to Cultivate Happiness
“Gratitude helps you to grow and expand;
gratitude brings joy
and laughter into your
life and into the lives of those around you.”
People are happiness seekers. We want to be happy and yet happiness eludes many of us. We say to ourselves, “I’ll be happy if I get that new car” or “I’ll be happy when I re-do the kitchen.” While these new things will increase our happiness for a time, their novelty wears off and we go back to our baseline.
However, there are concrete practices we can incorporate in to our lives, here and now, that will help make us happier in both the short- term and long-term. Here are 6 Habits of Happiness Worth Cultivating from The Greater Good Science Center:
- Pay Attention. People who notice what is happening around them, what they are feeling, how their body is responding, and what they are thinking, are less likely to be hostile or anxious. This mindfulness pays off in another way; people who are mindful also have stronger immune systems.
- Keep Your Friends Close. It doesn’t matter how many
friends a person has, but it is important to nurture relationships. Spend time with those closest to you. Not all of us have had good experiences early on, and so we may not have learned how to have supportive relationships. Psychotherapy and counseling can help you learn to cultivate close relationships that can nurture happiness.
- Give Thanks. People are more optimistic, in better health,
and more satisfied with life when they express gratitude regularly. There really is something to the old adage: Count Your Blessings. According to researcher, Sonja Lyubormirsky, it is important write down three things that went well during the week using the following format:
- Title the event
- Write down exactly what happened; what you said, what other people said
- Include how you felt at the time and later
- Write in your style, with as much detail as you like, not worrying about grammar or spelling.
- Let Go of Grudges. When we find a way to let go of our grudges toward someone who has hurt or wronged us, we feel better. In fact, we are able to experience more positive emotions, feel closer to others, and feel better about ourselves. All terrific for our well-being. Some ways of letting go of anger and resentment include keeping a journal or writing a letter. Psychotherapy and counseling can help, too.
- Get Regular Exercise.Need a quick fix of happiness? Exercise. Of all these ideas, exercise is probably the best instant happiness booster of all. Over time, exercise improves self-esteem and reduces stress and anxiety.
- Practice Kindness.We feel good when we’re kind to others. A win-win situation. In fact, altruism lights up the same pleasure centers of the brain as sex and food! And did you know that kindness is contagious?
Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her book, The How of Happiness, adds a few more. Always good to have more options to choose from to find the ones that best fit for you. Here are a few ideas from Dr. Lyubomirsky’s research findings:
- Do Engaging Activities. Find your flow at work and at home. Do activities that are challenging and absorbing, where you “lose yourself.”
- Cultivate Optimism. Practice looking at the bright side of a situation. You can even keep a journal where you write about the best possible life for yourself.
- Commit to Your Goals. Choose one to three things that are meaningful to you and devote time and energy to work on them.
I have years of experience helping people to cultivate happiness in their lives. Contact me for more information.
Beth Levine, LCSW
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
About Beth Levine, LCSW
Hi! Thanks for taking the time to find out more about me.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, having earned a master’s degree in Social Work from the National Catholic School of Social Service, Catholic University. I have about 20 years of experience working with adults in individual and couple settings.
Ever since I was young, I thought about being a therapist. Maybe it was when I saw Ordinary People. I was envious of the therapist, played by Judd Hirsch, who had the opportunity to develop a deep and meaningful connection with Conrad, played by Timothy Hutton, and helped him go from a place of despair to a place of realizing his life force. Wow! What could be better than that? Helping someone tap into their strengths and heal? Making the world a better place is a driving force for me.
Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) are the foundational models for my work. After taking a training with Bessel van der Kolk, an expert in studying and treating trauma, I began to take trainings in models and techniques that are supported by research for their effectiveness for treating depression, anxiety, and trauma.
I find that having different techniques to choose from is useful because I don’t think that there is one technique or treatment method that works for everyone. I can work with my clients to see what works best in our individual counseling or couple counseling. In addition to IFS and EFT, the techniques I draw from include emotional freedom techniques, somatic experiencing, Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness, expressive therapies, and movement.
People ask me what my style is like. I find it hard to describe, but I’ll do my best. I am collaborative. I am interactive. I like to bring in humor when appropriate. (Nothing like bathing the brain and body in serotonin.) I point out patterns. I ask questions. I reflect what I am seeing. I use the relationship to promote healing. I can be pragmatic and solution focused. I can offer behavioral changes. I work to promote curiosity. I draw from different modalities and life experience.
I believe in therapy. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and relationships. Individual therapy has helped me live more authentically, trust myself to handle life’s challenges, and have healthy relationships. Therapy can be hard, but it’s worth it.
If you think we would be a good fit, the next step is to call or email me so we can schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation. If that goes well, then I recommend that we have an initial session. Having a session is probably the best way to tell if you think I would be a good fit.
I am thankful to the many people who have shared their lives with me and taught me about people’s courage and capacity to heal and change.
It is hard to narrow down my philosophy of individual therapy or couple counseling to one option, but I want to share with you the following way of looking at ourselves, our relationships, and life that I, and others, find helpful.
The 400+ year old Japanese art of kintsugi (golden repair) or kintsukuroi (golden joinery) honors the pottery’s unique history by emphasizing, not hiding, any breaks or cracks.
This philosophy embraces flaws and imperfections and acknowledges that “scars” are a part of the unique design.
Kintsugi offers us an important metaphor: In the process of healing ourselves or our relationships, we can create something more unique, beautiful, and resilient.
Embracing this philosophy, can help us deal with depression, despair, anxiety, stress, relationship difficulties, loneliness, and trauma, among other life’s challenges.
Advanced Trauma Treatment – Level I (The Institute for Advanced Psychotherapy)
Level I Certification in Internal Family Systems (IFS Institute)
Emotional Freedom Techniques – Professional Skills I (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology)
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy)
Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy Supervisor – for therapists earning their Certification (International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy)
Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score
Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness
LCSW-C, National Catholic University, School of Social Work
MBA, University of Rochester, The Simon Business School
September 2017. Published article, Enhancing Therapeutic Effectiveness When Working with Vegan Clients, News & Views, The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work.
June 2016. Published article, Food for Thought, New & Views, The Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work.
- Interviewed by Elisabeth Brown for Freedom2Do (http://www.freedom2do.com/its-okay-to-get-help/).
September 2011 through April 2012. Assisted EFT trainer, Rebecca Jorgensen, with Core Skills Advanced Training (4 weekend-long trainings) to EFT colleagues.
September 2010 through April 2011. Assisted EFT trainer, Rebecca Jorgensen, with Core Skills Advanced Training (4 weekend-long trainings) to EFT colleagues.
September 2010 through June 2011. Led Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) supervision group for EFT colleagues based on the training manual, Becoming an Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist: The Workbook. Met once a month.
March 2009. Through The Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work, I presented Introduction to Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy.
October 2008. Through The Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work, I presented Attachment Theory, Love and Neurobiology. In this course, I talked about eight ways in which Attachment Theory informs couple work, and the research that helps us understand the neurobiology of when couples have a secure attachment and when they are in distress.
January 2008. As part of the above training, I presented on Attachment Theory and Work with Couples. My presentation was titled: Eight Ways That Attachment Theory Informs Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT).
January 2008. Attachment Theory: Basic Concepts and Clinical Applications in Work with Individuals, Couples and Children. I coordinated the training with Mauricio Cortina, MD, Director, Attachment and Human Development Center.
I am a member of:
- Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work
- International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy
- National Association of Social Workers
Get in touch.
I'm always happy to hear from people.
If you have any questions, need more information, or would like to make an appointment, you can call me at 301-279-7779, email me at BethLCounseling@aol.com, or use the form below.
I see clients using a video-chat platform called VSee. It is free to download and easy to use. Please ask me about that option, if you are interested.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker • Over 15 years of experience • Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist and Supervisor • Member of The Greater Washington Society of Clinical Social Work • Member of the International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy • Member of Clinical Social Work Association • Member of National Association of Social Workers
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Serving All of Maryland through teletherapy, including Rockville, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Potomac, Silver Spring
Hours by appointment only
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