Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust: Workable Strategies For Achieving Psychological and Spiritual Health in Each Vital Facet of Your Life

Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust: Workable Strategies For Achieving Psychological and Spiritual Health in Each Vital Facet of Your Life

by Ph.D. Laurie Mattera


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Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust: Workable Strategies For Achieving Psychological and Spiritual Health in Each Vital Facet of Your Life by Ph.D. Laurie Mattera

Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust will take you through a series of workable strategies to help you live a balanced, joyful life. Learn how to develop a strong spiritual core, enhance intimate relationships, improve your relationships with family, friends, and co-workers, and find joy in your work.

Spirituality, mental and emotional well-being, physical health, relationships, career, giving to others, rest and relaxation and keeping it all organized: these are the Areas of Focus (AOFs) in our lives. If you knew you could feel balanced and joyful in all of these areas, what would it mean for you? Would you then consider yourself a Joyful Soul?

Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust synthesizes what has been written on the topic of holistic living, giving you workable strategies for achieving psychological and spiritual health in each vital facet of your life. The combination of these approaches in multiple life-areas is groundbreaking. Becoming joyful and balanced may virtually eliminate the harmful effects of too much stress in your life, while enabling you to attain a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

You will learn how to follow your dreams while at the same time living holistically, because we are all more than our accomplishments and successes, and our lives are more than just the work that we do. You will learn to set goals in order to get the greatest satisfaction from every vital area of your life, with an emphasis on a strong spiritual core and psychological well-being. Start living a balanced, joyful life now!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504336475
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 07/30/2015
Pages: 164
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)

Read an Excerpt

Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust

Workable Strategies For Achieving Psychological and Spiritual Health in Each Vital Facet of Your Life

By Laurie Mattera

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2015 Laurie Mattera, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-3647-5


The Balanced Life – Live it

Inspirations as you focus on living a balanced life:

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)

We are about to set the stage for how you can begin to live a balanced and joyful life. I know you are eager to get started, and I am just as eager to guide you through the process. But first we need to cover some basic principles to make your journey easier. In subsequent chapters, we will tackle each area that makes up a balanced life so you can create a template personalized to your needs and goals. Because these chapters build on one another, I recommend you read them in order, but there are no set rules for this process. You are a unique individual who will be learning and growing. Make this formula your own!

Three Key Factors

As I wrote in the introduction, there are three key factors that will enable you to accomplish your goals and live a life that will be satisfying to you, those you love, and others who are important in your life. You must become aware of and concentrate on these three key factors to achieve balance and genuine fulfillment:

1. You will need to establish and solidify your center or core essence.

2. You must get in touch with your fundamental values.

3. You need to carve out time to dedicate to yourself, to others, and to your goals. This requires making a plan and organizing your time.

The balanced life you create will assist you in meeting your needs and the needs of others spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Let's take a look at key factor number one:

Key Factor #1: Your Relationship with God (Your Center or Core Essence)

It is my belief that if you strive to have a solid relationship with God, live your life based on faith in God and his promises, and allow yourself time to listen patiently for his messages, you will be able to handle any challenge life brings you.

Imagine having a faith so strong that you know deep in your soul that you and those you love will ultimately be okay. Just thinking about this is likely to relieve stress, give you strength, and bring you a feeling of peace.

In whatever way you choose to get closer to God (meditation and prayer, Scripture reading, worshipping with others in a church), you are likely to find a peace that enables you to approach every area of your life with new meaning. Christ said, "And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20 NLT). Trust God's promises. We will return to this topic in the next chapter.

Key Factor #2: Your Fundamental Values

Have you taken time to discover your basic values? To discern what principles are essential for you to live a fulfilling and rewarding life? Many people think they know what is important to them, but they have never really taken time to think carefully about their fundamental values and priorities.

There are many ways to discover what values are most significant to you. As a career counselor, I used several inventories and assessments to assist individuals in determining their major values in life. The following is an example of one simple way to prioritize your top values. This list is not all-inclusive, so if there are other values not listed here, please add them to the list. It is essential to complete this exercise to discover which values are most meaningful to you. Knowing yourself and your values will enable you to set attainable and fulfilling goals for yourself. What is the result? Joy!

First, consider this list of core values:

• Family — creating loving, peaceful and harmonious relationships, and spending quality time with your spouse, partner, and/or children.

• Service — making a positive impact on those who need assistance.

• Leadership — becoming an influential leader in the workplace or community.

• Achievement/Accomplishment — experiencing success in a career, parenting, or other chosen aspects of your life.

• Fulfillment — feeling love, contentment, pleasure, joy, and appreciation in life.

• Security — having a stable home and/or work environment.

• Independence/Autonomy — acting in terms of your own priorities.

• Financial Security — earning or otherwise possessing wealth, and/or the amount of money you need for financial independence.

• Friendship — enjoying peaceful and harmonious relationships and quality time with friends.

• Loyalty — becoming a responsible, respected person of good character to the significant people in your life and having this loyalty reciprocated.

• Acknowledgment — receiving recognition and gratitude in the areas most important to you.

• Self-realization — gaining knowledge, education, or other objectives that are personally challenging and allow you to reach your highest potential.

• Health — enjoying spiritual, emotional, and physical vitality.

• Location — appreciating your surroundings and environment.

• Your position in life — respecting your status, reputation, prestige, uniqueness.

• Diversity and/or variety in your daily life — working to create both balance and range in your life experiences.

• Predictability — consistency, reliability or stability in important areas of your life.

• Spirituality — building a personal relationship with God with associated beliefs, values, hopes and way of life.

Remember, if the above list omits values that are important to you, feel free to add them.

Next, make cards for each category (or write them on paper).

Finally, carefully consider each area of the list, and when you are ready, remove four values. Repeat the exercise with the remaining categories, removing three or four values at a time until you are left with your top seven values. This gets difficult, but don't give up.

When you are done, you will have identified your current top priorities. You can use these values to assist you in making important decisions, such as when deciding which people should surround you in life or which career you should pursue. Knowing your core values is essential in creating goals for each area of your life. These goals are vital for living a satisfying and balanced life.

Keep in mind that your values will change over time, based on your current needs, maturity, the status of important relationships, and changes in your environment. Therefore, the inventory you create now will need to be updated every so often.

Key Factor #3: Planning and Organizing Your Time

You will need to create a plan that enables you to devote time to each significant area of your life. A wonderful reference for learning how to organize your time and environment is Julie Morgenstern's book, Organizing from the Inside Out. Morgenstern makes the point that you should organize your home, work space and paperwork first. An organized home, office or work space stimulates efficient and effective work. This will take time and effort, but be patient; the rewards are great.

Once you have organized your living space and your paperwork, you can begin the task of determining how many hours you do have to work with each day and each week (Those weekends come in handy.) Now you are ready to give each important area of your life the proper attention it deserves.

These three key factors are presupposed in everything that follows, and some are areas of focus in their own right. Some lay the groundwork for the next steps in the process. Keep them in mind as you move forward to reach your goals. Continue to enhance your relationship with God, to assess your key values, and to plan and organize your time and space as you fine tune each facet of your life.

The Areas of Focus (AOFs)

In the introduction to this book, I suggested that most of us would feel our life was on the right track if we felt in control of a few particular areas of our lives. You may remember that I called these the Areas of Focus (AOFs): Spirituality; Mental and Emotional well-being; Physical Health; Intimate Relationships; Relationships with Family, Friends, and Co-workers; Career and Education; Giving; and Rest, Relaxation and Organization. We will devote a chapter to each of these Areas of Focus. It is important to remember that these Areas of Focus are not mutually exclusive — they overlap and influence one another. When you excel in one area, this will usually have a positive effect on the other areas. Focusing on each of these areas gives you the opportunity to live life holistically. You will find that if you focus on each AOF in reasonable increments, you will be able to look back at what you've done in each area and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment.

As you read through this book, you may find yourself giving attention to some AOFs more than others. Balance is the key to satisfaction here. You may also find that you've been doing better in some areas than you thought you were. In still other areas, you may find that you have a long way to go. No matter which is true in your case, don't become discouraged. Take your time and enjoy the journey of growing, learning, and improving the precious life you have been given. It doesn't have to happen all at once, nor is that the course that is intended.

Having What It Takes to Live a Balanced Life

What traits do you need to live a balanced life and make your dreams come true? There are five characteristics that will put you well on the road to success. These five characteristics, if nurtured in yourself, can empower you to succeed in every area of your life. They are: tenacity, discipline, goal-setting, approaching each AOF from a place of power and love, and eliminating fear. Let's take a brief look at each of these.


Tenacity is stick-to-itiveness, the determination to persist, to refuse to quit, to persevere in one's purpose and press forward even when facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles. A tenacious person firmly resolves to reach his or her goal no matter what stands in the way. Remember, a balanced and joyful life is at stake here! If you approach every goal you have for yourself with tenacity, you will find that doors open for you. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened" (Matt 7:7-8). This is a promise worthy of trust.


Discipline is the virtue of self-mastery. It is tenacity's best friend. Discipline is practice, plus patience, plus persistence, with a purpose. Discipline means developing and repeating a positive, goal-directed behavior until it becomes a habit as you work patiently step-by- step toward an objective. Of course, to achieve a balanced life with discipline, flexibility is required. This means that you will need to exercise restraint if those around you are not moving at the pace you would like them to. So discipline also means maintaining order and control within yourself. Trust yourself, trust the process, work patiently and persistently and know that in good time you will achieve your goals. If you are purposeful, persistent and disciplined in your efforts, you will move forward — and as you do your self-confidence will grow.


This brings us to our next characteristic: Being a goal setter. Discipline and tenacity imply that you have both a plan and objectives to reach. So as we discuss each Area of Focus, it is essential that you set goals for yourself. And be sure to write them down. Extant research shows that when goals are written down, and when what is written down includes how and when goals will be met, they are achieved more often than when goals are not written down or when one fails to include both how and when they will be reached. Researchers aren't sure why this is, but perhaps the reason is that writing our goals down keeps us accountable. This does not mean that you will accomplish every goal exactly when you say you will. There may be disruptions. You may suffer setbacks. Or God may have other plans for you, and if you are listening in faith, you will adjust. What it does mean is that you will have a baseline to work from, adapt, and fine-tune. So for each chapter in this book dealing with an AOF, write down concrete goals for yourself. This will make the whole process very real to you, and you can even chart your progress and enjoy each success on the journey.

Finally, be realistic during this process. Remember: Any movement forward is progress. Whatever your dreams and goals are, express them and set them into motion. Then stay in motion, and don't become discouraged if you progress more slowly than you expected. I believe our goals are connected to our destiny. Our destiny reveals itself in our longing to achieve our goals, and we cannot find rest until they come to fruition. Your goals and your restless longing to achieve your destiny are gifts that make you unique. Don't give up. Tap into your faith in God. Believe in yourself and your destiny. Take joy in the journey.

A Spirit of Power and Love

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline" (2 Tim 1:7 NLT). These are beautiful and empowering words. Notice that the verse speaks of these gifts as something we already possess. God has given us a spirit of power and love and self-discipline. It is no coincidence that these three spiritual virtues are given together. "Power" is the capability to act decisively to affect oneself and others, the capacity to effect change in the world. Power in this sense can be good or evil. That is why when God gives the gift of power, he gives it together with love and self-discipline. Love is the channel through which our power must flow to others, and self-discipline equips us to use our power wisely and with good judgment for the benefit of others.

But what if you feel disempowered? What if you feel that your shortcomings are too many or your weaknesses are too great to act? Consider the example of the apostle Paul, whom God used to carry the message of salvation throughout the whole of the then-known world. In one of his open letters to the church in Corinth, he writes frankly of his weakness. He suffered a severe malady of some kind that made his already arduous work even more difficult. Three times, he says, he prayed for liberation from it. The response? The Lord said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness" (2Cor 12:9 NAB). Do not fear your weakness. God will work with you and through you just as you are.

When you acknowledge the power you have been given and the love you carry within you, something wonderful happens. You become aware of your effect on all the people in your life — and not just on those closest to you, but also those who are acquaintances or even strangers. You also realize how much you are capable of and how much you can achieve. Susan Jeffers writes much about this in her book, Feel the Fear, and Do it Anyway. Use her words, "I am powerful and I am loving," and witness fantastic changes in your outlook on life.


Excerpted from Joyful Soul: A Promise Worthy of Trust by Laurie Mattera. Copyright © 2015 Laurie Mattera, Ph.D.. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Foreword, ix,
Preface, xiii,
Acknowledgements, xix,
Introduction, xxi,
Chapter 1: The Balanced Life – Live it, 1,
Chapter 2: Spirituality – Your Life with God, 17,
Chapter 3: Mental Health/Emotional Well-Being – Your Life with Your Mind and Heart, 29,
Chapter 4: Physical Health – Life in Your Temple, 47,
Chapter 5: Intimate Relationships – Your Life with Your Intimate Partner, 61,
Chapter 6: Family, Friends, Co-Workers, and Acquaintances – Your Life with Others, 75,
Chapter 7: Education and Career – Your Life of Learning and Work, 95,
Chapter 8: Giving Back – Your Life with a Purpose, 107,
Chapter 9: Rest, Relaxation, and Organization – Your Life of Recharging, 115,
Seeing it to Completion, 127,
Suggested Reading for Living a Life of Joy, 133,
Contact Information, 135,
About the Author, 137,

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