Happiness Habits

Happiness Habits

Update: 2019-12-142


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!









Happiness Habits

Happiness Habits

Charles Snipes