Understand Your Brain More = Thrive More

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

Your perception becomes your reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nose Blind Commercial

The commercial below is highlighting the filtering process making someone “nose blind,” one of many millions of examples of how the filtering process affects our perception of reality.[embedyt][/embedyt]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Army Wife Talk Radio

Downloadable Re-play 

Jeanine Joy is very excited about being invited to be a guest on Army Wife Talk Radio on  October 5, 2015. She knows military wives often have it tough and don’t always receive the help or recognition they deserve.

The goals of the Army Wife Network resonate with her:

Our purpose is to motivate, inspire, and empower Army families worldwide to make the most of their military journey. We do this by providing helpful information, interviews, and tips that take the guesswork out of Army life.

In 2011, we offered my 40-hour happiness increasing and resilience-building program free to 1,000 veterans of the United States and our English-speaking allies. We are ashamed to admit that at the time we did not think to offer spouses or other family members access to the course.  That is an oversight that we will not make the next time we are able to make such an offer.  That oversight points to a common problem, one Army Wife Network seeks to address.

For now, we are immediately expanding our veteran’s discounts to military spouses and children.  Our programs are limited to mature 14-year olds and above (accompanied by a parent until age 18) unless it is a program offered in a school or at a religious institution. Younger children can certainly benefit, but it is important for parents to understand the techniques employed to relieve stress so they can support their children.

What Will The Show Cover?


It is never possible to know in advance what will be discussed on a live broadcast, but topics that may be covered during the show include:

  • A way to maintain a close relationship during long separations.
  • How to be supportive and practice good self-care when someone you love seems to change for the worse.
  • How to be resilient when you’re worried.
  • How to sustain friendships during times of high stress.
  • How to be honest and soothe children when their Father is away.
  • How to lessen loneliness.
  • How to make moving often easier on yourself.
  • How to reduce stress when you’re overwhelmed.
  • One way to make life less stressful everyday.
  • How to manage and avoid negative spirals when you can’t find a good-feeling thought.
  • How to be strong and get the emotional support you need.
  • Transitions between parenting and co-parenting—making it easier during and after deployment.
  • How to deal with your own anxiety and depression.

Jeanine Joy is making sure she has responses that are filled with practical techniques that can be used in real life and explained quickly enough to make the show rich with actionable techniques. She’d love to be part of a catalyst that creates an upward spiral for military spouses.

Additional resources are available at the Army Wife Network.

Also, feel  free to ask questions in the comments section below. We’ll do my best to respond to as many as we can.

 Listening Instructions

To listen to the show, broadcast at 8 p.m. ET on October 5, 2015, go to Army Wife Talk Network. You can listen from around the world over your computer. The show will also be recorded and available for download if you cannot listen when it is live.


I won’t be able to participate on Twitter while I’m being interviewed. I’m just not that skilled at multi-tasking, I will respond after the broadcast.


Hashtag: #armywife


The Army Wife Network has the following advice about using Twitter:

“It is very hard to keep up with a single conversation on Twitter. We use TweetChat as our aggregator. Via TweetChat you can follow our hashtag – #armywife – and view all posts associated with it. That way the conversation flows better. Simply visit and login with your Twitter username and password. You’ll see a box with “hashtag to follow” and you’ll enter “armywife.” All of the tweets that have been posted with #armywife will show up. If you want to not miss posts while you’re doing something else, you can hit the “pause” button. To catch up, simply click “start.” To Tweet within TweetChat, simply type in the large box at the top of the screen. TweetChat will automatically add the #armywife so you are participating in the conversation. Clicking on the arrow icon lets you reply directly to someone’s tweet. The square “retweets”- essentially the Twitter equivalent of the Facebook share. The star “favorites” a tweet, functioning as a Facebook “like.”


Join the conversation on Facebook:

Another Opinion

Periodically I am going to post Another Opinion to questions asked of Amy Dickinson and Billy Graham. I’ve always loved reading advice columns and find that questions draw from me answers I was not aware I had until I hear the question.

Often I believe that the answers individuals are provided in the advice columns fall short. I also have an advantage. I am not limited to thde space constraints these syndicated columnists have although sometimes I may attempt to answer with as much brevity as they use. However, when larger examples are helpful I don’t know why newspapers don’t include a link to a deeper dive into the answer. Doing so could be a real public service.

The first one is titled, “Woman wants trip with mom” and indicates she is looking forward to a road trip with her mom to visit her brother. The problem is her Uncle who talks non-stop has invited himself to join them and neither of them want him to join them for the trip because they want one-on-one time together.

Where the brother they are visiting resides he would be most welcome. This accomplishes their goal of getting one-on-one time but does not make the uncle feel unappreciated or unloved.

It’s just another opinion. We all have one. This is mine. Today. Tomorrow it could be different.


This column was originally published July 17, 2015 in the Charlotte Observer.

Stressed Employees and Business Owners

Stressed employees and business ownersStressed employees and business owners

Helping Stressed Employees and Business Owners

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

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

The changes become permanent and life is less stressful thereafter.

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

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


Students and Stress

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

Stressed Students at desk flyer

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



Empower Yourself

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

Default programming is not optimal programming.

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

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

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

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

Empower Yourself

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

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

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Smart Employers Know . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Burnout in High Stress Occupations: Solutions

Employee Engagement

Recent studies have reported employee engagement levels at or below 30%. Traditional methods of employee engagement attempt to change the corporate culture and management in order to change the employees. But older wisdom tells us that true change must come from within. After decades of using the traditional approach with dismal results (30% of employees are engaged), isn’t it time to give another method a try? The results could hardly be worse.

Burnout in High Stress Occupations

Worldwide, burnout in high stress occupations is taking a toll and causing concerns. This is especially true in the healthcare industry where physicians and nurses are experiencing burnout with two dire consequences. 1) The care they are able to provide is lower as a result of the burnout, and 2) They are leaving the field and taking their years of training, hand in hand engagement burnout resilience-001expertise and experience with them.This is not good for the employees, the employers, or the public. Burnout and lack of employee engagement go hand in hand.

We need a better solution and there is a mountain of evidence pointing to resilience as the missing piece. Resilience stands alone as the most important factor in maintaining employee engagement.

“The failure or loss of resilience in physicians leads to burn-out, which is a major concern in medical centres because of its impact on health care.” (Eley et al, 2013)

If you step back and look at the relationship between employee engagement and resilience, it becomes easy to see why addressing engagement by attempting to change the environment instead of strengthening employees is failing.

Perhaps employers are reluctant to spend their resources strengthening employees who can leave the organization. I can see how easy that objection to strengthening employees could be made. I also see how short sighted it is.

Beyond a certain point, the work and work environment is far more important to employees than compensation. If that weren’t true, many occupations would have to pay a great deal more to get anyone to do the work.

Does management affect culture? Yes, of course. But a resilient employee can thrive under a bad manager because that employee will respond in ways that support his or her own continued engagement. Resilience relies heavily on mindset. With the last really bad boss I had, I developed several mantras that helped me remain engaged with the work and the company even though I had no respect or trust for the boss I had caught lying and deliberately wasting company resources. At the time I worked for one of what I call the “Big Box banks” and in my time there my bosses tended to last 6 – 8 months, then I’d report to the Senior Vice President until a new boss was hired. I loved working directly for the SVP because of the mutual respect we’d developed over the years. The main thing I had to do to remain engaged in my role was remind myself that the bad boss would be gone soon.

Okay, yes, that is over simplification. But the other perspectives I took to feel better all flowed easily once that one was in place. Did I thrive? Yes. In fact, it was while working under that boss that I was promoted to Vice President. I also did not stress about him after hours. If my mind began ruminating about what he had done that was irritating, frustrating or infuriating I would remind myself that he would be gone soon, which enabled me to let it go. Was he gone soon? Yes. In fact, I’ve noticed that most really bad bosses don’t last too long–not just for myself but also with friends and family.

Who suffers most under a bad boss? It is not the most vulnerable. I was a single Mom raising two children on my own. It is the one who believe the current problem is going to be permanent. The ones who worry not just about today, but about what it will be like working for that bad boss in six months or six years. It is those who do not believe they can do anything about the situation.

Interestingly, those same traits are associated with depression. Ruminating, anxiety, and unnecessary worry make someone vulnerable–not their life circumstances.

What Difference Does this Make?

If your employees are not resilient, adverse circumstances can quickly lead to a lack of engagement. You cannot control the circumstances the employee works under. There are too many moving parts. You have some control over these parts but no control over most of them. The employer cannot control whether or not the:

  • Employee gets adequate sleep before coming to work
  • Employee’s children are cooperative while they prepare for the day ahead
  • Employee eats breakfast
  • Employee argues with members of their family before coming to work (or even during work)
  • The morning commute goes well (millions of moving parts here including other drivers being rude, getting  a ticket, having an accident, car breakdowns, spilling coffee, heavy traffic, noticing weeds allowed to flourish in a neighbor’s yard, a song on the radio that makes the employee feel sad, flat tires, parking issues, and more)
  • Other employees are rude to the employee
  • Customers are rude to the employee
  • Employee likes the way coffee in the breakroom was prepared
  • Employee has minor illnesses or aches/pains (i.e. tension headaches, minor stomach upset, indigestion, sore muscles, etc.)
  • Employee is worried about personal finances
  • Employee is worried about a child being bullied, skipping school, having sex, drinking, doing drugs, smoking or other undesired activities
  • Employee is worried about the health of a personal relationship
  • Employee is worried about a loved one for an unlimited number of reasons
  • Employee feels loved or appreciated by anyone
  • Employee finds meaning in their work (this is a function of perception–not the role)

The above list may seem lengthy but it is far from an exhaustive list of factors that contribute to the employee’s performance on any given day. If the employee works with others, whether bosses, peers, or subordinates each factor would be multiplied by each of the people with whom the employee has interactions.

The bottom line is that the employer cannot control the work environment beyond a very limited scope. How the employee responds to the circumstances has a far greater impact on employee engagement than anything the employer can do. Resilient employees respond to life’s ups and downs in ways that allow them to bounce back. What is a deep valley to an employee who lacks resilience is a mere pothole to the resilient employee.

The Good news is

Resilience is a learnable skill. (Cloninger & Cloninger, 2011)

Resilience leads to desirable traits including:

  • Being responsible
  • Perseverance
  • Psychological and Behavioral maturity
  • Cooperation
  • Optimism
  • Self-direction

Resilience is associated with a lack of unnecessary worry, anxiety, and negative rumination.

Building A Resilient Culture

You can build a resilient culture that will support and encourage engagement by teaching employees skills that increase their personal resilience. Once taught, there will be a natural tendency to support and strengthen that culture.

We all know, intuitively, that we want to feel good. Resilience feels better than the alternative. Working with other people who are resilient creates an atmosphere that is positive and nurturing. There is less competitiveness within the organization and more cooperation toward accomplishing shared goals. There is a greater desire to better oneself because the belief that doing so will have a positive outcome increases in the resilient individual. There is greater focus on solutions and less frustration with problems.

One of my all time favorite quotes is:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Maimonides

Teaching employees the skills that lead to resilience is like teaching them to fish. Once acquired the skills are used because using them feels better than not using them. In an organization where all employees are being taught the skills the opportunities for positive reinforcement will help them quickly develop new habits of behavior and thought. The way these skills are taught makes individuals more receptive to feedback about course adjustments than they were before.

If you’re not satisfied with your employee engagement numbers or you’re concerned about burnout, contact us today for a free consultation. You’ll be glad you did.

(7O4) 25I…5I5O

P.S. The other great benefit with our program? The way we increase resilience also increases Emotional Intelligence (EQ), an essential trait of leaders who can go the distance.


Verbal Abuse Worse Than Physical Abuse?

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

Verbal Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact us today to see how we can help.

Private Schools and Suicide

Private Schools and Suicide

The findings about whether private schools provide some protection against suicide are mixed.

A 2014 study of 8407 children found than 10.1% of privately educated students thought about committing suicide and half of those (5.2%) made plans to commit suicide. More than half those who made plans attempted to commit suicide (2.8%). If these numbers seem If these numbers seem abhorrent to you, you’ll be shocked to learn the frequency was about half what the researchers found for publicly educated children.

An earlier study at Texas State University found that private schools did not provide protection against suicide.

The answer is it depends on the child and the things the child finds the most stressful. Certainly students who attend private schools (both secular and religious) attempt suicide, like Matthew Cline. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5 to 14 year olds.

Suicide is also contagious. When one child chooses to end his or her life prematurely other teens can view suicide as a way to end their emotional pain. Davidson, North Carolina, an upscale college town suburb of Charlotte has seen more than its share of suicides in recent years. Other towns have also experienced clusters of suicides. The way suicide is reported impacts the contagion effect. Not only is what one’s friends do important, this Princeton study found that what friends think is important.

There are many quotes about choosing one’s friends wisely because the company you keep determines who you become. The quantity of quotes, all with the same message, points to a basic truth.

Primary Prevention

Most suicide prevention efforts focus on the crisis point, but research clearly demonstrates that protective factors can be developed and that the earlier prevention efforts are made, the more effective they are. All prevention efforts are important but my work focuses on Primary Prevention. What is Primary Prevention (other than something that deserves much more attention than it currently receives?)

Primary Prevention is addressing potential problems early enough that the problem they are designed to prevent never occurs. When you wash your hands you are practicing Primary Prevention against the spread of disease and bacteria. When you brush your teeth you are practicing Primary Prevention of gum disease, rancid breath, and even heart disease. The factors that distinguish Primary Prevention is that:

  1. It is designed to prevent a problem
  2. It occurs when prevention is easiest and more likely to be successful
  3. Unlike treating symptoms after the problem develops, Primary Prevention is a cure that works before it is necessary

There are two ways to address suicide prevention before the crisis. One is to educate the public about suicide warning signs and risk factors and provide information about when to act and what to do. The goal of this type of Suicide Awareness and Prevention Education is to help friends, families, teachers, and religious leaders identify a risk before the crisis point. Most of the published articles make a cursory attempt to provide this education but they fall far short of providing information on the 40 different warning signs. The typical article lists about five. They seldom provide information about what to do and when to act when someone notices warning signs.

We don’t think a list of five warning signs is adequate. Even a list of 40 warning signs without an explanation is inadequate because it leaves too much open for interpretation or misinterpretation with deadly consequences. For this reason we are holding Public Suicide Prevention Meetings to educate and empower parents, educators, public servants, health care providers, religious leaders and friends can be part of the prevention effort.

The other way to address suicide prevention is true Primary Prevention. Researchers have repeatedly found that resilience provides protection against suicide. Researchers have repeatedly associated resilience with life-long positive outcomes in areas as wide-ranging as career success, mental health, physical health and good relationships. Scientists from many disciplines agree that resilience is a learnable skill. Resilience alters the outcome of childhood trauma and abuse in a positive way. This is important because the level of abuse (physical, sexual, and verbal) is over 30%. Recent research has also demonstrated that verbal abuse often has the worst long-term negative impact. This seems counter to what we feel the greatest revulsion to but when evaluated for the day-to-day effect, this outcome begins to make more sense.

Verbal Abuse

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

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

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

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

Resilience is a Learnable Skill

Resilience can be increased with learnable skills. The long term effect of resilience is lower risk of suicide, greater likelihood of educational and career success, better relationships, improved mental, emotional and physical health. Resilience also improves the chances of a favorable outcome following trauma. While we are all familiar with PTSD in combat veterans, it also frequently affects victims of accidents and violent crimes. Well developed resilience increases the chances an individual will bounce back from such events and from other less traumatizing events such as the loss of a job, end of a romantic relationship and the death of a loved one. The faster, easier recovery lessens the risk of other undesired outcomes such as drug and alcohol abuse.

Developing resilience is the best form of Primary Prevention against suicide. We offer courses for children and adults that teach these skills.

Public Suicide Prevention and Awareness Meetings

Please attend one of the scheduled meetings. They are free and they could save a life.  If you are an educator, religious leader, business leader, public servant or health care worker please attend both for your own knowledge and to evaluate whether you would like a presentation for your organization. I will accommodate as many requests as I can to bring this valuable information to our community. Every attendee will receive a copy of  Prevent Suicide: The Smart Way.

Emergency Numbers

If you are thinking that maybe you’d rather be dead or that those you care about would be better off if you were, call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline now at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor. Or, call your doctor, dial 911, or go to an emergency room. For a free detailed booklet on depression and its treatment, go to:

Someone wants to help you. Please call

International Emergency Numbers

Australia 000

New Zealand 111

Fiji   000 or 911

United Kingdom  112 or 999

Ireland      112 or 999

Turkey   112

Switzerland  112

India  102

Hong Kong 999

Israel  101 or 112

Japan   119

Nepal  102

UAE   112

Brazil  192

Costa Rica  911

S. Africa   112, 10 177

China  120

Philippines  117 or 112

How Fast is Worry Killing You?

How fast is worry killing you?

Worrying causes stress. You could say worry is a form of self-induced stress. When you feel negative emotion of any type, it creates stress in your body. Worry can be a slight worry, such as a worry about whether you left the coffee pot on as you drive to work or it can be a continuous concern for the welfare of those you love.

When you worry, as soon as you feel worried, a bio-chemical change occurs in your body. These changes affect every aspect of your body, including your immune system, cognitive function, central nervous system, and digestive function to name a few. This creates a pathway for illness and disease.

The digestive function disruption, when it is continually disrupted with chronic stress from any source, including habitual worrying, becomes dysregulate greatly increasing the risks of obesity and diabetes and lowering its ability to deliver nutrition from the foods you eat to your body.

The effect on your immune system is worse. Your incidence of cold and flu will not only be more frequent, the episodes will be more severe. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. The risk from cancer and even Alzheimer’s increases as immune function declines. An attitude of positive expectation reduces the risk of developing heart disease by 50% (Boehm, 2012). The risk of other diseases also increases.

Why do you worry? What is worry? In many cases worry is a lack of trust. In many cases it is not a conscious lack of trust, but a habitual one. For example, if you worry about the welfare of your child when he or she is not with you, perhaps your young adult child, where you have no control over the outcome you may believe your worry is love, but it is really indicating that you do not trust your child to take care of him or herself. That worry may make the child doubt him or herself, lowering self-esteem, which increases the risk of becoming a victim.

Additionally, this child you love may someday die earlier for two reasons. Today the research linking the detrimental effects of chronic stress, including chronic worry are not widely known. They are known in the halls of academia where the research has been found, but the public has not yet embraced this new knowledge that changes the way we look at healthy behavior. But if you’re worrying about a twenty-something year-old, he or she will someday understand that your early demise was partially because of worry you did about his or her welfare. Now, an emotionally healthy person will realize that she was not responsible for how you thought about her, and whether you trusted her to do what was best for herself. But if that level of emotional intelligence is not achieved, he may feel guilty about how much you worried on his behalf. Guilt is another negative emotion, one that if it is chronic, will cause the same bio-chemical chain reaction described above for worrying. Thus, your habit of worrying has the potential to rob not only you of years of healthy life, but also rob the person you are worrying about.

Now, let’s consider a major cause of worry—projecting things we see reported on the news as likely scenario’s for us or are loved ones. Is this a valid concern? Yes, to the extent that bad things happen in the world. No as far as the likelihood that they will happen to someone you love. For example, most parents worry about their child being abducted by a stranger. The risk of this is 1 out of 1.5 million children. A woman I am citing in my upcoming book, Stress Kills:Happiness Heals, figured out that a child would have to be left outside unattended for 750,000 years in order to make the risk 1 out of 1. Why do we fear this so much?

Most of us believe the media is here to inform us of life during our times. But the truth is that the media did research to see what makes viewers watch more. How does the media make money? Ratings, based on the number of viewers. What is their job? It is to get good ratings. Nowhere in that job description is there anything about informing us. If that were their goal, they might report how many millions of people made it home tonight and every night instead of scouring the planet for the worst of human experience and piping it into our homes.

Look behind the veil and see that when the media pushes that into your living room, they are doing their job, because the research showed that frightened viewers watch more news.

Remember, the first thought you have and the emotional response you have to the thought does not mean the thought is true or even likely. Negative emotion only means that the perspective of the thought is different from what is desired from the situation. The emotion does not give the potential greater validity, unless and until you let it take root.

Now, I’m not saying tragedies don’t happen. But the likelihood of one happening to you or your loved ones is extremely small. The likelihood of you having negative health outcomes from habitual worry is large.

Worry is not love. As stated earlier, worry indicates a lack of trust.

There are other factors at work here as well. When you continually worry about someone, it can diminish their confidence. Research into who criminals choose as victims shows that a lack of confidence greatly increases the risk of becoming a victim.

Is your loved one of such low intelligence that he cannot make good decisions about where to go and who to go with?

Or is your loved one just as concerned about her own wellbeing as you are and consciously making good decisions that make her safer?

Remember, the survival instinct is strong in each of us almost all the time. There are some exceptions when life feels too difficult, but that is often more a lack of resilience than a truly horrific life. My recent book, Prevent Suicide: The Smart Way increases resilience, a strong protective factor against suicide. But outside the arena of suicide (which is a temporary state of mind that will pass if given the opportunity to do so), we all have a strong natural self-preservation instinct. Combine intelligence, some common sense and this survival instinct and the risk we won’t always make it home safely is very small.

There is another pathway that being distrusted can lead to increased risk. It does not feel good when you aren’t trusted—even when the distrust manifests as worry. This can lower self-esteem and also mood, both of which are risk factors that make it more likely someone will drink and/or experiment with drugs. These will increase the risk of something to worry about happening, but the root is not the drinking or drugs, it is the lack of trust that made the person seek solace in those things.

It’s Christmas Eve. Many families will be gathered today. Many families whose conversations do not go very deep. Oh, they love one another, but they don’t know one another. Instead of worry, show your loved ones love and trust. Let them know that you’ve been misled by the media and maybe also by your own experiences in the world you lived in at their age, or the naiveté you had at their age, but you’re now going to do your best to trust more and worry less.

If you’re worried that someone is at risk, instead of worrying, take action. Tell them you are worried and that it is your life experience and your personal history and habits of thought that make you worry but they could help you overcome that by sharing with them what they do to protect themselves.

If a relative were to ask me that I would be happy to share the multitude of ways I manage my life and actions to be safe, from locking my doors to planning where I go and when I go, to wearing sensible shoes if I am out alone, to being aware of my surroundings, etc. You may be surprised at younger ladies, many of them seldom go anywhere alone, partly for social reasons but I think also because they feel more comfortable having a friend along.

Have real conversations—not surface ones. It will build stronger relationships which research shows improves your health.


Lower Crime is What We Really Want RE: Ray Rice and other crimes

Lower Crime

There is a great deal of media surrounding Rice, debate about what should happen to him, about whether the NFL’s actions were right, wrong, justified, fair or unfair, sexist treatment, and speculation about his relationship with his wife.

I’m not going to talk about that. I’m going to talk about what we want. We want a world where people are nicer to one another, a world where no one spits in another person’s face, where people do not hit each other, and even a world where people don’t drink to the point where they behave in ways they later regret.

Isn’t that what we all want?

I’m going to walk through the scenario that most people are at least somewhat familiar with and explain it in terms of human thriving–it’s causes and what hinders it.

First, both Ray and Janay had been drinking.

If they had been happy, they would not have drank to the extent they did. Hang in there and I’ll explain my comments, step-by-step, in a way that most people will be able to follow.

Why do I say that if they were happy they would not have been drinking to that extent?

Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows the function of the central nervous system. Alcohol actually blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain. This alters a person’s perceptions, emotions, movement, vision, and hearing.

When a person is truly happy, drinking makes him (or her) feel worse.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but everything humans do is because we believe it will make us feel better. We may believe that paying our bills will feel better than having our car repossessed, it does not mean we enjoy paying the bill–it means we judge paying the bill as the better feeling of the two alternatives. Or it may be that the person holds herself to a standard that says she keeps her word and so maintaining that standard by paying her bills feels better than not doing so. Some people even find enjoyment in paying their bills because they remember a time when they could not easily pay them.

Or, it could be that we don’t do something because we believe we will feel better not doing it than we would if we did it–even if we want to do it in that moment. Think about something you chose not to do because you knew you’d pay a price by feeling guilty (or worse) if you did it. You chose not to do that thing because you believed you would feel better if you did not do it. It could be a piece of chocolate cake you politely refused or advances from someone you found attractive while on a business trip or even an opportunity to take something that did not belong to you.

We just innately lean in the direction of what feels better to us.

It is truly the way we’re wired. It is not even a conscious decision most of the time.

It is not just what would feel best right now. All sorts of variables come into play and they take into account our short and long-term goals. It is not just about pleasure seeking in the sense of physical pleasure. Goals such as good relationships, maintaining integrity, good reputation, being good examples, and thousands of other goals that impact how thoughts, words, and actions feel to us are part of the equation that determines what feels best to us.

But, for sure, when someone is truly, deeply happy, drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication feels worse than not drinking. The reason is because when you’re that happy life feels good so the depressant effect of alcohol dulls the good feelings you’re experiencing from life itself. Drinking more than a glass or so of wine will feel worse to someone who is truly happy.

I can’t prove it to you, but if you get really happy, you can prove it to yourself.


A lot of people can’t imagine someone who has the income and career Rice had before February 15th being unhappy but if it isn’t already obvious, you need to accept that income, fame, and other often sought advantageous circumstances are not the root cause of happiness. The sooner the world stops believing that achievements are the cause of, or required for happiness, the sooner the real root cause will be recognized and help more people reach true happiness. If you doubt that acclaim and high income are not what causes happiness you’re not paying attention. If they were the cause, the world would not have lost one of it’s living treasures last month.

The root cause of happiness is skill based. Skills that individuals use to help them use their mind in ways that support positive expectations and hopefulness about life are the root cause of happiness.

That using simple and practical skills increases happiness is another thing I cannot prove to you but it is blatantly obvious if you learn how to use the skills. You have to experience it to believe it, but when you experience it, you believe.

Talking about happiness and behavior may seem to be off topic but i assure you it is not. I’ve converted a White Paper on the subject into a blog to make it more accessible to readers.


There is another aspect of happiness that you need to understand to see the connection to this behavior. The more empowered someone feels, the happier the person is. The less empowered someone feels, the less happy the person is. Let’s jog back to the earlier statement that everything we do is to feel better (or not to feel worse). Since we are always doing what we believe will make us happier (or not less happy) we are always attempting to remain stable in our level of perceived power or increase it.

If this is not resonating with you at some level, it might help if you read this article on the root cause of senseless tragedies before continuing. The real cause of happiness is different than most of us have been taught. The real cause of crime and undesirable behaviors is not that some people are good and others are evil. The good and evil explanation can help people separate themselves from those who commit abhorrent actions–something that makes them feel safer and as if they could never do those things. But it misdirects our attention from the real cause, thereby delaying and interfering with our ability to actually prevent such actions on a wide scale.

The truth is that when we feel emotionally good, our behavior is better and when we feel emotionally bad, our behavior worsens.

Think about a time when you were already in a bad mood (or overly tired) and you overreacted in a way you later regretted. I think almost everyone has experienced this at some point. Some people experience it on an almost daily basis. Sometimes the behavior you later regret is something that does not cause a great deal of harm and is easily fixable (sometimes with a side of humble pie). It might just be a snide comment when you later wish you’d been nicer. Sometimes it is an unkind word to someone you care about. Sometimes it is something with deeper ramifications.

There is a combination of factors that impact how bad the behavior is when a person feels less positive emotion than they want to in that moment. One of those factors is how much worse the person feels. Another factor is how that person habitually responds. Another factor is what is “the norm” in the environment the person is accustomed to. There are other factors but these are enough to move forward.

I just Goggled and read about Ray Rice’s early years. I did not know anything about his early years before I wrote the prior paragraph but I would have bet a large amount of money that his early years included strife, so I was not surprised to learn that his Father was murdered when Ray was 1-year-old or that a cousin who became a father figure to him was lost to him a decade later in a car accident. Nor was I surprised to learn that his early years involved financial strain. His actions on February 15th were enough for someone who understands the relationship between behavior and emotional state to discern that there would be adversity in his childhood.

The details could have varied significantly. Poverty and the loss of a parent is not required to produce someone who will behave in that way. A parent who is physically present but who withholds love, or hides it behind strict and punitive behaviors attempting to “make a man” out of a boy who the parent believes is overly sensitive, can do the same. There are many paths, but a childhood that creates a deep and stable sense of worthiness does not lead to that type of behavior–a childhood where that inner sense of worthiness is not developed can lead to undesired behaviors. Paths that make a person feel something is missing, that leave an empty feeling inside, lead to undesirable behaviors.

It may be easier to look at it from the other direction. A man who is confident in his manhood and capable of expressing love and feeling loved would not respond in the way Ray did in that elevator. Ray was not in danger of physical harm, but he was experiencing pain–psychological pain. Psychological pain can be worse than physical pain. Our society does not accept this yet but it will-someday. It is not people who suffer from painful illnesses (arthritis, gout, back injuries, cancer) who commit horrendous crimes. It is those who have suffered long-term psychological pain who commit those senseless tragedies. (I am not referring to Ray Rice here as far as the senseless tragedies–I am referring mostly to murder-suicides and those who commit multiple homicides.)

You have to understand that someone can be loved but not be able to feel loved because he does not love himself. Unless and until you think favorably about yourself, all the love in the world can be sent your way but you cannot receive it. I elaborate on this in more depth in When Only You Can Prevent Suicide which will be released in October, but for now, can you see that Robin Williams would not have been depressed if he truly felt loved? Being loved and being able to feel loved are two totally separate things.Love Yourself first

The same is true of feeling empowered. Someone can have a $35 million dollar contract and be one of the best running backs around, but still not feel good deep inside. Ray Rice did not have a childhood, by age 8 he was working to help his Mom support the family. I’m not making excuses for his behavior. I am attempting to demonstrate two things. One is that it is possible to teach Ray Rice skills that would ensure he would never again behave in that way. Skills that he did not have the opportunity to learn. In fact, most people do not learn these skills.

A Path Built on False Premises

The way our society is currently structured, few people adjust their happiness level using skills and their sense of empowerment is not increased using pro-social, skill-based methods. Humanity created a much harder, false path to greater empowerment and happiness. That path tells citizens that money and success are the path to feeling empowered and happiness. In many ways this makes it worse for those who achieve either one. While a person is striving for the things society teaches can lead to happiness and a sense of empowerment (money and success) they can feel hopeful that when they achieve their goals, that emptiness inside will end. When reaching their goals does not provide the sense of fulfillment they desire, it can be even worse. Society expects them to be happy. Those who have not yet reached success still believe that the successful person should feel fulfilled and happy. So society now judges the person more harshly if the person acts out in ways that are socially unacceptable. Yet, those behaviors are symptoms of someone who does not feel good on the inside.

Think about it. While I believe all would agree that we do not want any adult to hit another adult and especially not a strong man hitting a woman (or a much smaller man, or a child), is Ray Rice being judged the same way he would if he had never achieved his position at Rutgers and then in the NFL? If he had dropped out of high school and was working a minimum wage job somewhere, with the same history, would we not be less judgmental. We would. Why? Because in many ways we would see it as inevitable–the difficult childhood, the poverty, the apparent dead end trajectory of his future. We still would not condone it, but we would feel we understood it better. Isn’t his perceived success playing a role in the public judgment of his actions that day?

Most people think he had what almost everyone wants–financial success and a brilliant career. But that is not what we really want. Oh, it’s great to have it–if we feel fulfilled inside. But when we sought it for that feeling and then the feeling does not come, it is worse than still being hopeful that if we manage to achieve it we will feel better.

We want financial success and a good career because we believe they will make us feel better.

Let me ask you this. In our society, when a person is super successful with these external measures, but the person still feels that unfulfilled emptiness inside: Who do they have to complain to about it? Who will even listen? Who will lend a sympathetic ear? Almost no one–because they won’t be able to understand why he does not feel that way. They still believe that what he has accomplished should make him feel fulfilled and empowered. They believe that if they had what he has, they would feel fulfilled and empowered. They’re living in a delusion society has created and reinforces in many ways every day.

A belief is just a thought you’ve thought long enough until you develop a belief.

Most of us have been taught to believe that financial success will lead to happiness and a sense of fulfillment.

That this is a lie does not matter.

When you believe something, your brain interprets the world as if the belief is true.

How many of those with great achievements–athletes, comedians, actors and actresses, businessmen and women, scientists, artists have to demonstrate to us that their phenomenal success in their career and financially has not brought them happiness or a sense of fulfillment before society throws out this false belief? The Galileo Effect is still going strong.

With my understanding of human thriving, I see things in an opposite way than most do. I’ve been studying and working with human thriving for two decades now. I think Ray Rice was more likely to behave the way he did on February 15th because he had achieved fame. No–don’t assign the reason society tends to give for that–arrogance that he is so powerful that he won’t have to pay a price. That is not why I believe as I do.

Achieving fame and financial success but not getting the true desire, the sense of fulfillment inside, made him feel worse (emotionally) than he felt when he was still striving for those things and believed they would fill that void inside. Our society does not shine a bright light on the path that leads to the sense of fulfillment. In fact, we light up another path and fill it with signs that say, “Come this way for fulfillment and happiness.” Those road signs are wrong.

There is nothing wrong with financial success. There is nothing wrong with a successful career. But neither will give what everyone truly desires–happiness and a sense of fulfillment. It is possible to have the sense of fulfillment and happiness with or without financial success and/or a successful career. Happiness and fulfillment come from an inner satisfaction that is achieved by using one’s mind in a health supporting manner. It does not require high intelligence to do it. In fact .

Achieving the level of success Ray Rice achieved and not simultaneously finding the sense of fulfillment he expected (because society teaches us financial/career success leads to fulfillment) would have made him feel worse. In our society, he would not have known where to turn. Many would have ridiculed him if he had publicly admitted that he was not happy despite his success on the field and his ability to help his mom–one of the motivations that helped him achieve his career success. Did he talk about this with his mom? I don’t know but I doubt it. He actually seems like a caring man (despite the action on February 15th) and he might have felt his mom would feel guilty if he did all that to help her and that he was unhappy. He could have felt she might feel guilty if she knew and remained quiet to spare her. I don’t know Ray Rice. I just understand a great deal about human thriving and inner motivations. This may or may not be true, but it is a definite possibility.

So, What Do We Really Want?

Don’t we want to be sure he does not commit another crime? Isn’t that one of the things we want? I’ll get to the other point soon. What I am saying about Ray Rice goes for every person who commits a crime. We want to be sure they will never do it again.

But our society attempts to do that by punishing the person. In the paradigm where we do things (or don’t do things) because we believe we will feel better, punishment is meant to make it feel worse (fear of punishment) to do things society does not want individuals to do. It is one method of preventing undesired behaviors, but it is not an effective one.
Recidivism is a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially: relapse into criminal behavior.

About two-thirds (67.8%) of released prisoners were arrested for a new crime within 3 years, and three-quarters (76.6%) were arrested within 5 years.

Punishment fails in at least 76.6% of the cases and I would bet dollars to donuts that it fails even more often in actually deterring undesired behaviors. Some of the 23.4% who do not go back to prison just become better at not being caught and some of them die before they are caught.

About 7% of the US Population is incarcerated. About 14% of adults in the U.S. are on probation or parole.

I do not believe society wants 7% of the population incarcerated in institutions with revolving doors. Read on for a better solution.

What we (as a society) are doing is not working. The solution is not more laws or more prisons. The solution is to treat the root cause of crime instead of symptoms. Our criminal justice system is much like our current medical system, it treats symptoms instead of the root cause.

Lower CrimeThink about this, people who feel good treat other people better. People who feel bad treat other people worse.

Does punishment make people feel better?

Does punishment make people feel worse?

Is punishment the way to achieve society’s goals?

Yes, sometimes an individual is such a potential menace to society in his or her current mental/emotional state that incarceration is necessary to protect others from the likelihood the person will commit a violent act. I’m not saying that incarceration is unnecessary in some situations.

But we’ve expanded it to be the default response to almost all crime. We’ve focused our efforts on punishment which simply increases the likelihood that person will commit another crime.

There are poor people who do not commit crimes.

In fact, there are people of every color and religion and ethnic heritage and any other label that society slaps on people to separate us from one another who do not commit crimes.

There are rich people who commit crimes.

In all cases, crime is the result of someone who feels disempowered attempting to feel more empowered or to escape from the disempowered feelings.

Let’s look at the drug addict. Happy people do not become drug addicts. They do not want to escape from reality. Happy people are less susceptible to peer pressure because peer pressure is actually just a form of punishment. “I’ll make you feel so bad that agreeing to what I want from you will feel better than the punishment of ostracization.” When someone feels happy and peaceful inside they do not require outsiders to validate their worth, reducing the power of peer pressure.Lower Crime

When the drug addict steals to support her habit, she is doing so because she believe that having money to buy drugs that help her not feel the inner pain will make her feel better.

Let’s look at white collar crime, which increases substantially when the economy goes down, because people are more afraid than they are in a good economy. The increased fear of losing something they’ve worked hard for feels worse than the potential of being caught. When they aren’t afraid, the fear of being caught feels worse (because the gain does not feel as important as the potential loss.)

When someone achieves success but does not gain the sense of fulfillment that was expected, the person actually feels worse. Their sense of empowerment declines because they have attained what they really wanted. The person feels more vulnerable, which translates into protecting the sense of empowerment they have left. A threat to their remaining sense of empowerment becomes a bigger deal that it would have been before they were successful.

None, or very little, of this reasoning may be conscious.

Someone who is confident in himself who is spit upon and hit by a woman who claims she loves him would make the person see her as needing help. From the fulfilled position, her behavior does not make him question his own value or worth. His sense of self is stable.

Someone who is already feeling vulnerable who is spit upon and hit by a woman who claims she loves him makes him feel as if he is losing what little sense of empowerment he has left. It is a bigger threat and the response Ray Rice gave on February 15th demonstrates that he felt threatened (emotionally) by her behavior.

Many people are calling for Rice to go to anger management training. While anger management programs help some people, I believe their greatest contribution is the nod they give to the fact that our behavior is not fixed, that it can change. But the techniques typically used (relaxation, cognitive restructuring, problem solving and improving communication strategies) don’t get to the heart of the problem. The techniques used in typical anger management programs are directed at the symptoms.Better Relationships

Behavior change at the level of automatic response is not easily done at the symptom level because the underlying level of happiness and empowerment, or lack thereof, is not changed. Anger management training may help the person control the automatic urge, but the urge is still there. Add some extra stress, illness, or lack of sleep and the ability to control the urge declines rapidly. Anger management is probably better than prison for many people, but it far from the optimal solution.

Skill based techniques that increase happiness and that inner sense of well-being are far more effective. The reason is they address the root cause of the problem, not just symptoms. The urges one feels at higher levels of fulfillment/happiness/empowerment are different than the ones the same person feels at lower levels. Once an individual learns he or she can improve those inner feelings, using the skills to feel better is a far better choice than socially undesired behaviors. What Ray Rice wanted when he hit Janay was to feel better. If he knew how to use skills that would enable him to feel better, he would have used those. In fact, he probably would not have been intoxicated in the first place–something that added to the likelihood of his acting in the way he did.

Both the intoxication and the hitting are symptoms of inner unhappiness.

Society, Ray Rice, and thousands of others would be best served by learning these skills.

I don’t know how the Ray Rice story will end, but I do know what would be better for everyone involved than the typical responses.

Our society has criminalized the symptoms of inner unhappiness. If we begin helping society understand how to achieve those desires that are within us all–happiness and a sense of fulfillment–criminals will begin to disappear. Truly happy people do not commit crimes.

Isn’t what we really want a world where people behave in socially acceptable ways? Don’t we want a society where people are nice to one another? If we want this, we have to begin addressing the root cause and not just the symptoms.

Treating symptoms has increased our prison population substantially and created an environment that is not comfortable for many who live in fear.

It’s time to get out of the box and apply techniques that lead to greater human thriving, techniques based on scientific principles.

It is time to create a better world for everyone.

Do you want to help? I am willing to help you help. I will donate one class where the skills that lead to increased happiness and inner fulfillment and reduced stress are taught to individuals who would benefit from anger management training for everyone who registers for my March 2015 class. The class will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina the week of April 19th.

If the number of registrations exceed 1,000, I will double the offer and give two free programs for every program purchased.

Better Empathy

Empathy and animals

On another post, Is Happiness Wrong? I was asked a question about empathy. Although I answered in the comment section, the formatting is limited in that venue and this is much easier to read.

Here is my definition of happiness:

“The state of happiness we are referring to doesn’t require a constant state of bliss. It is a deep sense of inner stability, peace, well-being, and vitality that is consistent and sustainable. Awareness that one possesses the knowledge and skills to return to a happy state, even when not in that state, is a critical component of sustainable happiness.”


So it is not a perpetual state of happiness that is recommended. That would necessitate some inauthentic responses at times and authenticity is extremely healthy. In Remarkable Recoveries one common thread of individuals who experienced spontaneous recoveries from terminal illnesses was a decision to be more authentic. There is enough evidence about the benefits of authenticity in the research that I always recommend individual’s be authentic.

Better EmpathyEmpathy

It is possible for something to occur that takes one out of the state of happiness, but when they have the skills and have used them often enough that they know they have enough mastery to be able to know the path back to happiness they never really dip below hopeful for long. Hopeful is a pretty healthy emotional state, far better than despair and considerably better than frustrated or other upset emotions.

Better empathy requires finesse. For most people, empathy requires that the person “understand how the upset person feels.” So, for example, let’s say they’ve just found out that someone treated them unfairly (perhaps promoted someone else when they believe they deserved the promotion or cheated on them in a relationship.” I’ll use the cheated on analogy as I explain further because most people can relate to relationship issues.

So, someone is emotionally upset about being cheated on. As their friend, we’re taught to feel empathy for them. This translates into finding out the nitty-gritty details of the transgression and feeling indignant anger and hurt for them by attempting to feel as they feel and validate the feelings they feel.

One of the first things my students learn is that you feel what you feel, no outside validation is necessary. If you feel it, then it is your emotion. You own it. It is the result of your perspective on the topic on which you are focused. There are many other perspectives that could be chosen—millions in fact.

What most people do is take the emotional hit and then make it worse.

I trusted her and love her and she cheated on me.

Choose from millions of thoughts that make it worse:

I’m a horrible judge of character to marry a woman who would cheat on me.

I’ll be alone the rest of my life because I’ll never be able to trust anyone again.

I don’t want to lose her, I don’t want to be alone.

Will I get to see the kids often if I divorce her or will I have full custody and how will I manage that?

What is wrong with me that she was not satisfied with me?

The list of potential thoughts that feel even worse goes on and on.

If you go right there with your friend, you’re feeling anger and despair right along with him. In that emotional state your cognitive abilities decrease. You’re less able to help him find solutions to the questions that are plaguing him. (I’ll ignore the negative health effects for the purposes of this conversation but they are there.) As you enter that emotional state, emphasizing with him, you are also projecting lower expectations about his future prospects to him than you would from a higher emotional state where you would have a broader viewpoint.

That is why I don’t encourage empathy—and especially not long-term empathy. What I recommend instead has several benefits to both people.

First, a word about this. I think it would be very difficult for anyone raised on our current society to not feel empathy for a friend who has experienced something unwanted. It is the duration you’re willing to tolerate the lower emotional state to feel as they feel that I encourage you to shorten—drastically.


Researchers have looked at empathy and found some surprising results. The negative emotional hit that someone who is feeling empathy feels is often worse than the negative emotional hit the person who is actually experiencing the loss feels. The person in the actual situation begins accepting the situation almost as soon as they experience it. The researchers looked at individuals who had lost a child in a natural disaster—a devastating experience. But once it happens, the parent begins the process of accepting the loss whereas the person empathizing with the loss does things like imagine how awful it would be if that were to happen to them and their child.

Researchers have also looked at and recorded the body’s responses to pain and the watchers’ negative hit is worse than the person who, for example, hits his thumb with a hammer.

I found the research interesting and eye-opening. Our imaginations are powerful and when we are the observer, our imagination is able to make our emotional response worse than that of the person actually experiencing the loss.

Other research demonstrates that our pets are mood lifters. When you’re emotionally upset your dog or cat is likely to notice but they will not join you in your low emotional state. Our family dog will sit with anyone who is emotionally upset, seeming to offer comfort, but the moment she senses the person might be ready to feel better she’ll try to start licking them and it always works.Empathy and animals

See The Potential Benefits

For example, one of my friends lost her job in the past year. Upon hearing her news I was upset for her—for something less than about 60 seconds. I have trained myself to see the silver lining so my mind automatically goes to thoughts that feel better, in this case they included:

She hated that job anyway and would have probably stayed too long, continuing to be unhappy for long periods of time each day. It was hurting her health and now she will find something better. She is a well-qualified professional in her field. I am confident she will find something she likes better and could even lessen her long commute and make more money. This is going to turn out well for her. In fact, Joe was telling me he was looking for someone for a similar position last time we talked, I’ll introduce them. Joe would really appreciate her talents and I think they’d work well together.

If I had stayed in a state of empathy, feeling angry on her behalf, it might have been days before I recalled the fact that Joe was looking for someone. I would also not have been in a position to help her remember that she is talented and well-qualified and the fact that her former employer did not appreciate her does not mean she isn’t. The employer could have had myriad reasons for letting her go that had nothing to do with her talent or skill. Perhaps he wanted someone he has a relationship with or a familial relationship. It does not matter. It could have been that her dislike of the work did impact her performance (almost certainly somewhat true), which does not say she would not be highly competent in another role, but that the structure of that particular position did not suit her strengths and/or personality.

In a broad sense, what I encourage in lieu of empathy after that first hit that is pretty inevitable is to look for the silver lining and then help the person see it for herself. See the potential the person has for wellness, for great relationships, for success. See it so clearly that you expect that for them. I won’t go into it here, in True Prevention—Optimum Health: Remember Galileo I expand on it, but research has shown that we have the ability to influence others significantly with our expectations of them.

The ability to see the person fully recovered from whatever is wrong serves them far better than you feeling as they do—despair, hopelessness, anger, resentment, jealousy, rage, frustration, fear, etc.

When you emphasize and feel as they feel your cognitive abilities restrict and you see the world as they do—from a narrowed viewpoint—a viewpoint that cannot see the good possibilities in the future.

When you see the person for their expectation, your emotional state remains at a higher level and you have the ability to influence them to move in a better-feeling emotional direction.

I’ve been doing this for quite a few years and my older friends, ones who pre-date when I learned the root cause of what makes humans thrive, have not all adopted these strategies. It really is most difficult to teach people who knew you before you were an expert. I understand why. The point is that I do spend time with people who do not do as I do. They seek me out when they are troubled because they have learned that I help them find a way to feel better. Seeing the good possibilities feels better than having the negative emotions validated via empathy. I don’t judge their emotions. Emotions are responses to thoughts that we think that assume a specific perspective. We have the ability to change our perspective and feel better but most people assume when they feel a thought that feels bad that it is both true and the only way to look at the situation.

If the emotional response to the thought feels bad there is always a better-feeling way to look at the situation.

Helping someone see their potential when they can’t see it is a gift.

I’ll go back to the imaginary friend I created for the example who found out his wife cheated on him. One of the very first things I go to when someone’s relationship rules are violated in this way is reminding the person that the desire they have is for a relationship with integrity with someone they trust who agrees to the rules for the relationship that they desire. They obviously did not have that and now they know. They did not have that before the actual cheating occurred because if they did the person would not have cheated. I also help them see that the cheating has nothing to do with them—it does not say they are not a good partner. The cheating was about the person who made the decision to take that action. Our behavior is always the result of a combination of things including our current emotional stance. I’ll share with them examples of so many people whose first marriage ended and after a while they find that they are delighted with the outcome. I’ll share my own story about how devastated I was when my first husband cheated and continue on to several years back when I wrote a thank you letter to the other woman. At the point in time that I realized how much better my life had become than it ever would have had I remained married to him, I felt gratitude to her for taking him off my hands. My method gives home when the person is feeling hopeless. It uplifts. It helps the other person see the possibilities for his or her future in a better light than they would achieve quickly if all I did was feel anger with them and validate their current emotional state.

If we feel an emotion, it is a valid response to the thought we are thinking that received that emotional response. The emotion is valid. However, it is not the only possible perspective, even about that topic. Our emotions indicate whether our thought on that topic is serving our highest good. If the response to the thought feels worse, it is moving in the wrong direction. If the response to the thought feels better, it is moving in the right direction.


None of this means that you treat the others’ emotions as wrong. It does not mean you do not care or are not concerned for their well-being. It means that you have a clearer view of a path, or paths, that will help them recover from the loss faster. Your holding this expectation of them, even just in the privacy of your own mind, can increase the other person’s resilience. You can help them bounce back faster.

It requires sensitivity as to when you speak about those paths. It is not appropriate to speak of them when the person is not yet receptive. It is best to begin in a general place (even if you have specifics in mind). For example, I know you’re a strong person. I know you’ll get through this. You have a lot of friends who are willing to help you. You are not alone.

Often, the mere act of holding someone and giving him or her space to experience their current emotions is all you can do in that moment. But rather than drop down into their emotional state while you hold the person, do your best to see the potential for a better future.

Our society tends to hug too briefly for the therapeutic benefits. An 18-second hug feels long to most westerners but that is how long it takes for a wonderful chemical cocktail to be released by the body that is soothing and healing.

Sometimes I will write down the potential I see in the other if the person is not ready to hear about the silver linings I see. I may or may not ever share what I write but what it does is strengthen my expectation for their recovery in a way that helps to make my expectation more dominant. This has a beneficial effect on them that is explained in my book based on something quantum physicists have discovered.

It’s not much different than what many parents do naturally when their child has suffered a disappointment. Although some parents become angry and belligerent when their child does not attain a desired role in the school play, many will be sympathetic while also recognizing the learning opportunity. They may feel glad that the child is learning that while disappointments can feel painful, they live through them and they do feel better in the future, while the parent is around and able to provide comfort. The parent that knows the child who is hurting (because her best friend invited someone else to go with her to the circus) will feel better and will have a lot of fun times in her life is of much greater value to the the child than the parent who feels anger, resentment, and jealousy on behalf of the child–the empathetic response. I think it is easier to see the type of stance I recommend when we look at parent-child relationships but it works equally well with friends and even with strangers the news media places in your home.

It also is not that you won’t work toward solving the problem is there is something you can do. The perspective many people seem to convey is that we have to be empathetic to solve the big problems–the families living in war zones, hunger, poverty, and other adversities people live with around the world. But we’re smart creatures. We don’t have to steep ourselves in how it would feel to know we’d like to do something about these problems. It is immediately apparent that peace, plenty of food, abundance and other pleasing circumstances would be better for everyone. Einstein said:

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

When we look at a problem in the way I recommend, we immediately turn our attention toward solutions. Empathy, the way much of the world encourages it, keeps us focused on the problem.  You have to focus on solutions to solve problems.

Let’s look at this from another angle. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another but our society encourages going to the lowest common denominator with empathy. A situation where both people feel the emotional state of the one who is at the lowest emotional point. What I recommend is, when the person in the lower emotional state is ready to reach for a better-feeling emotion, that the one who sees the potential be the one that is empathized with. This process raises the emotional state of the one who is in the lower emotional state.

Cautionary Note

I will add a cautionary note here. Anger, rage, and vengeful thoughts feel better than despair, depression, and hopelessness. The key with thoughts that elicit those emotions is to see them as steps on a path to even better feeling emotions and not to act on the better-feeling thoughts that elicit those emotions. Just stabilize yourself in the more empowered emotions and then reach even higher to frustration instead of anger, to blame instead of vengeance. The more empowered a thought is, the better it will feel.

Although this explanation is long, it is not complete because there are nuances that really help a person develop the skills to become more naturally positively focused. True Prevention—Optimum Health: Remember Galileo provides many of those nuances as well as techniques that help individuals develop the skills. I also teach classes around the world, in person and online, to help individuals develop the skills that lead to greater positivity and sustainable happiness.

The only real way to understand these skills is to use them yourself and feel their resonance. Just as you cannot imagine precisely what it is like to play a violin if you’ve never held one in your hands, these skills are best proved to yourself by yourself by using them and paying attention to how you feel.

Is Happiness Wrong When Some People are Suffering?

Is Happiness Wrong?

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

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

Here are mine:

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

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

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

Let’s take these one at a time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy citizens are good for society.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think? Is Happiness Wrong?

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

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

Wherever You Go, There You Are. Who do you Choose to Be?

Do you leave one employer because you are dissatisfied only to find yourself just as unhappy at the new job after a short “honeymoon” period?

Do you leave one relationship in search of a better one only to find the next one just as dissatisfying?

Do you try a new vacation destination hoping to find one that gives you more of what you want only to find it to have as many shortcomings as the last one?

Do you move your home because you’re unhappy with something about the current one only to find the new one has as many problems as the one you left?

The common denominator is you.

Your Choice

Eventually you may realize that it is you that has to change before your life will be better.Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.”

You’ve heard this before, but did you understand what about you has to change so that your life gets better?

Did you think it was you had to look better, work harder, go back to school, or ?

Or did you understand that while dieting, increased persistence, and more education can change your life they do not change its foundation. What is the foundation of your life? Why do things turn out the way they do? Why does everyone seem to have more of the same even when they attempt to change?

It is because what needs to change is not the outer you. It is your inner landscape that must change before your world will change.

You do not perceive an actual reality. You perceive a filtered reality. Your brain does not receive all the information your senses receive in any given moment. Your brain is not designed to handle that much information consciously. Your brain does not receive all the potential accurate perceptions of any given circumstance. There aremillions of accurate ways to perceive most situations. It is not that there is one accurate way to perceive anything and the rest are wrong. There are many accurate ways to perceive everything. The one you perceive depends on the way yoursubconscious filters the information and determines what information will be passed to your conscious awareness.

The inner work that changes everything and can make your life infinitely better is focused on changing the filters your subconscious mind uses.

Researchers say most of our filters are established by around age 6. That means that if you have not deliberately adjusted your filters your life is being determined by decisions you made before 2nd grade. If every area of your life is fantastic, do not change a thing. If there are areas of your life that are not the way you would prefer them to be, changing the setting of your filters will improve that area of your life.

When you change your filters the person who shows up is literally different, a new, improved version–a version who is fulfilling more of the available potential.

Your Choice…

How many times are you willing to walk away from a job, a relationship, a home or enjoy a vacation less than you could before you will decide to change the thing that matters?

Four filters that make a tremendous difference are explained in along with techniques that you can use to adjust your filters to better settings. If you’re not into do-it-yourself, we provide classes that explain each step and help you adjust your filters so they will serve your highest good.

The end result? A less stressful life, increased happiness, better health and relationships and more success. Individuals and employers both benefit significantly from the outcome.

What are you waiting for? If not now, when?

You’re making a choice right now. Is it a good one?

Blue Bloods: The Truth About Lying

Blue Bloods
Last night’s episode of Blue Bloods on CBS (8/29/2014) The Truth About Lying, has some lessons that can make your own life better. There were two scenario’s that demonstrated how our brains do not show us an actual fixed reality and one that highlighted that the more stressed we are, the less accurate the reality we perceive becomes.
In one case, a mentally challenged man unsuccessfully tried to stop a teenage girl from committing suicide and was caught on video, where his actions were initially perceived as pushing her to her death. It would have been so easy for him to be convicted of murder for his attempted good deed because the viewers of the video initially perceived him as a killer. Their brains interpreted the video in line with their expectations, even after being told he was not the type of person to ever do that sort of thing.
The second scenario involved a young cop whose report of her first felony arrest differed slightly from a video a citizen sent in. There was nothing wrong with the arrest, no excessive force, etc. But when she filed her report there was a factual error about where stolen property was recovered from that differed from the video. I won’t tell you how Frank (Tom Selleck) got the DA’s office to agree not to fire her and come over to his viewpoint by demonstrating that the brain’s recollection of events may not be 100% accurate, especially when a life or death situation is involved,  but I thought it was brilliant.
I loved that the show brought this aspect of our brain’s into the show–the inaccurate ways we perceive reality. Researchers have long shown that eyewitness reports are the least reliable type of evidence but most people assume this is because of dishonesty on the part of witnesses with ulterior motives, but the truth is that our brains are not designed to show us “reality.” They show us a filtered reality and the filters determine how we perceive every given situation. It is not just tense moments when our brains filter reality. Our perception is filtered in every moment. The filters can be adjusted and how they are set can make the difference between a good life and a crummy life.
I teach people about these filters and how to adjust them so they can thrive more but the biggest hurdle most people face is they believe their brains show them reality so I am delighted to see the fallacy of this demonstrated so well on Blue Bloods.
I also love this show. I turned my TV off in 1995 and did not watch TV again until 2013. I still watch very little but this show draws me back again and again. I love how strong the family is even when they disagree with one another. I love Tom Selleck in this roll. I wish I could talk to the detective because I know I could help him (I realize he is just a character, but his war wounds represent a lot who are suffering today.) I also love that they show the Sunday dinners every week because that is one of the things that makes the family so strong and connected with one another.

​I also like that it looks like there is romance in the air for Frank.

What can you do to make your life better?

The next time you’re disagreeing with someone consider whether you are each standing your ground based on your perceived reality (you are). Then consider whether the conversation can be taken to a deeper level where those perceptions can be less important. Look to your goals–not to “be right” because you’re both right based on your own perceptions, but to why you care about the topic and what you want. You can also check out our classes or my books and learn more about the filters that distort your reality and how to make them serve your highest good. Unless your life is the best you can imagine it being in every area, there are settings that are not serving you well in your filters. Everyone’s filters are set by default around age 6 and then they live life based on those unexamined settings. There is a much better way to live.
Wishing you the best,
Jeanine Joy

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.

Hiding after Heartbreak?

Living with a heart behind walls, bars, moats, and under lock and key is not really living.

You may feel that you are not strong enough to withstand another heartbreak and see no other alternative.

That, too, is natural.

You were never built to endure heartbreak and strong negative emotions for long periods of time. None of us were.

At the core of who you are you understand this.

There is a path that allows you to love as openly and freely as a young, trusting child without fear of pain or heart ache.

This path gives you the control over how you feel. No one else can hurt you or make you unhappy for more than a few minutes ever again when you understand this path and how to travel this beautiful path.

The control ill be yours and you will have tools to manage your own level of not only happiness but joy.

When you truly understand how this path works you will be able to love more openly and freely than most of the people on the planet. When you love you are lovable. Everyone from the grocery clerk to the staff at your dentists office to your mate will love interacting with you.

Break out of your self-imposed prison and live life as it was meant to be, full of love and fun and connection with others.

Class will teach you the keys to Golden Relationships, relationships with a partner that will last joyfully to the Golden (5oth) anniversary and beyond. Although the focus is on love relationships the class provides information that is key to good relationships of all types. Healing of past wounds and avoiding new wounds (but not from withdrawing from life) becomes far easier than you ever imagined with the knowledge and skills taught in our course.

Even relationships with someone who is out of your life can be healed, regardless of whether they are still breathing or not. Their presence is not required in order for you to heal.

Join us for a journey that will help you enjoy life in all its glory once more.

Classes are offered in person and on-line.

Contact us at for information on upcoming classes.

For more information on the benefits of increased happiness and positivity see our website.