyful.

Take the idea of the ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ and then look at the EGS. You will be able to easily see that the ‘Ideal or Higher Self’  is calling everyone up the scale. Our ‘Ideal or Higher Self’ lives at the high end of the scale, loving and appreciating.

You will also see that the higher you go on the scale the more empowered you feel. The lower you are on the scale the more powerless you feel.

When you feel more empowered you can often see many paths to your goals (which is why science has found that

individuals are more creative and intelligent when they are happier) – their filter has been set with a greater belief in their abilities. Therefore, they see more ways to achieve their goals.

When someone is held down, either by society or their own limiting beliefs the pull

to regain some of their power and to move up the scale gets larger and larger. When the only path(s) that are visible to the individual are ones that society abhors, they will take those paths if and when that pull becomes stronger than any resistance they have to those actions.

At the lower levels often the only path visible that will allow the individual to regain some of their personal power is a path that would never be chosen if they saw another path.

The above point is so important for understanding. Because of the feelings of being powerless the path(s) to regaining some power seem very limited. Perhaps they have tried repeatedly to regain some power in more acceptable ways but have not been understood so they were pushed back down. Over time this would result in a belief that those more socially acceptable paths are not the way because they did not work. As that happens repeatedly the paths that remain open become more appealing. Paths that would never have been considered if the socially acceptable paths had not been blocked begin to seem like the only option. Feelings of desperation begin to work on the individual until they become causative to  actions. They do feel relief in those actions even when the consequences can be potentially terrible.

When society begins helping individuals move from feelings of powerlessness to better feeling places, rather than pushing them back down (because they are easier to handle in depression, despair, and helplessness than in anger or revenge) we will see massive positive changes in our crime rates. Eventually we will have the nice problem of trying to figure out what to do with all the excess capacity in our incarceration facilities.

We will see thriving among those who previously were thought to have no hope. We will see the gap for those children who today still seem unable to achieve begin to close as we help them overcome learned helplessness.

We will see massive amounts of post traumatic growth. The individuals who have come from disempowered situations who learn how to manage their own place on the EGS will be huge beneficiaries of post adversarial growth. By their experiences they have created a “Higher Self” that is far greater than the one created by someone who has lived a mild life. When they understand how to move in the direction of closing the gap consistently and deliberately we will be amazed and delighted.

Emotions are literally guidance from one of our senses. The concept of ‘five senses’ is a fallacy. We have far more than five. 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.

Our emotions are output from a hitherto unrecognized sense. In fact, the emotional sense is present even in simple organisms. It appears the function of the basic ‘negative’ emotions are information that helps us keep our bodies safe. The function of the positive emotions is to point us toward self-development and well-being.

The difference between the simple organisms and most humans is that they actually listen to and respond to their emotional sensory output.

Humans, on the other hand, have a tendency to ignore emotions. to suppress them, and to suffer the negative consequences of doing so in lives that are not as robust as they could be.

There is no benefit to us in ignoring the output from our emotional system, it is providing information which will improve our lives if we act upon it appropriately. Ignoring output from the emotional system leads to senseless tragedies.

Ignoring negative emotional output is no different than ignoring pain from our sense of touch. We would not put our hand on a hot stove and notice that our hand was burning and leave it there to continue to burn. When we ignore or suppress negative emotions it is no less harmful to our well-being than leaving a burning hand on a hot stove.

Emotions are information designed to guide us.

Proper Response to Emotions

The best response to most negative emotion in modern society involves ‘Right Responses[E] (RRs). This involves some action or a deliberate and conscious change in mindscape.

In an early version of K. T. Peil’s paper (Global Advances in Health and Medicine, March 2014), she stats “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, if 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.”

Emotions are guidance and we were never designed to tolerate negative emotions for longer than it takes to complete our corrective action. That is why the many benefits of positivity are coming to light as we study positive emotions. We were designed to feel good. We were also designed to be good, which we are when we feel good.

Societal systems designed to make us feel bad and maintain that negative state are fighting against our very nature. These same systems literally create the very undesired behaviors we want to avoid.

Right Responses can be taught with knowledge and skill to become the default mode of response. Happiness 1st Institute focuses upon doing exactly that in our classes.

Morals and Values

Morals and values do have a place in the structure of things. Someone with a strong moral fiber who is repeatedly pushed to the low end of the EGS may choose options other than violence against others. Suicide is one of the options that can be more palatable to such an individual (slow or fast – in other words drugs and alcohol or those actions we currently call suicide). There are so many variations that influence the path(s) that will become acceptable and there is really no reason to analyze them extensively. Our time is much more productively spent understanding how to help individuals move up the scale where the subject of what path they would choose from a position of powerlessness is irrelevant.

Substance Abuse

In most cases, drugs and alcohol begin as a way to feel better. Individuals who know how to feel good by managing their own place on the EGS tend to drink far less. I have a large social network of such individuals and often vacation with them. Drugs and alcohol are not a big factor in our fun for the vast majority of us. We are high on life.

Drugs and alcohol are a form of self-medication. Whether addiction becomes an issue or not, learning to consciously and deliberately respond appropriately to emotional guidance can help any individual make healthier choices.

Peer Pressure

I can hear protests “What about peer pressure?”. Think about it?  Isn’t giving in to peer pressure an attempt to feel better?  To feel more accepted?  To feel a part of something more?

Emotion can affect decisions about risk-taking in all age groups, not just adolescents, the emotion doesn’t necessarily have to be triggered from the decision situation itself even, for example. if you’re angry about an argument, you might later drive too fast on the highway.[F]

Our emotions provide guidance but what has been happening for a very long time is that the children (who are born knowing how to be joyful) are taught to pay attention to pleasing others instead of following their natural guidance. Parents, teachers, ministers, and peers say “Do this so I will feel better” and because the pressure is intense they eventually begin using others as their barometer about how to behave. This is very problematic if you are trying to please more than one other person and even more problematic if one of those people is inconsistent in what pleases them.

Society has developed a belief that without external guidance our behavior would be unacceptable. Recent findings in positive psychology refute this premise. When individuals are in a positive state they exhibit not only behaviors that society requires as ‘socially acceptable’ but behaviors that go far beyond the minimums with altruism and cooperation increasing substantially when higher levels of positive emotion are present.

Helping children understand that listening to their own emotions is important. We often speak of animals having instincts and humans having intellect. We (humans) do have instincts but we are trained not to listen to them. We all have guidance coming from within and we can hear it when we quiet our minds. What most do not do is listen to it or understand how it communicates. Our minds are powerful and important but our hearts are even more intelligent. 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.[G]

Our bodies have great intelligence. We often take them for granted and overlook the intelligence of our bodies. They know how to take a single cell and turn it into a full grown human. From that single cell all the other cells are formed, ones that are eyes and ones that are toe nails. They know how to take nutrients from food and nourish our cells. They know how to regain balance when many undesired elements are introduced. When we listen to our guidance we will also receive information about what our bodies are asking for to maximize our vitality.

Studies are revealing that we make healthier choices when we feel positive emotions.[H]

Make Decisions When you Feel Happy

Education

The first step is to spread the knowledge of how to understand and use our emotional guidance systems for our own benefit and the benefit of others. This must include a deep understanding that helping those who are not behaving in acceptable ways increase their level of positive emotion is the path to their becoming productive and contributing members of society.

Pain Management

So much of medicine treats symptoms. It has been shown repeatedly and conclusively that positive emotion and optimism treat the root cause of both life threatening illnesses including cardiovascular disease, cancer, Type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s as well as illnesses that are usually less threatening such as the common cold and flu.

Positive emotion can also have an immediate impact on pain. Someone who has chronic pain that comes and goes will notice, if they pay attention, that when their emotions are more pleasant their pain decreases. The opposite is also true, the worse the emotional state, the greater the pain. According to Dr. Scott, Chief Nursing Officer of Grady Health Systems in Atlanta, Georgia, they noticed this when they became cognizant that requests for pain medicine decreased during afternoon football games prompting the hospital to add ESPN to the channels available to patients[I].

Science has come a long way in proving the many benefits of happiness over the past two decades but they have not come close to understanding the potential impact on human thriving that is possible. This will be realized when the topic of this paper has become common knowledge.

We are on the brink of seeing the dreams of many generations become reality. Let’s go.

Jeanine Joy’s upcoming book, Stress Kills: Happiness Heals will provide a clear path to the vision explored in this White Paper. Watch for it in book stores in the autumn of 2014.

Please consider sharing this with your friends and family. You never know who you may help by passing it on. It is a random act of kindness that will ripple outward. This information is too important to move forward at the speed of science – Pass it on and help create a better world sooner.

[A] See:  Emotion: A Self-Regulatory Sense, K.T.Peil

[B] Each individual has an emotional set point on each topic. For example, emotional set point about Mother may be different on topic of money than set point on topic of food and so on. However, people tend to live in the same emotional range across a variety of topics.

[C] See separate list of processes.

[D] University of California – David (2001, August 22). Happiness can deter crime, a new study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from http://www.sciencedily.com/releases/2011/08/110822091859.htm

[E] See:  Emotion: A Self-Regulatory Sense (www.emotionalsentience.com) by K. T. Peil, Harvard, 2012

[F] Association for Psychological Science (2011, July 27). Who takes risks?

[G] 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

[H] The Heart’s Content: The Association between Positive Psychological Well-Being and Cardiovascular Health,” Julia K. Boehm and Laura D. Kubzansky, Psychological Bulletin, online April 17, 2012, Published by the American Psychological Association, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health at Harvard School of Public Health

This publication contains general information only and is based on the experiences and research of  Happiness 1st Institute. Happiness 1st Institute is not, by means of this publication, rendering business, financial, investment, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business  Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional.. Happiness 1st Institute, its affiliates, and related entities shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

© 2012-2014 Jeanine Joy All rights reserved.

[I] Wall Street Journal, October 15, 2012


Your Choice: Separation or Connection

You Get to Choose: Separation or Connection

 The Importance of Understanding Our Connection

Whenever someone focuses upon an atrocity that has happened to someone who belongs to a group that they associate themselves as a member of and they express more outrage than they would at the atrocity happening to anyone or feel more outrage than they would if the individual(s) impacted were of another group you know two things are going on.

The first is that they are coming from a place of fear. Fear that the same could occur to them or their loved ones.

Second, that they do not view themselves as connected to All That Is and to everyone and everything. They are taking a more narrow view and defining themselves as a member of a smaller group, but not as a member of humanity as a whole.

This results in great attention being placed upon some acts and less upon others.

None of these actions lessens future atrocities.

What will lessen future atrocities is for more people to feel the connection that we each have with one another. For each of us to look for those qualities we can relate to in one another rather than the differences.

We are more alike than we seem.

When we allow our emotions to take a nosedive, we move further away from the possibility of harmony that is possible among everyone.

Science has shown that racism lessens when people are happy and increases when they are unhappy.

When tensions rise, rather it be based upon race, religious beliefs, gender, or other traits that are so often used to feel separate from others, we actually move further away from what is desired which is peace and harmony.

If we begin to understand this and stop the cycle of allowing negative emotions to increase the feeling of separation, if we begin to look for points of harmony, for ways to be closer, we can make the disharmony a distant memory.

The next time you find yourself moving into negative emotions over something that is separating yourself from others, stop and ask yourself what your long term goals are. Do you want humanity to live in peace? Do you want  your children and children’s children to feel that same discord or do you want them to feel a part of a wonderful loving humanity? If you focus upon your longer-term goals you can feel in your gut when you are moving toward them or away from them. If you want the future to hold more evidence of love between all peoples, examine your thoughts when you encounter a situation. If your thoughts feel worse in your gut you are moving away from your true desires. Try to move to thoughts that are more general. Try thoughts such as “This is an isolated incident. Most people never experience anything like this.” See if that feels better. Then try thoughts such as “We are all connected, on the quantum level there is no separation. This will actually help society increase our desire for wholeness. We can use this to help us focus on what we want. This has helped clarify what we do not want. Let’s turn our attention to what we do want. We always move in the direction of where our attention is focused. I choose to move toward a more loving world.”  See if those thoughts don’t feel better in your gut. If you are ready, you can even take it to an even better place. “There are already people who have achieved a feeling of connection with the whole of humanity. Their numbers are growing and I want people like that in my life. That is where I want to head. Our connection is what I want my children to feel.”

Please spread the above as far and as wide as you are inspired to share the words. This wisdom has been with all humankind throughout the ages as the quotes below reflect. Deep within each of us, we all know their truth. Modern technology gives us the opportunity to spread this wisdom to more conscious minds than ever before. The potential transformation to a world of peace has never been closer.

Candles along the path to peace have become spotlights illuminating the night. Look and you will find.

~ Jeanine Joy, April 15, 2012, Lombard, IL

“When you see love, you are being informed by the eternal you.
This is the source that created the Universe. Let the eternal you guide your awakening.
If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself.
If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself.
Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.”

~ Lao Tzu

“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him.
If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.”

~ Buddha

” You cannot find someone, even if they deserve it, as your enemy and stay Connected with who you are at the same time, because your Source will not take sides like that. No one can stay connected to Source Energy, and push hard against someone else. There are these battles that are fought in the name of “God”, and all of these prayers that say, “God is on our side,” and we say, god is not on your side, nor is god on the side of those who fight against you. god does not take those sides.” 

~ Abraham

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

~ Mohandas Gandhi

“Love is deeply nourishing. 
Like oxygen, it is essential for life. 
The emotions of hatred and fear are poisons that literally stop us in our tracks. 
They paralyze us, physically halting energy production at a cellular level. 
We are not meant to hate.”

~ Marcey Shapiro, M.D.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” 

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Each man should frame life so that at some future hour fact and his dreaming meet.” 

 ~ Victor Hugo

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

 ~ Harriet Tubman

“It takes someone with a vision of the possibilities to attain new levels of experience.
Someone with the courage to live his dreams.”

~ Les Brown

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”

~ Luke 6:27

“The worshipers of the All-Merciful are they who tread gently upon the earth, and when the ignorant address them, they reply, “Peace!”

~ Qur’an 25:63

“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our mind.”

– Bob Marley

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”

– Albert Einstein

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

~ Psalm 34:14

Small communities grow great through harmony, great ones fall to pieces through discord.

~ Sallust

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments.
Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

– Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.”  ~ Romans 12:17
Each and every master, regardless of the era or the place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth.
There are many paths leading to the top of Mount Fuji, but there is only one summit – love.

~ Morihei Ueshiba

© 2012-2014 by Joy. (Happiness1st.com)

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The Real Solution to Undesired Behaviors

Why I don’t focus on helping one group 

The knowledge I’ve gained in my journey has benefits that can be applied in so many ways.  I think the ways are actually endless.

My work might  appeal to more people if I structured the programs with narrower names or missions.

There are many programs that grab attention because they are aimed at helping “Politically Correct” groups. Programs designed to help women and/or girls. Programs designed to help the economically disadvantaged or other groups—there are too many sub-groups to even begin listing them.

But every time I see something that focuses on one group, it feels to me as if they are pushing against other groups.

I just saw what looked like a fantastic program to help women and girls but within the description it spoke about a program to help boys and men learn not to treat women and girls badly.

At its essence, it is divisive. It feels “off” to me.

It does not recognize that someone who mistreats another is unhappy. If that person were happier, they would not do as they are doing. Behavior is tied to emotional stance and no amount of education about “proper” behavior will change that basic truth. When we address the root–the emotional state–we will see the progress we seek.

The solutions to all social problems is a better world for all.

The person who mistreats another is not someone who is in an emotionally good state of mind.

If someone is being a bully they are in emotional pain. They would not treat another that way if they were in a good emotional state of mind.

For anyone who feels good emotionally it feels worse to treat another poorly. But when someone feels emotionally bad, especially if they feel powerless, they can feel somewhat better by asserting power over another. It is not the preferred path to feeling better and it will never take anyone all the way to joy, but it can offer relief from a totally powerless state of mind. We need to understand this, as a society, a world society, and give the knowledge and tools to all.

We need to give both the aggressors and the victims tools to move from low and powerless feeling emotional states to more empowered states of mind. Knowledge and tools that allow them to move in the direction of feeling better in socially acceptable ways is the solution will solve the problem.

Continuing to create divisiveness is not the solution. It may bring temporary ease to many who need it but it will not eliminate the problem. We could be giving permanent solutions with the same resources.


Is Your Community at Peace?

Is Your Community at Peace?

Is your community at peace or does it feel more like war or a cold war?

Regardless of how you define ‘your community’ you, your family, and your children deserve to live in peace.

Science has shown again and again that increasing positive emotions, optimism, and happiness is good for communities.

Crime goes down.

Teen pregnancy is reduced.

Some multi-generation issues do not occur (depression in the expecting Mom can cause behavioral and sleep problems for the baby and increase risk of asthma and depression in th child).

Even racism is shown to decrease with increased positivity.

Programs can be designed to help communities create a healthier environment for everyone.

Increased positivity is the road to peace, whether you are speaking of your home, your neighborhood, your school, or the world.

We offer two 1-hour programs designed to increase peace, free to organizations on a space available basis.