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By Lisa Cypers Kamen.

Istock 000001646697XsmallI’ve got a bit of news for those of you who haven’t seen the mudslinging TV ads, heard the accusatory radio spots or spotted the big, bold signs on every street corner: It’s an election year. Until November, presidential politics will likely dominate your preferred news outlet. It might even sneak into your dinner table conversations and barge in on your break room chats, and it could even motivate you to do a bit of campaigning yourself.

Amid all the public pleas and promises of presidential hopefuls, the always-difficult task of deciding what to believe and what not to believe gets even trickier. Information overload can quickly cloud our judgments or mislead us. Where, oh where, do we turn to stay emotionally intelligent during an election year and beyond?

We each have an internal political party with a set of principles that guides our actions and beliefs. Some of us are members of the Feeling Party, clinging fast to our emotions above all else. Their emphasis on the heart puts Feeling Party types in constant, heated disagreement with Reason Party members. Those are the folks you see using facts and logic to govern their actions. I’m sure you can see why the Feeling Party irks these logic-based people.

Somewhere in the middle of the spectrum is the Values Party, whose members use ethics and values to justify their beliefs. This party sees reason as a useful but one-dimensional tool, and views emotion as a reaction to one’s values. They’re often shrugged off as stubborn by people who think logic should trump all. And then there are the hybrids: The independent party of the decision-making world, these members subscribe to their own unique combination of emotion, logic and values to decide what choices they make.

What internal political party do you belong to? Do you ever cross party lines?

Just as the constant verbal warfare between Democrats and Republicans lowers our country’s morale, our internal politics, if not clearly defined, can put a damper on our emotional intelligence. It’s exhausting to constantly seesaw or overthink when we’re trying to make an important choice.

Maybe you subscribe to logic sometimes, and other times let your emotions run wild. If this is the case, which method usually brings the most positive outcomes? It is important to understand what compels you to make the best choices for you. That’s the first step towards achieving emotional intelligence.

Once you have a firm grasp of your own internal politics, make an effort to understand why other people choose different criteria to govern them. By having a strong understanding of what matters to you and others, you’ll be bound to make decisions that have a more positive impact all-around. How’s that for positive politics?

Happiness is an inside job. ®

Happiness Strategy:

Once you’re settled in for the night, or during any downtime you may have, turn on CNN, MSNBC, FOX or another TV news network. Once you locate a segment featuring a 2012 presidential candidate, watch closely for at least a few minutes, paying close attention to the candidate’s explanations and views. Try to identify whether the candidate is operating based on logic, emotion, values, or a mix of the three. Put politics aside and focus on your reaction to the politician’s thought process and reasoning. What does your response tell you about your own decision-making process?

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Lisa Cypers Kamen is a filmmaker, positive psychology coach, author, host of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio, professor and lecturer specializing in the field of sustainable happiness. She is widely recognized as an expert on the subject. Lisa’s acclaimed documentary film co-produced with her now fifteen year-old daughter, Kayla, “H-Factor…Where is your heart?” explores how people in varied circumstances find, generate and share happiness. In addition to her film on happiness, Lisa has also published a number of articles and books entitled, Got Happiness Now?, Are We Happy Yet?, Leadership: Helping Others to Succeed and Reintegration Strategies, about combat trauma and using positive psychology principles to create wellness in a post-war new normal. Lisa’s written work is featured on blogs for the Huffington Post, and and she is a TEDx community event speaker. In addition, she is the Happiness Expert for the Florida Department of Citrus/ Florida Orange Juice in its Take on the Day campaign.

Harvesting Happiness for Heroes™ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that delivers stigma-free integrated combat trauma recovery services to warriors and their loved ones. Modalities include scientifically proven strengths based Positive Psychology coaching and interdisciplinary tools such as film, yoga, meditation, art and creative writing designed to mindfully empower the client to achieve increased self-mastery, self-esteem and reclaim her/his life. HH4Heroes focuses on the balance of mind, body and emotion resulting in greater overall wellbeing and the transformation of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) into Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). HH4Heroes offers retreat workshops, one-on-one coaching, Battle Buddy programs, as well as our new R.E.B.O.O.T Online virtual community coaching classrooms designed to reach underserved areas. In addition, HH4Heroes deploys Return to Duty™ civilian and corporate training to help welcome a warrior home and into the community and workplace.

Lisa is committed to teaching Happiness is an inside job™ and helping others end their needless suffering through intentionally cultivating greater joy.

For more information, please visit, and

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I’m overhearing the Republican Convention right now from the TV in the next room. I first saw it in black & white on our console TV. Both the conventions and the World Series pre-empted Ding Dong School, long before Facebook, Twitter, and convention blogs. I wonder which will be obsolete first: face-to-face conventions or TV.

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