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.
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.
Stress Greatly Increases Obesity Risk and Poor Results
Unless you regularly read Journal Articles published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, you probably still believe the relationship with food you were taught in school–the one that is most commonly believed.
If you or a loved one struggles with maintaining or attaining your desired weight, you need the rest of the story–the new information that shows that stress affects digestive functions.
If you eat more than you should (calorie wise) when you’re not stressed, your body is more capable of dealing with it and maintaining your weight than if you eat the exact same food when you are stressed. Stress reduces your body to respond to food in healthy ways. Over time, chronic stress can lead to diabetes and other digestive problems.
The same findings have been found in relationship to exercise. When you feel good and you exercise, it does you more good than when you are stressed and exercise.
What we eat changes based on how stressed we are. People are far more likely to choose unhealthy foods when they are stressed–even when they know what they should eat to be healthy and even when they have weight loss goals.
Stress interferes with our ability to stick to our goals.
If you want to be successful in attaining and maintaining your weight where you want it, you can’t ignore the stress in your life.
How do you know if you’re stressed?
Stress and happiness have an inverse relationship. Increased stress equals reduced happiness. Increased happiness equals reduced stress. If you’re not feeling a lot of positive emotion every day, you’re stressed. If you are frequently frustrated, jealous, envious, irritable, angry, depressed, or other emotions that feel worse than hopeful, you’re experiencing chronic stress. The amount is a matter of degree, but the research shows that stress has an immediate negative effect on your digestive, immune, cognitive and central nervous system function that, over time, leads to many chronic diseases.
At Happiness 1st Institute, we teach you how to deal with stress at the root cause, increase psychological flexibility and how to approach goals for the best possible outcome.
Essentially, we help you create the environment you need to be successful.
When corporate wellness programs begin addressing stress before it has manifested in a diagnosable mental illness, we’ll make real progress in preventing chronic diseases before they manifest.
Contact us today to enroll in upcoming classes or to arrange a corporate wellness program for your organization.
With the online radio station Pandora, you can listen to music all day based on a single song you choose that represents the type of music you want to listen to. Your one song lets Pandora know the mood of the music you want and Pandora does the rest. With Spotify, you choose exactly which songs are in your playlist so nothing unexpected shows up.
Most people approach life as if they have to (and can) control what happens in their lives. They work for years instructing their children in the way they expect them to behave in the hopes that doing so will control their children’s behavior. They demand their spouse behave in specific ways, some even require their mates wear specific styles of clothing or hair. They insist their friends adhere to specific rules. They spend inordinate amounts of time attempting to get the government to do what they want it to do. They want their employer to behave in certain ways and expect specific responses to their work. For most people, these attempts to control are a lot of work for very little return.
Our children decide what they want and do it–eventually. Spouses who are initially willing to do things we want just to please us eventually resent the requirement. Friends find other friends who are more easy-going or their reciprocal demands become more than we are willing to do. Efforts to change the government, well, if it’s worked out well for you–send me a note. I’d love to hear your story.
It’s as if people think they can choose specific songs (behaviors/experiences) and that is all they will experience–as if life is like Spotify. But life is not like Spotify, we can’t pick and choose the exact experiences that will happen around us.
Life is like Pandora. We can choose how we will feel about what happens, we can choose between fear and excitement, between worry and trust, between love and hate and so much more. That’s great news if we know how to program in the type of song (emotions) we want to experience. But when we don’t understand how to program the type of experiences we want, life feels messy and confusing, hard and frustrating.
If you program your day for anger, you’ll have lots of it–all day long. Just like if you tell Pandora to play Machine Head – Ten Ton Hammer your day won’t be Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah. Most of us have been taught to live as if our world runs by Spotify rules. It doesn’t.
You have to set the tone of your day. Or you can begin with just setting the tone of a moment and expand outward from there.
What kind of day do you want?
Top of the World
Top of the World – The Old Fashioned Way
Hot Rod Lincoln
Life is hard and then you die
When a Man Loves a Woman
How do you choose the tone of your day?
We all have emotional set points–emotional states that are our default emotional state. Horrible things can happen to someone and within two years they typically return to their pre-tragedy emotional state. Wonderful things, like marriage and winning the lottery happen and within two years people return to their previous emotional state.
But the reason they return to their original emotional state is not because of genetic predeposition. It is because emotional state is the result of habits of thought and most people don’t even realize they have the ability to change their habits of thought, much less how to do so. Like any habit, it requires time to change habits of thought. But with the proper skills you’ll be amazed at how much can change in three months.
If your chronic state is not positively focused (i.e. hopeful, appreciation, joy, enthusiasm, passion, interest, and other good-feeling emotions) it negatively impacts everything that is important to you–your physical, mental, behavioral health and relationships, your success, and even how long you live. Your life also just does not feel as good as it could.
One technique you can use to improve your habitual thoughts is to appreciate three things each day. Research has shown that appreciation helps more than a practice of gratitude for 66% of the people who use the technique. For many other ways, including a technique that helps you become an expert in setting the emotional tone of your day, see any of my The Smart Way books.
Jeanine Joy teaches, speaks and writes about human thriving. See more posts on LinkedIn and at Happiness 1st Institute.
If this helped you, please share so that others may be helped. Thank you.
If you want help learning to set the tone of your day, check out the classes we offer.
People frequently ask me, “What do you mean by The Smart Way?” Today, while reading some research on happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, and one of my favorite Psychologists, Ed Diener the way they described their research helped me create the briefest explanation ever of the difference between The Smart Way and The Common Way.
Most of the world lives their lives using The Common Way. It’s not because they lack intelligence. It’s simply a lack of knowledge. It’s what they don’t know they don’t know.
The diagram below shows the difference. The Common Way is passive. Life happens to you. When you apply The Smart Way, it begins feeling like you have some control over how you experience life. It’s a more empowered way of viewing your reality and experiencing your life. A life lived using The Smart Way feels better than a life lived The Common Way. The results of your efforts are better when you use The Smart Way.
The Smart Way is at the root cause of human thriving. Because it is at the root, every improvement affects many branches (areas of life).
I’m pragmatic. I like things simple. I like things that work. I don’t like reinventing the wheel if I already have a solution that works. I love helping people thrive more. I love sharing the knowledge I’ve found in my search for answers to the question, “What empowers humans to thrive?” I don’t want to just help some people. I want to help everyone I can possibly help. The Smart Way works. It increases the frequency of positive emotions an individual feels.
What good is feeling good?
Turns out feeling good does a lot of good. It improves your physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral results. It is less stressful and stress is at the root of most illnesses and diseases. Happy people aren’t committing crimes. In fact, people commit crimes because they are so stressed about their situation that the only way they can perceive of feeling better is through the commission of a crime. Only happy people can feel at peace with others.
Once I identified the root cause of human thriving, I began building bridges that would help people understand and, more importantly, use the knowledge to make their own lives better. I created bridges that helped individuals who were religious to understand how The Smart Way fit with their worldview. I created bridges that helped individuals who want a scientific basis to understand the science that supports The Smart Way.
In The Smart Way books, all the basic elements of The Smart Way are included, plus information relative to the subject of the book. As I find more supporting research, I add it to the newer titles. I change examples based on the subject of the book. But if you have one, The Smart Way book, you have all the key elements of any book in the series. I don’t reinvent the wheel for each subject because the root of thriving in all of them is the same.
Today only one The Smart Way book is published, but four more are in the pipeline. So remember, if you have one The Smart Way book you don’t have to buy others. It might be easier to figure out how to apply it to the subject of the book and if you want it to help with that, it’s worthwhile. But if you have one and you’re not thriving more you read the book instead of studying it and using the techniques. Try them. You’ll like it.
Prevent Suicide: The Smart Wayis available. New books about building resilience, reducing crime, improving health, and improving relationships are in the works.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Since the 1970’s, it has been widely recognized that stress is bad for our health. Researchers agree that at least 60% of illnesses and disease are the result of stress.
During the years since the 1970’s we have learned many details about the path stress takes and how it harms our physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health. Those pathways are helpful in creating pharmaceutical bandaids (which I know are needed by many people today). But, the reason they are needed is because the recommendations for dealing with stress have not changed or advanced much in the last 40 years. Oh meditation and yoga have moved out of the cult or woo woo classifications they once suffered and become more mainstream, but the root of stress is still not being widely addressed.
As Thoreau said,
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
If you substitute stress for evil, I would say,
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of stress to one who is striking at the root.
Happiness 1st Institute exists because I came to understand the root cause of stress and how to eliminate it and recognized the significant benefits to society’s around the world that could come from sharing what I had learned. Unlike much of the advice given today, eliminating the root cause of stress does not require anyone to give up activities they enjoy. In fact, doing so is counter to what reduces stress.
Addressing stress at its root is a perfect example of another old saying, one Ben Franklin believed,
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Addressing stress at its root is what we call Primary Prevention. It prevents the illness or disease from developing in the first place. Stress disrupts numerous functions critical to healthy living including immune function, cognitive function, digestive function and some central nervous system functions. It can also lead to adverse epigenetic changes that turn on genes that lead to adverse consequences. Cumulative stress (both pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy) have adverse impacts on duration of the pregnancy (causing pre-term births) and adverse outcomes including increased asthma, sleep and behavioral problems, and depression in the children.
A recent infographic produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) shows many of the adverse consequences of stress (although their solutions are not Primary Prevention–they address the symptoms of stress instead of the root).
The negative impact of stress on the body begins immediately. If you’re one of the people who doubt this, recall a time when you were nervous. Perhaps that good looking person you’d been hoping to talk to unexpectedly stepped into the elevator with you at the last moment. If that doesn’t do it, imagine you’re 11 years old when it happens. You remember the instantaneous perspiration, the sweaty palms, perhaps the blush that swept across your cheeks. How long did it take to have that reaction in your body? That was stress. Those are signs of stress you can feel immediately. What you don’t feel is the slowing down of your immune function and digestive function or the cognitive constriction of your ability to think clearly (or maybe you did feel that if that person stepping into the elevator made you tongue tied).
The negative effects begin immediately.
Stress Culture to Health Culture
Our bodies are designed to respond to stress and return to a relaxed state but our society’s beliefs and structure do not support that. We are trained to remain in hypervigilant states of worry, fear, and concern. We are trained to live with stressors like frustration, anger, grief, depression, hopelessness, irritability and more rather than deal with the negative emotions as they arise. Many people suppress their emotions. Others have felt them so long it has become their norm and they don’t realize that it is killing them–literally.
To truly move from a culture of stress to one of greater health and wellbeing for everyone we must begin using primary prevention to reduce stress. If we don’t, the epidemic chronic illnesses like Type II diabetes, heart disease, addictions, obesity and numerous social problems like crime will all continue to increase. Stress is the root cause and primary prevention is the only way to avoid the undesired outcomes. It is a significant factor in disparate outcomes, one that can be solved today.
We are designed to deal with stress when we experience the negative emotion. When we do, we thrive. When we don’t, we suffer. So do our relationships, our careers, and our level of happiness. New research has pointed the way to do this without having to give up what we love (or even family members we find difficult to love). We can have far greater control over our stress level than most have ever experienced. That’s what we teach at Happiness 1st Institute. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us for details on upcoming classes.
Everyone has gifts they have the potential to give the world, their community and their family. Too often these gifts remain hidden because we do not believe in our ability or our potential.
If you ever discourage a dream–your own or someone else’s–ask yourself what gifts your discouragement may be holding back from the world.
Humans have an amazing capacity to rise to the occasion when given the chance. Without hope of success, we don’t give ourselves the chance.
If this post can inspire even one person to at least try to follow one of their dreams, it has succeeded.
We barely know what hidden depths lie in ourselves. So often people are surprised by what they are capable of given the opportunity (or sometimes, the challenge). How can we possibly know what another could do?
Believe in Yourself
Christopher Maloney did not believe in himself for years. He filled out the application to be on X-factor five times and then tore it up because he did not have enough faith in himself to be on the show. Others discouraged him and told him he was not good enough. Finally, after moving in with his Nan to take care of her, her faith convinced him to try. Here is the result:
One of my teachers once said something that I think is totally appropriate to say to everyone, “What right do you have to deprive the world of your gifts?”
Magic happens when you believe in yourself.
What would it take for you to believe in your dreams? Whatever that is–Do it. Trust yourself.
The approach the solution to employee engagement has been taking is misguided. Ask yourself why engagement numbers are down to 30% levels according to recent Gallup surveys. Harvard Business Review (HBR) recently surveyed 20,000 employees worldwide and half of them feel disrespected by their bosses.
If you’ve ever watched Criminal Minds or countless other shows, you know that it is not the intent of the communicator but the reception/perception of the receiver that determines the message that is communicated. Someone who feels disrespected frequently (by teachers, family, friends, society) will not feel respected because the boss is careful about how he or she communicates. Often, these individuals do not respect themselves so they certainly don’t expect others to respect them. They want it–absolutely they want it. They want someone to come along and give them respect and magically make them feel better. They don’t know that they can’t feel respect until they respect and like themselves. They allow a negative string of self-doubt to tarnish their existence.
Until they respect themselves they can’t feel the respect others show them. Ask anyone you know who has made amazing progress in their life what made the difference for them. They will tell you that it was when they changed their perception about them self. People treat us as we expect to be treated. We give off clues and when we do not respect ourselves we might as well have a neon sign floating above our heads letting others know. It is obvious to anyone who does respect them self. It’s obvious because they know what they are willing to tolerate and what they are not willing to tolerate.
I had my own journey where I went from not feeling worthy and not thinking I was good enough. When I changed my own view of myself, the way everyone else treated me changed. I mean everyone. From bosses/employers, to significant others, my children, my parents, and even the clerk at the grocery store. It felt magical. When I changed me, the non-verbal clues I sent that others read (often unconsciously) changed.
Few people in our society truly feel worthy of self-respect. They have negative voices in their heads constantly criticizing themselves. Or maybe, like me, they were taught they had to earn respect but never given a way to calculate when that task was complete. If you have to “earn it” how do you know when you’ve done accomplished it? I had long since earned a lot of things before I began believing I had earned them. When I changed my belief from “I have to work hard and prove myself before I can have that (respect, executive promotion, six-figure salary, nice house, etc.) to I have earned this and I deserve this, it all came. In the space of two years my entire life changed and all those things I had been striving to prove myself worthy of came quickly and easily.
I’m not special. I’ve seen other people change their beliefs about their self and their life changes, too. I help people make this transition and I see the changes they experience as a result. No, I am not special, but I am worthy. Everyone else is worthy too, but so many just don’t know it.
You have to believe you deserve respect. So many don’t. I wish everyone could learn to respect themselves. You have friends who don’t, maybe you don’t either.
You know the friend, the one who is amazing and inspires you,yet when you compliment they wave your accolades aside as if their accomplishments are nothing or flawed. I’m not talking modesty here. You know him or her. The one who truly does not believe they are worthy of the praise you’ve giving them. That businesses continue attempting to make this about the manager and about changing the manager baffles me. It is the employee who needs to learn they are valuable and worthy of respect so they can actually receive it. Until they do, they have an energetic wall up that blocks them from perceiving the respect they are shown.
Helping employees value and respect themselves will enable them to receive the respect their boss feels toward them. It will also make the bosses respect more authentic because how you treat yourself is usually reflected in how others treat you.
It is possible to decide how you will treat others and treat them that well regardless of how they feel toward themselves but that takes a lot of work and few people consciously make that choice. I saw a video earlier today that reflects how few consciously make that choice. First, a disclaimer, I do not believe that clothes make the person, but in many cases the person who does not respect themselves does not dress well–it is an indicator of how the person perceives him or herself. It’s not always true–sometimes people dress especially well to cover up insecure feelings–but it is true often enough that many people will make assumptions about a person based on their attire. And sometimes, the very secure will dress for comfort because they are not seeking approval from others. Now, for the video:
It’s clear in the literature across the ages, from the greatest thinkers of all time to scientific literature being produced in the best Universities of the 21st Century. You have to respect yourself first.
Working on management has limited returns for employee engagement because it treats a symptom, not the root cause of the problem.
Give employees the knowledge and skills they need to increase their self-respect.
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:
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.
Summer Reading!? I graduated. I don’t have to do any summer reading.
If you’re thinking that, you’re on the path to failure.
There is more new information every day than any one person can keep up with. You don’t have to know it all, but if you don’t make an effort to keep up with information in areas that interest you, you’re living in the slow lane.
So choose a career that excites you because that will make keeping up pleasurable. That is one of the big keys to success.
Beyond keeping up in your chosen field, creating a winning mindset is even more important to your success in life…in your relationships, in your career, and in your choices. That is what I encourage new graduates to read The Magic of Thinking Big.
Yes, it’s an old book but it is timeless if you add zeros to the “big” salaries. The advice is sound and for almost everyone raised in the typical educational institution, it will change the way you think in positive ways. In school you were asked to conform but nonconformist thinking is the thinking that solves problems. Conformists are still looking at problems and believing they are roadblocks when successful thinkers are seeing the opportunities inherent within the solutions.
Pick up a copy and start your summer reading today. It may be the most valuable $10. you ever spend.
Oh, and don’t forget to have fun this summer. It’s important.
Best wishes for a future that is more than you dream of it being.
People say to me that there is too much pain in the world for peace to ever come. I know the beauty that resides within each of us and that deep within our heart of hearts we all want to live in harmony.
Our differences are not so much about what we want. Our disagreements are about the best method of achieving common goals.
If we would get to know one another on deeper levels this would be easier to see. With a common goal the disagreements evaporate. If I chose to take one path and someone else chooses another path to the same goal, no disagreement has to exist.
I am blessed to call a wonderful example of someone who has overcome hatred, anger, and fear, my friend. She has a heart that loves and works for greater peace in the world. Her name is Nomanono Isaacs. She is the author of Escaping Apartheid: A Letter to My Mother.
You can hear some of her stirring words in this video:
If you doubt that individuals can find peace because they’ve lived harsh lives, suffered painful loses, and are holding onto anger and resentment, read her book and ask yourself if she can be as she is after what she lived, who could not.
Nomanono is unique and special not because she has a greater capacity to find the love and peace within than others have, but because she allows herself to fulfill more of her potential in that regard. If she can do it, so can others. They simply have to make the effort and open their hearts and minds to the path that will allow them to heal and to feel better.
Are you making excuses to be less than you could be? Why? Are you ready to stop?
If you want help along your way to putting peace in your heart, tune in to our weekly services (or attend them when offered in person). We know the way and are happy to help you increase the peace in the world by putting it in your own heart.