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Spiritual Steps to Happiness Part 3
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Counselor Toolbox Podcast

CEUs/OPD/CPDs are available for this presentation at for clinicians in the US and for clinicians in Australia.

~ Openmindedness/Teachability/Curiosity
~ Optimism
~ Compassion

~ Why this logically makes sense that it could improve happiness and reduce distress
~ When people are openminded, they are not fighting against other points of view or trying to control everything or fit it into a particular box
~ How can openmindendness help people with
~ Relationships (everyone was raised with their own set of “should”)
~ How can closed-mindedness negatively impacted people in
~ Their relationships
~ Problem solving
~ Why this logically makes sense that it could improve happiness and reduce distress
~ Teachability can also reduce stress because, guess what, there are probably people out there who know more about some things than you do.
~ What the Bible Says
~ Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things.
~ Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind
~ Ephesians 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
~ Acts 22:9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me.
~ Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
~ James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach.
~ Psalm 25:4-5 Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. You are the God of my salvation.

7 Days of Openmindedness
~ Day 1: Open-mindedness
~ Be open to alternate solutions
~ Find 5 life hacks
~ Find 10 creative ways to use: 2-Liter Bottles, plastic grocery bags, duct tape, Soybean Oil (wd-40 alternative), baking soda…
~ Time management tricks
~ Removing stains
~ Day 2: The Third Agreement: Don’t make assumptions and always question your reality for the absolute truth
~ Practice listening with curiosity, “How might this work?” instead of shutting down with “That’s not how I do it.”
~ What is the goal? (Hint: It is not to be right)
~ How does each solution help arrive at the goal?
7 Days of Openmindedness
~ Day 3: Teachability
~ What have you learned from…
~ How does teachability help people in their relationships (we learn what others like, we learn about their perspectives…)
~ Day 4: Teachability: Try Something New
~ What is something new you have learned that you might have resisted? (Brussel sprouts, roller coasters)
~ Identify something you want to learn and how it might impact you. (Example: Organic gardening, parenting approaches, meditation)
7 Days of Openmindedness
~ Day 5: It Takes a Village
~ Many problems are multifaceted. Being willing to work with a group or consult diverse resources can help people “see” their blind spots, identify alternate solutions.
~ Ask: What are the causes? What are the benefits? What are the solutions? What are the consequences of those solutions?
~ How can this apply to:
~ Parenting a child who “won’t listen”
~ Addiction Prevention
~ Relapse Prevention
~ Focus today on identifying 3 solutions/perspectives to challenges.
7 Days of Openmindedness
~ Day 6: Through the Eyes of A Child
~ Expertise and experience are valuable assets, but they can be roadblocks to change.
~ Check your preconceptions, stereotypes, and biases, and approach a challenge with fresh eyes, people who are unfamiliar with the problem.
~ Challenge assumptions: Ask why…Does this rule exist? Do I think I must…? Does so and so react this way? Do I feel…?
~ Ask what if… we stopped… we are wrong… (honey & peanuts)
7 Days of Openmindedness
~ Day 7: Curiosity
~ Frame problems as questions.
~ I need to make Johnny do his homework.
~ How might we better motivate Johnny to do his homework?”
~ Reward experimentation, even if it results in failure.
~ Create inspiration (Visualize the goal)
~ Why this logically makes sense that it could improve happiness and reduce distress
~ When people are negative, they notice the negative
~ As humans we are wired for survival, so we naturally pay more attention to and give more weight to the negative (5:1)
~ What the Bible Says
~ Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
~ Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
~ Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing
~ Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
~ Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
~ 1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us

7 Days of Optimism
~ Day 1: Positivity Journaling
~ Journal or think about positive things that are going to happen that day (drive to work, bus ride)
~ Journal (or talk) for 20 minutes about positive things that happened that day
~ Day 2: 5:1
~ For every set back or unpleasant thing you notice, find 5 positive
~ Flat tire
~ Grumpy spouse
~ “Misbehaving” children
~ Stray animal
7 Days of Optimism
~ Day 3: Hardiness—Commitment, Control and Challenge
~ Depression
~ Divorce
~ Broke
~ Death or loss
~ Day 4: Dialectics—Find the middle ground/synthesize
~ If I accept something happened or someone’s point of view, it means I agree. If I refuse to accept, it means I disagree.
~ If I forgive, it means I condone. If I stay angry it means I don’t condone.
~ Someone is lazy or productive
~ Someone is honest or a liar

7 Days of Optimism
~ Day 5: Live in the And (Can-Do-Attitude)
~ What are 5 things you are afraid of?
~ Death (roller coasters, heights, tunnels)
~ Rejection (making a friend or interviewing)
~ Isolation (leaving a relationship)
~ Who are 2 people you disagree or don’t get along with?
~ Family member
~ Co-Worker
7 Days of Optimism
~ Day 6: Stop minimizing the positive, “I did that” / Personalization
~ Identify 3 things you did well today or things of which you are proud.
~ Make a list/collage/scrapbook of your accomplishments—including times when you have shown courage or strength
~ Day 7: External, changeable, specific
(Cards with common internal, global negative statements)
~ When something unpleasant happens, practice viewing it as:
~ Caused by someone or something else (or at least consider the other factors)
~ Identify what parts are within your power to change
~ Be specific. Instead of “This person is a liar” say, “This person lied to me about…” or Instead of “I suck at relationships…” “My relationship with this person was a bad fit because…”
~ Why this logically makes sense that it could improve happiness and reduce distress
~ Compassion is a sense of shared suffering which helps us feel empathy instead of anger.
~ Self compassion helps us improve self-acceptance and self-esteem.

~ What the Bible Says
~ 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
~ Matthew 25:40 Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
~ Hebrews 13:3 Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.
~ 2 Corinthians 2:7 But now you should forgive him and encourage him. This will keep him from having too much sadness and giving up completely
~ Galatians 6:1 Someone in your group might do something wrong. Help make that person right again, and do it in a gentle way.

7 Days of Compassion
~ Day 1: Guilt and Distress Reduction
~ What messages did you receive about being compassionate when you were growing up?
~ Excusing laziness? Being “soft”?
~ Do you agree with those messages? Why or why not?
~ Poor primary attachment relationships can trigger immense grief when beginning compassion work.
~ Prior traumatization by a “compassionate” other can also trigger trauma reactions.
~ Day 2: 3 Alternate Explanations
~ Find 3 alternate explanations for someone’s behavior when you start to feel irritated.
~ You can love the person without liking the behavior.

7 Days of Compassion
~ Day 3: Acts of Kindness
~ Imagine you are another entity (person, animal, earth…) that is suffering.
~ What would you want someone to do to alleviate your suffering?
~ Switch roles and pick one thing.
~ Treat others as you want to be treated and vice versa.
~ Day 4: Ripple effect
~ What effect does self-compassion have on you? Those around you? Those around them?
~ What effect does other-compassion have on you? Those around you? Those around them?

7 Days of Compassion
~ Day 5: Compassionate Boundaries
~ You cannot fix the world.
~ You cannot fix someone else.
~ Sometimes you do not need to fix yourself.
~ Identify what you do and do not have control over.
~ What things hurt your heart? (Guilt, Inadequacy)
~ When my kids are hurting.
~ Homelessness.
~ Someone with an addiction.
~ Children in unhealthy situations.
~ Abandoned animals.
~ When I am exhausted and cannot do the things I “should.”

7 Days of Compassion
~ Day 6: Develop a compassionate image
~ An internal image of someone that comforts and protects you.
~ Day 7: Commonalities Practice
~ “Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in his/her life.”
~ “Just like me, this person is trying to avoid suffering in his/her life.”
~ “Just like me, this person has known sadness, loneliness and despair.”
~ “Just like me, this person is seeking to fill his/her needs.”
~ “Just like me, this person is learning about life.”

~ Openmindedness helps us take other perspectives, see things we may not have seen an reduces the distress caused by having to have everything our way.
~ Optimism helps us focus on all the things that are going right.
~ Compassion for self and others encourages us to let go of anger in exchange for empathy and understanding so that we may be able to support and encourage instead of criticize and condemn.