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