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449 – Happiness Habits
Instructor: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director: AllCEUs Counseling CEUs and Specialty Certificates
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox, Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery

~ Learn why these habits contribute to recovery from addiction and mood issues and techniques to help clients implement them
~ Habit: Awareness and Authenticity
~ Habit: Acceptance
~ Habit: Gratitude
~ Habit: Compassion
~ Habit: Breathing
~ Habit: Purposeful action and Long-Term Goals
~ Habit: Back-Talk
~ Habit: Thought Conditioning
~ Habit: Be Sense-sational

Biological Impact of Happiness
~ Reduced risk of diabetes (41% – 100%), autoimmune issues, cardiovascular disease (anxiety, depression 80%)
~ Reduced activation of the HPA-Axis
~ Improved hormone balance
~ Improved sleep
~ Reduced pain
~ Slowed aging process
~ More energy
~ Releases endorphins
Emotional & Cognitive Impacts of Happiness
~ Difficulty to be simultaneously happy and unhappy
~ Changes the lens through with the world is viewed
~ Increases cognitive flexibility
Social Impacts of Happiness
~ Happy people tend to attract happy people
~ Happy people often have more energy to devote to relationships
~ Improved social relationships increase happiness
Awareness and Authenticity
~ To get your wants and needs met, you first need to be aware of them
~ Practice Mindfulness
~ What do you need
~ What vulnerabilities do you currently have
~ How can you mitigate them
~ How can you prevent them
~ Why is it important to prevent them?
Awareness and Authenticity
~ Living authentically means living in a way that is true to yourself.
~ Define what happiness means to you:
~ What makes you happy?
~ How will your thoughts and outlook change when you are happy?
~ What is the impact of happiness on your health and body (energy, sleep, weight, pain, illness…)?
~ When you are happy, who do you see in your support system and what will your relationships be like?
~ What will be different in your day to day life, hobbies and activities when you are happy?
~ How can you start making these things happen? (Principle of Reciprocity)
~ Fighting against things that are unchangeable (or not realistically changeable by you) wastes a TON of energy.
~ Feelings
~ Other people
~ Certain situations
~ Accept the situation by saying “Okay, what now?”
~ Decide whether you will…
~ Change part of the situation to make it more tolerable
~ How can you do this?
~ Change your reaction to the situation
~ How can you do this?

~ It can be easy to focus on all of the things you don’t have or what is not going right
~ An attitude of gratitude helps you
~ refocus on the positive
~ appreciate the simple things
~ Let go of envy and jealousy
~ Even if one area of your life is a mess, it is likely that you have other things to be grateful for.
~ Activities
~ Keep a gratitude list. Add at least one thing that went well each day
~ Look around and compare yourself to others who are not doing as well and/or the you in the past
~ Compassion means sympathetic awareness of others' distress and a desire to alleviate it
~ People may have compassion for others but not for themselves
~ Many of us were raised to think that if we are compassionate with ourselves it means we are lazy, weak or a failure.
~ Activity
~ Think of three times you have been compassionate in the past week. To whom? Why? How did it impact them?
~ How are you compassionate to yourself? How could you be?
Breathing (and Laughter)
~ Deep breaths help oxygenate blood and reduce fatigue
~ Slow deep breaths also help lower heart rate and trigger the relaxation response.
~ Laughter not only makes you breathe deeper, but it also releases endorphins.
~ Activity
~ Practice deep breathing after each meal
~ When you are stressed, take a few deep breaths
~ Schedule in 10 minutes to laugh every day.
Purposeful Action and Long-Term Goals
~ When you see that you are moving closer to your long term goals it inspires hope.
~ Each small step toward a rich and meaningful life can make you feel happier.
~ Purposeful action means
~ Using your energy to do things to achieve your goals
~ Focusing on things you can control
~ Activity
~ Define what a rich and meaningful life means to you
~ Identify 3 small changes you can make today to move closer to that life.
Back Talk
~ Your internal critic and ingrained habits can cause you a lot of distress.
~ Choosing happiness habits means quieting the negativity and changing behaviors
~ Back talk means
~ Telling the critic to be quiet and pushing away negative thoughts.
~ Telling yourself “No” when you start to engage in unhelpful habits (Stress eating, smoking, engaging in unnecessary conflict)
Thought Conditioning
~ Most of us are not in the habit of always seeing the bright side or the silver lining.
~ Just like conditioner softens your hair, thought conditioning softens your thoughts by helping you:
~ Look for the positive
~ Walk the middle path
~ Eliminate cognitive distortions
Be Sense-ational
~ Your moods are largely impacted by your environment.
~ What smells make you happy? (Essential oils, memory-related smells)
~ What sights make you happy? (Pictures, colors, organization)
~ What sounds make you happy? (birds, music, water)
~ What feelings/touch makes you happy? (warm fireplace, thick angora sweater, cool silk…)
~ How can you integrate these into your:
~ Home
~ Car
~ Work space
Peer Pressure
~ Surround yourself with positive people
~ Positive people can often help you condition your thoughts, provide support and are more encouraging
~ Negative people tend to drain energy and enhance a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.
~ Energy in conversations and relationships is contagious.
~ Think of a person you know who is extremely negative.
~ How do you feel when you see they are calling?
~ How do you feel after spending time together?
~ Think of a person you know who is extremely positive.
~ How do you feel when you see they are calling?
~ How do you feel after spending time together?

~ Resentment, regret and guilt are natural responses to a threat
~ Holding on to these feelings drains your energy.
~ The feeling is telling you
~ Something bad happened
~ You need to fix it and/or protect yourself
~ Activity
~ Think about something you are resentful about.
~ How does holding on to the resentment help protect you?
~ What would happen if you let go of the resentment?
~ How can you forgive the person, or yourself, so it stops draining your energy

Project Happiness (Fake It ‘Til You Make It)
~ When you walk hunched over, looking at the ground you
~ Feel more depressed
~ Miss some of the simple pleasures
~ Miss opportunities to positively engage with people
~ Sit and walk sitting up
~ Look up from your phone
~ Make eye contact and smile
~ How else can you project happiness so others can tell you are happy?
~ Happiness doesn’t magically happen.
~ By choosing habits that promote happiness, you can start feeling happier.
~ Your thoughts, emotions, physical sensations and environment all contribute to your mood. Choose happy!