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Spiritual Steps to Happiness Part 4
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Host: Counselor Toolbox Podcast

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

~ Learn how the following principles can help people live happier, healthier lives
~ Authenticity/Integrity
~ Patience & Forgiveness
~ Gratitude
~ Why this logically makes sense that it could improve happiness and reduce distress
~ When people live authentically, they are being true to themselves, not denying their feelings and thoughts.
~ When people live with integrity they are living in a way that is true to their principles they not only feel whole but also (often) set a good example

~ What the Bible Says
~ Psalm 73 The wicked are successful but also can easily fall and be destroyed.
~ Proverbs 4: 25-26 Fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the path for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
~ Luke 6:31 Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
~ Matthew 10:14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.
~ 1 Corinthians 12 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. (Don’t try to be something you are not. You are important as you are.)

7 Days of Authenticity/Integrity
~ Day 1: Begin with the end in mind/Decide now
~ This helps you develop Good Orderly Direction.
~ What is important to me? Know and state your intentions.
~ What do I value in my life?
~ Day 2: Define your purpose in life.
~ I was put on this earth to…
~ My talents and skills enable me to…

7 Days of Authenticity/Integrity
~ Day 3: Foster an open mind to help you live life fully from every perspective
~ What is/are other perspectives
~ What else contributed to this
~ What other solutions could help me live more in line with my Good Orderly Direction
~ Day 4: Practice Psychological Flexibility and Radical Acceptance
~ It is what it is. I feel… My thoughts about this are… How can I improve the next moment? (Note: Authenticity does not mean succumbing to every urge)

7 Days of Authenticity/Integrity
~ Day 5: Quit the rationalizations
~ What things do you rationalize that go against your values?
~ What “little” choices have you made that went against your values? (Stealing supplies, slacking off at work, gossiping, taking credit for other’s successes, making unethical decisions for work, emotional cheating)
~ Day 6: Synchronize—Head, heart and gut honesty
~ Check your thoughts for validity and distortions
~ Ask, “Does this move me closer to what is important in a rich and meaningful life?”
~ Ask, “Is this in line with my values?”
7 Days of Authenticity/Integrity
~ Day 7: Practice mindfulness
~ Check your baggage: Let go of patterns and relationships that no longer serve you. Let go of unnecessary guilt and anxiety. Surround yourself with those who love you, believe in you, and want the best for you.
~ Find your voice and your truth. Express yourself…but remember to THINK (Truthful, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind)
~ Why this logically makes sense that it could improve happiness and reduce distress
~ Improved relationships
~ Improved physical health
~ Increased happiness
~ Neuroscience demonstrates that gratitude reduces stress and increases well being by stimulating the hypothalamus and the ventral tegmental area—part of the brain’s reward/pleasure circuitry (Cereb Cortex. 2009 Feb; 19(2): 276–283.)
~ Enhanced empathy and reduces aggression
~ Improved sleep.
~ Enhanced self-esteem.
~ Increased resiliency
~ What the Bible Says
~ Job 5:2 Resentment kills a fool and envy slays the simple.
~ Ecclesiastes 4:4 And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
~ James 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

7 Days of Gratitude
~ Day 1: Practice and savor gratitude. Train your mind to see the good part in everything. See the goodness, the beauty, the kindness, the light, the love, and the joy.
~ Day 2: Gratitude jar/wall/scrapbook/wall-tree/twig-tree/Turkey

7 Days of Gratitude
~ Day 3: Gratitude game.
~ Supplies:
~ Create a game board with Gratitude (G) and Random Acts of Kindness (K) spaces,
~ A die
~ 2 stacks of index cards with gratitude and random acts of kindness prompts. Include occasional cards “Someone is grateful for you. Move ahead 3 spaces” “You were jealous of someone. Go back 3 spaces.)
~ Roll the die.
~ Advance the given number of spaces. If you land on a G or K space, draw a card and complete the prompt.
7 Days of Gratitude
~ Day 4: Spread gratitude—everywhere
~ I am grateful for you because…(the stock person, the cop in the restaurant, the teacher, the postal worker, the garbage collector…) or just a simple…I appreciate you.
~ Say it
~ Index cards/post-its
~ Cards

7 Days of Gratitude
~ Day 5: Haves and Have nots
~ Help people recognize the things in their life that they often take for granted and embrace that what is real is rarely perfect
~ House
~ Car
~ Vision/Hearing/Mobility
~ Children
~ Pets
~ Job
~ Talents/abilities
~ Supports
7 Days of Gratitude
~ Day 6: Say Thank You
~ To others
~ To yourself
~ To your HP
~ Day 7: Have a complaint and judgment free day (5:1)
~ Why this logically makes sense that it could improve happiness and reduce distress
~ Patience is the opposite of irritability and reduces the activation of our HPA-Axis (Think of someone you know with an abundance of patience—are they happy?)
~ Patience helps us not waste energy on things we cannot control
~ Patience teaches us that we can tolerate distress

~ What the Bible Says
~ Proverbs 15:18 Hot tempers cause arguments, but patience brings peace.
~ Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:12 I learned that the best thing for people to do is to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live.

7 Days of Patience
~ Day 1: Identify your vulnerabilities (things that make you less patient)
~ Emotional
~ Mental (your attitude, expectations, memories)
~ Physical
~ Environmental
~ Social (people who are rude, whining, critical, gossipy)
~ Day 2: Practice delaying gratification
~ Microwave
~ Presents
~ Getting a response from… (boss, school, SO, test results)

7 Days of Patience
~ Day 3: Practice empathy
~ Have clients identify 3 things that make them impatient.
~ Instead of being impatient that something didn’t get done, ask “Why might this have happened?”
~ Failing to finish a project
~ “Lazy” co-worker
~ Children misbehaving in a restaurant or on a car trip
~ Slow driver*
7 Days of Patience
~ Day 4: Practice Time Management
~ Many time people get impatient when they feel hurried or overwhelmed
~ Create an effective time management plan
~ Day 5: Set SMART Goals
~ Most things don’t happen instantly. Setting SMART goals can help you see the incremental progress. Practice setting SMART goals for …
~ Recovery (Mental health or physical health)
~ Weight loss
~ Stopping smoking
~ Becoming an executive or a leader in your field
~ Learning a skill (knitting, gardening, computer program)
~ Developing patience

7 Days of Patience
~ Day 6: Practice accepting the things you cannot change
~ Identify 3 things you cannot change (completely)
~ The past
~ The present (It is what it is)
~ Other people
~ Politics
~ Weather
~ Identify parts you can change
~ Discuss ways of accepting what you cannot change

~ Authenticity, gratitude and patience can help people be less stressed and actually increase their happiness.