Dear CEO, what is your happiness / wellness strategy for 2017?​

A board member of an organization read this post and decided to gift his company's CEO a Happiness Makeover ®, a holistic positive leadership development program. It makes sense the CEO's happiness impacts the rest of the organization. Read this letter to the CEO for more information on how and why positive leadership is an essential ingredient in any organization's success.


Dear CEO, 

As you know, your organizational values are of the utmost importance to guide the effort of the workforce who forwards your cause day in and day out.

These values are in fact the glue that keep your team bonded and helps your organization run effectively.

They are the guiding principles and are the target of each thought and behavior of your employees.


POP QUIZ

  1. Do you know the values of your organization?
  2. Do you stumble on the words or have to look it up on the corporate website?
  3. How much do you really care, adhere, teach, mentor and embody those values?

This is a place of improvement for a lot of CEOs.

Bringing it back to the basics.

Over the course of 20 years, I have worked with many CEOs and organizations to help embody the values of the organization.


POP QUIZ

  1. How many of them had happiness or positivity as a value? 

Rare.

Until now, more and more CEOs are valuing their own happiness and health and those of their workforce more than ever before!

Unfortunately it is because all of you have seen to much stress, strokes, depression disability from the people you see day in and day out working for your cause.

With the new corporate wellness laws, corporations and CEOs are more than ever espousing values of health, happiness, and give the message ‘I care about you.’


POP QUIZ

  1. What are you doing in 2017 to show your employees you care about them?
  2. What are you doing to teach the values for sustainability & performance in your organization?

If you so choose happiness, positivity, health, well-being, or anything of the sort as at least one of the values of your company, I can provide 5 tips to begin the dynamic spread of happiness in your company.

  1. Teach everyone they are in charge of their own happiness (wellness, positivity, etc) – personal responsibility is key
  2. Embody a positive attitude & encourage daily positive mood boosting activities
  3. Embody & teach practical tools for resiliency
  4. Encourage your workforce to be true to themselves, develop a deeper meaning & purpose through their work while utilizing their natural strengths
  5. Encourage & embody a spiritual practice – meditation, church going, religious holiday celebration, visits to nature, whatever ‘spiritual’ means to you

Before wellness technology and positive psychology, there are statistics that show your wellness program ROI will take 3-5 years to pay off. Here is a great 2010 Harvard Business Review article on the ROI of major corporations from their wellness initiatives. 

With wellness technology & advances in positive psychology you can see progress within weeks and months with real time data. The times have changed!

You can influence and enhance the well-being in your company simply by teaching happiness science to your employees.

These 5 tips will spread the positivity in your organization up to 3 degrees as shown by Harvard Research.


POP QUIZ

  1. What is your depression disability cost annually? 

On average, American companies pay 4 Billion dollars a year in this category!

Would you like to see this number disappear?

Would you like to see smiles instead of stress in your office?

This is a special time in history where your organization can offer happiness at work in a proactive, productive and profitable way. 

Is it time to “spread happiness aggressively” in 2017 in your organization?  That is an actual quote from one CEO who has experienced a 50% growth rate in one year.

He is able to track his numbers in happiness amongst his employees for the first time and now he wants to see them grow.

What is your happiness / wellness strategy in 2017?

If you want a taste of this dynamic spread of happiness, here is a 9 minute video.

 

For more information from another CEO who has taken this program you can read here.

To hear from other leaders who have participated in a 24% increase initiative over 8 weeks read here.

To get in touch with our team for more information visit our corporate offerings.

 

Her Perspective - Conscious Relationship Course

Happiness inside of yourself is one area to tackle, and relationships are the next level.

How can you create truthful relationships while keeping the highest happiness for both parties?

That is a skill and a process of moving from subconscious relationship patterns into the conscious and consequently giving relationships the opportunity to flourish.

We teach a program for conscious relationships albeit, at work, family, or friendships.

How can you address the past? Consent in the present? AND move forward with clear objectives?

How can two people 'best relate' to create a conscious relationship based on the highest levels of happiness of all parties?

Examples of people who have benefited:

  1. Whole families
  2. Manager & Employee
  3. Couples
  4. Mother & Daughter
  5. Coworkers

----

Here is one couples journey, after one couple has been dating for several months they decided to take it to the next level. They decided to support the next steps with a conscious conversation about their realistic fears ahead in regard to marriage and parenting.

Here is what she had to say after the first class:

----

My boyfriend and I just had our first conscious relationship couple's session and we were overly impressed.

My partner was a bit reluctant at first after going to years of therapy with his ex yet at the same time supportive of the idea.

Aymee created such a beautiful and sacred space for us to fully address our fears around marriage and becoming future parents.

In the end, we felt closer and gained a greater understanding of how to support one another through our fears.

And this sort of information is priceless.

I personally feel that having a third person facilitate such touchy and sensitive topics is helpful and it's difficult to imagine a better facilitator than Aymee.

She's so incredibly insightful, holds the space with seniority, and at the same time emanates love.

----

Her, Ergonomist & Feldenkrais Practitioner

Him, PhD, Google Engineer

San Francisco, CA

----

Get more information on our conscious relationship program.

Is happiness a 'job' for the CEO? Conversation with a mindful CEO

Is happiness a 'job' for the CEO? 

After 20 years in leadership and positive psychology, I would say a resounding "YES!"

My first job out of college was a Happiness Coordinator on a Trading Floor.  The culture and general atmosphere was gloom and doom.  People yelled across the room, slammed bats on the tables, and someone quit every day.  This was going on for many months.

In my interview, when I said, "I am good at making people happy at work." 

The response was, "We need you! Can you start tomorrow?"

A few years went by and I learned two major lessons:

1) The group grew 4 times, made 4 times the amount of money and no one quit; happiness makes a positive difference.

2) Leadership is the key for a positive culture; leaders must take accountability for creating a positive atmosphere.

Since 2003, I have coached many CEOs, entrepreneurs and leaders in their positive leadership.  

A lot of times, leaders think to themselves,

"I am happy. How come everyone isn't like me?"

"How can happiness benefit my company?"

Or...

Leaders are hitting rock bottom and their ship is sinking. They need help and will do anything.  Other leaders see the importance of caring about employee well-being yet are unsure how to go about how to ensure a positive culture or being positive themselves. 

Harvard research in 2008 has shown happiness spreads up to three degrees so the leader's happiness in any organization is crucial!  

Happiness science is so incredible we can actually teach systematic happiness increase.  

A happy workforce positively impacts turnover, morale, innovation, teamwork, productivity, customer service, and sales; in addition to healthcare costs decreasing and greater ethical decisions are made.

One CEO and Founder has already been convinced his well-being is crucial for the overall wellness of his company and his decision making. (This usually happens after a leader has a breakdown and is ready to do whatever it takes to get back on track.)

He has been a martial artist since his youth and has recently been doing transcendental meditation for the last 2 years. His mental acuity has become a paramount asset. Here is a snippet of a conversation:

CEO: I am already happy, I would describe myself as a happy person. My family, therapist and even a psychic told me I am already happy.

ANSWER: You are attempting to convince me, yourself and your loved ones you are happy. You can always have longer bouts of positive mood, faster resiliency, deeper contentment and states of bliss.

CEO: I already experience bliss in my meditations: 40 min a day, 20 min in the morning and 20 min at night.

ANSWER: I can help you expand the results of your 40 minutes of meditative bookends into infinite bliss in the present moment 24/7 for the rest of your life.

CEO: I am in! AND I am all about it!

Sometimes things are so obvious to some yet so foreign to someone else.

Happiness sometimes gets overlooked like the concept of breathing or walking yet it is when there is an absence of happiness that organizations or CEOs start looking into it.

Perhaps I can inspire the leader in you to stop thinking happiness is invisible, unimportant, nonessential, or woo woo.  So you can make a proactive positive performance enhancement opposed to looking back for a 'coulda shoulda woulda' when things get bad.

Happiness science offers a proactive positive performance boost in all areas from the psychology of the CEO to high performance teams to an entire organizational culture.

We offer a strategic happiness increase formula.

Observations in Children when Mom gets Happiness Makeover

When people start the Happiness Makeover, a lot of times they take a leap of faith. They have already realized nothing else has worked and now, all their chips are on this one leadership program that has a great chance of working. 

One east coast husband and wife, came to a place where they knew they had to become happier for the sake of themselves and their marriage. They never thought their happiness would actually impact their children.

Here is one mother’s account of how this work has influenced her two young boys ages 5 and 8.

_________________________________________

I started the Happiness program five weeks ago for myself; however I immediately saw a difference in my two sons, Coen (age 8) & Grayson (age 5). 

Facts: 

  1. They love the program – they find confidence in predictability and that confidence leads to happier moments. 
  2. They enjoy surprises & each time I would add on a new element of the morning routine they would grow excited & loved the challenge of remembering it. 
  3. They react SO WELL to positive parenting & as a family we have grown closer, quickly. 

Biggest Changes: 

Confidence in their communication style has increased immensely.  

Grayson (5) has changed his entire style of communication with an increased level of emotional outpour, with positivity. 

He enjoys doing the “Happiness program” with me most notable the morning routine. He requests doing the morning routine with me when he gets up.  

From a physically emotional standpoint, Grayson has started hugging me a lot more often. I find him more often trying to be closer in proximity to where I am, & often glances at me with a huge smile & acknowledges he’s doing his 'smile practice.'

The most impactful action he has done in this time period has been a complete halting of bed-wetting. He would consistently wet the bed at least two times a week and ever since I started this program he has not wet the bed even once. To me this exemplifies a few things. One he's going to bed content with a happy heart. Two, he's able to communicate with confidence if he is in bed and has to get up, as opposed to how he used to handle this; which was to stay in bed & either consciously or subconsciously ignore his need.  Lastly, he is quietly content while sleeping without disruption. 

After I pick Grayson up from school we talk about the day very differently than we used to. Cutting out words of negativity has increased his ability to talk openly about what his experience was within his day. In the past my exhaustion from the day kept me quiet or irritable; I was quick to worry about the next task (dinner, homework, etc) instead of being in the moment with him. Having the ten minutes of alone time with my five year old is precious and now that I realize how important it is to be in the moment, he has reaped the benefits.  

At five he is strictly tied to his emotions. Pouring on the positivity has opened up a world within him and has drastically changed him, quickly. Instead of lashing out with silence or tantrums he has used words and actual examples to talk about how he feels. For me this illustrates his comfort level and confidence with regards to communicating.

His smiles have increased, his affection has increased, and he has been the most drastically impacted by my change. He embraces the positive routines he looks forward to doing them and that shows me that he welcomes the opportunity to embrace happiness in his life anywhere he can get it and however he can get it. 

Coen (age 8)

My eight-year-old has also showed big improvement however his improvements are more minimal then the five-year-old.

He also embraces the happiness program however it is with less frequency than the five-year-old. 

Most notably with him I’ve seen an increase with physical affection. He seeks me out in the house no matter where I am, to ensure he can give me a hug prior to him leaving. 

He's also much less reactionary with outbursts when something is not going his way. 

An interesting take away is our car rides. Typically that is a time that both boys can escape, and historically they request their tablets and or the television to avoid talking while driving from point A to point B. Since I've started the Happiness Makeover both children have expressed interest in communicating about their day, what we're doing, where we're going, and how they feel about the things that we are doing. Again it shows me that they have become more confident in communicating based on how I receive and react to what they say.

Overall both boys have shown a drastic increase in emotional stability, communication, affection, vulnerability, and confidence.  

With time I imagine this will continue to grow stronger as I continue to teach them through my own examples and learning. 

 _________________________________________

According to Harvard research, happiness spreads up to three degrees of separation.  When someone signs up for the Happiness Makeover, I know this work will spread to their treasured relationships too. Happiness is contagious, it is a collective experience and when you put positive psychology to work, you can see the spread of smiles with your own eyes.

These changes occurred for this family through telephone coaching. I have never met them face to face.

Makes sense to me, if mom is happier, kids are happier.

Everyday, I see the amazing effects of how positive psychology drastically changes lives.

Dr. Aymee Coget

The Difference between Therapy & Happiness Science

In traditional therapy you talk about your problems, your therapist listens empathetically and helps you understand things about yourself it may be hard to see from the inside out. Traditional therapy is helpful to talk things through, gain a bigger understanding, get things off your chest and help moving on in life. Sometimes the therapist can be depressed. 

Happiness science is a totally different beast. Instead of exploring the outer world and how you are relating to it, you learn how to master your inner world so the outer world no longer has an impact on your life.

A lot of times people have already undergone years of therapy when they decide to pursue positive psychology.

In positive psychology, happiness science has grown in effectiveness and empirical evidence in the last 5 years. We literally can say a 3:1 ratio in positive to negative emotions will in fact counter a downward spiral and even change the plasticity in your brain and furthermore treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, bi- polar, and even PTSD or schizophrenia. 

Happiness science can be powerful when used in the right way.

Learning happiness as a subject, as a skill, as a way of life, is a totally new paradigm in developing optimal mental health.

  • Imagine mastering control of your emotional experience instead of letting the outside world control your mental stability.
  • Imagine being able to develop a positive mood in any given moment independent of what is going on around you.
  • Imagine being resilient to the point of laughing at your happiness challenges.
  • Imagine deep inner contentment is your constant instead of your illusion.
  • Imagine states of bliss and joy are numerous throughout the day instead of a distant fairytale.

Your happiness is the most important thing in your life. You can master it.

Without it, you are looking for it; and with it, you are on to the next thing.

It could be time to broaden your understanding of options to feel better and look at the advances in Positive Psychology to develop your optimal well-being.

Independent of previous diagnosis, you can still learn happiness science just like any other subject in your life.

The difference between now and yesterday is now we can teach happiness as precise as mathematics.

It is an exciting time to shift our perspectives on how to become happier from the outer life to the inner life. 

Dr. Aymee Coget

8 Ways to Create Positive Culture in Start-ups, Small Business & Corporations

Making culture creation simple, step-by-step, with fast results? 

To the seasoned management community, this may seem like an oxymoron.

Positive psychology makes it possible.

An organization’s culture can make or break a company’s bottom line like Southwest Airlines and Zappos who were able to soar in otherwise challenging economic times.

Organizational culture can be a big beast that is hard to grasp at a practical level.

It is also rumored to take years to change an organizational culture.

For the aim of inspiring your organization to move in a positive direction, I have provided 8 ways to guide your thinking of how to move the needle to greater positivity in your organizational culture.

1. Leadership

First and foremost the leader MUST espouse positivity. If the leader is unable to be visibly positive or support the cause, this is the first item to be addressed. I am proud of one leader specifically who has been able to embrace the power and importance of happiness at work; John Stix, President of Fibernetics in Canada. His organization has become the top employer in his community because of the emphasis on being happy at work and home. Happiness, well-being, wellness, positivity; whatever you want to call it, needs to be espoused at an organizational and top leadership level. Executive coaching in positive psychology and leadership is recommended. Self-responsibility for positivity has to be embodied at the top levels and encouraged throughout the company. John Stix and happiness are bold on the front page of the Fibernetics website.

2. Team Leadership

A team needs to be formed to represent actions toward this direction. Think of Southwest Airlines Culture committee which has 66 employees representing a cross-section of departments. To build this team, I would recommend you look around the office or even take a poll to find out who the people are that think they are already ‘happy all of the time’ and perpetually see the glass as half full. These people are your first choice. This team needs to adopt 3 VALUES in how to interact. Executive coaching in positive psychology and leadership is recommended for members of the team. Most importantly, find out the cube root of your employee population which is the amount of employees needed to influence and saturate the organizational culture as a collective. This formula was realized with the Harvard happiness research showing a spread of happiness up to three degrees.

3. Socialize Frequently

Create systematic and regular socializing functions outside of the working roles. Encourage employees to care about each other, express compassion, speak positive and feel comfortable to talk about non-work related topics. This will help employees build positive social bonds between teams and departments. Employee recognition, culture immersion, or even regular Friday ‘happy’ hours promoting health and well-being. There are many fun and practical exercises based in positive psychology that can be practiced during these gatherings indoctrinating greater admiration, appreciation, and kindness throughout the office.

4. Positive Language

Specific ‘lingo’ needs to be added around the office. Embracing certain terms or eliminating others. For example use the term ‘lifeline’ instead of ‘deadline’. At Plasticity labs, Jim Moss, Chief Happiness Officer, holds webinars for employees entitled ‘Improving Employee Happiness’. Utilizing the word ‘happiness’ at work is a big step alone. Eliminating profanity, name calling, or yelling at the office would also fall in this category. Beyond words or phrases, think in ratios. For every negative you have to encounter at work, use 3 positives to be able to move beyond it or transform it into happiness.

5. Helpful Habits

Employees have habits. Let’s create happiness as a habit at the office. In this category, I am proud of a start up CEO Amanda Kahlow who has from day one espoused her ‘love’ for her employees as family members and the importance of their happiness at work. She has gone great lengths to show this like introducing weekly yoga classes, meditations led by a local Buddhist monk, a shooting hoops carnival game, and an in-office infrared sauna. She is building in the importance of play, health, and mindfulness as they are the ‘family’ values she has been able to spread through her employee population. At Amanda’s predictive intelligence company, 6sense, she even has a dog friendly culture where employees can bring their best friends to work. Impressively, her work culture was featured on CNBC.

"I'm building a place where people want to come and feel supported, and this is where they spend 99 percent of their time, so I feel like we're building a home and a family," she said.

6. Continuous Education

What is the knowledge you want employees to keep learning? Is it about health? Wellness? Mindfulness? Happiness? Leadership? Teamwork? Success? Goal setting? Self-development? Innovation? Creativity? Community building? Whatever is decided, this body of knowledge needs to be a theme in the company literature, meetings, social gatherings, workshops, corporate library, daily tips, etc.

7. Happy ‘things’

Objects around the office have to represent positivity to the employees. The more employee authentic expression the better. How can the employees bring happiness or create happiness in the office? The company can do their part with banners, natural lighting, colorful walls, plants, exciting posters, yet when the employees get to participate in adding to the things in the office that make them happy, it builds greater loyalty to the company because the employee can see themselves within the culture. Facebook has brought employee authentic expression to a new level, they even have a graffiti wall.

 

Southwest Airlines does a good job at this too. Workforce.com highlights the culture of SWA,

“…everywhere you look Southwest promotes red hearts and "LUV." The symbols are supposed to embody the Southwest spirit of employees "caring about themselves, each other and SWA's customers," states an employee booklet. You see it on the company training books. It's in the name of the mentor program, "CoHearts," and it's used for the "Heroes of the Heart Award." In fact, SWA is so doggone proud of its star employees, it wants to let the whole world know. Because Southwest presented this year's Heart Award to the scheduling department, its name will appear on a banner painted across a red heart on the nose of an airplane for one year…”

8. Positivity Insurance

Every system requires maintenance and improvement. This is the same with the creation of a positive culture at work. Adopt a method that is agreeable to all in order to ensure positivity is going in the right direction. This could look like monthly or quarterly reports with actual numbers. Or this could look like employee feedback. Whatever is decided, it needs to be held on the regular instead of never.

***Beware of Happiness Backlash***

Even though positivity sounds like a good idea at work, there are still some leaders or employees who are unable to enjoy this way of being. It may be different than their natural genetic code, brain chemistry, education, or social upbringing. You know the ‘hard edge’ type of experience at work, where happiness and positivity do not belong.  Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh pays his employees to leave if they are unable to buy in to the happiness at work concept.

Closing

Between the self-responsibility of leadership, the appointed wellness team, consistent socializing at work, the use of positive language, emphasizing knowledge building, indoctrinating habits, having happy objects in the office, and adopting system maintenance procedures the vein of positivity can begin right now at any start up, small business, or corporation.

Given these steps are at a macro perspective, happiness and positivity is very much an individual experience. Employees have to feel in control of their own well-being and honor the importance of it at work. If employees are married to their stress, yelling, name calling, negative thinking, fear-based projections, constant anxiety or other negative attributes, there will be a problem that needs to be addressed. This is the philosophy around ‘one bad apple.’ Remember happiness is a collective and it is ‘not for everyone’.

Whatever the challenge may be, happiness science and positive psychology are the new option for spreading positivity to enhance well- being at work while creating positive culture. It starts with the leadership and spreads through the employee population.

Even the unhappiest employee can become the happiest if they learn how to implement positive psychology daily.

I am looking forward to the day a 'Positive Organization' is a norm instead of the anomaly. 

Dr. Aymee Coget

Successful Positive Psychology Intervention: 8-week Well-being Office Makeover (Video)

Overview: 24.53% increase in well- being for employees who participated in an 8 week positive psychology intervention. Employees learned 5 steps and even the unhappiest employee became the happiest! Tools are helpful in change management, positive work culture, and stress relief.

In 1996, I spent time in introspection reflecting on what I most wanted to spend my life working on.  At this point, I decided I wanted to help millions of people live happier lives.  The work environment seemed to be fertile ground for improvement since I never once heard someone say, "Yay! It's Monday!" 

I started my fascination and passion for happiness at work so long ago it really has fueled me all this time!  From the aspects of leadership, culture creation, team work, virtual teams, goals, effectiveness, and success I have found positive psychology to be quite impactful!  

Positive Psychology in Organizations

In 2003, I read my first book on positive organizations from the University of Michigan written by Jane Dutton et al, about how to use positive psychology in organizational settings.

As the process in the happiness makeover leadership program does work for individuals, it also works in organizations!  When applied to an organizational setting you can see the results ripple throughout the office.

In 2008, Harvard research shows a spread of three degrees of spread for each happy person.  

Success formula

If you take the cube root of the employee population, this number is the number you need of happiness activists in order to pervade a positive organizational culture.

Taking the micro of leadership education and seeing results in the macro of culture creation is really something!

Fast Results!

Some organizational consultants say it takes years to create or change culture, yet with the right positive psychology system in place, it can be reduced to weeks and months.  

I had the opportunity to work within a multinational corporation doing an intervention which we called the Office Happiness Makeover.

The five steps of sustainable happiness were taught with the aim to increase well-being as the employees chose to implement happiness science daily.

With an analogue system in place we the program was successful in that we achieved a 24.53% increase in well-being in the participants over an 8 week period.

Here is a 6 minute video to give you a feel for the experience.

 

If you want to bring the Office Happiness Makeover into your office make an appointment for a consultation.

Dr. Aymee Coget

Alternative to couples therapy = Positive Psychology in Relationships: How to ignite an upward spiral

Through the years, I have the privilege of working with couples in addition to individuals, organizations and groups.  It is so rewarding!  

When you think about couples therapy, do you think:

Fun? Exciting? Meaningful? Positive? Confidence building? Forgiving? Creative? Heart Opening? Practical? Goal-oriented?

Unlikely.

If you are like most people, you think,

“I am going to prove I am right.”

“I am going to change this person.”

“I want to fix this problem.”

“Here we go again.”

“Nothing will come from this.”

“We are doomed.”

Instead imagine a carnival, entering a fun house, holding hands in the tunnel of love, the kissing on the top of the ferris wheel, indulging in cotton candy, having a blast at the bumper cars, gathering souvenirs and laughing at the clowns.

How is it possible to make the dread of couples therapy totally disappear to create a warm-fuzzy exciting fun experience with quick and forever lasting results?

Using positive psychology in couples therapy

is a game changer.

Right now, in couples therapy, most of the time the discussion addresses the problems of the relationship. In positive psychology the paradigm focuses on what is working instead of what is wrong.

Using the lens of positive psychology, I was inspired to apply the philosophy in leadership and sustainable happiness to create an alternative to couples therapy, which is practical, goal-oriented, and positive! 

I call it the Conscious Relationships course. This means the couple is able to harness the power of positivity and move in a direction based on what feels the best for both of them.

Often times I work with people whose spouse watches the person get a Happiness Makeover. Sometimes a spouse decides to jump in and say, I will do it too!

As time is spent in the individual change process, the couple then realizes they have even another thing to master, their relationship’s happiness. The relationship happiness is separate from their own. If they work on their own happiness and achieve their own states of bliss and joy how does this relate to what the new relationship will be?  So I devised a couples course to guide the way.

 Here is a snapshot of a few of the highlights in a 7 week course:

  1. An unveiling of subconscious patterns driving bad behavior that is fun 
  2. An efficient process & support in changing bad behavior
  3. A forgiveness process to leave the pain in the past
  4. Application of harmony building tools to use in conflict
  5. A new understanding of ‘follow your bliss’ as a couple
  6. How to speak from your heart
  7. The ability to look at each other with a strengths lens
  8. A shared vision & action plan to create a happy relationship & life together
  9. Daily support as needed

*** Prerequisites for this course are the underlying truth of unconditional love, willingness to do something different, a true desire to forgive & let go of the past.

Let me share this vision with you….

The couple agrees to get on a “Love Boat” each couple gets to choose their own name for the love boat, which represents their relationship.

It helps objectify the creation of both people’s psychology in relationship and it adds a personification that gives an authentic experience for each couple.  

It is my job to help create the love boat and set it sail into the rainbow sunset. This includes providing a compass and the North Star, guidance through rough waters with realistic optimism while keeping the boat on track. Ongoing support for the achievement of success.

I like the boat theme because it is going somewhere; indicating change. It can go through the storm and reach the calm. 

Breakdowns lead to breakthroughs. The couple works together to consciously move in a direction toward a destination and can relax into the journey. They can throw unhealthy dynamics overboard that are harmful to the relationship and build healthy new ways of relating. There can be a theme song, a theme dance, and a lot of fun aspects in the creation of a couples love boat as it clearly authentically represents their vision of a positive uplifting relationship.

I understand the fear and negative association one can have with ‘couples counseling’. Often we hear of one person in the couple wanting to go to therapy and unable to convince the other one it is a good idea.

How does this sound?

“Honey, I love you. I am thrilled to invite you on a 7- week love boat to the destination of our dreams. It will be so fun and heart warming we will feel like we are at a carnival!”

Positive psychology has created a paradigm shift, now we can create happy relationships by focusing on the positive while consciously creating what is needed in a peaceful loving relationship.

How many marriages can positive psychology change? 

People in their first year of marriage who realize they have hit rough waters have found peace and direction in this program. People who have been married for twenty- three years are in this program to reinvent their marriage. People who are dating seriously have taken this program to ensure the relationship is the right one.

Using positive psychology and leadership principles to build happy relationships offers a new beginning.  

Dr. Aymee Coget

1st Publishing of The Happiness Makeover Theoretical Underpinnings

This is the first publishing of the theoretical basis supporting the change process in this leadership development program. It may come as a surprise something seemingly sounding so simple, Happiness Makeover, can really be so complex embodying a combination of thirteen theories and more.  Here is a brief look into the scientific underpinnings of the process from the genres of leadership and positive psychology. This program has contributed to helping many people feel better and even some who gave up on happiness. 

What is behind the curtain of this mental health, well-being increase, sustainable happiness leadership development program?

Here is a bird's eye view....

THE HAPPINESS MAKEOVER

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

Twenty years in the making the Happiness Makeover leadership development program has helped many people attain a level of happiness they never thought they’d reach. If you’re coping with mental or physical illness, thoughts of suicide, if you’re embroiled in a messy divorce, if you have  family problems, IRS problems, or housing foreclosures, the Happiness Makeover offers you a way out. And a way in. This program is made for the regular person who either tends to be stressed, depressed or someone who wants to better themselves in general. Personal responsibility and readiness are pre-requisites. Children as low as age twelve to seniors of age eighty- two have spanned the population who have spent time in the program, yet most range from age twenty- eight to fifty- five. A lot of people happen to be experiencing challenging life circumstances when deciding to take the leadership program or they have attained their life goals and have then realized the external world is unable to provide lasting contentment.

Philosophy

The underlying philosophies of this program are based in multiple leadership and positive psychology theories including: nine models of leadership - 1) authentic, 2) inspirational, 3) motivational, 4) servant, 5)  green, 6)  strength-based, 7) appreciative, 8) situational, and 9) charismatic. In addition, it includes four positive psychology theories: 1) appreciative inquiry, 2) 3:1 upward spiral of positive emotions, 3) broaden and build theory of positive emotions, and a variety of leading edge empirically based 4) happiness-increase techniques.

Neuro-linguistic programming is used throughout the three-month program with the goal of consciously eliminating specific words while utilizing others. The aim of this technique is to change the brain through invoking plasticity as a means of attaining positive effects on an individual’s sense of well-being.

Differing from the traditional mental health paradigm which considers people who have a mental disorder, deficit, or something wrong with them, the Happiness Makeover views the student as a ‘normal’ person who basically needs to learn how to become happier.  Students have the desire to learn how to use the new science of happiness to help them in their daily lives and agree to a holistic approach. Diagnosis, pharmacology, or traditional therapy are methods of mental health from yesterday and tomorrow’s mental health is an educational process and aid in daily implementation.

TERMINOLOGY

Leadership Theories

Authentic leadership is a process that draws from both psychological capacities and high-developed organizational contexts. Greater self-awareness and self-regulated behavior on the part of leaders and associates fosters positive self-development. (Luthans & Avolio, 2003)

Inspirational leadership refers to leaders being able to communicate with followers so they can attain new heights.

Servant leadership is both a philosophy and a set of practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the exercise of power by someone at the top. By comparison, the servant leader shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps followers to develop and perform as successfully as possible. (Robert Greenleaf)

Green leadership refers to the burgeoning interest in sustainability, social entrepreneurship, and the creation of new business opportunities through tackling various social problems.

Strength-Based Leadership focuses on three key ways to being an effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in the strength of others; creating a team with individuals who themselves exhibit the right strength; and understanding and satisfying the basic needs of those on the team.

Appreciative Leadership is concerned with examining what works to create winning performances and how to build and maintain a thriving organization. (Diana Whitney)

Situational Leadership is a theory developed by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard. Its basis is that there is no one single best style of leadership. Instead, effective leadership is task-relevant, and success depends on the ability to lead various individuals or groups. To do this leaders need to set high but attainable goals, they must accept responsibility for the task, and they must take into consideration the relevant education and/or experiences of individuals or groups and their ability to complete various tasks.

Charismatic Leaders gather followers through personality and charm, rather than by any form of external power or authority. It is illuminating to observe such leaders working the room as they move from one person to another.

Positive Psychology Theories

Positive Psychology was adopted by the American Psychology Association (APA) in 1998. Its founder is Dr. Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania who is a former President of the American Psychology Association. He realized there was a 17:1 ratio of depression-to-happiness studies and so he set forth to shift the focus on studying what is right with people instead of what is wrong. This is a huge shift in psychological thinking in the treatment of illness, offering individuals the ability to achieve optimal flourishing through skill based learning. Recent neurological research (2012) has shown the acquisition of happiness skills can help treat stress, depression, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorders, and schizophrenia creating a positive effect on well-being.

Appreciative Inquiry is a model for the development of strategies that promote analytical inquiry into the best of what is and what could be. This leads to the ability to create the framework of a desired future condition. (Cooperrider and Srivastva, 1990)

The Broaden and Build Theory asserts that positive emotions expand one's awareness and encourage novel, varied, and exploratory thoughts and actions. Over time, such an expansive behavioral pattern increases one’s skills and resources. (Barbara Fredrickson)

Upward and Downward Spirals are not polar opposites. Downward spirals lead to narrowed self-focus and rigid or stereotyped defensive behavior. Upward spirals lead to increased openness to others and new, spontaneous and exploratory activity.

Happiness Increase Techniques are derived from cutting-edge scientific studies as well as from individuals who have achieved lasting happiness for over twenty years.  (Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ilona Boniwell)

Conclusion

Incorporating all these theories in the veins of creation for a mental health option based in self-leadership and learning skills offered from the new science has shown to be effective when traditional methods have failed.  

This process of individual change has been refined to the point of systematic automation offering repetitive sustainable results.

Dr. Aymee Coget