Habits of Happiness #3 – Self-compassion

And here is the third video in the series of Happiness Habits (I’m still editing the 2nd video!). It’s on a crucial skill, a skill that seems to be the most tightly connected with happiness and life satisfaction …self-compassion.

 

 

Cheers,

Dr. John Schinnerer
Executive Coach
Anger Management Specialist
Founder, Guide to Self, Inc.
913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280
Danville CA 94526
Positive psychology blog: http://DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com 
Anger management blog:
http://WebAngerManagement.com
Twitter: @johnschin

Positive Psychology or How to Create a Successful AND Happy Life

Positive Psychology At Commencement

This is a speech I gave at a high school commencement recently. I thought you might enjoy it!

Positive Psychology, or How to Consciously Create a Successful and Happy Life

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Welcome graduates, faculty, parents, friends and family.

My name is Dr. John Schinnerer. For the past 7 years, I have been speaking, writing and teaching about a new branch of science called Positive Psychology which is the science of happiness, positive emotions, creativity, forgiveness, mindfulness, curiosity, and meaning and purpose in life.

And one of my favorite positive emotions is amusement – that which you feel after a good joke.  So here is a joke for your amusement…

Driving along on a sunny day with her young granddaughter by her side, my aunt was on top of the world.

            “Grandma,” said the young girl “is Grandpa a lot older than you?”

            “Yes, a few years,” she said. Then fishing for a compliment, Grandma asked “Why do you ask, dear?”

            “Well, his mustache is a lot bigger than yours.”

Positive psychology is discovering signs pointing to a happier life.

When I first came to present here, I was anxious, excited, and uncertain as to how you would receive the info I had to share. After all, I thought, how many teenagers want to hear about positive psychology?

Apparently, you did.

And I praise you for your open-mindedness, your courage, your resiliency.

You are some of the most courageous individuals I know. For courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is overcoming fear. Without fear, there is no courage. You face your fears daily which makes you brave. It makes you courageous.

You are also among the most resilient people whom I know. And for that you have my respect and my admiration.

Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from challenging, difficult situations. You guys are among the… bounciest… people I know. Many of you have had multiple chances of giving up, of throwing in the towel, and you refused. You kept going.

Being able to bounce, being able to persevere, despite negative events is not due to luck. It’s due to resiliency.  Resilience means you effectively cope despite inevitable loss, hardship, or adversity. Resilience has been compared to flexibility in metals. For example, cast iron is hard, brittle, and breaks easily, that is it is not resilient, whereas wrought iron is soft and bends without breaking – it is resilient.

In most cases, successful people have overcome many more difficulties than those who are less successful. While everyone encounters failure and trouble, it is what you do AFTER failure that is critical.

Highly successful individuals have tenacity, a stick-to-it-iveness. They view failure as a learning experience. They don’t give up. They don’t throw in the towel. They try again. From Barack Obama to the president of FedEx to Eminem, successful individuals fail repeatedly …but they learn from their experiences and they keep going. They keep on walking in the direction of their values and their dreams.

As you keep walking in the direction of your dreams, of your values, continually remind yourself of your own resiliency. You have overcome great odds to be here today.  You have proven to be an inspiration for me and for many of the people with whom I talk. There is a ripple effect. I share my experiences with you with others and the stories have a positive impact on people whom have never even met you.

For instance, when I first came, I shared the ‘Free Hugs’ video with you. And after that presentation, several students wrote up pieces of paper that read ‘Free Hugs’ and taped them to your chests. Then you went around hugging classmates. To me, that is inspirational.

The letter the English class wrote to defend the name of the high school against mindless stereotypes after a tragic homicide was another instance where your actions inspired hope, passion and courage in others. Your positive actions are felt by more people than you realize.  You may not realize it, but you inspire others.

What Do Influential People Add to Our Lives?

One of the corporate leaders in the positive psychology movement, The Gallup Corporation, recently asked over 10,000 people what the most influential leaders contribute to their lives. Their answers boiled down to 4 essential areas – compassion, trust, stability and hope. Keep those in the forefront of your mind for just a moment.

The great African American tennis player, Arthur Ashe, once said…

“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is more important than the outcome.”

Many of us believe that success leads to happiness. A number of studies now show that happiness actually brings success as well. People like to be around happy, supportive, optimistic people. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of success for happy folks.

John Schinnerer Ph.D., Positive psychology coach

What Does the Positive Psychology Research Show?

When asked about happiness, Tal Ben-Sahar, a positive psychology professor at Harvard says “Happiness is not making it to the peak of the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.” Apparently, success is a lot like happiness.  It’s about learning to savor the journey.

When asked what the top three components of success are, Tal Ben-Sahar replied

Passion (love what you do)

Effectiveness (belief in one’s self)

Hard work (persistence and dedication)

I want to draw your attention to the pattern here.

In business, the most effective leaders create trust, stability, compassion and hope in their followers.

As individuals, the necessary components for success are passion, persistence and a belief in one’s effectiveness.

All of these competencies are rooted in the emotional mind. Success starts in your mind.

And you are well-suited to share each and every one of these strengths with the world. Thanks to your principal and teachers you have been schooled in the new competencies necessary for success. As you head out into this new world, you are familiar with all you need to succeed – trust, perseverance, compassion, resiliency, curiosity and passion.

Allow me to wrap up with a short quote from the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo who said…

“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.”

So when you set your goals – aim high, my friends, aim high.

Thank you.

John Schinnerer Ph.D.

Positive psychology coach

Founder Guide to Self

Award-winning author

Award-winning blogger

http://www.GuideToSelf.com

http://webangermanagement.com

Positive Emotions Matter More In Third World Countries

Emotion-Health Connection Not Limited to Industrialized Nations

Mar. 7, 2013 — Positive emotions are known to play a role in physical well-being, and stress is strongly linked to poor health, but is this strictly a “First World” phenomenon? In developing nations, is the fulfillment of basic needs more critical to health than how one feels? A UC Irvine researcher has found that emotions do affect health around the world and may, in fact, be more important to wellness in low-income countries.

The study, which appears online in Psychological Science, is the first to examine the emotion-health connection in a representative sample of 150,000 people in 142 countries. Previous research on the topic has been limited to industrialized nations.

“We wondered whether the fact that emotions make a difference in our health is simply because we have the luxury of letting them,” said Sarah Pressman, assistant professor of psychology & social behavior and the study’s lead author. “We wanted to assess the impact of emotions on health in places where people face famine, homelessness and serious safety concerns that might be more critical correlates of wellness.”

Against expectations, researchers found that the link between positive emotions (enjoyment, love, happiness) and health is stronger in countries with a weaker gross domestic product. In fact, the association increased as GDP decreased, according to Pressman.

People in Malawi, which has a per capita GDP of $900, show a more robust connection between positive emotions and health than residents of the U.S., which has a per capita GDP of $49,800.

“A hostile American with hypertension can take blood pressure-lowering medication. A Malawian cannot,” Pressman said. “Medical interventions might lower the impact of emotions on health.”

Using data from the Gallup World Poll, researchers noted whether participants had reported experiencing enjoyment, love, happiness, worry, sadness, stress, boredom, depression or anger during the previous day. They also measured physical health and the degree to which subjects’ basic needs were met. Security was assessed by asking if participants felt safe walking alone at night or whether they had been robbed, assaulted or mugged.

“We hope that by showing that this phenomenon is prevalent and stronger than some factors considered critical to wellness, more attention will be drawn to the importance of studying both positive and negative emotions,” Pressman said.

She co-authored the study with Shane Lopez of the Gallup Organization and Matthew Gallagher of Boston University.

Journal Reference:

  1. S. D. Pressman, M. W. Gallagher, S. J. Lopez. Is the Emotion-Health Connection a “First-World Problem”? Psychological Science, 2013; DOI: 10.1177/0956797612457382

Have a wonderful week!

John

 

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Positive Psychology Coach, Emotion Expert, Anger Management Coach

Author of the award-winning Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion & Thought

Guide To Self, Inc.

913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280

Danville CA 94526

GuideToSelf.com – Web site

WebAngerManagement.com – 10-week online anger management course

DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com –  Awarded #1 Blog in Positive Psychology by PostRank, Top 100 Blog by Daily Reviewer

@johnschin – Twitter

John Schinnerer, Ph.D. Positive psychology author and coach

About John

John Schinnerer, Ph.D. is revolutionizing the way in which people make sense of the mind, behavior and emotion. In December of 2011, he was one of three experts to consult with Pixar on a feature-length movie in which the main characters are emotions. Much of his time is spent in private practice teaching clients the latest ways to turn down the volume on negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and stress. He has developed a unique coaching methodology which combines the best aspects of entertainment, humor, positive psychology and emotional management techniques. His offices are in Danville, California. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a Ph.D. in educational psychology.  He has been an executive, speaker and coach for over 14 years.  He hosted over 200 episodes of Guide To Self Radio, a daily prime time radio show, in the SF Bay Area.    He wrote the award-winning book, “Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought,” which is available at Amazon.com.  His blog, Shrunken Mind, was recently recognized as one of the top 3 in positive psychology on the web (drjohnblog.guidetoself.com ). His new video blog teaches people the latest ways to manage anger using positive psychology. (WebAngerManagement.com).

 

Happier Employees Help Companies Post Bigger Profits and Returns

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.” –Henry David Thoreau

 By Mark Crowley

Every year around this time, a new edition of the “100 Best Companies To Work For” is released, and employers deemed to have the happiest and most satisfied workers are heartily celebrated by the media.

What’s perplexing about all this fanfare, of course, is that we know most workplaces in the U.S. aren’t at all that good in sustaining employee morale. Gallup’s announcement a few months ago that only 19% of American workers are fully engaged in their jobs sufficiently validates this. It also suggests that few organizations have made it a priority to learn and model the leadership practices known to produce high employee contentment.

The question needing to be asked is whether or not we fully believe there’s a direct connection between having happy workers and improved profitability.

 

Yes, but is happiness at work profitable?!

At this point, the evidence suggests many of us remain suspicious of any firm that, say, allows its employees to play foosball or shoot hoops during work hours. But our enduring cynicism may also have its roots in traditional beliefs about leadership effectiveness. Many of us have been taught that it’s actually desirable to have some worker unhappiness. The idea is that keeping people under some constant tension actually is a more powerful driver of productivity. There’s also the concern that when employees are cared for to any extent they’re likely to get soft in the middle–so sufficiently sated that motivation to work hard and produce is spoiled.

One person who may have the answer is Jerome Dodson, the founder in 1984 of Parnassus Mutual Funds. Since April 2005, Dodson has held the additional role of portfolio manager for the Parnassus Workplace Fund, a mutual fund that invests exclusively in large American firms proven to have outstanding workplaces.

“The idea of creating a fund that only invested in organizations where employees were really happy,” Dodson told me recently, “was brought to me a decade or so ago by a journalist named Milton Moskowitz.” In 1998, Moskowitz and his associate Robert Levering (cofounder of the ) oversaw the production of the first “Best Companies To Work For” list ever published in Fortune magazine.

“He told me that the Russell Investments, publishers of the Russell 2000 Index, had performed an investment return analysis of all the “100 Best Companies To Work For” and proved it was phenomenal and much better than the S&P Index, one of the most commonly used benchmarks for the overall U.S. stock market. So, Moskowitz said, ‘Why don’t you start a fund like this?'”

Initially, Dodson, a Harvard Business School graduate, was resistant and told Moskowitz directly, “It’s a little different using real money compared to doing an analysis on a hypothetical basis.” But soon after their conversation, Dodson said, “the idea struck a chord in me because I’d always felt that having a happy workforce really meant a much better business as an investment. But until then I had no way of proving it.”

To get the fund going, Dodson and his firm invested $600,000 and solicited investors in other Parnassus funds to contribute more. In the first few years, with no track record of performance to draw on, along with an unproven premise, the fund grew very slowly.

TREATING PEOPLE WELL AND AUTHENTICALLY RESPECTING THEM DOES LEAD TO FAR BETTER BUSINESS PERFORMANCE.  IT WORKS.

Dodson spent his time scouring the country for companies that had built solid reputations for treating employees with profound respect and which supported them through ongoing training and personal development. To quote Moskowitz, they were the kinds of firms that “genuinely cared about their employees as people, not just hired hands.”

Other important characteristics of the firms Dodson inevitably selected: they provided some meaningful form of profit sharing, health care, and retirement benefits while also being especially supportive of working mothers. He found many of these firms amongst the “100 Best Companies To Work For” list and discovered others that had never submitted the documentation to be officially considered an outstanding workplace. Ultimately, he chose companies like Intel, Google, Charles Schwab, Microsoft, and Gilead Sciences and then waited to see how they would all perform.

 

America’s 50 Most Innovative Companies

To Dodson–and Moskowitz’s–delight, the Parnassus Workplace Fund proved immediately, enormously, and enduringly successful. Since the fund’s inception (April 2005-January 2013) it’s had a 9.63% annualized return. This compares to the S&P Index which has earned just 5.58% during the same period. “Our fund has had returns over 4% better than the S&P Index every year,” Dodson noted. “Eight years later, the performance of the fund confirms what I’ve always believed. Treating people well and authentically respecting them does lead to far better business performance. We proved it works.”

Another compelling statistic buried in the Parnassus prospectus: Over the past five years–the height of the Great Recession–the average annual return on the Workplace Fund was an incredible 10.81%. The S&P Index for the same period was just 3.97%, a 6.84% difference. Dodson believes the wide gap in performance is easily explained: “I think what happens when you have a contented workplace, people are willing to put out more effort to improve operations during really difficult times. While I think every organization has their ups and downs, the downs are not as pronounced because everybody pulls together to try to get through the crisis. And, of course, this consistently more engaged performance inevitably reveals itself in the firm’s bottom line.”

After five years, investments in the Workplace Fund had grown to $80 million. Today, less than 3 years later, balances have ballooned to over $300 million. As reported by rating agency Morningstar, the fund also ranks highest in shareholder return compared to 1,303 other peer funds.

According to a 1997 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, many business leaders dismissed Moskowitz’s earliest list of “Best Places To Work” and derided it as being “a ’beauty contest’ that didn’t matter to anyone outside of corporate personnel departments.” But Moskowitz, and soon after, Dodson, have gone on to prove that the leaders at organizations which ensure employees feel valued, supported, developed, and rewarded are the most enlightened. They inspire a greatly expanded bottom line and set an example for all to follow in this 21st century.

–Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century. Reach him via his website, markccrowley.com, on Twitter at @markccrowley and on Facebook.

To a happy, healthy, thriving life,

John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Positive Psychology Coach, Keynote Speaker, Corporate Consultant

Author of the award-winning Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion & Thought

Guide To Self, Inc.

913 San Ramon Valley Blvd. #280

Danville CA 94526

GuideToSelf.comWeb site

WebAngerManagement.com – 10-week online anger management course

DrJohnBlog.GuideToSelf.com  Awarded #1 Blog in Positive Psychology by PostRank, Top 100 Blog by Daily Reviewer

@johnschinTwitter

Upper-Class Has Difficulty Reading Emotions of Others

From the ubiquitous ScienceDaily.com… 

Upper-Class People Have Trouble Recognizing Others’ Emotions

ScienceDaily (Nov. 23, 2010) — Upper-class people have more educational opportunities, greater financial security, and better job prospects than people from lower social classes, but that doesn’t mean they’re more skilled at everything. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds surprisingly, that lower-class people are better at reading the emotions of others.

The researchers were inspired by observing that, for lower-class people, success depends more on how much they can rely on other individuals. For example, if you can’t afford to buy support services, such as daycare service for your children, you have to rely on your neighbors or relatives to watch the kids while you attend classes or run errands, says Michael W. Kraus of the University of California-San Francisco. He co-wrote the study with Stéphane Côté of the University of Toronto and Dacher Keltner of the University of California-Berkeley.

To learn more about HOW to read emotions properly, visit http://www.GuideToSelf.com for a FREE copy of the award-winning book, Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide to Managing Emotion and Thought by U.C. Berkeley-trained emotion expert, John Schinnerer, Ph.D. Just share your email address and name for a free, instant PDF copy of the 216 page book!

One experiment used volunteers who worked at a university. Some had graduated from college and others had not; researchers used educational level as a proxy for social class. The volunteers did a test of emotion perception, in which they were instructed to look at pictures of faces and indicate which emotions each face was displaying. People with more education performed worse on the task than people with less education. In another study, university students who were of higher social standing (determined from each student’s self-reported perceptions of his or her family’s socioeconomic status) had a more difficult time accurately reading the emotions of a stranger during a group job interview.

These results suggest that people of upper-class status aren’t very good at recognizing the emotions other people are feeling. The researchers speculate that this is because they can solve their problems, like the daycare example, without relying on others — they aren’t as dependent on the people around them.

A final experiment found that, when people were made to feel that they were at a lower social class than they actually were, they got better at reading emotions. This shows that “it’s not something ingrained in the individual,” Kraus says. “It’s the cultural context leading to these differences.” He says this work helps show that stereotypes about the classes are wrong. “It’s not that a lower-class person, no matter what, is going to be less intelligent than an upper-class person. It’s all about the social context the person lives in, and the specific challenges the person faces. If you can shift the context even temporarily, social class differences in any number of behaviors can be eliminated.”

To life, love and laughter,

 John Schinnerer, Ph.D.

Founder of Guide to Self, Inc.

http://drjohnsblog.wordpress.com Hot blog on the latest in anger management tips, tools and tricks

@johnschin Follow john on Twitter

Story Source:
The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Association for Psychological Science.
________________________________________
Journal Reference:
1. M. W. Kraus, S. Cote, D. Keltner. Social Class, Contextualism, and Empathic Accuracy. Psychological Science, 2010; 21 (11): 1716 DOI: 10.1177/0956797610387613