The Action Plan for Happiness

03 Aug

Happiness - Take Action NowTake Action Now!

If it’s going to be, it’s up to me

Post published by Russell Grieger Ph.D. on Aug 02, 2015 in Happiness on Purpose

In my clinical practice, I treat people who suffer from just about every imaginable emotional malady – depression, anxiety, anger, addictions, eating disorders, sexual malfunctions, obsessions and compulsions, borderline personality disorders, impulsive acting out, relationship dysfunction, and on and on. To every single one of my patients, I emphasize how important it is for them to step up to the plate and take responsibility for their recovery.

How do I do this? I first help them understand the precise nature and cause of their problems. Then, in the spirit of what the psychologist Carl Rogers taught, “Insight is necessary but not sufficient,” I do my best to convince them that, to get better, they need to work hard, really hard, not only during our sessions, but also in the days between our sessions. I tell them: “The measly forty-five minutes you spend with me each week pales in comparison to the hours you spend with yourself, unwittingly rehearsing and practicing your irrational thinking and dysfunctional behavior. I’ll do everything in my power to teach you what to do, but, if you don’t work your therapy every day, you could very well come to our next appointment next week worse than better.”

In this vein, I make it a point to never let a patient leave my office without at least one between-session therapy assignment. It can be some therapeutic reading, a cognitive restructuring assignment, a behavioral task, or some combination of all three. It never fails that when patients works their therapy, every day, with vigor and focus, they get better.

The same dedication to work applies to creating happiness. All the wonderful happiness strategies in the world will be for naught unless you are willing to use them to bring happiness into your life. If you work them, life will get better. If you don’t, it won’t. It’s that simple.


So, dear reader, here’s your chance to get organized, get focused, and most important, get to work to increase your happiness quotient. I share below a three-step process I call ACT – A refers to creating your Action Plan for Happiness; C has to do with your massive Commitment to do what it takes to bring more pleasure, satisfaction, and happiness into your life; T means Turning On the Action. So, let’s swing into ACTion – now!

Action Plan For Happiness

Starting way back on February 19, 2013, and then each month thereafter, I have published a series of thirty blogs, each with a profound, powerful happiness action strategy. The first ten focused on ways to be happy with yourself (blogs 2/19/13 – 10/31/13), the next ten on how to create happiness with others (11/30/13 – 8/31/14), and the last ten on ways to be happy with life in general (9/30/14 – 6/30/15). In each package of ten, the first five strategies are cognitive or attitudinal, the second five behavioral things to do.

Whether you’ve followed my blogs month-by-month, logged in here and there, or are a first-timer, I suggest that you take the time to browse through these blogs. This may take some time and energy on your part. But, I think your happiness is worth it, don’t you? Once you’ve done this, you are to select one strategy you will begin to do to be happier with yourself, with others, and with life. Write them down below. For each, make notes about where, when, and with whom you’ll act out these strategies.

                                                       My Action Plan

Happiness With Self Strategy:

Happiness With Others Strategy:

Happiness With Life Strategy:


All right, great job! You’ve created a concrete happiness action plan that can add tons of pleasure and satisfaction to your life. But, all the plans in the world, without action, will be useless. You need to commit to follow through. Consider what the genius, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you.”  Here now are three ways for you to get and stay motivated to act out your Action Plan for Happiness each and every day.



Mental Health CE Courses of Interest


Should therapists and counselors use humor as a therapeutic technique? If so, should they be formally trained in those procedures before their implementation? This course will review the risks and benefits of using humor in therapy and the relevant historical controversies of this proposal. The paucity of rigorous empirical research on the effectiveness of this form of clinical intervention is exceeded only by the absence of any training for those practitioners interested in applying humor techniques. In this course a representative sample of its many advocates’ recommendations to incorporate humor in the practice of psychological therapies is reviewed. Therapeutic humor is defined, the role of therapists’ personal qualities is discussed, and possible reasons for the profession’s past resistance to promoting humor in therapy are described. Research perspectives for the evaluation of humor training are presented with illustrative examples of important empirical questions still needing to be answered.Course #21-02 | 2015 | 24 pages | 14 posttest questions


In Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) the human-animal bond is utilized to help meet therapeutic goals and reach individuals who are otherwise difficult to engage in verbal therapies. AAT is considered an emerging therapy at this time, and more research is needed to determine the effects and confirm the benefits. Nevertheless, there is a growing body of research and case studies that illustrate the considerable therapeutic potential of using animals in therapy. AAT has been associated with improving outcomes in four areas: autism-spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioral challenges, and emotional well-being. This course is designed to provide therapists, educators, and caregivers with the information and techniques needed to begin using the human-animal bond successfully to meet individual therapeutic goals. This presentation will focus exclusively on Animal Assisted Therapy and will not include information on other similar or related therapy.Course #21-05 | 2015 | 36 pages | 16 posttest questions


It has long been observed that there are certain children who experience better outcomes than others who are subjected to similar adversities, and a significant amount of literature has been devoted to the question of why this disparity exists. Research has largely focused on what has been termed “resilience.” Health professionals are treating an increasing number of children who have difficulty coping with 21st century everyday life. Issues that are hard to deal with include excessive pressure to succeed in school, bullying, divorce, or even abuse at home. This course provides a working definition of resilience and descriptions of the characteristics that may be associated with better outcomes for children who confront adversity in their lives. It also identifies particular groups of children – most notably those with developmental challenges and learning disabilities – who are most likely to benefit from resilience training. The bulk of the course – presented in two sections – offers a wide variety of resilience interventions that can be used in therapy, school, and home settings.Course #30-72 | 2014 | 53 pages | 21 posttest questionsJuly Monthly Special Ends 7/31/2015


Self-defeating behaviors are negative on-going patterns of behaviors involving issues such as smoking, weight, inactive lifestyle, depression, anger, perfectionism, etc. This course is designed to teach concepts to eliminate these negative patterns. The course is educational: first you learn the model, then you apply it to a specific self-defeating behavior. A positive behavioral change is the outcome. Following the course, participants will be able to identify, analyze and replace their self-defeating behavior(s) with positive behavior(s). The course also provides an excellent psychological “tool” for clinicians to use with their clients. The author grants limited permission to photocopy forms and exercises included in this course for clinical use. Closeout Course #40-08 | 2007 | 44 pages | 35 posttest questions

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