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Delve into the heartfelt anecdotes and inspiring, easy-to-follow exercises that Dr. Abraham J. Twerski offers and discover how true happiness is attainable once you stop looking outside yourself and realize that it can be found within you. Unlike most self-help books that offer only vague advice for improving self-image, this book presents the stories of people struggling to achieve greater happiness—and succeeding. Happiness and the Human Spirit is the perfect choice to give your group a better understanding of happiness as you start on a new path toward becoming the best you can be.

6 x 9, 176 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-58023-404-7   

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Being happy depends on becoming a complete person—
spirituality is the path that leads you to wholeness.

“To become complete human beings, to find happiness, we need to develop our human spirits to the fullest. This is what it means to be spiritual: to be the best we can be; to exercise all the qualities and traits that are unique to humankind and that give us the identity as human beings. This spirituality is an integral component of being human, and we cannot have true and enduring happiness without it.”

For many of us, the journey toward personal and spiritual fulfillment is fraught with unexplained feelings of emptiness in the struggle to reach what seems an elusive and murky goal. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Using simple, accessible language and clear examples, this wellspring of wisdom shows you that true happiness is attainable once you stop looking outside yourself for the source and realize that it can be found within you. You will identify the unique abilities that comprise your human spirit—such as gratitude, humility, compassion, and generosity—and explore how to use them in ways that will not only remove your feelings of incompleteness, but also allow you to experience happiness in an invigorating and spiritually refreshing way.

Based on ancient wisdom and modern psychology, the thoughtful, heartfelt anecdotes and inspiring, easy-to-follow exercises will carry you beyond your present state of discontent and open for you an entirely new path toward becoming the best you you can possibly be.

Praise for Abraham J. Twerski’s Work

“Provides us with an understanding of our spiritual side…. It’s like a conversation with a warm and trusted friend.”

Betty Ford, former first lady; founder, Betty Ford Treatment Center

“Written with clarity, compassion, comics and practical wisdom … harvests a lifetime of spiritual study, psychological counseling and life experience guiding us to be our best and our happiest.”

Rabbi Elie Kaplan Spitz, author, Does the Soul Survive?
A Jewish Journey to Belief in Afterlife, Past Lives & Living with Purpose

“Reveals that there can never be true happiness without spirituality. The essence of true happiness is in realizing oneself and being the best human being one can be—and that is spirituality.”

Christopher Kennedy Lawford, author,
Symptoms of Withdrawal: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption

“Much more than studying genetic factors, set points, or diet prescriptions, Dr. Twerski’s simple examples and entertaining explanations make reading this book a happy and life changing event.”

—Judi Hollis, PhD, author, Hot & Heavy:
Finding Your Soul through Food and Sex
and From Bagels to Buddha

“I defy anyone to read this book and not become kinder, more spiritual and insightful. For people of all faiths, and of none, by one of the great Jewish teachers of our age. If you want to be a blessing in the lives of those around you, and in your own life, read this book.”

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author,
A Code of Jewish Ethics and Jewish Literacy

“[A] careful delineation of Spiritual Deficiency Syndrome and a detailed presentation of the aspects of the unique human spirit will smooth the path for undertaking ten steps to happiness. Gentle humor and subtle stories will weave their way into your life. This appreciation of spirituality will make anyone want to pursue that goal ... and learn how better to do so.”

Ernest Kurtz, PhD, coauthor, The Spirituality of Imperfection:
Storytelling and the Search for Meaning

“Exceptionally well-written, thought-provoking … discusses the need in all of us to lead meaningful lives.”

Robert J. Ackerman, PhD, author, A Husband’s Little Black Book: Commonsense, Wit and Wisdom for a Better Marriage; and A Wife’s Little Red Book: Commonsense, Wit and Wisdom for a Better Marriage

“Wonderful … explains what we are missing and how to achieve it. Filled with stories and written in a direct, personal way … could well help people to find nothing short of meaning and happiness.”

Elliot N. Dorff, PhD, author,
The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)

“Brilliant…. Shows how happiness and spirituality are intertwined and achievable. Simply reading this joyful writing will put you on the road to happiness.”

Rabbi Berel Wein, founder and director of
The Destiny Foundation; author, Triumph of Survival

“An important book for those who seek true happiness, and doesn’t everybody?

John Bradshaw, personal growth expert; author, 
Healing the Shame That Binds You

“An inspirational guide that everyone can use. Profoundly wise, combines practical steps to take and uplifting stories. A must read.”

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, happiness coach; author, The Enchanted Self:
A Positive Therapy and Recipes for Enchantment, the Secret Ingredient Is You!

“Puts into words the yearning we all feel to live fully with joy and happiness. Helps us on our journey by gently teaching the heart and guiding the mind as we journey toward a life of greater contentment.”

Karyn D. Kedar, author, The Bridge to Forgiveness:
Stories and Prayers for Finding God and Restoring Wholeness

Download a printable version

  • Describe what you see as some of the symptoms of Spiritual Deficiency Syndrome.
  • There are people who are religiously observant, but appear to be very unhappy. Discuss why this may be the case.
  • We are constantly making choices. Sometimes we choose unwisely because we are motivated by our desires and we cannot think objectively. What can we do to avoid making unwise choices?
  • In our productivity-driven culture, we tend to value ourselves for what we produce. We are now living longer than before, and an increasing number of people live for many years after retirement. How can we retain a sense of value and be happy if we feel useless?
  • In Happiness and the Human Spirit, there is a reference to a book called The Spirituality of Imperfection. Discuss some of the many ways we can interpret this title. Discuss the relationship between spirituality and perfection.
  • “In everyone’s life some rain must fall.” Is it possible to maintain happiness in the face of adversity? If so, how?
  • How can we shake off the unhappiness of a difficult childhood, where we suffered deprivation or abuse?
  • Much of our happiness depends on being liked by other people. Where do you think the desire to be liked comes from? How can we avoid being “people-pleasers” to gain the goodwill of others? In what ways can we benefit if we use our energy and focus on things other than what people think of us?

Why do you believe a lack of spirituality results in unhappiness?
The human body requires essential nutrients, and lack of any essential nutrient will result in a “deficiency condition,” such as iron deficiency syndrome or vitamin C deficiency syndrome. My thesis is that one component of the human being, the spirit, also requires essential nutrients, and if these are lacking, the result is a Spiritual Deficiency Syndrome. The primary symptom of Spiritual Deficiency Syndrome is chronic discontent, which will not be relieved until the person provides the spirit with its essential nutrients.

Are you saying that a spiritual person is always a happy person?
Of course not. A spiritual person may be two months in arrears on his/her mortgage payment, may have a domineering boss, may have a child on drugs, or may struggle with depression.

What I am saying is that even if all of our physical and psychological needs are met, if we are lacking spirituality we may still be unhappy and not know why. Furthermore, if we are not alerted to our spiritual deficiencies, we may spend hours investigating all possible sources of discontent— and even resolving many of them, but if the element of spirituality is not provided, we will still be discontented.


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